Students frequently ask me how I am able to juggle so many different roles—wife, mother, pastor’s wife, psychologist, and professor. In my twenties and thirties, I too had asked myself the same question. In my forties, however, something shifted for me as I began to think of them not as multiple roles, but one. On the surface, these roles appear to be different and many; however, over the years I have come to see that they share one common purpose—facilitating growth and transformation of self and others to be more like Christ. This was actually a profound realization for me. Knowing that I am seeking to fulfill the same goal whether I work inside/outside the home or inside/outside the church, it set me free from tension and guilt. In short, a life-long journey toward a more unified self has led me to integrate multiple roles in my life. Looking back, I see God’s hand in placing me on this path early in my life as I immigrated to the United States with my family at age ten. As a 1.5 Asian American Christian woman, I had to deal with conflicting values (e.g., Asian/American, traditional/modern, male/female, majority/minority status, young/old, sacred/secular, etc.) on a daily basis and struggled to make sense of my dual existence. Over the years, God has helped me see that the conflicted, divided self is not unique to bicultural individuals, but a shared human condition needing to be reconciled and in union with Him in order for us to recover from our brokenness and become whole. In this way, I have come to see that regardless of whatever activities we engage (e.g., child-rearing, teaching, counseling, researching, mentoring, discipleship) in the church or the world, God’s goal for us as His children is to be transformed, sanctified, and complete in Him.
Pak, J. H. (2021). Juggling multiple roles: Narrative of a Korean pastor's wife, mother, and a psychology professor. In D. Collier-Goubil & N. Yuen (Eds). Power women: Stories of motherhood, faith, and the academy. Inter Varsity Press.