Losing something we never had …

The fear of losing (something or someone) cripples our rationale and throws us into heaps of destructive thoughts and actions. But have we ever pondered, what if we never had these people or things in the first place?

This world is a temporary place as Carrie Underwood had sung it. Everything on this earth, will never last. Soon it will disappear and all that we claim we own, will be lost. So, is losing such a big deal? Yes, indeed it is for all of us.

I’ve been reading news on how two women (one young and one old) have lost their entire family so tragically in a fire breakout and road accident respectively, that it sent the readers to their tears. If by-readers could feel this strong emotion in them after reading their news, what more these two women who have to go through such a traumatic experience? Everyone asked, what have they done wrong to deserve this? Truth is, only God knows.

Frankly, what really cripples is is not the fear of losing, but the fear of not knowing what to do when when we lost them. How are we going to live our lives without them? How are we going to move on? How are things going to work out now, that everything has changed?

When I lost my baby, I thought God was being really unfair to me. But the suffering that everyone else go through, is no less that what I had been through. In this event, I learned that God replaces what is lost for something greater. What I’ve lost, belongs to God. He has taken back what belongs to Him. If only we could learn to accept that all things belong to God and that He is in control of all things.

I learned that hope is not as burdensome as worry, because hope brings about God’s presence in my life. Worry does not. Worry separates me from God. I worry that as I advance in age, I would not be able to bear a healthy child with my ageing body. I worry that I would not have the opportunity to be a mother in this lifetime and feeling hurt as I watch friends after friends being given this opportunity. I worry that I will be left out. And then I learned, that although I may never have this opportunity, I have God.

Will I ever lose God? Not if He can help it.

Life may be fragile, but it is a precious gift from above …

Today, an ex colleague of mine sent me pictures of a body lying on a university campus floor. It was the body of a young girl who took her life early this morning. Such incident had me wondering, is life so fragile that anyone or anything can break it so easily?

I am sure many students out there suffer depression and stress. Most of the time, they were left unknown. Most of the time, the students were left to suffer these on their own. The problem here lies in ‘trust’. Can we trust anyone with our darkest secrets?

Students or rather teenagers around the age of 15 – 18 years are at their most fragile stage. Hormones rage within them and they may find it hard to control their thoughts and emotions. An opportune moment of destruction and abandonment will definitely throw them off a building or drive them to slit their wrists. Why do teenagers suffer such grave illness? Why do they turn to themselves and not others?

Speaking from an experience where I almost slit my wrist during secondary school, I empathize with those who feel abandoned, lonely, depressed and dejected. Humans are naturally social animals, so naturally they seek friends. They seek love, acceptance and happiness when in the company of their friends. But as a teenager, one can often mistaken affection with love.

Through the years, I’ve learned (for survival sake) that we can trust no one in this world. Even the Bible mentions that “we are not of this world”. I count my blessings that I survived serious bullying at school, multiple times of abandonment by friends whom I met along my journey in this life and series of attacks of depression. And I count my blessings that I managed to control myself from drug abuse. I did not take any anti-depressant. I was healed spiritually by the Holy Spirit that resides in me. And for this, I thank the Lord Jesus Christ.

So for all those who are reading my post today, please know that there are many other people who love and appreciate you. Do not let them control your life and certainly not your will and ability to love others as well. Although trust is a “delicate” thing, but know that you can trust the Lord the bring people, who will love, appreciate and accept you for who you really are, to you. Life does not end here. You don’t get to decide when to live and when to die. God does! Let Him and trust Him to bring His plans for you to fulfillment. Have faith, have love, have courage, have hope! Know and always remember that God loves you because you are worth it!

A Father’s Day Tribute: What my father taught me

My father has taught us (my sisters and I) many life lessons since we were kids. My father, being the strict disciplinarian, often tells us (till now) about our responsibilities – back then as daughters and students and now as wives and employees in our respective organisations (though this does not seem to relate to my current lifestyle). But these are the very few lessons that I have learned from my father and they are very close to my heart:

1) Spend wisely and save money

My father taught me financially planning and started giving me monthly allowances of RM30.00 when I was nine. He gave us instructions to keep at least 50% of what we were given as savings. I remembered a time when I spent literally to the last cent left, and I was ‘interrogated’ by him so badly that I almost peed in my pants. From then on, I took his advice of saving 50% of what I was given and have adopted this practice since (of course, the percentage of my savings reduced over the years  – got bills to pay!)

