2018, I am ready.

I have reached out my hands and touched the flame of God. I am burning and waiting for the sign. He has come to impart boldness, sensitivity and strength.

2018, a season of letting go.

Recently, the Lord has been speaking bible stories into my heart, like it was a kind of reminder, a season that was new and birthing forth, from a small heart like mine, afraid of seeing my dreams, yet anticipating of the things that are coming forth. The season that if I fail to embrace it, it will soon go to pass, and I will miss the golden time. In the time that I sought after Him, it felt like the tugging of my heart was within this 2 choices:

(1) Abraham (Genesis 12-25)

Abraham, a man who was willing to let go of familiarity, customs, things he knew, his precious son, for a God-given destiny. Abraham, a man who was willing to go through separations for his Lord. Abraham, who inherited all the treasures of his generation. Abraham, a man who desire the Lord more than anything.

Or

(2) The rich young ruler. (Mark 10:17-27)

A man, who was unwillingly to let go of his possessions to chase after God. A man, who value possessions more than God. A man, who sought after world possessions, rather than God.

And in all His audible voice, He told me to choose for myself which way would I go. I have longed set my heart to be a pilgrim of this world, a citizen of heaven and a love slave of God, but that does not mean, it is easy to let go. In a certain environment, a certain job, it might have been seen that it was the right journey to go towards, but it does not mean its from God.

The certain desires in my heart, it seems good enough, but unease will form. And I know in my heart that God has chosen another path for me, and He had repeatedly told me this words,” Be brave” and “I will never let you falter away”. Even if it meant, facing nights of loneliness, of despair, of tears, I should still obey His very words. I have learnt that I was not called to give up. I am called to obey Him and whatever cost. And if it seems like I have hit a hard place in my life, don’t whine, just pray. To come to God in boldness, so I could bring the power of God down.

A trust like Abraham’s. To leave the things I am familiar with to set out on a whole pursuit of God. A faith’s like Abraham’s. To believe that all things will work together for my good, that the Lord will never leave me where I was. A sacrificial heart like Abraham’s. Knowing that the things laid down for the Lord will always be worth it.

The new century, the new age, what is common, and what is a social norm for the society. I may not have to physically leave home or my comfort, lay down my Isaac. But what exactly is the “Isaac” in my heart? The ‘Isaac’ in my heart is not a possession, but the understanding of people around me, the struggles and emotions seen by the few. That, over the course of 2017, while doing my best in recognizing the seasons of people’s life, being there for others, we could still be hurt by them. Will it be then, I lay down my ‘Isaac’ (my emotions) at the altar and choose to still love instead of hurting another with words we will regret?

Maybe, just maybe, the end times death of people caused by war were not physical, but of emotional death. When the new age death is losing attention on social media, is going down to a certain level for a recognition, owning things to show off to the world that you do not care about. John Green’s paper town says it best,

“Here’s what’s not beautiful about it: from here, you can’t see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You can see how fake it all is. It’s not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It’s a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: look at all those culs-de-sac, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I’ve lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.”

And I pray, in my 2018, the new season of letting go, my heart will thirst and hunger for more of the Godly things in life. That, in all the separation that I choose to go through for the Lord, all the paths I choose to take, though it might get lonely and quiet, it might get tough, that even when my familiar and comfortable world will shake because of what God is doing, the purification and cleansing, I will come out stronger, and purer for Him to use me.

And I pray that the people God will put around me, will give me the grace to fall, the understanding to be afraid, the embrace I need, when words fail me, when tears filled me, and when my heart is going to continue being broken by Him. And I pray that even when all people fail, God will give the grace to be understanding, the wisdom to know, the understanding to hear, and the hands to pick them up. If I can’t, then let it be from Your strength.

2018, I am ready.

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New found identity (Gen San)

Was it really me that Pastor invited to General Santos?
“It can’t be me. I am not good enough. There are people much better than me”.

When my Pastor first invited me to General Santos with her, I could not contain the excitement inside of me. Yet, there were lots of self doubt inside of my head. I written down the words,” I want to be a missionary”, inside my tiny notebook when I was just a 8yo girl. Not knowing God back then, and not knowing the cost of this exact words. But I know, I want to serve the people, and to me that has always been enough.

