Finding Home in the Dark: A Fiber of Fine Light.


The hard part is that when you decide not to call on lesser idols to numb your hurt and you finally reach out to God, suddenly you’re inside the pain. It’s all there. You can’t do anything to hide it anymore. It seems like a terrible idea.

One of the toughest things about excruciating pain is that it’s embarrassing. There’s a humiliating stench of astonishment that this is happening to me. It’s malheur, or a pain about your pain. If you live with it long enough, you’ll begin to identify yourself by your hurt, as if this is your only value. It’s understandable, because it takes up so much space in your mind. It’s no wonder why we’re tempted to run to everything else.

The pain is blinding. But — blinding ourselves to the pain is even worse. In doing so, we erase ourselves down to the bottom.

So then: Calling out to God is remembering who you are.
Remembering where you come from.
Remembering what you were made for.
Remembering that you are not your pain.

Most of all, remembering who He is.

This will look different for everyone. It could mean taking a long drive to the shoreline. It could mean standing over the sea in total silence. It could mean opening your Bible to Isaiah 40 or Psalm 23. It means asking a friend to hot chocolate and hearing you out. It means actively seeking encouragement and community, because 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” It means journaling, or busting out your guitar, or crying for a long time, or having an intense conversation with yourself. It means finding a need and serving that need. It means finding an older brother or sister and asking for wisdom on what to do next. It means dressing your Sunday best and singing at church at the top of your lungs, in hot tears and laughter.

A lot of this might feel rote and mechanical. You might not feel like doing any of it, and I don’t mean to add another burden on your hurt.

I just know that for a moment, when I can trace the sunbeam back to the sun, I remember who I am. It doesn’t make me instantly whole. It doesn’t solve things today. It’s often just a brief glimpse. But when I return to the heart who made me, I momentarily find something stronger than my pain. It is stronger than everything else that calls my name.

This is a difficult thing to do. It’s not merely psychological re-arrangement, because it requires getting up. It requires tapping into a very fine frequency, which is there for a flash and gone. But it’s there.

You might have even been on the other side of this and helped someone else remember. Maybe you took someone to lunch and listened to them without interruption for an hour. You made actual eye-to-eye contact, and you never knew, but you changed the course of that person’s day from driving off a cliff. You randomly volunteered. You wrote a thank you note. You picked up a call from a distant friend. You wrestled with someone’s questions, maybe not even fully paying attention, but you stayed with it to the end.

You didn’t know, but you were part of the frequency.
Once in a while, God breaks in. He reminds us of beauty. The pain doesn’t stop, but there’s a joy in the middle of it, just loud enough to remember.
We can break in, too.
You can pray. You can sing. You can seek others. You can visit home in His Word.

It is painful, sloppy, and scary. It’s not easy to turn our internal axis to Him, especially in hard times. But by slow, stumbling degrees, I can breathe Him in — and He is the only air that fills these crumpled lungs.
I remember: we’re not home yet.


J.S. Park | Mad About God


Through Fire, By Faith: A Testimony.

I got an incredibly humbling email from a wonderful therapist who read my book on persevering through pain and used it for a book club with other therapists. She also shared her journey through some very hard times. I wept reading her email, both tears of sorrow and joy. With her permission, I now share her testimony with you.

Continue reading “Through Fire, By Faith: A Testimony.”

Friendship Is Born.


“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'”
— C.S. Lewis


The Revised Edition of “What The Church Won’t Talk About”


My first published book What The Church Won’t Talk About has turned a year old, and for its anniversary I’ve made a revised second edition with over 16,000 words of new content, plus a new cover. The paperback is here and the ebook is here!

The Foreword is by the amazing T.B. LaBerge and the updates include topics like marriage, ministry, social media, race, career, and fighting depression. The first edition is still available here.

The rest of my books are here.
Be immensely blessed and love y’all!
— J.S.


The Characters of Romance Vs. Real Life

GK Chesterton romance real life jspark


“I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly … if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
— G.K. Chesterton


Like John or Like Judas.