2) Get yourself educated

This is one advice that I will always remember for the rest of my life! We (my sisters and I) need to get ourselves not just educated, but with at least a postgraduate degree. And I did just that! His reason was, if we ever get into a rotten marriage, at least we will not feel that there is no way out for us. Our education can get us anywhere and we need not depend on our husbands for our livelihood.

And last but not the least …

3) Marry someone who loves and accepts you for who you are

Before hubs, I had two boyfriends. My first relationship lasted 3 years and the latter lasted just 9 months. After my break-up with my second ex, my dad decided to step in to give his word of advice on the type of man I should look for in life. He said, “Find a man who will love you for who you are, and not a man who only wants to change you to someone of their expectations.” And the second advice was “Find a man who will accept you for who you are.” My dad is a man of few words. But I kinda read in between this line that he meant to say that we ought to find a man who not only appreciates our pros, but also our flaws, and thus, does not complain nor leave us because of our flaws.

I want to thank my dad for these advice, for they have helped me achieved what I have achieved today, and made the right decision to marry the man who loves and accepts me for who I am today. Of course, the ultimate glory should be unto our Heavenly Father for He has blessed me with an earthly father to give me such great advice.

Here is to all fathers and our Heavenly Father:

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Renewed Love, Hope, and Faith

This is a story of my renewal of vow. In this story, you will find the handsome prince renewing his vow to his beloved bride and princess. And they continue to live a blessed married life ever after. OK, enough of the airy fairy tale.

How did we get to point of renewing their faith, is a story that had been told in my previous posts. And in this post, apart from the beautiful pictures taken by our photographer, I would also like to share how God has reaffirmed my constant doubts and regrets that the renewal should never had happened at all.

On 10 June, I came across this article from “God’s Daily Word” which I subscribed to. In the article, it mentioned a verse from Scripture that says “Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24), which truly affirmed that God’s promise is real. He answers prayers, but in ways that exceeds our expectation of what we prayed for. Ephesians 3:20 says “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us …”

Excerpts from God’s Daily Word:

We must trust that His answer to our prayers will meet our true need, and fulfill our deepest desire, much better than we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Our loving Father always hears our prayers, and He always answers. His answer to prayer is either yes, no, or wait…and sometimes He answers with, “Here my child, I have something much better for you.” But most often, God answers by simply giving us more of Himself.

Maybe it’s deja vu. Maybe it isn’t. But I like to believe that it is God’s will that I receive this message because of the avalanche of doubts and regrets that hit me recently. Every time I rekindle the memories of my renewal, I would feel pain and regret. Regretted that I should not have carried out the renewal due to the many unpleasant experiences with the people I love and trust to be happy for me. But in the end, His Words hold true. Those words in bold above were the exact same words I received 7 years ago when I prayed that hubs would receive Christ as his Lord and Saviour and following that, I can have my church wedding as it is the rule of the church to officiate weddings only for Christian couples. My emotions ran wild and I could not hold back my tears – they were in fact, tears of joy and gladness. God has saved me once again, from the brink of spiritual destruction.

I would like to share with you the beautiful photos that were taken during the event, an event that signifies God’s love, promise and faithfulness to me. Hope you enjoy viewing as much as I do:

 Sandy & Harvey-001  Sandy & Harvey-005  Sandy & Harvey-027 Sandy & Harvey-204Sandy & Harvey-207 Sandy & Harvey-244

Sandy & Harvey-013 Sandy & Harvey-249

Psalm 30:11 – 12

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
1To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

True friends are hard to come by …

My husband and I renewed our vows last year during our 5th year anniversary. I should’ve written about it then. What took me so long to write about my vow renewal ceremony? After all, it was something that I have always wanted and God had finally answered my prayers and blessed me with one.

