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By Joy Wong

Once upon a time, I was good-tempered. Rarely angry, giving others the benefit of the doubt, I had an almost constant, perhaps uncanny, calm exterior. Even in the most tense of situations, people always said they could never tell if I was upset or riled up. What I showed on the outside wasn’t always what was going on inside of me, but I always withheld showing any anger until I had time to process it on my own. If deemed necessary, I would rehearse in my head how to communicate it in the most clear way, devoid of unnecessary passion, before confronting the person(s) involved.

Now fast-forward to the present: I’m now short-tempered with little to no patience. Most likely it has something to do with exhausting days of pushing my preschooler in a stroller while holding my squirming toddler in my other arm in 100 degree heat. My body’s sore, and I’m most certainly dehydrated on a daily basis. I used to be more patient with my kids’ requests, but lately I’ve been reaching my limit faster.

I recall last year seeing a mom in front of our preschool tugging a crying toddler along, and she threatened in the most mean witch-like voice, “If you don’t behave, I’m gonna drop you off at the scary Halloween store and leave you there!” after which the toddler hollered even louder (understandably). At the time, I was half-amused, half-horrified at the mom. But gosh, these days, no judgment coming from here — I totally get it.

The anger that results in such a threat comes from a parent who is so totally depleted in every way possible. Depleted from good physical health and nutrition, from meaningful relationships and community, from much-needed self-care, from the space and time to connect to God, others, and even herself. But every parent knows that it’s tough, and perhaps near impossible, to get all these things all the time. And even if you do and find yourself with a good temper, the bad tempers of the little ones around you can plummet you into a bad temper yourself all too easily.

In my failures, though, I cling all the more to the knowledge that on my own, my resources are very, very limited. Too often, I feel like a fountain run dry. My only hope is to connect to God, the constant never-ending Source of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control that I lack in myself. As I falter and fail, I need nourishment from all these “fruits” for myself, before I can even offer any of it to my kids, much less to others around me.

Good temper? I don’t aspire to it these days. More like, I’m aspiring to give myself grace when I don’t have a good temper, so I can give that same grace to my kids and others when they don’t have one as well. But I can’t give even myself something I don’t already have. Instead, with open hands, I look to receive the grace from the One who has more than enough to give.

“but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’”– II Corinthians 12:9 NRSV

Joy Wong has an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, a BA in English from Princeton University, as well as four years’ experience in industrial distribution management. She is a contributing author to Mirrored Reflections: Reframing Biblical Characters, published in September 2010.

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Photo by `*•.¸Whimsy¸.•*´

By Sarah D. Park

I’ve never really understood what it meant to be proud of your hometown.

At church, I remember how my parents would always ask their peers where their hometown was in Korea, and with that knowledge, they could deduce certain conclusions about that person’s education, temperament, and even cooking skill. (What’s up, Jeolla-do.) (more…)

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Photo taken at Yosemite National Park

By Liz Chang

I can’t remember the last time I’ve ever used that word, MAGNIFICENCE. When I think about the word, it assumes a next-level quality. It’s not like the words “awesome” or “great” that get tossed about in day-to-day use. Could you imagine someone confirming plans with you and saying, “Magnificent!”? I can’t.

Magnificent feels more like a word that is reserved for extravagance, royalty, and supreme significance. There’s a glorious quality about magnificence. When something is magnificent, it is beyond average, beyond typical, beyond meeting expectations. It is above and beyond. It is abounding, grand, awe-inspiring, and divine. (more…)

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Photo by Michael Kanstrup

By Sharon Lee Song

In their book, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why It Matters, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons found, based on their poll results, that non-Christians think that Christians are judgmental, hypocritical, homophobic, too political, insensitive, and boring. (more…)

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By April Yamasaki

When I completed my pastoral ministry last fall, our Vietnamese church-within-a-church planned a special farewell service on Thanksgiving Sunday. I had been part of the ministry support team when the church was first planted, part of the visioning for the church to develop in the context of the main congregation where I served as lead pastor. (more…)

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Photo by Wendy Darling

By Diana Kim

“Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.”
-Proverbs 10:19
“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” -Proverbs 21:23

“Why are you so abrasive?” “You should present yourself in a calmer demeanor.” (more…)

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Photo by daveynin

By Tina Teng-Henson

I never set out to be a pastor. It has simply been the next step of obedience in my following after Christ. My motherhood has felt similar. It was the general hope but the specific plan was not hashed out in great detail. Buying a house last month also happened with that same blend of hope, intentionality, openness yet epistemological uncertainty about how, when, if, why and whether it would actually occur. (more…)

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