Gods Will John Judas CS Lewis Instagram jspark


“For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.”
— C.S. Lewis


My Latest Book In A Nutshell

Mad About God Crae art


starlight— asked a question:

What is your book “Mad About God” about?


Hey dear friend, thank you so much for asking. The book is about persevering through suffering, without glossy pep-talks and spiritualizing our hurt. The main premise is that both the church and pop culture usually offer platitudes and feel-good-isms about pain, when the reality of heartache is extremely gritty and staggering. I don’t believe every pain has a lesson; I believe life will hurt, and it’s okay to say it stinks. I talk about various ways we’ve over-romanticized pain, including statements like “Everything happens for a reason” and “God is using cancer to teach you a lesson.” I try not to resolve the tension too easily; there are no simple answers for suffering.

It’s probably my most personal and favorite book I’ve written. I talk about surviving suicide, my battle with depression, my friend’s battle with a rare terminal illness, losing my friend to murder, my bed-ridden cousin, my married friends dealing with a disabled child, and a ton of other real stories. I also go over Jeremiah 29:11, David & Goliath, Job, struggling versus selfishness, and facing injustice in the world. Please know, the book requires a little patience at the start and it can be a tough read – but I think it pays off in the end.

It’s on sale right now for 8.99 in paperback, with art by craelligraphy. It’s 3.99 in ebook and works on every device. To read an excerpt, check here. To hear an audiobook preview of the opening chapters, check here. You can read the reviews on Amazon if you’d like other opinions as well.

Be blessed dear friend, and much love to you. – J.S.

http://www.amazon.com/Mad-About-God/dp/0692390472/


7 Ways To Stop The Christian Gossip Mob

We’ve all been in a crowd where someone starts doing the sassy finger and going into hater mode.  “Did you hear about our dear so-and-so in Christ?  Because not to be a gossiping jerk, but I’m about to be a gossiping jerk.”

It’s not too hard to stop your own mouth (simple: don’t start), but when someone else among friends starts going off on gossip, it gets awkwardly difficult to control.  It’s not enough to just change subjects or step away.

So then, some ways to shut this down.

Continue reading “7 Ways To Stop The Christian Gossip Mob”

Encouragement For Your Hurt.


Writing this one meant a lot to me as it contains real stories from real people with heartache, loss, and (not-so-easy) redemption. I often recounted these stories with tears and prayers. Life doesn’t always wrap up in a bow-tie with a neat little lesson at the end, but people still choose to endure despite all that has happened. Even brokenly, they crawled forward and went on.

I hope you’ll consider picking up the book. It’s on sale for 8.99 in paperback and 3.99 in ebook. It’s meant for you if you’re hurting right now, and meant for your friend if they’re hurting too.
Be blessed and love y’all.  — J.S.

http://www.amazon.com/Mad-About-God/dp/0692390472/


All Four Books in Paperback!

JS Books instagram


All four of my books are now only 5.99 to 8.99. They’re available on my Amazon author page here:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NZ70FDW

(Please consider leaving a review for any you might have read!)
Be blessed and love y’all!
— J.S.


What Does It Mean To Really Love Someone?


How do we actually love someone? What does it mean that God loves us? What is the “Christian” concept of love? Why is it unique?
Defining the gritty, painful, crazy depth of love in two and a half minutes.

Subscribe to my channel here. Love y’all!

— J.S.


[Thank you to Steven Hause of pudgyproductions]


“3 Ways To Move Past Sexual Regret”


Here’s an article I wrote for XXXCHURCH, called “3 Ways to Move Past Sexual Regret.”

It’s about how to overcome sexual regrets, especially in a viral culture of public shaming and hyper social media. I go over some heavy stuff, from suicides caused by leaking photos to Monica Lewinsky’s recent confession. I also go over three ways that we as a community can help each other move forward from our past.

Here’s an excerpt:

We each need a safe place to talk about our regrets, no matter how sordid they may be. A person who regrets their past has already been shamed by their own guilt for long enough. They already walk into their home and their church and their workplace with a storm-cloud of remorse chasing after them. We can either be a voice that someone must overcome, or a voice that helps someone overcome.