I wish I could summarize my reasons into one sentence … but I couldn’t. I thought that with God answering my prayer, I should be thrilled and excited. Yes, I was, initially. The photographer’s pictures were lovely and I feel happy each time I look at them. But at the same time, I feel hurt too. Maybe I have myself to blame for this. I trusted people so much so, I was hoping to have that trust reciprocated. You see, I invited someone whom I thought was my ‘friend’ and was happy to invite her in fact. But she did not turn up and she did not even bother to tell me why. Not only did she not turn up, she accused me (behind my back) of “forcing” her to make a decision to attend my event. And all the time I thought she was just as excited to attend my renewal. I guess I was wrong and innocently believed that she was my friend.

That was not the only incident that almost made me regret having a vow renewal ceremony, and worse, question God’s sovereignty. My church friends did not believe that my marriage to my husband was  God sent. For those who didn’t know, I had my renewal because I did not have a church wedding back when I married my husband. I’ve always dreamed of a church wedding but because my husband wasn’t a Christian when we got married (he is one now, and Amen to that), I was denied a church wedding. While I honour the Christian marriage vows, I also honour the gift of this union of marriage between me and my husband from God. A lot of things did not sound right to me, and I do not intend to argue about anything particularly  matters pertaining to belief and religion. I just wished that the people whom I trust were more understanding and respectful towards my plight.  There were many things that happened in my life that I do not wish to dwell into them since they were all in the past and God had delivered me from them. I just believed that whatever happened, happened for a reason and the reason was God …. simple as that …

After those incidents (plus many other incidents of betrayal in the past), I’ve learned that not everyone wants to be your friend, no matter how much you appreciate them. And I learned from all past experiences that only true friends will put up with you, your ways, your demeanour, your beliefs, values and love you regardless. And they will always remain true to you, supporting you by your side even if you make the most ridiculous life decisions or put up an annoying front.  They will tell you that you are annoying and you need to get a grip of yourself with no qualms, no hesitations, but with concern and love.

On my birthday this year, a girlfriend gave me a small little booklet with the title “A Girlfriend is a Sister You Choose“. In the past I may have chosen the wrong people to be called my ‘friends’, my God has been good to me. My three lovely ‘sisters in Christ’ (Serena, Emilyn and Catherine) have been my pillar of strength, a shoulder to cry on and a beacon of hope … all I believe to be the very characteristics of God Himself. These three sisters believed in me and my walk with God, but most importantly, they share the belief with me that God is the reason for everything that is happening around us. When I struggled with the decision on whether to marry my husband who was a non-believer back then, they were there. When I received the promise of God that I will have the opportunity to get married in a church, they received it with gladness and joy. When I was hurt by those around me, they were there to comfort and support me.

I would like to quote two passages from the booklet which described what my dear sisters truly are to me:

A girlfriend is the one person you feel whole with. She knows where you’re coming from, all you’ve been through, and everything you’re dreaming about

Vickie M. Worsham

Girlfriends aren’t afraid to break rules for each other. They defend each other; they take chances for each other. They’ve cried together and laughed together. They know each other’s secrets, and they can almost read each other’s mind …

Donna Fargo

But the ultimate best friend that we ought to cherish, is Jesus. I have been through many painful lessons to come to this conclusion. I learned that I should cherish those friends who stood by me and loved me and I should maintain my relationship in total oneness with God, whom will never leave me nor forsake me. It has been a year, and with God’s grace, I am letting go of that hurt and moving on in a wonderful marriage with my husband and relationship with my sisters in Christ. Thank you God for this blessing … Amen.

Could we have run further …

Life ….

is full of uncertainties, yet there are those who are certain….

Where we may go, and where we may end up is of course uncertain. But we can be certain of one thing, that wherever we may go, God’s presence is always with us … He loves us too much to let us go on our own, in our own way …

The past few months or years (should I say), have been nothing but a blessing … though I find it hard to summarize what I meant by ‘blessing’ in my context means ….

