I still can’t believe it’s already October. The past month and a half of being back has been a whirlwind, but I’m so so very grateful for the ways the Lord has provided and shows me his mercy and grace. The first Sunday back at Pillar was pretty tough, I’ll have to admit. I felt strange being back, like I was an outsider again, trying to catch up with people who I hadn’t seen in 3 months. I had an emotional breakdown later that day as I was driving home.
I had been struggling spiritually in the previous few months, especially because I was traveling so much and not really in one place. I felt discontent in so many areas of my life – singleness, church, friendships. My heart wandered and hardened, growing apathetic during that time. When I came back to norcal, I was still struggling with being in an “in between” state with norcal and socal and feeling spiritually dry.
But I realized how self-centered my heart was at the time. I realize that when I’m not doing well spiritually, I have so much more fear of man (which is a huge struggle for me) and it prevents me from loving other people. When I’m not consistently hearing the word, reading the word, and praying, I focus on myself and I don’t want to love other people. I incapable of loving other people.
God has been so gracious to me. He’s given me a renewed desire and excitement to fellowship with the body, to hear his word being preached, and to worship the Lord with the church on Sundays. I’ve had the opportunity to hang out a lot more with Pillar people, whether it be one-on-one’s, group hangouts, dinners, and volleyball. It’s been SO good. And every sermon I hear is always so dense and rich, and I feel so well fed spiritually. I’m so thankful for the pastors at Pillar. They have such a commitment to preaching the word, boldly proclaiming the gospel, and caring for our spiritual souls.
I had my membership interview on Sunday. I was a little nervous because I was being interviewed by the 4 elders – Pastor Danny Bae, Pastor Eric Chabaneix, Pastor Dave Son, and Basil Shen. It was pretty casual for the most part though and it was held at Starbucks. I did a gospel presentation in under 2 minutes, shared my testimony, why I chose Pillar, the ministries I’m interested in, and how I grew while I was at Lighthouse Bible Church LA. I shared how I did feel pressure to go to Lighthouse San Jose because I went to LBCLA and how I also felt pressure to go to Pillar because my sisters go there, but that I didn’t want that to be the reason I chose those churches. I told them that what drew me to Pillar was the teaching because it was so dense and rich and that I’ve never heard such rich teaching before. I also told them how I appreciate how everything at Pillar was very intentional, from the layout of the service, to the worship style, communion, etc. I’m going to be inducted at the members’ meeting next Sunday (October 8) and then presented in front of the congregation the following Sunday (October 15), Lord willing if nobody rejects me haha.
Another update – I got my fieldwork placements today. I’ll be at UCLA Medical Center in the summer and tentatively at Occupational Therapy Training Program (OTTP) in Torrance during the fall of next year. I was kind of bummed I didn’t get placed in Seattle, which is what I was hoping for initially for my first FWII because I wanted to experience what it would be like to live outside of California for a little bit. I might try to email the fieldwork coordinator and see if I can get it for my second FWII (cause I don’t want to give up UCLA!) or maybe ask for somewhere closer. Commuting from Arcadia to West LA will be rough … that’ll probably be a 1.5-2 hour commute. Nevertheless, I’m excited to be back in LA.
As I think about how I’ll be graduating in May, it makes me sad to consider how I’m starting to invest in Pillar now, yet I’ll be leaving soon. It doesn’t necessarily make me want to stop investing in people, but it just makes me wish I could stay longer at Pillar. I really am grateful for the church. Every church I’ve been to in the past has been a blessing and helped me grow spiritually in some way, even before I was a Christian.
At Cornerstone Bible Church, I wasn’t a believer at the time, but it was the first time I’d heard gospel-centered preaching. These gospel truths, although they weren’t true for me at the time, remained with me during college by God’s grace. I also received a MacArthur bible commentary. I also learned about dressing modestly and how we don’t want to stumble our brothers and want to reflect purity in the way we dress.
During my membership interview, I was asked how I grew while I was at Lighthouse. I told them that near the end of college, my view of the church (while I was at Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church) was that I would go to service on Sunday, hear the sermon, then slip out as soon as the service ended. I had no genuine desire to invest in the body, and I was so plagued by fear of man that I had no motivation to want to be a member or fellowship with people.
When I started going to LBCLA, God shaped my biblical theology and worldview. I learned what it really meant to invest in the church and be held accountable. I was taught the importance of being a member of the body and loving the church as Christ loves the church. I learned how to live out my life as a Christian on a day-to-day basis and how I NEED to be in the word daily. I learned that I can’t passively hope that I’ll overcome sin but that I need to be GUARDED by biblical truths to fight Satan when temptation arises. I learned that everything I have in my life is by God’s grace alone – nothing I have is based on my own doing. I truly learned what it means that God is sovereign over ALL things, that He is GOOD and that all things that happen in my life are for my good and ultimately HIS GLORY. I learned that loving other people with Christ-like love doesn’t mean loving people who are easy to love, but also loving people who are difficult to love, people who you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards or be friends with. I learned that church isn’t about me or about how others can serve my needs, but that I need to consider how I can serve and love the church. I learned how important EVERY SINGLE MEMBER is to the body, and that we are truly meant to bear one another’s burdens. In order to do that we need to be INVESTED in one another’s lives and truly “do life” together. I learned that God uses every single person (especially people who are hard to love) and every single event and trial in your life to grow you in some way, whether to humble you, to show you sin, to show you idols in your life, and that ultimately these things are meant to cause you to treasure and trust Jesus more. I have a better grasp on the biblical view of marriage and how it’s not about how the other person “completes you” or makes you feel loved. Ultimately marriage isn’t about feeling loved by this person or getting your needs met, but it’s about COVENANT-KEEPING LOVE and reflects the eternal covenant between Christ and His bride, the church It’s about denying yourself and exemplifying the love Christ has for His church.
While at Pillar, I’ve grown a lot more in knowledge and understanding of God’s word, particularly the passages I struggle to read like the Old Testament and Revelations, thanks to the faithful preaching by the pastors. I learned more about the significance of the OT temple. God has deepened my love for the church and my thankfulness for the church body. I have learned that we aren’t meant to be passive in evangelizing, but to be BOLD in our faith and to have a greater sense of urgency. I learned what it means to bear one another’s burdens and to really invest in the body and prioritize time with the church, Christ’s bride.
Yesterday, I played volleyball with some Pillar people after church. One of the guys slipped on the grass while he was going for the ball, and as he was slipping his knee popped out. None of us were doctors or medical professionals (lots of engineers at Pillar!) but one of the girls is a nurse so she was directing us how to stabilize him. With the help of some brothers, he was initially trying to hop on the grass to his car, but it was too far. We ended up grabbing a tarp from his car trunk, placed him on the tarp, and dragged him across the grass to the car. Even though it was a sad thing to have happened, as I watched everyone gather and try to assist him in so many ways (even though we had no idea what we were doing), I was so thankful to see Jesus’ love exemplified through my Pillar brothers and sisters. Seeing people literally bearing one another’s burdens was a huge encouragement to me!
God is good.