The post is here!

– J.S.

You’re Doing Better Than You Think


My dear beloved friend:

– No one really has it all together yet. We force so many self-pressuring parameters on our performance that most of us are neurotic, twitchy, over-productive busybodies with no real destination. In a culture where we celebrate only victory and are scared to talk about defeat: please don’t measure yourself on an impossible grading scale. Don’t measure your private moments with everyone else’s highlight reels.

– Mistakes are how you learn. Everyone is afraid of failure: so we protect ourselves by bargaining with the teacher or begging for extensions or ensuring we never get a scraped knee. Such a pampered coddled culture will keep you feeling safe for a while, but it’ll also keep you sterile, shrink-wrapped, and cold. It’s a lifeless journey. It’s okay to make mistakes, and occasionally it’s even better. Scrape a knee, brush it off, get up and move on. Learn from the past and laugh with it too.

– You’re doing better than you think. You’re in the middle of your motion, so it’s hard to see where you are. But so long as you’ve been taking one heavy step forward after another, no matter how awkward your stumbling, then this is worth celebrating. Every moment you’ve done right is a miracle in itself.

– Be willing to pursue a new dream. Sometimes we try so hard to grab our old dreams that we’re not open to new ones. We look too long in the rearview instead of what’s ahead of us. I’ve missed a lot of opportunities this way. But keep your eyes open for open doors, and be flexible enough for a new vision that will be even better than the last.

– Dear Christian: Your confidence is in Him. We are works in progress looking towards the work finished, Jesus. We believe in a God who knew we couldn’t ever reach perfection, so perfection came to us. If you feel like you’ve failed today, the very reason Jesus came was to take on your failures, your ego, your pride, your pain, your sorrows, your sin. And He’ll keep working on you until glory. Everything good in you is God in you: and anything bad in you, He’s working on that.

This is His grace.

— J.S. from What The Church Doesn’t Talk About


Navigating The Labyrinth.


Occasionally we let someone in, we open the folds of our insecurity and give access to the darkest parts of us. We hand over the key, and it’s terrifying. And sometimes they bump into a raw nerve, they say a callous insensitive remark, they ridicule a strange notion we have, they poke at our dreams just a bit. It hurts pretty bad and we push them out and fold up fast. We remind ourselves, “This is why I don’t let anyone in.” And we run.

It’s right here that most people apologize like crazy. They feel terrible. They were trying to figure out how to navigate the labyrinth of your wonderful story. It’s like holding a tiny flash light in a cave of a new world. They didn’t mean to provoke those old wounds. They didn’t mean to poke fun at your dreams. They considered it an honor that they held the key, even for a few frenzied moments.

Intimacy takes work, trust, wounds, hurts, sculpting in the dark: and that takes time. It takes more than a single chance. Of course we can close the doors, at any second, when we know it just won’t work. But there are many opportunities if we had trusted a little longer, reset the tempo, and spoke up louder: it would’ve been okay. Bridges would be built. New stories are made. You find your hand closing around theirs. They begin to traverse the folds of your heart with ease, and they learn to say those things which give life, which give freedom, which grow dreams. Intimacy is formed out of stumbling, but further down the path: there is so much light, so much laughter, so many steps to the horizon together.

— J.S.



Quote: Never Alone


You are called to carry the cross, deny yourself, kill your flesh, lose your life, and leave behind the world: but you are never alone in this. The one who calls you to follow him is the very one who empowers you to follow. Grace will cost you your pride, greed, anger, lust, sorrow, and selfishness — and in turn you get endless joy, eternal life, intimacy with our Creator, and reckless freedom to love. It feels like sacrifice because we are used to our way, but you give up what you never needed anyway. It remains the Best Deal in the Universe.


Quote: To Be Messy


I think we often want everything to be neatly organized and packaged. Life is messy, and things are messy. The Gospel is clear, but I think the Gospel lived out in the context of a broken world is going to be messy, and we have to understand that and give permission to languish and to swim and do ministry in that kind of messy space.

— Eugene Cho