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Photo by Frank de Kleine

Photo by Frank de Kleine

By Joy Wong

In the last few months, our family has been going through a lot of transition, including buying our first home and moving while expecting our next baby, due in July. On top of all this, I’m still finishing up my spiritual direction certification, continuing  – albeit, very slowly – in the ordination process, and staying home to care for my daughter who is now close to the age of 2.

My spiritual director recently expressed concern at all that I was trying to accomplish at once, and invited me to reflect on the role that productivity has played in my life.  After spending time reflecting, I realized that deep down, what drives me to be productive is a sense that my existence is a burden on others that needs to made up for with contributions.

Furthermore, while there is a part of me that feels compelled to be a stay-at-home mom during this season (and therefore assigns great value to the time spent with my daughter), there is another subconscious part of me that sizes up how my work is adding to my self-worth, and in those calculations, the time and energy I spend as a stay-at-home mom counts for nearly nothing at all. So while I spend the bulk of my time as a full-time parent, it’s only the other add-on projects that I do on the side that actually serve – erroneously, of course — to justify my existence and add to my value as a person.

While other activities and projects in my life can more easily be categorized as “mission” or “service to others,” I’ve clearly not fully integrated my role as a parent into the understanding of my vocation; or at least, only in a very superficial way.  Up until now, I tend to think of caring for orphans in third world countries as more noble and spiritually grand; having my own children and staying at home to care for them feels more selfish – like time and money spent on the fulfillment of the American dream, which preachers often denounce as quite opposite to the values of the kingdom of God.

Recently, however, I felt led to meditate on Colossians 1:15-20, and was struck by how much Christ is intertwined with creation.  In particular, verse 16 spoke powerfully to me:

for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through him and for him. (NRSV)

I realized that while subconsciously, I had categorized the time and energy spent having a family and raising my own children as something for my own happiness and gratification, in truth it is not separate from God’s activity in the world.  In fact, quite the opposite: whether I realize it or not, Christ has been intimately involved from the beginning and throughout.  My children are not just a gift and blessing to my husband and I; more importantly, they have been created through Christ and for Christ.

For the privilege of being able to participate in this God-work, I am humbled and truly grateful.

Joy Wong is a contributing author to Mirrored Reflections: Reframing Biblical Characters, published in September 2010.  She has an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, a BA in English from Princeton University, as well as managerial experience in industrial distribution.  Joy and her family attend Northland Village Church.

Photo by Clara Hinton

Photo by Clara Hinton

By Dorcas Cheng-Tozun

For our household, 2015 was supposed to be the year of the family.

After nearly a decade of unpredictable adventures in Silicon Valley and abroad— mostly thanks to my husband’s social enterprise startup — we were finally ready to settle down. Continue Reading »

This is My Prayer

Photo by Neal Fowler

Photo by Neal Fowler

By Jerrica Ching

As an intern therapist I have had the privilege for sitting with clients for the past 9 months, hearing stories of pain, perseverance, hardship, and resilience.  As my time as an intern draws to a close as I prepare for graduation, I have sometimes found myself fixated on immediately proposing a solution to a problem.  This is in stark contrast to my firm belief that it is not a therapist’s job to fix anyone who sits in that room with us.  I feel that a therapist’s duty is to walk with a client through a journey of self-discovery, but I as a therapist am not meant to magically cure a person of all trials and tribulations.  I also found myself very frustrated when a client told me that what I had recommended did not work, or that the client did not want to do anything that I suggested. Continue Reading »

Mabuni, Life's DisruptionsBy Vivian Mabuni

Yesterday? Horribly unproductive. Today, I purposed, would be better. After crawling out of bed and dropping off my son at school, I came home at 6:50 am and made my “most mornings” breakfast: Coaches oatmeal, brown sugar, Trader Joe’s Omega Trail mix and some milk. Continue Reading »

Photo by r. nial bradshaw

Photo by r. nial bradshaw

By Melanie Mar Chow

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. 2 Timothy 1:9 NIV

Thanks to social media, after being “sprung forward” into March 8, 2015, I was quickly notified that it was going to be a day of shout-outs for women, as it was International Women’s Day.  From Facebook posts about Wonder Woman to friends simply honoring their mothers and grandmothers’ lives was a reminder of the importance of expressing gratitude for women across the planet…and yet the number of posts seemed small from my vantage point. Continue Reading »

Getting Wisdom

Photo by tinyfroglet

Photo by tinyfroglet

By Diana Gee

Wisdom cries out in the street;
                        in the squares she raises her voice.
            At the busiest corner she cries out;
                        at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
            “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
            How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
                        and fools hate knowledge? 
                                                                 —Proverbs 1:20-22 (NRSV)

Ignorance is bliss, so they say. Watching the news while eating dinner can leave one feeling disgusted and nauseous. War, destruction, violence, hunger, fear… the list goes on. There are some things that I’d rather not know, some things that I’d rather not deal with. Continue Reading »

Photo by Goinoiseau

Photo by Pierre Goinoiseau

By Ann Chen

When I tell people about my time serving overseas in Malawi, the part that I usually get the most response about is when I tell them about the nearly 4 months I spent alone. Continue Reading »

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