Blessing as it is put, usually means we get something good ‘materialistically’. But i consider my blessing to be of a spiritual blessing. God said it in the bible that ‘ask, and it shall be given unto you’. I’ve asked for many things in life … things that most humanoids would ask for to continue living in splendor …

But I asked that my faith will continue to grow, for my heart to love God … and true enough, my request came with a heavy price.

You see, the more you ask of God, the more the evil ones want to take that away from you .. and that was what I have been battling – spiritual war …. most of you will not believe it when I mention the words ‘spiritual war’. It’s something you only watch in movies, but I am telling you, it is real. The only weapon against this war, is the word of God and constant prayer and absolute faith in the Lord that He will deliver us as soon as we place our trust unto His power for deliverance.

Saying is easy, but it is not impossible … God has been faithful and I can testify that over and over. People think I am psychotic, say what they may, I stand by my belief that we are never free from the ‘spirits’ that will tear us way from the loving relationship we have with God.

This is what I call blessing … blessing of God’s continuous love for us that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

No matter how far we have run from the relationship we’ve forged with Him, He will continue looking for us till we are at one with Him.

You may ask, is my life worth all these? I would say … YES …. absolutely YES ….

I’ve gone after materials in this world, been through disappointment that I could not get hold of them, been through countless blame games … some that have led to self-condemnation …. in the end, I came to realise that, these are not what I need in this world … they cannot protect me and love me like how God does …

I am currently jobless … and childless (still). It has been what, 6 years? But being a full time childless housewife, does not mean that I will not be able to lead a fulfilling life this way … I am glad that right now, I see the bigger picture of God’s plan for me … to be joyful, thankful and to remain hopeful in all circumstance. Well, I am not practically jobless, I do freelance English tutoring and I am enjoying every moment of it. I still earn some money and at the same time I get to play ‘parent’ to the kids whom I teach. Looking it at this way makes me feel … blessed.

I still have thoughts of where I will end up to be. But God reassures me that we will know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is. I am still not getting it much, but I know that some day I will.

Come to Me ….

We have always wondered why we tend to dwell in our suffering longer than we should. Truth is, it was our choice in the first place to do so. We always wonder what is God trying to do with our suffering or not do with our suffering. The truth is as simple as this:

Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest“.

So simple, yet so hard to comprehend, so easy yet so hard to do.

Have you had this experience where your kid did something terribly wrong and was too afraid to tell you about it. Then when you asked him to come to you because you wanted to just give him a hug, he refuses? This is exactly how most of us feel when we did something terribly wrong in the sight of our Lord. When He asks us to come to Him, we refuse, because we feel guilty, afraid and worthless. Guilty because we should not have done what we did, but yet we did. Afraid because we do not see what kind of punishment we are about to face with the sins we have committed. Worthless because our sins wear and tear us down to the point that we find ourselves not worthy of God’s forgiveness and love for us.

But Jesus also said, there is joy to all our suffering as it is stated in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-8)

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God

For indeed we are blessed when we are inflicted with suffering. It is through suffering that we come into realisation of ourselves, more so, in realisation of who God really is. It is with suffering do we know what life is truly about. It is not about flaunting our success, wealth, happiness and blessings on Facebook. It certainly is not about shooting down civillan planes and bombing of a city that ruins the lives of so many people, so many innocent people. But it is about how God makes himself known to us that He is in control of all things in our lives. We have lived a life of denial and deceifulness, thinking that we can take control of our lives, of this world, of everyone. We think that we are always right and happy and we do not feel for anyone else who suffers in the midst. We think that only God blesses us and not anyone else because we have done everything we “think is right”. But there will be a point where God points us back to His way, His thoughts, His life.

So as the topic of the post today says “Come to Me”, Jesus is asking those who have long wandered far away from His presence to come back to Him. Our sufferings is a sign that we have wandered off too far. We feel a void in our relationship with God as though God has left us. Truth is, He never had. He has always been by our side, watching over us and making sure we are pointed back to the direction of righteousness and love that He wants us to follow.

