By Susan Park
God's Brave Women - Susan's Story
I remember the early morning darkness alone in my hotel room as God gently asked me, “Susan, I am calling you to be a writer. Can you point your writing to Me?” God asked me this question on an October morning in 2019. At that time, I was attending the Declare Conference in Texas. That moment of intimacy with God became an invitation to walk hand in hand with Him and to create with Him on this adventurous writing journey. However, since that morning, there were many times I doubted myself. Accepting God’s invitation pulled me out of my comfort zone of writing privately and keeping my thoughts to myself. God called me to use my voice through my writing to glorify Him and to encourage others.
But as someone who is highly sensitive and wears my heart on my sleeve, this calling seemed like a tall order from God. I was scared of what others might think of me after they read my writing or what kind of criticisms I may receive. I felt like the writing journey wasn’t for the faint of heart, especially for someone like me.
"I was scared of what others might think of me after they read my writing or what kind of criticisms I may receive. I felt like the writing journey wasn’t for the faint of heart, especially for someone like me."
When I was a young girl, I didn’t feel “faint of heart” to jump off the high diving board at the community pool. The anticipation and thrill of jumping off the high dive motivated me to climb the tall ladder. As I stood on the diving board, I jumped without any hesitation. The mid-air excitement gave me a rush as I splashed into the twelve feet of deep water. I swam myself to the surface and did it over and over again under the hot summer sun. This brave act of jumping from the high dive didn’t happen overnight. What led me to this act of courage was a series of small brave moments of showing up. The numerous swimming lessons I showed up for taught me to swim in shallow water. Eventually, I learned to swim in deep water. Before I jumped from the high diving board, I learned to jump from the low diving board. All of these brave moments added up. They helped me jump from a place without fear and enjoy the adventure of flying high above the blue water.
Since that morning in October 2019, I took some brave steps with God in my writing journey by connecting with other writers, writing for an online Christian magazine, attending more conferences, and writing my first novel. But most importantly, I’ve taken a big brave step in sharing with others about my personal experiences as a Korean American.
"I took some brave steps with God in my writing journey... But most importantly, I’ve taken a big brave step in sharing with others about my personal experiences as a Korean American."
Growing up, I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I felt like I was constantly shifting between the two layers of each culture. At home, my parents spoke to me in Korean, we ate Korean food, and followed Korean traditions and expectations. Outside of the home, I was usually the only Korean in my school classrooms and felt out of place at times. I remember a non-Asian friend asking me why I'm trying to act American and didn't know how to answer her.
Over the years, I've learned to fully embrace being both Korean and American by experiencing both cultures. I've learned to appreciate my unique voice as a writer and I celebrate these two layers of cultures that make up who I am today.
"Over the years, I've learned to fully embrace being both Korean and American by experiencing both cultures. I've learned to appreciate my unique voice as a writer and I celebrate these two layers of cultures that make up who I am today."
So right now, I’m doing a four-week series on Instagram about my Korean American experiences. Sharing these vulnerable (and sometimes hard) moments is another way that God is teaching me to have courage in my writing. He is telling me to share my whole story.
I’m also writing my first novel which is about a second-generation Korean American college woman named Katie Lee. It is set in the late 1990s. Katie is conflicted in what she wants to do with her life because of cultural and societal expectations. There are several themes in the story that highlight women friendships, embracing one’s creative calling, overcoming past trauma, and interracial relationships. Writing a novel with an Asian American protagonist is another brave avenue for sharing my Korean American perspective through my writing.
As I continue on this journey and look ahead, I realize that I can’t show up on my own. I can’t be brave by myself. In order to become the writer God called me to be, it will take a series of brave moments of showing up with God — hand in hand together. Even though there will be many more lessons to learn, I believe that God is swimming alongside me through the shallow and deep waters of life.
"As I continue on this journey and look ahead, I realize that I can’t show up on my own. I can’t be brave by myself. In order to become the writer God called me to be, it will take a series of brave moments of showing up with God — hand in hand together."
Ephesians 3:18 says, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” As we stand on the high diving boards of our lives, may we hold God’s hand and jump into the depth of His love with courage and a sense of adventure of what is yet to come.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
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Susan Park is a Christian Korean American writer who loves encouraging women to co-create with God in their creative work. She finds joy in connecting with other creative women and praying for them. She loves encouraging them through Scripture and words of hope. She is a fiction writer and is currently working on her first novel. It is about a second-generation Korean American college woman set in the 1990s. Susan lives in the Chicago area and is married to her wonderful husband and best friend Woosuk for eighteen years. She has three lovable and kind boys — Tyler (15), Ethan (12) & Alex (9).