Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Undo the Damage Done

If time could turn back, would I still have done what I did? What would Jesus have done?

These words have sunk deep into my heart. Said with that steady gaze. A tinge of bitterness? I couldn't even express how sorry I felt- the impact of what I (no, we) have done was looming over me.

I sat outside with the piercing shouts of children, and it seemed too much to bear.

Afterwards I tried to revert to childish thinking- heck, I'm only 20! I shouldn't be doing these things.

Steel yourself. Steel yourself.

I need to read the Word. Romans 8. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
I down the comforting milk tea together with Romans 8, trying to claim the promises.

Remembered how Betsie thanked God for the fleas in that wretched concentration camp. Thank God for this failure also, may I be open-handed toward You.

Afterwards: Thank God that I recall how it is not totally my fault; but due to the lack of information and actions taken by both sides. Thank God that the parents responded, but after I have experienced all of the above.

Going back to the school to sit in the Parent-Teacher (and Principal) meeting tomorrow. Okay, heart is more in equilibrium now.

The battle is not done.

[27 March]
So I convened with the Principal, Vice Principal, form teacher and the child's parents today.

I needed some normalcy with my friends, and managed to have lunch with them after class.
I prayed to reach there in time, and I got the taxi almost immediately when I reached the road.
I prayed that the taxi will have NETS (cos I didn't see the machine), but the taxi driver trusted me enough to transfer the fare to his account.
I prayed (many times) for wisdom and I think I received it. I have never been this assertive when talking with people but I managed to bring my point across.

Most of all, I prayed for the parents to be open to sending the child to Grace Orchard- and today I went with the family to sign the application form.
What is amazing was that the parents resisted sending the child there for a long time- they were portrayed as quite adversarial and difficult.  Acknowledging the other party's concerns and having power in information- reminded of these things in class today and I really really thank God for that.

The child will be starting school next Monday. There might still be struggles yet, but for now I declare again that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose'' (Romans 8:28, NIV).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My First Love

You stir my highest affections Lord. Not always, but my First Love, You alone are capable and worthy of having my greatest affections.

When Israel begrudged God about the lack of water in the desert, even asking to go back to their land of slavery, God gave them water from a rock. There is such a lack of dignity that it blows my mind whenever I think about it.

Jesus Christ, "being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:6-7, NIV).

The most scandalous marriage in history is between Jesus Christ and His adulterous and rebellious wife, the church.

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let me love be shown? Will you let my name be known?
Will you let my life be grown in you, and you in me?

Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same
In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show
Thus I'll move and live and grow in You and You in me
(The Summons)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Might or might not be published

That sense of restlessness has not left. Especially when I saw him last Saturday. And was there that gaze on me or am I mistaken?

So I prayed. Thank God I prayed. "Please help me to honour You amidst these feelings, to discern if they are sin unto You." My head (and part of my heart) tells me that I loathe to lift up my soul to another. But still, a mist exists in my heart, obscuring the 'highways to Zion' (Psalm 84:5) inside.

Below pulls together what I have found helpful:

1. From Uncle Tai Kok

He expounds from Song of Solomon, a very passionate description of lovers' love for each other. Specifically he chose Chapters 3 and 4. I quote 3:1

"Restless in bed and sleepless through the night, I longed for my lover. I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful." (MSG, emphasis added)

Below are directly words from his (very long) FB post:

The book reminds us of the length, breath and height of human love.

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7 ESV)

Love is EXPRESSIVE
Love is EXCLUSIVE
Love is EXTENSIVE
Love is EXPENSIVE
Love is EXPLOSIVE

***
From that book I see that love is meant to be strong and passionate. But somehow, it still feels wrong whenever I have feelings for someone. Perhaps because my head is telling me: Remember how you forgot so-and-so after like 2 weeks? This is lust, not love. 

Oh yes, I think my question is how to distinguish between love and lust. The passages in Song of Solomon at least tell me that passion, even to what seems extreme, is not always lust. 


A very heartfelt article about the human condition that gnaws at every man's heart (quoting directly below):

It is perfectly normal to feel this way, even for a Christian.

Timothy Keller puts it perfectly: “Adam was lonely because he was like God, and therefore, since he was like God, he had to have someone to love, someone to work with, someone to talk to, someone to share with…Loneliness is the one problem you have because you’re made in the image of God”.


A call to abundant singlehood- but not discounting the unpleasant emotions that come with it (quoting directly below):

Yes, Jesus is our only hope and cure, but it won’t be in some hopelessly romantic, chocolate-covered, neatly-wrapped way.

But as much as God loves marriage, he didn't design it to bear the burden of our eternal purpose and happiness. From the beginning, it’s been a means of experiencing and expressing a far greater union — union with God, through his Son, by his Spirit.

On the Book of Ruth (quoting directly below)-

And there they are, ordinary people of sorrows and acquainted with grief, just trying to hold it together in Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest, completely unaware that God has assigned them roles in his Great Romance that people around the world would still be marveling at 3,000 years later.

So where are you in the real, living story God is telling? God is the great Romantic and all his children have roles that are far more significant than most of them know. But they are rarely romantic to experience at any given time.