Why did I come up with this post? Well, I am one of the wanderers. I admit that I have misused that wisdom God gave me for my own glory. I have always thought that I am right and others are wrong about me. Maybe I have suffered too much discrimination, heartaches, hurt from betrayals and brokenness from human relationships so much so that I demand every rights to myself. I deserve to be treated right. These thoughts are signs that I have abandoned God in my life. Before I came to writing this post, God warned me that I ought to love Him with all my heart, soul and mind. God flashed the message of love at me so many times, and so many times I ignored Him. I have been seeking justice and truth for the hurt and pain I suffered. I sought apologies for people so much so that I demanded to be treated with respect. God had to intervene. I have wandered too far off with my thoughts and ways.

As it is written in Isaiah 55:9As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts“.  That was the first message I received when God intervened in my navigation and steered the helm back towards Him.

 Then He started asking me if I saw Jesus in the midst of the “clouds” that obscured my path. “Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these clouds that the Spirity of God is teaching us how to walk by faith” (Oswald Chambers). Of course, I couldn’t see Jesus at that point and my doubtful mind started thinking “it is easier said than done”. But what is the purpose of me going through those clouds and it is not just once, it has been repeatedly obscuring my path towards a blessed and righteous life with God. “What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself” (Oswald Chambers). So it seems. God’s purpose of me steering my helm into the clouds is so that I can see Jesus, walking on waters and to build my faith that He is there waiting to reach out for me in the open sea. If I were to walk towards Jesus admist the turmoils of life, “staying calm, faithful and unconfused, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me” (Oswald Chambers). Obedience to God is the goal. Can I be obedient enough to just “Come”? Or the cares of this world has hindered me from doing so?

Then came the second part of His teaching – the Teaching of Disillusionment. Disillusionment is “having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions” (Oswald Chambers). Truly the hurts of my life has obscured my judgment and love for those who need it. God says “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:7,16). Again my brain says “it is easier said than done”. I even twitted about this. But it is going go be easier said AND done with God in us. “Disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without cynicism or stinging and better criticism” (Oswald Chambers). I reaslied at this point that I have been living a critical and cynic life. Everyone is an enemy to my being. I trust no one but myself. To me, whatever they do, is only to glorify and caress their pride. Selfish, yet they get blessed so much. Sounds unfair right? But it is not the way God wants us to see them as. You may think that your friends on Facebook have good lives – eating good food, having good family vacation, good wedding ceremonies, good this good that, but truth is, life is not as smooth and good as it seems to be. All those postings on Facebook are controlled by the account users themselves and they can choose what they want to post. Nobody posts the disasters that happened in their lives nor do they post about their suffering and unhappiness. Everybody just wants to show off to everybody that their lives are better than others. It’s a life of comparing with one another.

“Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief or pain stem from our illusions” (Oswald Chambers). We live a life of denial. We are not truthful to ourselves and not to others. We put on masks everyday at work, at bible studies, at congregations, meetings, etc. We hide our true feelings for fear of being judged. I have a problem with putting on masks. I can never put on a straight face when deep inside I am rotting. I will feel so fake and unworthy of pursuing a friendship being like that. Then there’s another part of me that can never accept for people for who they really are when they don’t put on their masks. “If we love someone yet do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding from a human being something he/she cannot possible give. Only Jesus Christ can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart” (Oswald Chambers).

This is my suffering ladies and gentlemen. I put my trust onto humans (not that I can help it) and I ended up despairing of anyone I put my trust upon. I wish I could’ve loved God more. I wish I could’ve trusted God more. All I can do now is to wish. I am weak and I can’t do that, not even for my own sake.

Then came the revelation from God. “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15). And more revalations came after that:

Isaiah 55:1,3,6-7

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters

Give ear and come to me; listen that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near

Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts

Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Revelations 22:7

Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

It’s all about coming back to a heart of worship unto the Lord. It’s all about coming back to Him as the song goes:

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship

and it’s all about you, all about you Jesus

I’m sorry Lord for the things I’ve made it

When it’s all about you, all about you Jesus”

“God will bring us back in countless ways to the same point over and over again. And He never tires of bringing us back to that one point until we learn the lesson. Whatever it may be, God will point it out with persistence until we become entirely His” (Oswald Chambers). When God spoke to James, He said “Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).

Thank you God for your amazing love … You are indeed my Saviour ….AMEN