I am not exactly the girl you invite to big parties, or even a big hangout. I am not the girl you invite to any events, or have a clique that I could form up too. And I definitely can’t fit into the expectations people have of me, or fit into a clique. That would have require too much of me. But I have friends, people whom I can turn too, press into their lives, and just love them. I am the girl-next-door. Nothing impressive, or special. But God has been mindful of someone like me. 

At 18yo, I heard of the man, Pastor Bill Wilson, in a Christian seminar (I wasn’t even a christian back then) and my heart has been stirred and have wanted to go General Santos since then. But I have a feeling, if that reckless girl went to General Santos back then, I would not have kept the fire burning within me.  Many things happened the past 6 years, I fell, and stumbled. I got my heart broken, became suicidal, depressed. I dropped out of school, left home, ran into hiding. Like Jacob, I have been hiding from people my whole life. At 21, I gave my life to Christ, with hope that things would turned better. But guess what? It did not.

I became even more suicidal than before. My heart was so hardened that it could no longer feel. I would cut my wrists, just to make myself feel. Yet, there was this little voice, whispering hope into my ears, and into my heart. This dream tarried, but God was faithful to the 8yo girl back then. My nervousness and excitement was knowing that I am at this tip of the iceberg. My self doubt became consciously stronger. Because it matters to me that this dream was coming to pass, but who was I that God has been so mindful of me.

To take this step of faith, and traveling to General Santos has shown me so much more. It is exactly the place I have dreamed of. And it felt right to be there. And what matter most was that in God’s perfect timing, I was there. The place captivated my heart and soul all at once. Above it all, I was there with my pastor, serving the people and my leader all at once. My heart was overwhelmed. Many times, I had to fight my tears. And standing at the slums, playing with the kids, hearing their worship to God made me realize that this is the purpose of my life. That in all my inadequacies, my smile, would just show them a little of God. I don’t think that we’re meant to understand it all the time. I think that sometimes we just have to have faith.

It took 16 years to come close to being called a missionary, and 6 years to even step into General Santos. There are many places that I would like to go, but nothing beats being exactly in the place, and exact time, doing what God has called me to do in this exact timing. As weird as it sounds, living in a slum with the little ones has probably brought me more joy than this world could have ever offered me. I am scared to have this qualified-dream from God, for an under qualified me. But the Lord is good, and He has always been. What good is it to have all the possessions in the world but loses your soul. There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. And in that moment, I wished time stood still.

I found myself in God, in Christ. Now that I have seen His faithfulness manifesting out of my life, I don’t think I can stand not believing, and not having faith in this dreams my Lord have for me.

 

 

Threading on. [Myanmar, 2017]

” It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller. I’ve been captivated by beauty and grace while threading on in the ordinary”.

Before heading to this trip, my heart was full of anticipation to go. Mainly because I have been broken into pieces by a friendship that would have meant something to me. A friendship that I thought would last for a long time. To come back, saying that, “I am alive” would sound so pretentious. Traveling, it opens up my eyes to the things unseen. It mends a part of our broken soul.

Every culture, and every city, I witness people fighting – fighting to live and to love. The racial conflicts in the country that have left the Muslim-Burmese dead, have pushed them to live in fear. Yet, if we just took the time, to sit down beside them, to listen to their stories, we will know that they are just humans, like me and you. The war torn country has killed many innocent people, and left the people homeless. And it breaks my heart to know and to see that hurtful comments was still hurled on them.

And this verse came to me in 1 Corinthians 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

I have firsthand witness people with nothing giving much, because they know how it feels to be broken, to be emptied and to love even when it hurts. Living in a first world country, sometimes I can’t help but feel ashamed at myself. How could I live wanting more than what I deserve, more than what I need, more than what I want, when the people do not even have the basic needs met. How could they give so freely, lend a helping hand so easily even when they do not have much. I got lost on my way to a certain shop, and had to seek help. The only person I saw was having lunch by a roadside store. He immediately put down all he is doing and guided me to the place that is 10mins away. And to think that he have used his precious 30minutes break to guide me to a place, made me realised how selfish a person I must have been, how foolish I must have been in the eyes of God.

How could they, smile so sweetly, put down their things to hear my needs, and help me without a second thought. And even after all this, how could I still complain about not having enough, not being understood. The things I felt became insignificantly small, as compared to them. The troubles and hurt I feel became insignificant all at once. The complexity of my own mind became simple gradually. And I thank God for His love that was poured out to me so lavishly. Who am I that You are mindful of me. Its extravagant to know, how far You would go, to say that You love me.