***
Concluding, I have no concluding thoughts. But if anything, I feel more at peace with my feelings now. Guess I will publish this cos I actually benefit a lot from reading my old posts. The thing is I'll pay more attention when it is written by myself than other better writers.

17 MAR
5. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (Oh how could I have forgotten these beautiful verses)

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 

And in verse 8: 'Love never fails'. Somehow as I was typing and reading these verses I was reminded of Corrie ten Boom's first and only love. It was love at first sight but the man married another lady instead. At first she was devastated, but her wise father told her to commit these feelings to God who loves that man more than she can ever do so. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Better is One Day

I was talking to that crazy BFF about what I wanted for my 21st: "I want books. And letters. And hugs. And a boyfriend. Hahaha."

There is deep wonder at how God speaks so directly to where I am. I have been carrying a sinful heartache (more like a nagging restlessness).
Even at the cusp of adulthood, I love leaning on my Dad. I love calling on him for help, annoying him with my childish nonsense, and calling him "Pboo-Pboo" at random (please don't judge).

It's this feeling of security that I am looking for.

Yet God reminds me of many truths through Psalm 84, on which Better is One Day is based on:

Great joy
God's dwelling place is so lovely and gives us such great joy- we'll have no need for a sinful man for companionship. We are blessed to dwell in His house!

Do not long for lesser things
Like the lame beggar in Acts 3, I ask for lesser things when God is pleased to bless me immensely. I ask beggar's prayers when 'no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly' (Psalm 84:11).

Jesus cares but we need to wait for His timing
'O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!; (Psalm 84:12)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Burden

As much as I love snail mail, I must admit that not all give me that leap of joy. A particular one from the Massachusetts Correctional Institution gives me a kind of unwanted burden.

Having corresponded with Jermaine for over a year, I now feel a sense of unease particularly thinking about when he will be released soon. Of all the ministries God has given me, it has been one that gave least joy and is the most burdensome.

But why? As I was tossing around for an explanation, it dawned on me that deeper than the irrational fear that Jermaine has romantic feelings for me, there is a deep-seated stereotype of an unstable prisoner. At the same time, his way with words makes the conservative Asian in me cringe.

Still, I thank God for him. What is love without some cost? I must be willing to journey with him, to accept him when little people do. As the Father has accepted and showered me with blessings when I am in a wretched state, let me not turn away from my brother. Oh yes, let me not turn away, fearful or ashamed to look at him. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

To Change the World


I wrote If nearly 4 years ago, a very idealistic girl that wanted to make a difference. Perhaps I wasn't being too idealistic, but not idealistic enough.


As I was reading this article from Relevant Magazine, I was reminded of how God has fulfilled my childhood fantasies in His good time.
" It wasn’t for some dream. It wasn’t for some great idea. It was for Him and for His name and for whatever it was He wanted to do through me here."
This was not what I would say even 2 years ago when I first wanted to become a social worker. I wanted to change lives, to impact youths and have them glorify me by saying that I was their turning point.
"I think that’s a really important difference, because if we make it about the dream, we’ll try to control the dream and we’ll put our identity in the dream and we will have to have the dream work or we’ll be miserable. But if you say, “You know what? I’m here, God, to take whatever You’ve given me and to display You in whatever way You want.” And you just kind of have this open-handedness, then you stick to something, not because you believe in the thing but because you believe that God’s worth it."
This was and sometimes still is so true of me. Putting my identity in CASA, I was so stressed out and didn't enjoy thinking about this ministry which I started out of a broken heart that most probably pleased God. Praise God for pouring grace upon grace, hope upon hope, strength upon strength.


I wrote in my previous post that my childhood dream is resurrected. Yes, the social enterprise dream. I wanted to set up a social enterprise bakery. Last Sunday, I became a stakeholder of social enterprise Believe NJ bakery. I will be involved in the business, helping to start a new cafe and grow the social impact. Initially I was hesitant to take it up. Yet, listening to Nicole speak with such passion, my heart was stilled and I became sure. Not of my capabilities, but of how I want to minister to this group of people.


Through Sidewalk Gallery Cafe, and then Believe NJ and now the Special Seeds dialogue for parents of children with special needs, I look back and marvel at God's work in and through me. So many times I have wearied and felt like I have nothing to give anymore, yet Abba sustained me.
"But I think with all things, you kind of just stick to your road, keep your hands open, and keep saying, “God, I’m willing. I’m willing for this to fail.” "
I prayed.

I come to You with open hands Lord. An image of a child's open hands.

He takes me into His hand, and leads me on.

Oh God guide me. I commit all these into your hands. Amen.

Friday, February 13, 2015

King of my life, I crown Thee now

On Tuesday I posted on FB:

Tuesday. Feels like the week's end.
Anticipant I look then
Wednesday. His word He shall send. 

Today I continue. All thanks be to my dear Lord Jesus.

Tuesday. Feels like the week's end
Anticipant I look then
Wednesday. His word He shall send 
Disbelief; dead dreams resurrected
Thursday. Fellowship blessed
Anticipant I look to
Friday! Feels like top of the world

This got me thinking on how volatile we are- 

"As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more." Psalm 103:15-16, NIV