Portraits of Grace: Addy

November 1, 2016
Norman Yung

Portraits of Grace is a snapshot into the lives of the people at King's Cross Church. As "kingdom minded, kingdom people," we recognize God's work in every detail of our lives. We invite you to meet the people of our church.

Photo by Minnow Park

Ever since I was a young girl I struggled with insecurity.  I never felt like I quite fit in anywhere outside of my family.  Having a foreign sounding name with dark skin and a heightened sense of self consciousness in a, at the time, predominantly white suburb led me toward an intense fear of rejection.  Shy by nature, it was difficult for me to make friends. Hurtful words about my ethnicity, my skin color, my hair and my race only confirmed the negative portrait I began painting of myself.  In addition to this I began to experience these unwanted, intrusive thoughts that were offensive to God, whom I had begun learning about in religion classes and who my parents introduced me to through teaching me about prayer.  My view of myself became one of unworthiness.  I began praying fervently for forgiveness, thinking I could “fix” myself, creating my own salvation.  In my searching, I came across a sermon given by a priest in my parish.  He said something that shocked me. He compared God to a dog that we abuse and neglect. But if God is a dog, he is one who is ever faithful and still comes back to you.  It was shocking because it seemed so wrong to me to view God in this way. It was then that I realized the power of God’s mercy.  Here was this man of God comparing God to a dog, revealing my sinfulness in such a crude way, shedding light on the shame I had wrestled with, and I suddenly realized the acceptance and salvation I had in a loving God in-spite of  who I was and what I had done. I fell in love. I, in all of my faults and failings, was adopted by Grace, just as I am. I continue to have to remind myself from time to time that I am in possession of this most sacred gift when my self doubt and shame creep back in to harangue me.  As I wrestle with these thoughts I am comforted by the remembrance of the day he adopted me into His grace.

I had to admit and confess my desire to be in control of everything and my angry reaction when reality resisted this desire. I confessed this willful, habitual sin against God and against Ben and Eugene (my closest people). Since then, God has continuously brought my sin into light and granted me a new desire to fight and hope for change. I want this sinful anger in me dead. I want gentleness to grow in the place where anger died. In his book, The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis describes God’s unceasing pursuit of holiness in us as his “intolerable compliment.” In his “intolerable compliment,” God pursues us until he accomplishes the good he’s willed for us. God’s unbounding, ceaseless love embraces me and constantly transforms me. How many triumphs have I achieved? Not as many as I would want. The struggle is ongoing. The challenge is present. The battle is still on. But God will love me and be with me until the end (John 13:1; Matt 28:20). I hold on to this truth. And the hope I have in this truth keeps me fighting.

King’s Cross Church is a church of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)
For questions and information, please contact info@kingscrossnyc.org.