Thank you for giving me the courage to thread on, to love once again. The broken heart, shows that we have love before, teach me to love the way You do. Give me a brave heart, just like the people.

Till I see you again, Myanmar.

A love worth giving.

” You will never amount to much no matter where you serve in…”

As a non believer back then, who wanted to contribute a little bit more to the church I wanted to call home, this was not something I have expected to hear. And definitely not something that was easy to comprehend and be healed from.

Why then, did you attempt to show me God’s love if you do not believe in me?

I think many times in my walk with God in the later years, I was unable to fully heal from the damage that was placed on me even before I know Him. The ultimate Savior who paid the price for me to know Him. Who loves me and believes in me more than I did in myself. In the ministry that I passionately served in, I knew in my heart there was a stumbling block, right there.

” I see you are doing so many things for God. You signed up for almost everything available, and you are always there for people. What could ever bring you down?”

This exact question became the stumbling block in my heart. I needed to constantly remind myself that serving God, reaching out to people, going to Bible school, attending church weekly was not so I could prove to the ones who told me I could not amount to much. The constant probing in my heart that cripple me was, “are you serving with the right condition and attitude, or do you just have something you want to prove to the world?”

After knowing Christ for the past 3.5years, and serving in a ministry for the past 2.5years, there were still moments in life, that I wished it did not hurt to love Him, to be broken down to pieces, to learn to have a humble and contrite while serving. That my serving was unto Him, and not unto people. But without this brokenness, I would never have empathy for the people around me.

Going out into the world, to see the world, experience the world have taught me much more than any books could ever tell me. That in the bible, when it said love is still the greatest of it all (1 Corinthians 13:13), it really meant that love is the only thing that have the ability to change and move heart. The only one that can still choose to embrace people despite all the times they have failed you, disappoint you or hurt you.

Love is seeing God in every individuals you meet, and seeing Jesus in them because everyone is made in the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Love is putting aside our skin colors, culture, race and custom, so as to recognize that we are the citizen of heaven. Love has a new meaning to me now, that in all my encounters with people, I don’t love people for who they are, but He who lives in me. If God can send Himself down on the cross for me, a love filled with so much passion and pain, then who am I to withhold love to others.

That’s the thing about traveling. I found my refuge in it. Travel became my best friend and not only has it helped heal my heart which was once torn to pieces, it has also opened my eyes to new things and made me a better person. Not only for love relationship but it applies to every disappointment I faced in my life. A good Friend who left me, someone who passed on, a dream that died, stepping out to travel changes perspectives and seeing God in every Situation. It helped me love a little more.

The NLT bible best speaks of this verse 1 Corinthians 13:2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If there is only one thing that I can be good at, then let me be the best at loving others. Humans expect something in return for anything and everything, they put into the world. Especially when it comes to relationships. These are dandelions. Stop loving only to feel love. This is not love. Love whole human just to love them. And don’t ask them to love you in return. Some you love may not love you in return. Some may take advantage of the love you give and you may still revoke it at any time.

But keep loving them.
Without expectations.
Give, as He has given.
Drink first then pour out freely.
Thats when we will discover a love worth giving.

 

His hands that never fails.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:28‬ ‭

Something in me that was broken, has always made me wonder, how did I not feel my mother’s love for me. That when I was busy seeking and pursuing love from other people who have been hurt, my mum has been waiting for me. When I was younger, I would have said that, yes I did grew up in a home of an abuse family, not so much in the domestic or physical abuse, but on the emotions part. We grew up in a society of comparisons and social stigmas of how a girl should be. Along with that, it came with the pressure of being not good enough, and struggles with being a human. To be a human being, not a human doing. And this struggles, along with my emotions, and strong willed, of being unable to understand why is there a code of conduct of how a girl should be, has caused grieve to my mum and even myself.

I was different. I could not fit into the standards of my relatives, as someone who could sing and dance. I was not smart enough as compared to my cousins. I did not want to have a degree in something I did not love, just because it was important. I wanted to be me. I was not tall enough, not skinny enough, and to top it all, I was having some skin problems. And inferiority kicks in. But I was me. I was compassionate enough, kind enough, and filled with empathy for the people around me. And I love that side of me, writing, making cards, and handmade gifts for people I cared for. But this wasn’t a quality they were looking for. They said being smart is more important than being kind. And I lived my life defying that order that intelligence is better. 

