Well actually just ‘Jane Lee’ but I panic’d and called her ‘Jean’ once and now i’m so confused that i call her Jean-Jane just to cover all the bases. But she is one of my newest friends and a lot of fun [and a worthy adversary at Boggle which is saying a lot!] and is the worship leader at Re:Generation church where i just got involved in youth leadering and she agreed to share this lovely post with us to take it away J… Miss Lee:

janejaneDuring my time as a Sunday School teacher, our pastor encouraged us to take the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test developed by Dr. Donald O. Clifton to be able to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other, and learn how to work together better as a team. After an assessment of over 150 questions, the test revealed that one of my biggest strengths is what the book referred to as “Context – people strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.” 

While I had never thought of “Context” as being a strength this did not come as much of a surprise as someone who was a history major in college doing research that focused on collecting oral histories of under-represented Korean diasporic communities. I am a firm believer in the power of history in shaping our present, and the importance of understanding how people, places, concepts, and ideas came to be. Everyone has a story it’s just a matter of unearthing it. It enables me to see the fuller picture, not just fragments of what’s on the surface. This has also come into play in my social activism, taking lessons from the past to identify strategies to create a more just future. 

It definitely had never occurred to me that the value I placed on context and history could be a weakness, but the more I reflected on it, the more I recognized the ways that this had impacted my attitudes toward others, myself, and God. 

Until about four years ago when I encountered God in a tent in Albion (a story for another time), I don’t think I was able to truly receive and accept God’s grace because I was holding on to so many sins of my past, mistakes I’ve made, hurts I’ve experienced/inflicted, getting mired in countless regrets, what if’s, if only’s… This manifested in my tendency to dwell on past relationships, soul ties I had developed in my pursuit of love in the wrong places, and feelings of shame and guilt I had buried deep for all the ways I had disobeyed God in this area.

It’s still a struggle at times, but I’ve since made it a daily practice to let go of my past – to learn from it but not dwell on it. Through Christ Jesus I am a new creation, no longer bound to sin. His mercies are new every morning. He keeps no record of my wrongs. I am redeemed. I am forgiven. I am free – free from my past, free to move forward.

There is an old Sunday School song that I sometimes hum to myself as a reminder of who I am in Christ Jesus. The words are simple but it is a powerful declaration of God’s redeeming grace:

I am a new creation

No more in condemnation

Here in the grace of God I stand

My heart is overflowing

My life just keeps on going

Here in the grace of God I stand

[To head back to the start of this series and hear a whole lot more Strength Weakness testimonies, click here]