She’s a Writer, a Speaker, a Red Wine & Coffee Drinker

She’s me. I’m going through my mid-life crisis early because I  have always been a bit of an over-achiever. I figure why wait if I can already identify some of my angst, right? My oldest child is getting ready to #flymysweet and head off to New York, not to follow her bliss but to study the one thing that makes studying everything else tolerable. There are so many mixed emotions, and I’ll eventually sort through them bit by bit to write about them, but the mess of emotions is why I’m writing this post. I’m not leaving my family, buying a new car, getting a boob job, piercing my fill-in-the-blank, or taking up a new hobby. (I may, however, get my eyebrows tattooed.) I am trying to carve out some space, time, silence, planned activity and nothing – a luxury, I know. Some call it a sabbatical. Honestly it’s my mid-life crisis. Seventeen years in ministry as a wife, a mom, and then a writer and speaker, always a coffee drinker and then finally a palate that could appreciate being a wine drinker, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Please tell me you can relate. Please tell me that there have been days when you looked at your schedule, your desk, your kitchen, your gym, your pile of laundry, your spouse, your children, your church, your boss, your inbox, your text messages, your journal, your car keys, your reflection in the mirror after spending the morning working from home in your pajamas and robe and thought, “What the hell am I doing?” That’s where I am. There are no doubts about my skills, talents, gifts, passions, pet peeves, and weaknesses, but there is a restlessness I have not attended to. And I’m actually afraid to ask God what I’m supposed to do about all of this because I actually believe if I ask God He is going to answer and sometimes I don’t like the answers. I don’t like to be that honest because you may read my funny, insightful, vulnerable posts, but you haven’t heard my prayers. Prayers are honest, raw, ugly, broken, desperate, and hopeful. We don’t always get what we want, which is what I naively and incorrectly interpreted a Christian life to be. Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door will be open. When life closes a door, God opens a window or something like that. Sure. Ask and you might receive an “Oh, no.” and the door might open but not for you. And that window is “open” because someone threw a rock through it so going through means getting cut. See. I’m stuck. But over dinner and drinks to celebrate 21 years of marriage, my husband asked me if I could do anything what would I do. It was the closest thing to a prayer about myself since this whole launching a kid to college and ushering my older son into high school sent me to my knees about them and my parenting. This was about dreaming, not for them but for myself. There is an inherent danger in doing that because there are some cultural norms not often discussed in polite company. My unscientific research has shown that men can get away with more self-promotion than women, and even men and women may accept self-promotion more in men than in women. And Asian Americans by unspoken rule do not believe in self-promotion, unless you are a man, which means you can get away with it more. It’s not always true, but it is more often than not the case. An elder at another church once reprimanded me for talking too much about myself when talking about my work and ministry. Huh? And as we approach Mother’s Day let us not forget that we thank our mothers because of their sacrifice and unselfishness, which sometimes flies in the face of having aspirations, goals, and interests that are not some how connected to the lives we birthed, adopted, fostered, and mentored. I don’t buy greeting cards, but I’m going to guess that a lot of cards thank moms for what they did for us. Which is why I want to encourage my mom friends and women friends, my sisters, and my brothers to name three things about yourself and dream a little. These words don’t define you, limit you, label you, etc. It’s just a start. And if you’re game, pray those ugly, honest, hopeful prayers to God to guide your way. Ask your community to confirm, affirm, redirect. Just three things. She’s a writer, a speaker, a coffee drinker. That’s me. It’s not all of me, but it’s start. Who are you?

A dear friend gave this to me just because it was perfect in so many ways. It's good to have friends who know you, can keep things real, keep you humble and honest, and make you laugh.

A dear friend gave this to me just because it was perfect in so many ways. It’s good to have friends who know you, can keep things real, keep you humble and honest, and make you laugh.



  1. pastordt May 9, 2014

    I totally ADORE this post. Oh, honey, been there, done that. Go ahead, ask for clarity, speak your mind, say who you are, out loud and proud. I barely know you, but I can already tell that you rock in every way that counts. At this juncture of my life I am old, injured and grieving my mom’s descent into dementia. But when I’m not sitting on the pity potty, I’m a pastor, a spiritual director and a writer who loves being a Nana. (That’s 4 – sorry!)

    • Kathy Khang May 15, 2014

      LOVE your response!!! Thank you for naming those important roles and adding a taste of reality!

  2. katyandtheword May 9, 2014

    Reblogged this on katyandtheword.

  3. ruthie|johnson May 9, 2014

    I wish I could have sat down for a cup of coffee with you and listened to this stream out of your mouth :). Even though I don’t have kids, I understand the “defining yourself by others” and discomfort with self promotion… heck. discomfort with “self”. I blame the deep rooted communalism in our Asian roots… I’m just starting to figure out what “me” looks like in the midst of job interviews and grad school…

    I am grateful for a God who not only dreams dreams for us, but WITH us. 🙂 AND He encourages us to explore them! praying for you in this next ‘season’ for blessing in transition and a sweeter image of jesus as your sort it all out.

  4. Hillary May 9, 2014

    I recently had my own thought – “what if I was really into something?” As in, what if people who knew me saw that I did something a lot and was pretty good at it. My husband – he’s clearly into bikes and music (guitars and bass). So much so, I’m often asked, “do you bike, too?” because they’re trying to find out what we do together. Well, we do life together.

    So, I’m not really into something. I can’t even play out that thought-experiment, like what if I decided I was going to put 10,000 hours into learning to run (or hike or camp or climb or bike – Colorado-style), or really quilting, or actually finishing books.

    However, for now at least, I’m a doctor and a researcher. And I love it, even on days when it’s really pretty hard. And it’s challenging to keep the balance – not just work/life balance, but also a balance of friends who understand and support the value of my priorities, based on my calling, within the Church.

    Perhaps I perceive it’d be nice to “be into something” that I felt more people understood or could relate to. Still, as you wrote, Kathy – the open windows are right and good, though certainly not easy.

  5. Sarah Auda Jaggard May 13, 2014

    I love your heart. Thank you for sharing, always, so raw-ly and vulnerably.

    I have to, have to, have to, have to address the brief brush with the old adage “where God closes a door he opens a window.” Loved your interactive commentary, by the way.


    I actually don’t believe in God closing doors and opening windows in the way we mean it when we say it. Yes, I gather that we are likely attempting to offer hope, encouragement, and assurance when we recite it… but where in Scripture does it talk about this concept? It points to God providing – always. In most cases, the second option, the window, is the better one, not the smaller, less important and less happy one.

    I can’t imagine God standing there with one hand closing a door and another hand pushing open a window saying, “Here… I know you’re bummed about that door closing but I’m giving you something at the very least. Crawl, edge, and inch your way out of this window and maybe it will be half as good on the other side.”

    How often do I determine that “different” means “worse” or “less”?

    I believe doors close so they can be demolished and giant walls of opportunity will break open before you and provide freedom to run with abandon where you may in the next season! Change is a season ripe with opportunity. Blessings to you as the process unfolds and pulls you further into your story.

    • Kathy Khang May 15, 2014

      Sarah, YES! I agree with you, and thank you for sharing your wisdom. It’s a bit like the weird talks I would hear about meeting your future spouse. It was as if the future spouse God intended was not just the ONE but THE ONLY ONE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE so you had better get cracking on looking for that needle in a haystack. That lead to so much fear and anxiety about the perfect choice, which I also don’t believe in. It’s not romantic, but I also don’t see God as being a romantic.

      Which leads us back to doors and windows.


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