Before I knew Christ, I could not accept the condemnations from people around me, and so I fell into depression. I was hurting myself so much that I knew that nothing else could hurt me. I slit my wrists, I cried in the night, I fought in school so much that my parents was asked to school on a regular basis. But little did I ever know, my mum was broken on the inside. I got a little older, and I decided to build walls around my heart, so nothing could hurt me. It was this time that I can no longer feel. My world caved in darkness, I had no friends, and I kept myself at home after school. I refused to talk, refused to listen and refused to heal. It went on for a long time, and I could no longer relate with people. I stopped turning up at my relative’s place. It got so bad that I could not even work in a group during my college years. And during this times, no matter what my mum did, I was unable to empathize anymore. Every argument with my parents led to bitterness and suicidal thoughts. I have murdered myself countless times in my heart.

I was wrecked, but God knew better. I went to church when I was 20 on Christmas Day, and I met God. Yet the me inside could not resonate with it. Why would someone give His life for me, and why should I allow His love to come inside of me, when I am not sure if He will leave again. So I hardened my heart for the whole year. Things did not change for the better at home, alongside with getting to know myself, and finding out who God is, I fought with my identity at home. I fought with my parents to break the social stigma of being a girl. And all this times, I made my mum cry, and brawl her eyes out by hurting myself in front of her. I stayed out late, so as to avoid seeing her. But my mum was faithfully waiting for me. When I was 23, even after attending bible school, there was a part of me which can never resonate with forgiveness. I could not forgive my mum for not attending the big events in my life, my birthdays and my graduation. And I decided to leave home after a big argument. A argument that led my mum to have sought help from a counselor from her break down. Yet the purpose of separation is to lead us to reconciliation. And through this separation, i found my identity, my walls broke down and we came to an understanding of one another. Everything was made beautiful in His time. God healed me, and He healed my mum.

And for the first time in my life, my family is planning a trip to travel together. God has given divine healing in our hurts and relationship. And to my mum, who have love unconditionally, served faithfully, give ungrudingly, and forgive endlessly, thank you. Thank you for removing the social stigmas from my life, and allowing me to be who I want to be in Christ. I may not earn the most money, be the smartest, prettiest and I might even make you angry, but my promise is that I will honor and love you. I was able to go for 5 missions in 6 months because you chose to allow me to stick to my heart desires and dreams. And this destiny that is unfolding right before my eyes has allowed me to be excited and anticipate His hands. Thank you for holding my hand and walking me into my destiny. I pray that this year God’s hands will move in your heart and life. Thank you mom. Happy Mother’s Day. You have shown me what love is. 

Among the chaos

I, myself am made entirely of flaw, stretched together with good intentions and I love the person I have become because I fought to become her.

There is a time that we need to learn to see God in every situation of our life. And among the chaos in my life, I learnt to see God standing with me through the ups and soaring season, as well as the valley deep moments. One of the best thing in life through this seasons was drawing closer to God and meeting Him face to face. The decision to consecrate my life and seek Him in the whole pursuit of Him for the past 1.5 years has been the best thing ever. Through the past 1.5 years, I went to many countries and cities and had many encounter with God. I was able to do so much more. Being single empowered me more than ever before, to be able to go out, set my life on a whole pursuit of Him. I was braver than I ever was, because I know God has been with me through it all. The conviction to pursue Him so wholeheartedly and freely, has left me amazed in this wonderment. The thing about being single is that it helps us to focus on God. It gives us the freedom to pursue Him. It is not just a period of waiting, but a period of trying and testing. A period where we will become a better self in Christ for our future partner. And so, being on this vow has truly opened my eyes to the things unseen. 

I used to be so needy, so insecure and so afraid of living but through this vow, I found contentment in being who i was in Him. I do not need a partner for me to rely on because I have Jesus. Insecurities have always been a major part of my life, and even at times, I still do struggle with it. I used to attempt suicide out of my insecurities, and eventually shut down my entire world from people. Questions that prompt me like,” am I good enough? Am I pretty enough?” Yet through this, I realised that my questions are not needed, because Christ is enough for me, and no matter what others may say, I know I am a princess in God’s heart, and I was make in an image of Him. I was always afraid of living. I shun from people in fear. I stopped trying. I ran away from people who have hurt me, and worst still, I hid from people, so no one could hurt me. But when I was empowered to go out, God was a miracle worker. For someone like me, to be able to stand and pray for others, require courage. And somehow, God has added the courage into my heart, constantly and faithfully. I’m not a afraid of failing, I am afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.

