Twitter During Labor

If you’re married to a technologically savvy man, this is one question you very well could hear.

“Could I twitter when you go into labor and nothing happens for awhile?”

This is the question Jason half-jokingly asked me last night. I thought it was rather considerate of him to ask me for permission. I think that’s okay, especially because I know he’s not the type to go overboard with that sort of stuff nor will he miss a moment because of it. Is that weird that I think it’s okay? Maybe it’s because I’m such a laid-back and understanding wife. Yes, that must be it!

What’s your motivation?

We are constantly trying to improve ourselves. Whether what you believe is actually better or worse, this pursuit is a fact for everyone. We want to be a better person or get better at something. And for Christians, this is especially true. But, even when you’re seeking something as good as God, your motivation might be twisted.

I read a devotional today from My Utmost for His Highest that talked partly about this, and I wanted to share it.

Goodness and purity should never be traits that draw attention to themselves, but should simply be magnets that draw people to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing others to Him, it is not the right kind of holiness; it is only an influence which awakens undue emotions and evil desires in people and diverts them from heading in the right direction. A person who is a beautiful saint can be a hindrance in leading people to the Lord by presenting only what Christ has done for him, instead of presenting Jesus Christ Himself. Others will be left with this thought— “What a fine person that man is!” That is not being a true “friend of the bridegroom”— I am increasing all the time; He is not.

To maintain this friendship and faithfulness to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful to have the moral and vital relationship to Him above everything else, including obedience. Sometimes there is nothing to obey and our only task is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, seeing that nothing interferes with it. Only occasionally is it a matter of obedience. At those times when a crisis arises, we have to find out what God’s will is. Yet most of our life is not spent in trying to be consciously obedient, but in maintaining this relationship— being the “friend of the bridegroom.” Christian work can actually be a means of diverting a person’s focus away from Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends “of the bridegroom,” we may become amateur providences of God to someone else, working against Him while we use His weapons.

This made me examine my heart about what I was doing. I recognized that many times, I do things out of selfish reasons. Even when I want Christ to be known, I admit that I sometimes want people to see how God has changed me or how I’m growing spiritually. Or, they may be good reasons but not necessarily be the best by focusing on the things that should merely be the by-product of drawing closer to Christ, such as being obedient, serving others, praying, etc. To think that I could be a hinderance from God being known or that I’m taking some glory away from God? Yikes! I know that I have to constantly remind myself and keep myself in check.

So, what is your motivation? What [who] are you trying to prove [improve]?

A Change of Heart

I recently wrote an article for my work, and it was featured in our quarterly newsletter we send out to our subscribers in Georgia. The article is about our adoption story and I wanted to share it.

A Change of Heart
By Laura Jeong, Intercountry Adoption Specialist

I remember the first time my husband, Jason, brought up the idea of adoption. He mentioned how he had always been open to adopting and asked me what I thought about it. That was about two years into our marriage, and we weren’t planning to have children for two more years.

I rejected the idea, telling him that I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to love an adopted child as much and as naturally as I knew I would a biological child. When I made this statement, I wasn’t very far from the adoption world. In fact, I recently had started working at Bethany as a birthparent counselor and domestic infant adoption specialist. Even as I helped families make adoption plans and thought of adoptive families as big-hearted, wonderful people, it just wasn’t in my plans for my family.

I had reservations stemming from the stigma of shame and pity so closely attached to adoption in the Asian culture. My reasoning was that Asian families didn’t adopt, and if they did, it was only to keep a family secret or to hide something shameful in their eyes, like infertility. With the exception of meeting a few people who had been adopted, I didn’t know a single Asian family who had adopted, even into my later adult life.

But sure enough, God had a plan for my life. He began opening my heart more and more through each adoption I experienced. With every child I saw in the hospital, being born into a world where broken families are a reality, I saw that God had a purpose for that child and a promise of restoration and love.

During this time, God also revealed to me that our children are not ours, but God’s, and we are stewards of the children whom God has given us the privilege to raise. I realized that God was calling me to do more than merely work at an adoption agency; He was calling me to adopt!

I think it’s true that God doesn’t call the prepared but prepares the called. He taught us just how biblical adoption is. Ephesians 1:5 NIV says, “he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will….” The verse tells us that He made us His own. Adoption is truly an amazing reflection of the gospel of Jesus. With that understanding, I eventually caught up to the place where Jason was-where he had patiently waited and prayed for me-and together, we decided to build our family through adoption.

God began to fill me with excitement and anticipation at the thought of meeting our child for the first time and bringing our child home. But God didn’t stop there. He grew my desire to be a mother to become greater than my desire to be pregnant. I even became the more proactive one, pushing us forward through the process and taking on the task of completing the mountain of paperwork.

I feel that God brought me to Bethany largely to help families through their emotional journey of adoption, but God wanted us to experience something more joyful and beautiful for our family. However, what I didn’t realize was that God was using us to reach the Asian community as well. God has allowed us to share our story with others, in hopes of diminishing that cultural stigma and to teach about an aspect of God’s character.

