Kimiko – a work of heart

Last week, we started the WORK OF HEART series on our blog.  We have asked people all over the country to share their hearts with you and what God is doing in their lives.

Today is Day #7 and we’re excited to introduce Kimiko to you!  She has been married to her husband, Paul, for almost 15 years. They have two daughters, Kalena (10) and Annie (7).  She’s a stay-at-home mom, and even though both kids are in full-day school, she keeps busy volunteering at school, her church, and a local refugee community.  She also feels called to cultivate a safe, comfortable, welcoming space for her family to land each day.

Hear how God is working on Kimiko’s heart…
Last summer, Paul & I were invited to act as mentors at Summit, a young adult leadership training hosted by the Christian & Missionary Alliance. We spent a week traipsing around London with some lively, hilarious, inspiring young adults, talking about life, ministry & God. I even faced a huge fear and spoke to the larger group about what it means to find your true identity in God. It was exciting, and a huge change from my day-to-day. Honestly, sometimes amidst the kids & the cleaning & the PTA newsletters, I struggle to feel like I’m really doing all that God has created me to do. Coming home, I felt grateful and filled-up, and yet disoriented, wondering: what now? On our trip, I felt like I was in my sweet spot, using my God-given gifts in ways that were invigorating. At home, these gifts seem to lie dormant. And yet, I know that I’m also called to love and serve my family faithfully, and that my children will only be under my roof for a short time. So, right now, the cry of my heart continues to be: Here am I, Lord, send me! I am trusting the Holy Spirit to show me the next good work God has prepared for me, day after day. I’m also asking Him for help to not run ahead & try to see what’s around the bend, but instead to faithfully listen & follow His leading. It’s really hard, and I’m sometimes confused about how to discern when I’m supposed to take action & when it’s time to sit and wait. Pray for me!
My biggest struggle is that God made me with a strong, intense personality, with a desire to understand and tell the truth. (I’m sure now you all are dying to know me, aren’t you?) I feel all the feelings, and I struggle to keep my mouth shut. When to speak, when to say quiet. When to go ahead, when to stay behind. You get the picture. In my late 20s/early 30s, I began to feel crippled by these characteristics, seeing them only as huge flaws, and I tried turning them all off. This coincided with a growing unbelief in God’s goodness due to some hard life circumstances. The result? Massive insecurity & crippling shame for the first time in my life. It was overwhelming & I felt like I was drowning. But here’s the good news: God interrupted my downward spiral and drew me back to Himself. He showed me throughout His Word & in my life that He is good and faithful. And as He has helped me re-anchor myself in Him, I am learning that my big personality is part of who He made me to be AND that the Holy Spirit can help me harness my intensity (and my mouth) & use it all for His glory.
God has done a massive overhaul in my heart this past few months toward: money. Paul & I have struggled to follow a budget for years, and we’ve often thrown our hands up in frustration, essentially giving up. Recently, God brought us to the realization that we can see budgeting as a chore OR we can see it as an opportunity to submit our hearts to Him. What I mean is this: when we are constantly feeling like we need just a little more, like our budget is chafing against our needs/wants, the problem for Paul & I isn’t that we need a higher standard of living. The problem is we aren’t willing to submit to the standard of living that God has ordained for us right now. When this truth connected with my heart, I began to see careful expense tracking & budgeting as a way for me to cultivate praise, gratitude, generosity, and humility in my life. I have prayed for this heart change for years, and it has been deeply encouraging to experience it finally happening. I’m also amazed at God’s timing: He worked in both of our hearts to finally get us on the same page at the same time. Holy Spirit power at work, for sure!
Kimiko 4
My greatest desire is to be fully used by God. I pray that He will take my strong-headed, noisy passions and mold them into something that will bring Him great glory. Sometimes I’m afraid that He really doesn’t have much of anything at all for me to do, and that I’ll die a disappointed old lady. But then I realize how silly that sounds in light of His Word & who He is, so I relax a little and ask God for faith to trust Him.
God has been teaching me a lot lately about Meekness. (Not exactly a trending topic, is it?) I have long-struggled to understand what this word really means, but here’s what my trusty Blue Letter Bible app recently told me: “Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the Old Testament, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice…meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest.” So, yeah. Meekness.
Growing up, my Mom always quoted that verse, “He who is faithful with little is faithful with much” (Luke 16:10). And I pretty much rolled my eyes at her every single time. But, of course, she was quoting Jesus, so she was right. I am continually surprised at how true that is, and one of my biggest tips for following Jesus is to practice faithfulness in the littlest ways–not so that you can feel good about yourself or check a box, but so you can practice faithfulness. It adds up! As my favorite Denver Bronco, Von Miller, says, “I began to stack good days on top of good days, good habits on top of good habits.” And that’s just football; we’re talking about things that matter in the Kingdom of God! It’s so simple, but sometimes it seems like the hardest thing: choose the little things, and the big things will come. Sounds like I need to keep taking my Mom’s advice.

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