in-betweens & pink lotuses

In-between. This is the word that best describes how I've been feeling over the past two months. I direly want to be as present as I can because I want to make the most of my last moments as a student, but I've been a bit consumed by worries of the future and reflections from the past. I feel stuck—there's been a build-up of frustration and impatience that has been weighing pretty heavily on my shoulders. Thankfully, the Lord blessed me with a very chill last semester (I have four day weekends ha ha), so I've been spending a lot of time alone at home or sitting at a coffee shop somewhere in the area. It's definitely a much needed period of peace for me, especially after the emotionally turbulent few months that preceded this season. But, having so much time on my hands has gotten me thinking about this in-between quite a bit (too much).

Thus, in the days leading up to Easter, I took on the challenge to deprive myself of all unnecessary distractions and solely focus on truly feasting on God's Word. I've read through the four Gospels again since February, and although I read them many times before, this time around felt somewhat different—as if I was getting to know Jesus all over again. Finding His character all the more awe-inspiring, His love for us all the more wondrous, and the weight of His sacrifice all the more powerful. And for the first time, Scripture has been moving me to tears.

On Good Friday, I plopped myself down outside because the afternoon weather was mild and listened to three sermons from The Meeting Place. Man, does God always know—they were all interconnected and exactly what I've been needing to hear.

Pastor Will Chung preaches on the in-between (!) and how it's the period where people most often have the hardest time. However, the in-between is actually so important because it's a time of process. You're not at any sort of fulfillment, but you're getting there. The in-between is where the Lord prepares you for the work that He has called you to do through building your character, training your gifts, and nudging you to seek Him like you've never sought Him before. In the in-between, God is teaching you patience and perseverance.

Pastor Will's wife, Andrea, shares in another message about how there is a very specific work that perseverance is doing in you. Between being chosen to become king and being anointed as king of Israel, David had to wait for nearly twenty years. But we know that God was doing something in him as he was persevering in the waiting, because that's when David prayed like he never had before and wrote many of his psalms. It's in that in-between that God drew David closer to Him and steadily stretched him and his character.
"Perseverance is not actually us just getting up and moving forward and forgetting that which is behind us. Many times, perseverance is doing exactly what David did, which is to cry out to God. Sometimes it’s to sit silently before God. Many times, it’s to wait upon the Lord." — Andrea Chung
So what am I supposed to do in this in-between of mine? Wait! Be faithful, stay steadfast, and trust that He's molding me throughout this season. In the last sermon I listened to, Pastor Esther Chung elaborates on God's command to Moses and the Israelites to move forward from what they left behind. She refers to how in Exodus, we see that God was shaping Moses's character little by little throughout the process and journey of reaching the Promised Land.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
Exodus 14:13-15

For the Israelites, their very extended in-between was their time between Egypt and Canaan. In their in-between, God was welcoming them into a deeper level of trust and maturity. And in their in-between, they had to persevere, because many painful trials came their way that tested their faith.

A few weeks ago, my mentor shared with me that she received an image while praying for me of a pink lotus flower. She explained that as lotus flowers bloom above murky water, they symbolize purification (something pure being born out of murkiness). They also represent faithfulness, because to persevere and grow above murkiness means that one needs to be a faithful follower. Murkiness constitutes suffering and hardship. The fact that the flower was pink—biblically, pink/fuchsia means a right relationship with the Lord—shows that a right relationship bloomed above various sufferings in my life. She told me that 1) I should figure out what this right relationship looks like between God and me, and 2) I should focus on getting to know God and His character again.

Wow. Isn't it wild, yet beautiful, how God perfectly pieces things together all the time? I'm confident that He's assuring me that this in-between is worthwhile. At Good Friday service later in the evening, I broke down because I was incredibly touched by one of my family group members' baptism testimony. I was crying not only because I felt so deeply the difficult experiences she went through, but also because something hit me: what a true privilege isn't it, for me to be able to walk with her as her family group leader and friend in her formal declaration of Jesus Christ as her Savior? Why have I been so impatient and frustrated recently with people and (quite trivial) circumstances, when God has been using me all of this year and beyond to do His amazing work in my own capacity and has been teaching me to persevere in this season of building my character to be more like His?

I know I've been talking about the same topics over and over again, but I feel that the Lord is just really drilling into me the vital reminders that I must hold onto as I enter a new chapter of life.

Two of my dear family group sisters got baptized yesterday, and I'm blessed beyond words to have been able to witness their precious journeys. I was sobbing once more as one of them gave her testimony during Sunday service, because I was floored again (and again and again) by God's faithfulness to us. Never have I felt as loved as I have through serving this family group this year.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63:3-4

No matter how stuck I feel, I'm going to press on and remember that the in-between is, in fact, a very good thing.
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