TINA PARK

 
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How has God transformed you?
God has radically changed the way I view my life and everyone and everything in it. Since becoming a Christian, I feel like I see my life with an eternal lens. In my daily life, especially in my workplace, seeing with an eternal lens means sitting in a conference room full of people and seeing individual human souls who don't know God, or walking back to my desk and recognizing the people God has placed in the cubicles around me. Carrying that eternal purpose empowers me daily to listen more intently, to speak life into others more boldly, to extend grace more abundantly, to cultivate relationships more deeply, and most of all, to love more fiercely. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul declares, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” The old way of viewing my life: with anxiety, hopelessness, and shame, has been replaced with a new missional vision of instilling peace, carrying hope and spreading joy.

 

 

What have you experienced him pruning in your life and rebuilding?
I believe that God has been patiently pruning and rebuilding the way I view Him as a Father and how I view my identity as a daughter. Growing up, I felt like I had to gain love and approval from my parents through success and hard work and a higher salary — basically a list of endless achievements. Often I find myself equating my relationship with my parents with my relationship with God. Having a revelation that I don't have to work for God's love has been both freeing and yet challenging for me. It almost seems too good to be true! I've gone through my whole life thinking I needed to prove myself to earn this love from God. But God is patient with me and is undoing the lifelong patterns that have hindered me from confidently accepting my identity as a daughter of Christ. I have to remind myself to rest in the promise that God loves me not with a merit-based love, but He loves me with an unconditional type of love: with no strings attached.

 

How do you trust what God is building when you can’t yet see the end result?

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 17:7-8:
The man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed.
He will be like a tree planted by water:
it sends its roots out toward a stream,
it doesn’t fear when heat comes,
and its foliage remains green.
It will not worry in a year of drought
or cease producing fruit.

I love this illustration of a tree being planted beside a stream. This tree is not only withstanding periods of harsh drought but flourishing and producing even more fruit! I imagine that the tree is only able to survive because it has roots stretching deep into the earth — tapping into the nutrients it has stored over seasons of warm summers and bountiful rain. Similarly in my life, when I am going through periods of drought or hardship, I have to tap into those life-giving, unchanging truths that I know about the character of God and the way He uses hardship to craft and mold me. Paul writes, "Affliction produces endurance, endurance produces character, and proven character produces hope. And this hope does not disappoint because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Romans 5:1-5). God calls me not to just "get through" these periods of drought but to experience those moments with boldness where we flourish and thrive! I am able to do that because of the promise of hope given to me through the Holy Spirit: the promise that He loves me and wants to do a good work in me. That truth then becomes the light that guides me through.