Captain [6.10.17]

It’s been a while, but in light of recent events I decided to record another cover 🙂
Captain – Hillsong United (Cover)
[https://soundcloud.com/gloriahhhxp/captain-hillsong-united-cover-amanda-kim-gloria-bang]


This song was inspired from the verses Proverbs 3:5-6 where God tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Currently, I’m in a pretty anxious stage of my life where there are many unanswered questions. Trying to figure out my future and plans for next year has started to become very pressuring, and I usually find myself responding with worry and doubt. Maybe it’s the fact that I recently entered my late 20’s, or maybe it’s from me making comparisons with my life to the lives of the friends and colleagues around me. Whatever the case is, it’s clear that I’m dissatisfied with where I am, and all I want is some sort of visible sign that my life is moving forward. I’ve been spending a lot of time in prayer and the Word, but have many times felt discouraged because none of it seemed to be giving me answers.

But even in the midst of my impatience through this waiting, God has been working and teaching me again how to trust. I’ve been a Christian basically all my life, but it turned out that the very solution to this issue was to return to step 1: having faith in the one who died for me, picking up my cross daily, and completely surrendering my life to him. I revisited the idea of what it really means to surrender, being reminded that it is nothing about my plans or my timing, but all and only about his.

And as I am fighting to surrender, I’m also learning more and more that it is never a self-sacrifice. When I give my life to Christ, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. God is always, always working for the sake of my good, and nothing out of the love in his character will change that. Surrendering to him is not just something I should do, but something that is absolutely worth doing. As I continue to go through “uncharted waters,” I pray that I will keep learning how to die to myself and fully trust in the one who makes all things beautiful in his time.

“All my allegiance is rightfully yours.”

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Surgery [3.11.16]

This is regarding an event that happened about two months ago, but I felt as though I should still document it so I could retain all the things I learned from the experience. And also people were asking questions about it, so I felt it was easier to just answer them all at once haha. Sorry it’s so late tho..

Around Mid-January of this year, I went through surgery to remove a dermoid cyst under my neck. And apparently it’s been sitting there since birth, but it kinda played ninja on me for 24 years without showing any signs before it started to grow. I noticed it first in August, and since then I had to go in for a few appointments and get some scans until I finally removed it in January. But before going through the whole process, things got kind of complicated because of scheduling conflicts, and I didn’t have any health insurance. When discussing my options with the medical advisers, I was told I could either leave the dermoid there and risk a chance of it eating the sensory glands in my tongue, or I could go through an operation to get it removed. But I didn’t have any medical insurance, so I knew it would be super expensive. I didn’t know what to do, and I felt pretty lost. But through the support and persuasion of my parents and other mentors, I took a leap of faith and decided to get the surgery. And thankfully later on, God graciously provided the resources from Carle Hospital to cover all of my finances so I didn’t have to pay a cent for the pre-surgery appointments or the actual surgery :). (#Godissososososogood).

For anyone who has been through surgery, you will know just how uncomfortable and hassling of a process it is, both during and after. For me, it was definitely one of the worst experiences of my entire life and not something I would ever want to go through again haha. Of course during the actual surgery I was knocked out with anesthetics so I don’t remember much, but when I woke up, I felt the sickest I ever felt. I had no absolutely ability to think or care for myself, and for every activity I needed someone to literally hold my hand and guide me everywhere. I left the hospital on a wheelchair, needed to be spoon fed my first meal, and even when going to the bathroom I needed someone to support me. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t stand, and I couldn’t even do anything while lying down. I think I probably died more from boredom then from any after-surgery pain.

But one thing I definitely learned through this is that I should never take my health for granted. Seriously, what a freaking huge blessing it is just to be able to walk on your own, to feed yourself, to dress yourself, go to the bathroom by yourself, and just do anything by yourself.  I can’t imagine just how much harder it would be to do everyday things because of not being able to do these things on your own. And this realization also hit me as a wave of rebuke because these days I’ve just been complaining so much. But what right do I have to complain when I seriously have so much to be thankful for? This heart of thankfulness has really pushed me to use and take advantage of what I have been blessed with. As horrible of an experience as it was, and even though I have this ugly gash on the side of my neck that will probably be permanent, God has opened my eyes to things I have been blind to and for that I feel as though the entire experience was worth it.

