Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

Reflecting The Father Heart of God

Ephesians 6:4: "Parents don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord Himself approves."

 

I was tired after a whole day of class and it takes a long time to walk from class back home with a bag full of books, a toddler’s school bag, a laptop and many other things with her happily toddling along, picking up stones and leaves along the way, dwaddling… I found myself nagging and almost at the verge of coercing, can you pls hurry up and walk faster!?!

 

Then at the end of the day as I was preparing for the next day’s worship on the Father Heart of God, I read this: –

 

"The other day I rushed into my den urgently needing some information from my files. As I sorted frantically through my papers, my five-year-old son repeatedly blew his shrill tin whistle. I told him again and again to stop. There was a period of silence followed by a deafening blast right next to my ear, including a spray of saliva. I reached around, swatted him with the back of my hand and bellowed at him in anger. Immediately I felt that the Spirit of God had been grieved. I remembered the biblical statement that God is slow to anger and delights to be merciful. I took my son in my arms and asked him to forgive me. It was only right that I should correct his disobedience, but our children should always know that we discipline them because we love them, and not because we are venting our momentary frustration.

 

Our Heavenly Father is at this very moment being slandered and misrepresented all over the world by man’s cruelty and selfishness. Not only in the home, but in all forms of human government. His laws of love have been ignored and our mangled hearts continue on in carrying out injustice to all those smaller and weaker than ourselves." Excerpt from John Dawson’s article on The Father Heart of God

 

Oooo here I am ministering the Father heart of God in class and causing wounds to my own daughter at home because I failed to represent God rightly. How sensitive am I to grieving the Spirit of God when I discipline Sophie? O Lord, teach me your ways.

 

 

Inspiration 05

 

We just got back from the YWAM 50th year Jubilee celebrations in Tauranga. YWAM is 50 years old! It was amazing! More about that in the next post.

 

But back to my inspiration posts, I saw our school leader doing this. We were praying for the nations using this HUGE gigantic map laid out on the ground. The map was almost the size of 1/2 a football field. Almost a 1000 of us walked across from one side of the map of the world to the other side praying for the nations and everyone had finished walking and I saw him alone, still standing over India (btw, he has been a missionary in India for almost 20 years) and still praying. You can see his heart even as he stood there.

 

That man is a man of prayer. That’s passion. Btw, he even speaks English with an Indian accent!

Great Expectations

We all have expectations. We deny it but it’s true and it’s there. It seems like it is non-existent until an expectation is not met.

 

I’ve been meditating on the outreach, kinda like debriefing with God and the passage that He’s given me over the outreach which is Galations 5. It talks about the law and the Spirit.

 

Having an expectation is like having a law. We all have laws, whether good or bad, reasonable or unreasonable written on our hearts – my teacher should be this this this, my parent should be this this this, my husband should do this this this and then, they’ll be right.

 

My question is, should there even be a good or reasonable law for others or for ourselves? King David says I have hidden your word in my heart so that I will not sin against you, not I have hidden your word in my heart so that I can make sure others don’t sin against you!

 

Even if there is a law written in our hearts (which is true), Paul says in Galations 5 that "it was for freedom that Christ has set us free… you who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace…", which simply means that the law serves to judge us and steer us towards what we should do but it’s not to beat ourselves up about and get all stressed up because Christ has come to set us free! If we continue to beat ourselves up according to the law and trying to be right all the time, we are "alienated from Christ"  – that’s so sad! And "fallen from grace"! Yucks! Who wants that!?!

 

I’ve always known this but since coming out of Singapore, I’ve felt it and realised it even more than ever – as a Singaporean, I have a terrible sin – I need to be right ALL the time! I am so afraid to lose and I hate to be wrong or fail. Worse of all? I put everyone around me under the same "law" or judgement! Esp James and Sophie! Eeks! How awful is that?!? (Btw, we all cover this up real well as in we don’t go around telling people directly why they are wrong, it is uncovered in our best when we complain, gossip or worst, SULK. We are terribly good at that.)

