The afternoon sunlight is very comforting as I sit here writing to you today. I wish I could share it with you. Much as I love to write, I would really enjoy just turning off my computer and chatting and getting to know you.
Sometimes a little sunlight & a loving friend who will listen is such a blessing. And if you're going through a painful season of your life - where holiday words like "Happy " & "Merry" don't fit - please remember that we have a true friend in Jesus. He understands our suffering very well because he took birth as a human being - on purpose - and lived on this earth with us.
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." John 1:14 .
I am so grateful that even in my darkest hours I can turn to my Savior, to our loving Lord who invites us to walk with him - through pain & suffering and out the other side into newness of life. You may have to walk through "the valley of the shadow of death" when you desperately wish you could do an emotional bypass, but he is with you. He's not emotionless & detached. He can relate and redeem. And he is the source of comfort & joy.
How will you find comfort as the holidays unfold ?
What would you enjoy or find helpful ?
How will you walk in faith rather than out of it ?
These questions can be very challenging when you're struggling through some big bad life issues. Let's get real : a larger serving of sorrow or extra portion of anxiety with your "celebrations " is not your heart's desire.
So I encourage you to spend some real time in prayer as you seek very personal answers to those comfort & joy questions and take a few actions, whether large or small, to receive more of the love and goodness that God desires for you.
I hope you'll be compassionate and not condemn yourself for wanting to be cared for. I hope that you'll make room in your heart for the healing love of our Savior. Many of you know these lyrics: "Let every heart prepare Him room."
And just so you know, I'm very thankful that you've connected with me here at Light of the World Coaching - some of you from as far away as Vietnam and Nigeria - and I celebrate your courage as you continue to move forward. As we say here in America, Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks for opening my letter. What's on your heart as we share this time together ?
In examining my own heart and listening to others, I notice that just below the surface of so many relationships, we long to be more fully heard, known and understood...to be more deeply met in who we are. These seem to be core heartfelt needs.
They're accompanied by equally important needs to know that who we are matters, that we are valued regardless of our faults and failings, and that in times of difficulty, loss or trial, we will not be ignored or abandoned but will be cared for, comforted and encouraged.
Who knows the truth of who you really are ?
Who do you turn to for comfort, care and encouragement?
When human relationships fail to meet important God-given needs for connection, we can be left feeling unmet, unloved and uncertain about our future. Just being a Christian doesn't spare us those earthly woes, does it?
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us."
2 Corinthians 4:7
Yes, we do ! I think we have been given more access to God than we can comprehend. Jesus spoke clearly about how his followers - that includes you and me - would be provided with help and guidance even in his physical absence. We have been graced with a Helper, Comforter, Counselor & Teacher : the Spirit of truth - the Holy Spirit.
To the best of my very limited understanding yet ongoing daily gratitude, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in each one of us who has received Christ makes his guidance & leading available 24/7, right ? Jesus reassured us, "...he lives with you and will be in you." John 14:17
How are you experiencing or tuning in to the Holy Spirit ? Or not ?
I admit, as in any relationship, some of my encounters are more unforgettable than others, like one night when I was alone and in great need of comfort & care. I was going through a shattering divorce and intensive treatments for cancer at the same time. Not fun. I was nearly bald, unable to keep food down and in considerable physical and emotional pain. I could only faintly and with little enthusiasm murmur, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Phillipians 4:13
I felt like an injured, heartbroken little girl, like a frail and nearly empty vessel, so weak and hollowed out that I had to lean against the wall to support myself as I showered. Yet as my tears streamed down, something beautiful happened. I felt a cherishing love pouring through me and a gentle strength that lifted my hand tenderly to my face as a comforting voice from within said, "Precious little one, I have always loved you and I have cared for you since you were a little girl."
I felt known, understood, valued, comforted and consoled. I felt the truth of a love that had always known me and always would, a love that was alive and well and living in me !
In my brokenness and affliction on that night, and despite all external evidence and the disheartening lies of the enemy of our souls, I knew that I was not unloved or abandoned and left to die. I was and I am a deeply loved child of God. So are you. We were called into being by the Creator of the universe who says, "This is my beloved in whom I am well pleased ."
Who are you telling yourself you are?
How are you experiencing being truly known and loved by God?
What you're experiencing in your life matters to me. You don't have to be a client to drop me a line or share your story. I welcome all messages that come in from my contact page and please don't hesitate to email me directly:
For daily inspiration, visit Light of the World Coaching on Facebook.
And last but not least, dear friend, I hope you're taking care of your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I look forward to sharing some health tips with you in a future letter. Live well !
Wow, it feels exciting to be starting a new series of letters to you ! I'm so grateful to have a place where I can share some of my thoughts, inspirations and experiences with you. I would love to hear from you as well because the journey you are on matters and we can help each other.
As you may know, help is amplified whenever two or more of us are gathered in His name. By the way, how are you with that four letter word H-E-L-P ?
Sharing my need for God's help is an ongoing part of my prayer life but asking others for help is not always so easy for me. Fortunately, God is perfectly capable of leading me to people with knowledge and skills that I lack. Even when I have to cross oceans & time zones. A wonderful woman in Germany & another amazing lady in Sri Lanka recently took me to new levels of opportunity with some work projects but I had to step outside my comfort zone and ask for help.