And yes of course I am thankful, but I honestly neverevereverever want to go through another surgery again omgsh…haha

You are loved [6.29.15]

[https://www.facebook.com/jay.choi.56/videos/10201349554006077/?pnref=story]
Spoken Word by Jay Choi
As shown by GMA Pop News and Fox News 12

In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling to legalize homosexual marriage, I felt like doing a repost of this video was appropriate. I feel that it gives a good picture of what homosexuals might deal with in the church and how Christians should respond to them.

Sadly, one of the biggest conflicts concerning this topic is the clash that homosexuals have with Christianity. And at surface level, it’s not hard to see why. All Christianity seems to be on the outside is another religion covered by a law saying this is right and that is wrong. There have been cases where Christians have outwardly rejected homosexuals at the church and have even gone to the point where they start “anti-gay” movements walking around chanting, “God hates gays” and “Gays go to hell.” I know of certain Christians who have been detrimental towards homosexuals and some Christians are openly or secretly prejudiced towards homosexuals in general. But let me just say this straight-forwardly, that is completely messed up. And of course I am not generalizing these qualities to all Christians as a whole; I am a Christian myself. But it is absolutely heartbreaking for me as a Christian to hear about any one person who claims to believe in Jesus and would give a second thought about responding in this way. It appears some Christians seem to think that they are overall just “better” people because they are not homosexual, and they give themselves a right to treat other human beings like that. But as people who are called and sent to this world to display the love of Christ, how are homosexuals supposed to see it admist such hatred? It is not hard for me to see why some homosexuals avoid Christianity, and it is not hard for me to see why some homosexuals have doubts about how a loving God could exist.

To all the homosexual friends and acquaintances that God has blessed me with, first and foremost I want to apologize. I know that many of you are against believing in Jesus for your own various reasons, but I am aware that for some of you, your sexual preference is one of them. And I hear you guys talk about how Christians have treated homosexuals or how you have read articles about Christian “anti-gay” groups, and it honestly breaks my heart. I’m sorry for whatever led you to think negatively of God and for not being a good example of Jesus myself. But as hard as it might be for some Christians to admit, the absolute truth is that we are all equally messed up and imperfect. It doesn’t matter that you’re homosexual and I’m heterosexual, or that I’m a Christian and you’re not, no one person is “better” than another. But if there’s anything that I want you to understand about Christianity, it is that without love, it is nothing. Based on all the experiences you’ve heard about, it could be so easy for you to see Christianity as a religion that constantly judges and puts people down, but the essence of who we are is not so much built off of a religion, but a relationship. By definition and personal belief, the reason I am a Christian is because I have a father-daughter relationship with a God who loved me enough to send his own son to die for me. And why did he come down? Because I was messed up. Because I was full of mistakes. Because I deserved a punishment for being messed up and full of mistakes and he decided to take the full blow upon himself. For my sake and for the sake of the entire world. That is the love that comes behind being a Christian, and that is the only love I want to show to you as well. A love that is completely perfect, unconditional, and everlasting. And all I pray is that some day you will see how worth it it is to give up your life and anything else you could ever desire for the sake of receiving the joy in Christ that I have.

And if you ever hear about or encounter a “Christian” that does anything less then show love, just know that they are mistaken. Don’t let the people who are driven by rage and hate drive you away from the most beautiful love story that you could ever be a part of. You might think that “love won” for you with the passing of law, but love actually won for you a long time ago with three nails and a cross. And trust me when I say, the man who died on that cross is the only one who could fully satisfy you and give you the love that you are seeking. That is all that I as a Christian, and anyone else as a Christian, ever wants you to know. We are not here to judge you, we are not here to hurt you. We are here to remind you that you are loved.

A Bridge to Christ [6.20.15]

This week has just been full of random deep talks with random people. I honestly don’t know how they started, but from one point to another, a simple hello suddenly led to discussions about life, relationships, personal issues, etc. I’m always overwhelmed when I hear about other people struggling, but at the same time I’m thankful. There were so many things to think about, but also so many things pray about.

I think every time someone opens up and shares with me, I start to feel some sort of pressure building up inside of me. It’s a good kind of pressure. It’s one of those feelings where you desperately want to help them, whether it would be to offer some good advice or just be the shoulder they need to cry on. But at the same time having this feeling can often be very dejecting, because it sometimes leads to a realization that you’re just not the right person to help them. I used to think that if someone opens up to you, then by default you were the right person to help them out. But sometimes, God’s reason for bringing these people to you isn’t so that you can change them or give them direct encouragement, but it’s to reveal one more thing to pray for or one more thing to support behind the scenes. Sinfully, I hate that. Every time someone shares a struggle with me I can’t just sit there. It’s not sufficient enough for me to just watch them go through it and just pray on the sidelines. For some reason, doing that just makes me feel so useless and deficient. I start thinking things like maybe the reason why I can’t help them out is because I don’t have enough knowledge, or maybe because I haven’t read the Bible enough. And while that might be the case, it is definitely not what God wants me to take away from the experience.

What I have to remember is that every person in my life is a blessing from God. It is not based on anything I did or will do in their life. Whether it’s one of my closest friends, or a unnamed homeless man on the sidewalk God gives me the grace to notice, I should be doing nothing else other than becoming an invisible bridge between them and Christ. Not at any point should I be prideful and give myself the right to say that I’m the right person to speak into their life or that God sent this person to me so that I could change them. Of course sometimes that might be the case, but it’s never for me to decide. In every interaction I have, I need to be prayerful and discerning in why God sent them to me and what he wants me to do for them. And once I figure that out, regardless of whether it’s praying behind the scenes or caring for them openly, I need to do it wholeheartedly with the exclusive reason of pointing them to Christ.

Progression [4.1.15]

Today, I went out for a run for the first time since last summer. I don’t know why I suddenly felt like doing it after being unmotivated for so long. Maybe it was because of the beautiful evening weather or because of the influence from my small group members always talking about going to the gym, lifting, and running 5k’s haha. But whatever the case was, I’m truly thankful I went.

While I was pulling up the old workout playlist I made years ago, the songs that rang through my ears brought me nostalgic, bittersweet feelings. It reminded of the potential and dedication I once used to have, but how because of life’s circumstances, this dedication of the past had quickly dwindled down to laziness in the present. Granted I do have a lot more things on my plate now, but I think today showed me that my reasons for saying I had “no time” were more or less excuses. I harbored a lot of regret as I was running because of how quickly tired I got and from thinking about all those moments I could have spent running instead of mindlessly passing the time. I felt partially mad at myself and partially ashamed.

It’s hard to believe that even with such a clear visible step backward that God still sees it as progression. But he really does. I have progressed whether I want to believe it or not. And instead of beating myself up or being regretful like I normally do, I want to fight to see the progression too. Not just in the physical stamina sense (thank God that’s not the only way to grow lol), but also spiritually. After all, my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. It’s about time I started taking better care of it for both a physical sake and a spiritual sake. Granted, by God’s grace, I’ll admit have grown a lot, but I’ve been too satisfied with where I am and I lack a lot of urgency. I really need to see my need for Jesus and believe that God is constantly working in me regardless of how much I fail. May I never ever be satisfied or content with where I am in my walk with God.

On a side note, I took a stop at a park on Third Street and did a little stargazing on the swings. I forgot how beautiful and close the stars in Champaign are. It was definitely one of those times I wish I had a fancy, expensive DSLR camera to capture the moment. Oh well. Maybe in the future when I get a full time job and I’m done paying off my loans…in like 10 years haha.

Where it all began…[02.05.15]

Father, I never want to forget you.
I never want to forget who you are.
I never want to forget how I’ve been changed by you.
Please help me to be thankful in the midst of my struggles, my discouragements, my failures.
I don’t want to define myself by these things anymore
I don’t want to forget the weight of the cross.
I don’t want to forget the price you paid.
I want to believe each one is being made perfect through you.
I want to believe that you are sovereign.
Please help me to believe.
I’m so thankful to have struggles to depend on you for.
I’m so thankful to have weaknesses that show me my need for you.
I’m so thankful to have been a sinner and experienced your love and mercy.
I’m so thankful to have this opportunity to live for you.
I’m so thankful.
So so thankful.
Please help me never to forget…

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10