Monday, June 20, 2016

Oh, Korea bye!

Oh, Korea I have learned so much here and grew so much and changed. I’m not the same person I was when I moved to your humidity-hot July summer three summers ago. The girl who sat in McDonalds for aircon. The girl who was overwhelmed by not knowing the language or the crowds of people. The way you squish people on the subway or how the older people love to “rule everything”… (the road, the sidewalks and the subway).  Your awesome opened-air market places and your different smells walking down the street. The pressure to always do well and never take a break. Your fancy dress-up fashion, but also your socks and tennis shoes with a skirt. Your concern of body image and how you look. Kimchi at every meal and of course I can’t forget rice. How you can get wifi almost anywhere and sometimes in the most random places in the country side. Your people are kind, and loving once you get to know them. They have generous hearts. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of love your people have shown me the past three years. Thank you! 

My personal life here has not been easy. I had a lot things to that I had to grow in, learn, embrace and most importantly abide in God. Would I want to not have had the past three years? No, but yes… I wish I could have done without the hard (the dramas), but no because like I wrote in my Wildflowers in Valley blog post last week God placed incredible joys along the way. 

Thank you Korea for your beautiful quiet mornings (the land of morning calm). The changing of rice fields in each season (summer is my favorite with the green rice plants), public transportation, cheap opportunities to run in races (5k,10k,15k and 1/2 marathon), the randomness at Daiso, bingsue (a yummy shaved ice dessert), kimchi fried rice, shabu-shabu, Korean snacks, 7-11 on almost every street, tall apartment buildings (I have loved living on the 13th floor this year), coffee shops (my favorite by far), the opportunity to stretch and grow me in learning more about your culture and language, sitting on the floor to eat, Korean bbq, friendly older people on the hiking trails who always cheered me on when running, city life, but also nature mixed right in, gorgeous sunrises, pollution golden orange suns and fun days in Seoul.  I love your beautiful hanboks and yummy Gong Cha (bubble tea).  * And I’m sure I’m missing so many things… but the tears are starting to come…*

But I will not miss the food trash, the smells, someone smoking outside my apartment window, the pollution or yellow dust in the spring,  the pressure of excellence or body image or being pushed on a crowded subway. 

Oh, Korea!!! God used my time here to change me, to build my confidence, to test my faith, to stretch me and to show me how much He loves me. My time here taught me how to be brave and embrace the moments of being alone. Thank you for being my home for the past three years. And I know that if I ever come  back it will be completely different because you are always building and changing and I just can’t keep up. You have come so far and continue to strive for more and better…. 

My prayer for you Korea as I leave is that your nation would have a radical revival and see your need for God. A God who loves you just for you. A God who doesn’t want us to strive. A God who gives so much grace. May you see His goodness in all things and  be satisfy in Him. 

Oh, Korea…. good-bye! 

 Love, Daniella

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wildflowers in the Valley

Valleys. A valley is a low area between hills, often with a river running through it. It is a depression that is longer than it is wide (definition found on google).

My past three years in Korea have been valleys. Valleys of learning what it means to depend on God through the hard.  To be in the low.  To walk down a long road that felt like it would never end. To think I was finally going to climb to the mountaintops, but only to slide down again with another hurt or struggle. The struggle was real. It was hard. No sugar coating. It was plain hard. 

These years of valleys are coming to end. In exactly a week from today I will be shaking the dust off my feet as I fly to back to states for a short trip of refreshment, seeing family and repacking for the next adventure that God is leading me down.  The past few days have been filled with so many good-byes, packed boxes and reflection. 

A beautiful pictured that God placed on my heart a little over month ago as I was processing my time here in Korea and asking God “why? why did He have me come here? why did He have me go through all this? what was the purpose of it all? In those moments of questioning, God in His  sweet tender way  gave me a beautiful picture that has brought so much truth to my heart: this season has been valley filled with wildflowers… wildflowers of joys, encouragement and support. God didn’t leave me in the valley alone. He didn’t bring me out of the valley right away. But He did provide wildflowers along the way that I could not have ever imagined… 

Wildflowers. A wildflower is a flower of an uncultivated variety or a flower growing freely without human intervention (definition found on google.) 

God planted beautiful wildflowers in these years of living in the valley. Ones that I could not have created myself. They were truly a gift from Him and kept me looking into His face for grace, strength and wisdom. Joy. He faithfully placed wildflowers of joy to keep my eyes on Him. To remember how faithful, loving caring and forgiving He is…

A few Wildflowers that are dear to my heart are: 
-The Houser family #familyawayfromfamily
-Coaching soccer (never did I think I would have love it as much as I did!!!) 
-Opportunities of mentoring 
-My student’s personalities
-Sweet Lucy
-Bubble Tea
-Dongbu 106
-My people (you know who you are) 
-Fun days of exploring Seoul
-Spring Break trips to Taiwan, Jeju, and Japan
-Good friends
-Running in races
-Sweet moments in my favorite coffee shops 
-Beautiful rice paddies 
-Learning to lead without a title
-My prayer warriors 
-Seasoning my words with grace
-Fruits of the Spirit
-Hiking in the beauty of Korea
-Walks alone in my favorite season in Korea, autumn
-Embracing times of being alone
-Growing deeper in my faith

Looking back there are many little wildflowers sprinkle along the way… too many to write them all down, but my heart is overflowing with thankfulness as I sit here and reflect. I am not the same twenty-one year old lady who moved with excitement of dream coming true of teaching and living overseas. I have been changed from the inside and out and leaving as twenty-five year old lady who has embraced the call of “spirit lead me where my trust is without borders wherever you have called me (a verse from Oceans by Hillsong). I may be a little bang-up and bruised from these valleys, but God is healing me and making all things beautiful. He is faithful and I am faithfully following the calling He has placed on my life to speak words in truth with grace… of course. I am so excited for the mountaintop that Jesus has been leading me to… a DTS in New Zealand. I am praying with anticipation and expectation that it will be a deep time of healing and breaking free to be completely the woman that God has created me for. I am going with arms wide open ready to embrace and abide in my Savior. More thoughts on this next adventure in a blog post coming soon!  

God used this little girl to impact my life... she will always have a little piece of me! 

Thank you to those of you who have stood with me in this season of clinging to God’s faithfulness. Thank you for your prayers, your encouragement, your support, your love and your wisdom. May you be so blessed for the blessing you have been to me! 

Love, Daniella 

P.S One of my prayer warriors sent me this song a few weeks ago. It is a beautiful reminder of how faithful God is until the end. He carries us through. This song so much sums up my season of valleys. He has been so faithful to end… Check out this song Faithful Till the End by Bethel Music:

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Quarter of a Century

Birthday morning coffee and Jesus Time
This week I turned a quarter of century a.k.a twenty-five with so much joy! As I celebrated one of my best birthday eves with bubble tea delivered to my classroom, eating Thai take-out with my family away from family on their balcony and an impromptu girl’s night with Evelyn and Sarah painting our nails sparkly pink! I thought, twenty-five, I’m ready for you! (This  is the first time in a long time that I have felt this way about turning a year older… last time was twenty-one!) 

I am so believing that this is going to be an awesome and a refreshing year. I’m looking forward to this year and all that God is going to lead me down, teach me and show me His faithfulness. Twenty-four was nothing, but learning through the valleys (more to come on this in the next blog post…I promise!) I have grown so much this past year and truly trust my Savior. I know that He is for me and not against me. That He will fight for me. Exodus 14:14 (there are so many cool stories of this). And that focusing on the things unseen is my heart desires. 2 Corinthians 4:18. 

This year at Christmas, God laid these three words on my heart and I believe they are what my twenty-fifth year is going to be sum-up as love. beauty. youth. 

Recently I listen to a sermon by Francs Chan talking about how it’s hard for humans to truly understand how much God loves us, but it is so essential  to. God is love. God created us and loves us to our core.  Over the past year I have truly learned what it means that God loves to my core and now I feel the passion to able to speak this truth to others. To continue to be in awe of His love for me and to share that with those around me. His beautiful and grace-filled love

Impromptu Girl's Night with #familyawayfromfamily 
God, I pray for a year of beauty. Beauty in seeing your work be done. Seeing your faithfulness in such a beautiful ways. Worshipping you. Soaking in your word. Memorize your scripture. More times of just you and me- all of these things create beauty. I pray that I would be a reflection of your beauty in all that I say and do. That your beauty would be my anchor. 

This past year God really gave me confidence in ministering to youth. Yes, I have had opportunities for the past 5 years or so, but I was never confident in it and didn’t think “I was good enough” to be doing it, but God has been chipping away at that insecurity in me over the years and replacing it with a boldness, love and wisdom that can only come from him. (Proverbs 1:7). I am definitely still growing in this call that God has placed on my heart, but I am now walking in His freedom and leading into it. This year I have truly found that I love pouring into youth. I am praying that as I move from my current role of that here in Korea that God would open up doors of opportunities continual where He leads me. I also think God is so awesome in His perfect timing of leading me to join Youth With A Mission for 6 months in doing a Discipleship Training School. It is so His perfect timing. He has set apart this time specifically- without a doubt in my heart; knowing that this is the perfect timing- it wasn’t meant for any other time, but now and that I can faithful believe for clarity of what to do afterwards. That He is already opening doors and creating plans for my future and preparing me for it. I am beyond excited to be going on this amazing faith adventure with my Savior, my father, my God! 
Celebrating with my second graders at the surprise party their mom's throw me! 

God, I thank you so much for this year of twenty-five. I so look forward to deepening my walk with you-to press deeply into your heart and live out your word. May my attitude always be filled with joy and grace. Open my eyes to your plans and ways. Help me to rejoice in hope. Be patient in tribulation and constant in prayer. Thank you so much for clearly laying Romans 12:9-13 on my heart for this year. May you show me so much through this passage as you etch it onto my heart this year. 

Love, Daniella