How easy or difficult is it for you to ask for help from others ?
What stops you ?
Maybe you live or grew up in a culture where it's not okay to ask for help, where self-reliance and self-sufficiency are at the top of the menu. It may take re-evaluating some unhelpful patterns so that you and I can receive the help we need. Patterns like pride and control, fear of vulnerability and rejection, or distrust and discouragement.
But as Christians, isn't asking for help where our journey with Christ begins ? We come to Him bound by sin and completely unable to save ourselves and we receive Him as our Savior. We surrender our self to his sovereign lordship as He calls us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
Jesus said, " I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life."
We are in Him and He is in us. I guess that's why He went on to tell us something that blows my mind: "You are the light of the world..." Really ??? If you're anything like me, you may be very challenged to contemplate that awesome declaration about your true identity. Especially at times when the weight of your emotions and your circumstances seems anything but light.
And Jesus doesn't just stop with describing us, He tells us to "let your light so shine before others that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Glorifying God ? I definitely want help with that. Bigtime. So what an incredible blessing it is to have a Bigtime Helper, the Holy Spirit. I'll be writing about the Holy Spirit in my next letter, dear friend, so hope you'll bookmark this site or start your journey as a subscriber.
Until then, please know that I care about you, wherever you are and whatever you're going through, and I encourage you to think about an area of your life where you need some help. Then ask for it.
How have you been since my last letter ? I've thought about you and wondered how you're doing. Really. One of the things I love about coaching is having the opportunity to ask about your progress and well being from a place of caring curiosity.
Whatever distance is between us today, I'm pretty sure that you're a caring, curious person or you wouldn't be reading this. So here I am sitting at my desk again writing, and trusting that this letter will reach you wherever you are.
Where are you located by the way ? One of the amazing advantages of global connectivity on the internet is that you could be just down the street at Starbucks or on the other side of the world.
In the last week I've had the privilege of connecting with individuals in America, Australia, India and Africa. I'm curious about each one of them and privileged to hear tales of progress and admissions of pain. When God-given, caring curiosity is present in getting to know someone, it can open the door to an experience of sharing and self-discovery that can help heal and transform lives.
In Jeremiah 33:3 the Lord says,
"Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know. "
Our creative Creator has some interesting stuff to reveal about ourselves and others and how He's working in the world..in every nation, tribe and tongue. He's not calling us to be bored, shut down or too busy to explore. Nor is He calling us to lose ourselves in idle or destructive distractions. But let's not confuse the wisdom and necessity of discernment with pridefully guarding against the unknown.
I want to be curious about the things God wants to show me... like the other day when I got curious about an ad geared toward Christian businesses and discovered a website that markets Christian merchandise to a large audience of Christians in India and Malaysia. It was great to see how much looked familiar, but also challenging to note the cultural differences. A real eye-opener...and more importantly, heart-opener. Are you curious about brothers and sisters you haven't met ?
Are you a curious Christian ? When was the last time you were willing to ask about, learn and discover some great and mighty things God wanted to show you ? I'd love to hear about them sometime.
Well, believe it or not, I am finally going to start blogging, but I prefer to simply call it writing to you since that sounds a lot less like jogging and a lot more relaxing.
Now I must admit, I don't outwardly appear to be relaxing in this photo. I also admit it isn't actually me in the photo - although she really does look a lot like me as a child. I loved to sit at my father's desk near the globe. He was a travel agent with maps everywhere and kept a journal like the one she's writing in. It felt both relaxing and grown up to sit and write about "important things" and to look forward to someday helping people plan their itineraries.
Do you like to write ? I'd love to hear from you. I hope you like to read a little because I would like to start writing to you.
How are you ?
Or as an Australian friend of mine phrases it, how are you going ? How are you going through life these days ? Timid steps, even pace, leaps of faith ?
And Who are you ? It's funny when you think about it, writing to a complete stranger. Only I don't feel like you're a stranger ...and I am seriously interested in who you are and what the terrain of your life is like right now.
As in any relationship, I'm bound to say things that reflect all the human limitations of not really knowing the other person, of attempting to communicate in this one-sided format and...well, all the limitations of just being me.
Yet you and I are coming to know the One who already knows both of us better than we know ourselves. I'm really glad that He has brought you here and given me this opportunity to share a little of my journey with you.
He calls us out of our loneliness and isolation and into relationships. I confess that I've been dragging my feet a little - okay, a lot - with getting this communication started, but our loving Lord has been patient and gentle in His instructions to me to begin this assignment. He's pretty cool that way !
He even brought a very simple but deeply encouraging reminder across my desk:
"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." Zechariah 4:10
Is there something He's been leading or calling you to get started?
Maybe it's time to begin.
Letters to You
About the Author
Toni Kim has enjoyed writing since childhood when she discovered the word "penpal".
Toni coaches Christians globally and loves to hear from you. Your prayer requests are always welcome here.
She is also excited about the challenging journey of sharing God's love with greater