Being single was a choice I made, so as to pursue God wholeheartedly, tune my heart into His ways. I was hurt in ways I could not comprehend, witnessed how relationships fall apart right before my eyes, and that has set my heart trembling. Yet I was enjoying my season while God was moulding me to be a proverbs 31 girl. And I know that one day, when I see the guy, God will tell me he is the one. I am not needy, not afraid and insecure anymore, because I know who my God is. I fought hard to live the way I wanted, to see the world I live in, and to help people as my soul and passion call for. And in the past 1.5 years, God has shown me a side of humanity, hope and love like I have never did. And till the day you come, I will Keep pursuing God so wholeheartedly. I will never forget all that He has given me. Jesus, my First love. I want to be so hidden in God, that a person can only find me when they seek God. And one day when I see you, I will know that you are a manifestation of God’s love and faithfulness in my life.

The cost to follow.

Without God, we cannot.
Without us, He will not.
                                                                           Augustine

Freely receive, freely give.

Traveling has always played a huge role in my life, and recently the new found joy of heading out for missions, and spreading the gospel of Christ. To offer all that I have up to the altar, because all this possession was never mine to begin with. Being out in the field, as much as I can in the recent times, I realized that the major part of being able to go out there was because of the love I have freely receive by the people who is in my life who never fails to love, edify, give and bless me. They have given me courage to lose sight of the shore as I venture out into the ocean. The manifest of God’s love into my life is through their time and constant prayer.

Heading out to the mission field allow my heart to come alive. The devil has placed in me constant self doubts, self hate, and negative self image every time I am prepared to head out, which further assure me what I desire to do is actually is actually in God’s plan. Yet the price to pay for leaving and seeking God was not always easy. There were things that I was forced to let go, and things I had to give up, so as to not lose the chance to seek God first. There were times when I have to learn to let go, but not doing it until I have a battle with God. And like Jacob, perhaps the pain in the hip socket will be the thing that always remind us the faithfulness of God.

The cost to follow will never be easy, but what we have done for Christ will never be in vain. 4 years ago, when I became a Christian, I paid a price of being abandoned by people who I held dearly in my heart. People who left eventually when they could not understand. Yet, this was a price I was willing to pay, because till today, Christ has still been the best thing for me. There were moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have a feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. Without sadness, there would be no joy. Without suffering, there would be no compassion.

Afterwards, I had to let go of a toxic relationship which led to betrayal, and hurts. Yet the comfort of letting go back then was know that Jesus has intertwined. The comfort of walking out then and healing from the broken relationship is that God has saved me from even more heartbreaks. It took months to heal, and even days when there was too much uncertainty in walking out. But eventually His big hands have covered me, and there’s joy in just traveling, seeing the world and sharing His love. And some day, this special guy will come through my serving, holding the same verse as me.

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant (love slave) of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle (an envoy of God’s word), set apart (separated from comfort, lifestyle, sin, failure and pride), for the gospel (call) of God.

Many are called by God, yet only few are chosen. The ones who are set apart are the people who are willing to rise and be separated for Jesus. To be chosen, we need to consecrate our lives, and there is a price to pay. Abraham had to be separated from:

  1. Home country; our comfort.
  2. Father; our custom.
  3.  Nephew Lot; worldly.
  4. Ishmael; mistakes.
  5. Isaac; pride.

The cost to pursue God lies in seeking Him first. And till today, giving freely whether it is possessions, time, and love for the cause of God is something I have never forgotten to do so. Before I am working adult, I am first a child of God. While growing up, people have said that I am different. I do not fit in anywhere but I think it is okay to be different now. I do not have everything, but all I have will always be found at the altar. The spirit of the world has come, but it has nothing on me. And like Romans 1:1 has said, one day, I want to stand in front of the throne, and be someone like Paul, who has given up everything to seek Him first. My priority in life has always been Jesus. He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose. Christ is my reward, always.