We have received great support from our friends and have been encouraged by their enthusiasm for our plans. I especially love hearing from people how God is softening the hearts of their spouses, who were, at first, just as resistant to adopting as I was. When I hear that now, I just grin, knowing that God is preparing them for something more beautiful and eternal than they realize.

us in NYC Laura, intercountry adoption specialist, and her husband, Jason, are pictured here on top of the Rockefeller Center in New York City for their five-year anniversary. Laura and Jason are in the process of adopting from South Korea.

us in Korea Laura and Jason took a trip to South Korea in May 2008. It was Laura’s first time visiting since her family emigrated from South Korea to the United States. They visited Holt Children’s Services while in South Korea, the agency Bethany works with for intercountry adoptions. They are pictured here standing in front of Deoksugung Palace.

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It’s now out of our hands

Today, we sent our home study paperwork off! It should get to Korea in about a week or so. We’ve done our part, and now the process is out of our hands. This is the only part of the process that we can control how fast we move. The rest is up to God, but we completely believe and trust that the entire process is in God’s hands. And, that is a good thing.

I am already excited and anxious about when and how things will move along. Even though we just sent off the paperwork, I already cannot wait for our child to come home. Waiting for your heart’s desire is hard, and everyone knows that, but now that we are waiting for such a thing as this, I only now realize how difficult the waiting is for adoptive families. Though I was always sincere in my hopes to comfort them, I see how easily I’d tossed those words around…

This journey is far deeper and more wonderful than I had imagined before. And through this journey, I realize how much more beautiful the character of God is, that He would adopt us into His forever family!

New York, New York!~

Here are some (much-delayed) photos from our anniversary trip to New York. Due to a couple conferences, dinners with friends, networking events, and church stuff, I have not had the time to post anything until now. And even now, I must keep this brief since I need to get to bed to get ready for a full week of work, which I haven’t had in awhile.

We kept very busy during our visit — we left our lodging (studio apartment in the heart of Little Italy) in the morning only to return at night to go to sleep. To sum of our trip, we ate a lot and a lot of different foods, walked a ton and my feet cursed me, and got to see as much of NY as we possibly could. We had a blast!

my favorite month

I hated the month of July this year. About 3 weeks were spent with Jason away from home, and our communication was pretty minimal. But, one of the things that got me going was the thought of us spending time together in September. I’ve always loved September; it’s one of my favorite months of the year. The first reason why I started liking September is that it has the perfect weather — not too hot and not too cold (“all you need is a light jacket”). Then later on, I got married in September, which not only makes it a special month, but we always do something special and fun to celebrate our anniversary.

This September, we have some funness planned. Particularly, we are headed for New York to celebrate our five year anniversary later this week! It’s exciting on multiple levels because we are celebrating the big Five, we’re traveling together — with the heavier emphasis on ‘together’, AND, we’re going to New York, which neither of us have been to before. ‘Never?!’, you say?? Yes, I know, I’m a country mouse…

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There’s so much to see, so much to do, and so much to eat, though those are pleasant dilemmas I don’t mind worrying about :)  Thanks to Jason’s organizational abilities, we have our tentative itinerary down of where to go and what to do for each day, including where to eat, but we’re open to suggestions, if you’ve got some. What are some of your favorite places? restaurants? things to see?

What’s your favorite month?

Women of Faith 2009

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This is the third year I attended the Women of Faith conference. Last year, I mostly wrote about my excitement of how awesome it was. This year I went in with a high expectation, and I was not disappointed. As expected, I was inspired and rejuvenated, which I really needed. I experienced all sorts of emotions during the conference. I laughed so hard that made me cough, and I cried and wiped the tears flowing down my chin and down my neck.  I heard so many messages and felt that God was speaking directly to me, and I wanted to remember them all but couldn’t take notes fast enough. I almost wish I had some time afterwards, maybe even days, to process some of those things. Some of those things, I need to keep figuring out, so the purpose of this post is not to explain some of those ideas. I don’t think I could do justice trying to explain right now anyway. I did want to highlight some of the cool parts, which is much easier to explain.

CIMG9234-w400On day 1, we had a couple hours of down time between the sessions, so some of us went to the Centennial Park. We had a lot of extra lunches we didn’t eat, so we gave away the food to some homeless guys. We then went to the fountain area and took some pics of ourselves being silly and debriefed about what we got out of the messages. We also had some deep conversations during our drive to and fro, which I appreciated. Then we headed back for the evening session and heard some more great messages and it was time for the concert.

Well, music is always a part I enjoy very much at these sort of events.  The musical guest were Steven Curtis Chapman and Mandisa. SCC’s story is beautiful, too, but I want to talk about Mandisa because I didn’t know the story behind the voice. Wow! She really blew me away! I liked her songs but wasn’t a huge fan until I got to know her story. Her testimony was so powerful. She talked about how she had been a victim of rape and began to use food to cover her pain. But, God rescued her from that which kept her captive and enabled her to use her experience to speak into other people’s lives. It was evident that she has a joyful spirit and is living a victorious life! I love that. AND most importantly, I saw her leaving the lobby area surrounded by bodyguards and I said hi to her and she said hi back! :)

When I process some of those things that I think God is trying to speak into my life, I will try to write about it. For now, here are some pictures from the weekend.

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