 

Anyways, back to what I was saying, if operating out of the law is opposite to operating out of grace referring to Galations, then, that explains why as Singaporeans we are struggling so hard to be a gracious society! Personally, I struggle to show grace and my carnal instinct is to judge and complain when things go wrong (but I only complain in my heart k… see I’m so righteous, I don’t complain what!?!, I just complain in my heart only… ok sometimes to my husband… ya right right… :)). Need to grip it at the thought life.

 

I need to understand this – the law is governed by God and God alone. The law that we hold for ourselves/others which I equate to expectations here in this reflection, might not always be fair or holy. Only He alone is the judge and ruler of all. He gave the law out out of love to set the boundaries for relationship with God and men so that men will not "bite" and devour" each other (Galations 5:15). He is perfect (bible calls it holy) so He alone can demand perfection and keep to perfection (not me). Because He is love and grace, he alone made it possible for man to be free from the judgement of the law through His son’s death and resurrection.

 

Note to self:
I cannot keep the law. I can only say sorry and move on. Even trying to do the right thing doesn’t work. In my study bible, it says "the burden of the rigorous demands of the law as the means for gaining God’s favor – an intolerable burden for sinful humanity." No way I can keep the law and I must stop making other people keep the law. Need to eradicate expectations. I have no right to expect. I am the receiver of that love and grace. "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through LOVE." The New Testament parables that Jesus told all pointed to this – stop pretending to be all righteous, stop judging, stop throwing stones at others, LOVE, GIVE, SHARE, even to your enemies. Because you can’t keep the law, you can only receive of love and grace and freely give of that.

 

How would I know if I’m showing grace and love? – "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is NO LAW!… Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." I need to move in the opposite spirit.

 

Oh wait, btw, need to remember I would probably complain and judge again so at the heart of it, I must learn to say sorry instead of justifying myself. So, at the heartiest heart of it? It’s all about being humble. How hard is that for a Singaporean? Hardest of hard. Lord, help me.

 

P/s: Scary thing? So many countries are trying to be like Singapore just because we’ve done so well, seemingly. Oh Lord, pls help. I love Singapore but we really need help here. We need a change of heart.


P/ss: Erm, this reflection might not be all theologically sound so pls take it with a pitch of salt and it’s more a personal reflection. I’m not really good at talking it out so it helps me to process my thoughts if I write it out. And I’ve gotten all lazy with handwriting (maybe I should do Handwriting without Tears with Soph!) and it’s much easier typing. And since I’ve typed it out, I might as well post it out. Haha!

The More I Seek You


James & I at Waikere Falls, 15 mins from the base

 

 

The more I seek you
The more I find you
The more I find you
The more I love you

 

I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand
Lay back against you and breath
Feel your heartbeat
This love is so deep
It’s more than I can stand
I melt in your peace
It’s overwhelming

 

This song is our theme song for this season of our lives.

 

We are finding that as we press in, the more we discover God. In the past, it would have been so easy to just live on the surface on our relationship with God and just accept it as it is but we’re discovering that there is so much to God that we have yet to discover.

 

Faith truly comes from hearing the word.

 

My heart longs to hear but my flesh is so weak and I’ve been struggling to really press in and search God’s word out for ourselves. But being in this environment of hearing the word and hearing testimonies after testimonies of the reality of God is really spuring our desire and hunger for more of God.

 

5am prayer time with the class (ok the truth I that I haven’t made it at 5am exactly but nearly there…) has been a tremendous boost to my experience of God. It was hard trying to enter in and pray at 5am every other morning (James and I take turns to go) in the beginning but oh my, it’s so good! I seriously have no idea what pushes me to wake up at that unearthly time! It really must be God! Funny thing is, I don’t even feel tired through the day.

Sophie’s Turning 2 – A reflection

Sophie’s first birthday

 

Sophie’s turning two in a week’s time and I feel like time is just passing so fast!

 

She was hardly walking at one! She only walked at 15 months comfortably. Now she’s running (a little :)), trying to hop and jump and talking so much! She demands to do things her way and can articulate that super well – "Nooooooooooooooooo! I do it myself!" Er, ok. Sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out for motherhood being pretty non-confrontational myself. I read that it’s time for the terrible twos where they will throw tantrums because they are developing a sense of identity, suddenly realising that they can make either a dent or difference in this world by exercising their freedom of choice – oooooooooooooooooo YET having a lack of expression or vocabulary! How exciting YET how terribly frightening at the same time! I guess in a way I can imagine how Sophie feels.

 

There is so much to consider at this point as she develops her character. It’s starting to dawn on me how daunting parenting can be! Argh!!!!! What if she turns out spoilt because weak willed mother here me failed to guide her in the right ways????? Or what if she is reclusive coz her lazy parents prefer to just stay home to rot? (Ok, maybe not, Sophie is hardly reclusive) Or what if she doesn’t reach her maximum potential because I’m intending to homeschool her??? Or what if she turns around and blame us and say we’re not good enough parents? I know a lot of youths (me included) have harbored thoughts like that!!!!!

 

Ah…………………………………… faint.

 

And at this point, the very pleasant and very Holy spirit sends a reminder:

 

"Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

HE (in a loud voice) will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak (moi moi moi!).

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint"

Isaiah 40:28- 30

 

Beautiful is our God, the universe will sing. Hallelujah to You our King.

 

I’m thankful I’m not doing this alone. God who created Sophie will bring her to completion and the fact that He is willing to use a broken vessel like me proves His amazing grace and love. I’m honored God chose me to be Sophie’s mum. I think she’s an amazing girl.

Thoughts on next issue of SOL

The Previous Issue’s Cover Page. Irene our designer illustrated and did the mag layout. So pretty!

 

I’m really thankful for all the people who have worked hard on the Seasons of Life (SOL) articles.

 

I got an sms from Renita saying she’s taken leave from work just to finish hers up today. And Brian worked thru his precious weekend while on reservist.

 

Since I’ve been working on this mag, I’ve just been amazed again and again by the providence of God. Sometimes I cannot believe how it’s just so easy doing God’s will, if only I can just stop to pray and inquire of the Lord. Almost each time we’ve asked people to write, they have been more than glad and each time the articles speak to many.

 

The next issue is on young adults. One issue that keeps surfacing is how do I balance it all?

 

I think we really need to break out of two mindsets – one being, balance. Balance always connotes there being two parts whether equal or not (imagine a balancing scale). There is nothing to balance if it’s a whole. The divided heart needs to balance but the heart (life) wholly committed to Christ, is whole and therefore, in essence one. Of course there’s still another level, everything is a service to the Lord but still, how much time do I spend at work, ministry and with my family? I learnt this from Landa Cope (YWAM speaker) once and it has stuck ever since. There is no such thing as prioritising, just do what the Lord says. Some days family is put first, other days maybe the Lord will ask you to put ministry above family trusting that He will look after the family (Yes! He does that) and so on. It really boils down to the Lordship of Christ. I think the scariest Christians who mislead the world are those who think they can still function as two parts.

 

The other mindset – church ministry = serving. I find that in interviewing many Christians, esp young/new Christians, they have this idea that to serve means they need to be involved in some kind of ministry at church. Even when I started to serve in worship ministry last year again (and I only did so because the Lord spoke REALLY loudly), someone said to me "Welcome back!" and someone said "Ni cong chu jiang hu", like as if I’ve been hiding from service. The truth? I’ve been enjoying myself sitting in the comfort of my Lord’s feet (oh plus changing nappies, night feeds etc but that’s still secondary service). Only coz He said to. You see, serving is being a servant to (someone). Servants don’t run around doing everything, they only do what the Master says.

 

I think when we begin to break out of these two mindsets can we begin to be servants unto the Lord. I’m still in rehab, a lot of unlearning to do.

 

 

 

 

Dwelling

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days.

 

Actually it’s been a while. I’ve just been bombarded by a lot of bad news recently. News of broken relationships, some pretty close friends. Couples who have been together for a long time and split up. Some married, some engaged, some dating. Plus James has been sick and Sophie just started coughing. I also feel a bit worn out from all the activities.

 

I had a pretty good day today despite all the "low" emotions. I guess since the little one is not well I too had to take a breather and rest. We did a lot of random painting and craft work. I find that Sophie is most entertained when she’s rummaging our art supply cupboard (which is slowly bursting out of its seams!). I just did whatever she wanted today to minimise the fuss, for her and for me. It’s just one of those days and thank God it turned out pretty good. Funny thing was she didn’t want to nap and I was too lazy to make her so I let her be. We just laid on the bed playing a card game until I fell asleep (for a bit) and she let me while she continued playing the game (it’s a matching game). James came back to run an errand and brought Sophie with him while I went to the supermarket. When she got really cranky, James talked her into napping and she did. How nice.

 

I made her some creamy soup for dinner, served with toast and she finished it all. I’m thankful for little things like that coz sometimes it’s just so hard to get her to eat!

 

In times like these I just need to keep reminding myself to look upwards instead of inwards.

 

Treasured words

"But his mother treasured all these things in her heart." Luke 2:51

 

The desire of my heart is to write about the things of God but somehow writing about them superficially doesn’t quite cut it. Sometimes with all that is happening within me, it can be pretty overwhelming. I can only sit, wonder and pray. Today is one of those days. It can snowball into being worrying and depressive but thankfully reading from another source and of course leading me to read the main source (the bible) brought me back to "Do not worry…" Matt 6:25. At times, all else fails, only the Lord understands that we worry. But yet he says, "Do not worry… because your heavenly Father knows…."

 

I’m held by your love… upheld by your strength. This I treasure.

Morning Walk Encounters

Every morning, Sophie and I will take a walk around the estate and then go play at the playground.

 

In the past year, I’ve made a few friends around the estate – mostly grannies, nannies and helpers. Even the bangladeshi worker. These are the people in the neighbourhood.

 

Some things that I notice and hear here that really tug at my heart.

 

I see a lot of half asleep and some weepy babies and kids in pajamas being dropped off with grandparents and helpers. It’s such a common sight here. I feel so bad for the parents. It must be so hard to leave the kids behind and go off to work. I can totally understand. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that.

 

This morning I met a nanny with a 17 mth old girl (There are quite a number of nannies around my estate and we chat from time to time.). We were chatting for a while and the girl started whining coz I think she was getting uncomfortable in the pram. To my horror, the nanny shouted "Shut up lah, you think what i’m doing? I’m talking! …" I was so shocked! I quickly ended the conversation and went on my way. She was really nice you know. I really didn’t expect that from her. It made me think about what she did with the girl at home.

 

Another time I was with Sophie in the changing room at Great World City and I heard a helper shout at the boy "You stupid boy! …"

 

Even with grandparents, I’ve noticed that some are very unwilling babysitters and they complain about having to watch the baby. Some keep the baby on the stroller the entire day and chit chat with their friends all day at the void deck.

 

It’s really scary to think what kids are exposed to when the parents are not around.

 

But on the other hand, I’ve met a really nice nanny who said sadly that the boy’s parents only pick him up very late and hardly bring new clothes for him.

 

It’s really precious to have loving people to watch our kids if we can’t do it ourselves. Up till this point I’ve not been able to let anyone other than my parents or in laws watch Sophie. She’s just too precious.

 

 

No More Space

I think we’ve officially ran out of space in our house.

 

There is really no more space to stack any more baby clothes or toys. I like it when my friend told us in her kids’ birthday invite not to buy anything because there’s simply no more space. I can totally identify.

 

A few friends and I have started a toy exchange program (not so serious). Our kids are the same age so we’ve been going to each other’s place to check out the toys and exchanging them. It’s been really great coz Sophie saw the newly borrowed toys and went "wah!" really loudly. I was so pleased coz I didn’t need to pay a single cent for it.

 

On a more serious note, it’s really time to simplify and live differently. By creating less demand and wastage, hopefully we can help save a tiny bit of the world’s resources. I had a little chat over MSN with our beloved Pastor Dan recently and we talked about how the world is potentially heading towards anarchy. There is no way we can continue to maintain our current lifestyle in the near future. With resources running out and world population increasing, the prices are going to increase (as already predicted for next year) and people are going to feel the lack and fight over the little that is left. By the way, our fav mutton kway teow soup increased from $3 to $3.50!! Our weekly indulgence has just gone up by $1! This is just a small indication of what’s going to happen in the near future.

 

As Christmas approaches and as the year comes to an end, maybe it’s time to reflect on what is truly important. Maybe, just maybe by reducing the things in our lives, we create more space in our hearts for God, ourselves and the people around us.

Back on Schedule

Schedules are extremely important to a choleric pretending to be a sanguine person like me. Even more so now that I am a stayhome mum. Schedules keep me sane and things predictable.

 

Since coming back from Shanghai, I tried to change Sophie’s schedule to this

 

8am Wake up and Breakfast

9am Play

11am Lunch and Bath

12pm Nap

2pm Play

3pm Tea

530pm Dinner and Bath

7pm Sleep

 

because one day she slept for 2 hrs for her nap and the next day she slept for 1 1/2 hrs so I thought, wow!, maybe it’s time to change her nap schedules to allow for more time to go out in the morning and afternoon. It was great while it lasted coz one morning we went to Borders in the morning and had breakfast and all without any hurry to come home for her nap.

 

But duh, it didn’t occur to me she was just adjusting to being back home from all the travelling. The next day, she woke up after 1/2 hr. !?!?!

 

After that, she refused to sleep longer than 1 hour for her nap so we’re back to

 

7am Wake up and Breakfast

8am Play

11am Nap

12pm Lunch and Bath

1pm Play

2.30pm Tea

3pm Nap

4pm Play

530pm Dinner

7pm Sleep

 

She struggles more to sleep now coz she’s so ACTIVE! There’s just so much to see and do! But it’s just a season coz she’s back to sleeping comfortably at 7pm again. For a week or so since coming back, she has been crying to sleep, sometimes even up till an hour. Sigh… I thought we were done with sleep training but nay, apparently they’ll keep challenging it up till 21 years of age. HAHAH… beyond that, it’s not within my control anymore i’m afraid.

 

The thing about having kids is that they keep on changing. Esp babies. So the schedules keep changing. That drives highly choleric (schedule conscious) mums absolutely crazy. I think that’s why a lot of highly driven women i know go nuts when they have babies. Like we are in absolute control of our workplace and subordinates but have absolutely no control over our lil one. I mean they don’t really tell you when they wanna eat, pee or puke right?

 

But I thank God coz I’m learning to relinquish control. Hopefully and prayerfully. :)

 

 

Impulsiveness or Discipleship

This is from yesterday’s My Utmost for his Highest. It’s beautiful and a timely reminder. It really tugs at my heart because I know the Holy Spirit says this is what I have called you to:- Holiness in daily dish washing, diaper changing and joy in the managing a little one who is starting to show her tantrums. If you can excel in this by My grace, you can excel in the darkest of places and times.

 

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith . . . —Jude 20

 

There was nothing of the nature of impulsive or thoughtless action about our Lord, but only a calm strength that never got into a panic. Most of us develop our Christianity along the lines of our own nature, not along the lines of God’s nature. Impulsiveness is a trait of the natural life, and our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God gives a sense of restraint to impulsiveness, suddenly bringing us a feeling of self-conscious foolishness, which makes us instantly want to vindicate ourselves. Impulsiveness is all right in a child, but is disastrous in a man or woman—an impulsive adult is always a spoiled person. Impulsiveness needs to be trained into intuition through discipline.

 

Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he "followed Him at a distance" on dry land ( Mark 14:54 ). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.