“Looking back on the past year” – Y.R. Cho

I came to London for my master’s program a little over a year ago, and now I’m on the verge of returning home. It’s been an unimaginable experience for me, someone who had lived in Korea all my life, to study abroad. But looking back, this relatively short time living abroad is my second experience of going solo overseas. The first was when I passed the bar exam and lived in New York for about four months for language training. While it may have seemed like the most exciting time to others, personally, it felt like a belated adolescence. I felt like a speck of dust in the big city and seriously questioned who I was and why I was living there. During that time, God revealed to me that I am His ‘daughter,’ and that identity didn’t require any conditions or qualifications. In my teenage years, I had promised to live in a way that would positively influence the world, but the gap between that ideal and reality left me in agony. However, God didn’t place any achievements or conditions on me but simply told me that I was precious because I was His daughter.

Fast forward 12 years, and here I am in London. I’ve become the mother of two sons and joined the army to work as a legal officer, which means changing locations every 1-2 years, making weekends with my husband a routine. Juggling work and parenting, I used the excuse of not having enough time to maintain my faith, so my Sunday worship became the extent of my spiritual life. After some twists and turns – with the support and understanding of my husband and family – I came to London alone, where I could finally have time for rest, learning, and recharging. The simple fact that I could use my time fully for myself each day made me happy. In particular, the sermons at God’s Vision Church always resonated with me, and the prayer time after Wednesday service felt like a time to reconnect with God.

Through these two wilderness experiences, I had the opportunity to deeply contemplate God and reflect on myself. Some might question how city life could be considered a wilderness, but to me, it’s a place where I can step out of my familiar and comfortable routine and reconnect with God on a personal level. Until now, I had been passive and unassertive before God, but looking back, His word showed me that He desires ‘partnership’ and rejoices in the footsteps of those like Peter, who trusted in Jesus and stepped out onto the water, and like David, who confidently faced Goliath with a sling.

Despite my childlike faith, which can be embarrassing at times, I carry in my heart that praying for and loving my neighbours and colleagues, whom God has placed in my life, is something that brings joy to God. With this in mind and using the time of restoration in the past year as a stepping stone, I pray that my footsteps will continue to move towards where God desires, and I offer my gratitude in prayer to God, who has been with me throughout this past year.