Day 4: Love And Intention - The Sacred Work of Belonging

Day 4: Love and Intention

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:13-14

Once I began to see that God not only cared about my details, but lovingly intended for them to be, I began to embrace the beauty of how and who he created me to be. Instead of trying to find belonging everywhere else, I could claim beloved belonging as something that never left me. I began to look back at my story: the parts I wanted to remember and the parts I didn’t, and see something different: love and intention.

When I remembered times in Korea as a kid, I thought about what I loved and what felt like home: watching my mom move through streets like she owned them, eating street food and food served on a low table by my uncle. I remember the scents I loved, laughing with my cousins, the sounds of the sea, and how it felt to float on a boat on the coast of Busan. I remember how some people didn’t know what to do with my biracial Korean face and I felt the sting of their rejection.

I remember fellow classmates questioning my face and “what I was” when I moved to Indiana, and what it felt like to go home after my first day at a new school and long to become invisible. I remember how I didn’t know what to say when I was asked if I was anything but what I had always described myself to be. I think about all the people who have felt comfortable asking me what I am as if they are trying to figure out if it’s okay for me to exist at all.

I let myself feel the sting of these old memories and then I remind myself that I am not supposed to fit into a mold of what someone else has expected, but live into who God has made me to be. Sometimes belonging means stepping into the new thing God has done or made. Sometimes it means receiving that new thing in someone else.

When we know that someone wants to invite us in, or that someone saved a seat for us, or thought of us, we feel experiences a piece of belonging. Seeing my ethnic identity and multicultural upbringing as part of a loving God’s intention changed the way I saw myself and the way I will always lean toward Asian food and flavors over all else, how I become more and more like a Korean ajumma every year, and how I can be Korean but different than other Koreans and beloved all the same.

God’s loving intention in our lives means that our places of difference and diversity aren’t places that need barriers, but places made to stretch belonging even wider than it is. Belonging isn’t an elevator we have to squeeze into or get to first. Belonging is fluid like the ocean. There are depths none of us have reached. There’s more room than any of us have imagined, and those of us who’ve felt the greatest lack of belonging get to carry others toward unknown waters and new ways.

We carry belonging in our bodies and our sacred work of belonging is to bring it with us and bear witness to the way it can stretch wider than we ever imagined it could.

Breath prayer:

Breathe in: I carry belonging in my body.

Breathe out: Belonging stretches wider than I ever imagined.

From the Book: