Learning to Trust

trustme illshowyou

The past month has been a rough one. With assignments, presentations, celebrations, frustrations, and a generous sprinkling of troubles, I’m certainly grateful that I was able to find the time to write.

While I encountered a fair amount of challenges this month, there were also the memorable moments.

Like a toddler clutching my finger.

Like smiling into the eyes of a mischievous child.

Like watching a video with friends.

Like lunch with my best friend.

Like the satisfaction of drawing a bow across my violin strings.

Like hugging a loved one.

Like celebrating a group accomplishment.

Like giggling fits.

Like music flowing from the piano keys.

Like looking through old photos.

Like chatting with buddies.

Like the joy of seeing the enthusiasm and excellence of those who learn from an imperfect me.

Yes, it has been a memorable month, with the usual surprise ups and downs.

Very, very soon, I’ll be leaving for a mission trip. My first ever.

People have asked me, “Are you excited?” because my friends have been there, done it, and they love it.

But you know what? I’m apprehensive. Unsure of what to expect. Scared, even. I place my fears on being at a loss for what to do at airports. I place my fears on overpacking or underpacking. I place my fears on accidentally breaking team rules.

But really, I don’t even know what I’m afraid of.

“Half-half,” was my reply. Grammatically wrong, I know. And they were shocked.

“Why??? You should be jumping with impatience and anticipation!”

Am I different? Am I weird? Is something the matter with me?

No.

I don’t know what I’m afraid of, but I do know this. I’m unprepared. Inadequate. Unqualified.

Recently, I read a blog by a wonderful sister, and this caught my eye:

God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

That’s a comforting thought for me.

As I think back to times past, I notice that it is in times like this- when I realise that I cannot do something, that I don’t have the ability to do something, that I am running low on fuel (or practice :$ )- that I turn to God and cry out to Him for mercy, strength, and grace.

And strangely, it is in those times that miraculous things happen. It doesn’t always happen, and when it does, it’s not always in the way I expect. But if I look at those times, and I look at where I am now…

You know what? I think God’s trying to tell me, “Hey, girl, don’t try to do this on your own. Trust Me. I have your back. Trust Me and let Me do the work. You do your best. I’ll do the rest.”

trustme

Writing this post, I realise that this and a few of my previous posts all relate to trust. Is God teaching me a lesson in trusting Him? Maybe… 🙂

Much love,

Szen.

A Painful Lesson

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I remember yesterdays like
Intermittent dewdrops of sweet honey.
I remember them like
Teardrops running down my cheeks.

I remember yesterdays like
An autumn breeze, and gold leaves askew.
I remember them like
An unrelenting fog, clouding my vision.

I remember yesterdays like
A child among the playful, lapping waves.
I remember them like
The angry ocean’s saltine spray mingling with my own.

I remember yesterdays like
Clear blue skies, and cotton poufs of stories.
I remember them like
Dark, gloomy nights, and thunder rolling in my ears.

I remember yesterdays like
Swaying fronds of delicate fern.
I remember them like
Evil tendrils of vine that curl around my neck.

I remember yesterdays like
Footprints in the sand, untouched by the sea.
I remember them like
A mess of sand, a reminder of when two friends fought.

I remember yesterdays like
Windswept hair, and tinkling laughter.
I remember them like
Wild tresses, tousled in the wake of a sleepless night.

I remember yesterdays like
An antique musical box- a refreshing melody to my ears.
I remember them like
A forgotten relic, damaged in the fray, but held dear in my heart.

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sunset girls

When I was eleven, my friend and I became special friends. We had known each other for years, just that- well, it was a normal relationship. We admired each other, and enjoyed each other’s company, and that was it.

For months, a friend had tried to damage our friendship by gossiping about us behind our backs. But both of us were aware of it and determined that nothing would keep us apart.

We shared the same interests, the same hobbies, the same passions.

We could talk to each other for hours about anything and everything.

But at the end of the next year, something DID separate us. 

Just a simple dispute. A simple misunderstanding about a missing item.

And our friendship ended there. 

We stopped speaking to each other. Stopped texting. Stopped emailing. Stopped sending letters. 

Well, maybe not exactly. But it was always one-sided. At first, she continued to reply my emails with short, snappy ones. Two months after our disagreement, she sent me a happy birthday email.

And of course, I replied. But she didn’t.

She never replied one single email or letter after that.

Up to this day, I still don’t know why.

I’ve never seen her since, even though I used to meet her a few times each week.

That was three years ago.

And to this day, when I think of her, tears still well up in my eyes. My lip still quivers. I still feel the pain as acutely as when it first happened.

Today is her birthday. 

She loved blue. 

So many things remind of her. She was such a big part of my life that everything somehow eventually links back to memories of her.

Today is her birthday.

Happy birthday, my dear friend. I still love you.

While that broken relationship still pains me, there is still something I can thank God for.

I was extremely attached to her. I knew she wasn’t the best influence for me, but, um. She was a Christian, anyhow. Maybe if I compromised some things and pushed my parents’ boundaries for me, things would work out?

But no. I refused to let her go, so God forced me to, I guess.

And, let me tell you this. It hurts. A lot.

For countless nights after that, I lay in bed crying and thinking of her. Yes, even after more than a year. 

But letting her go freed me from myself. 

I had decided I would be faithful to her. No one else would be my special friend.

But things didn’t work out. So, my heart was freed from my own loyalty to her. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. She still holds her special place in my heart. But now, I’ve realised the lie I believed in, and I opened my heart to allow God to lead the right friends to me.

And sure enough, the next year, He did. 

2014, in that tent? I was talking with the girl who is now my best friend. We were talking about letting our treasures go- in our cases, our friends. 

Neither of us knew it then, but that “break-up” with my special friend- God had a purpose in it. 

It’s a lesson for me to remember. When things don’t go the right way, I need to trust that He has something in mind. Yes, it’s easier said than done. But it’s happened countless times. When a dream was shattered, He built me a greater surprise. When a door was slammed shut, He showed me other doorways.

But that’s another story, for another day. 🙂

Here‘s something I’d like to share with you- something that gave me strength when I didn’t even have enough to ask God for more. ^^

Blessings, and a big hug from my corner of the world!

Szen

The Plans He Has

A lot has been happening the past week. And as I look back, I realise how God has a purpose for each trial that He has put into my life.

There are certain challenges that our family has been facing. I won’t talk about that here, but I’ll say that it is often extremely tough and we wonder how we will overcome our trials. Sometimes, I question why we experience all these things from the rough side of life.

Last week, during a meeting, we had to make a decision on a certain matter- something we were unable to do- but God provided the means for us through a thoughtful friend. Shortly after, I noticed a young child. This child’s family, I knew, was also unable to do this.

I contemplated. I hesitated.

The child needed it.

But, I thought. Will this child want to accept my help?

I looked at the child again.

That innocent face, those pleading eyes.

And I decided to give the child some of what I had.

The child didn’t know anything about the situation or the decision-making. At least not that it was obvious.

The child was happy that someone had decided to share.

Nothing more than that.

“Yes, please. Thank you.”

That was enough for me.

I didn’t need a thank you. Just watching the child’s happiness- that blissful ignorance.

That was enough for me.

I looked around me. No one else had noticed the child.

And now, as I write, I realise that the situation my family had been in had enabled me to see the child’s need and do my part to meet it.

Aren’t God’s plans intriguing?

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About two days later, we ran into a sticky situation. I was left reeling in shock.

I’ll be honest, I was having my doubts about God before that. I was questioning why God put me where I am. For a moment I even thought about turning my back on God.

That incident? It was God kicking me in the back. There was nothing else I could do. The only thing left for me to do was to rely on His strength to bring me through.

I was stunned. Unsure of how to respond. Scared. In fact, it would be an understatement to say I was terrified.

I had no choice but to rely on Him with every bit of me. Every drop of blood in me cried out to Him to have mercy. To be gracious with us. With me.

God sometimes has a sobering sense of humour. The incident turned out to be nothing very big, but it has left its mark on us, and I know I will remember that kick in the back that God gave me that day.

It’s a tough battle to fight- keeping one’s faith in the midst of trials. But I look back at what God has done, and I see His mighty hand, working out His plan.

And I’m comforted. Yes. It’s hard.

But He has His plans for me. Plans for good and not for evil. Plans to give me a hope and a future.

As I’ve seen in the past week, sometimes the most uncomfortable circumstances can be used by Him to fulfil His purposes.

The plans He has?

I’m choosing to allow Him to lead me. Yes, to lead me according to His plan.

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Reflections // 90 Minutes in Heaven

Hey there!

On Sunday, I watched the movie “90 Minutes in Heaven,” and decided to do a short review. So, I’m doing an extra post this week!

Here’s the synopsis, as found on the 90 Minutes in Heaven website.

“On the way home from a conference, Don Piper’s car was crushed by a semitruck that crossed into his lane. Medical personnel said he died instantly. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper experienced the glories of heaven, awed by its beauty and music. 90 minutes after the wreck, while a minister prayed for him, Piper miraculously returned to life on earth with only the memory of inexpressible heavenly bliss. Then his grueling recovery began.”

The movie had me hooked. Yes. So much that it took me an hour to finish a small styrofoam cupful of popcorn.

But that’s beside the point.

So, here’s to the review.

Positive Elements

Don Piper showed an obvious love for his family, and exhibited fine leadership qualities as a father. His zeal for the LORD, though somewhat abated during his recovery period, is evident in his conduct.

Much of the movie is about Don’s recovery period, during which we see inspiring examples of how friends and family supported the Pipers in their time of difficulty. His wife, Eva Piper, sacrificed much to care for him. We also see courageous Christian leaders stepping out to do what was needed for Don, and creating a positive impact on others.

Violence

The accident and hospital scenes are, in my opinion, quite gory. Don’s crash was a terrible one, leaving him in a gruesome condition.

Sexual Content

Don kisses and holds his wife several times in the movie.

Crude or Profane Language

None.

Drug or Alcohol Content

Don is given pain-relieving medication while in the hospital.

Negative Elements

Minimal. There is a little “pee” joke after the dog pees in the living room, and another mild one when his complicated apparatus gets stuck on the toilet seat.

Some would probably disagree with me on this, but I think Don was clearly depressed, having lost all desire to live.

Conclusion

This is a great movie that I would definitely recommend! However, I’d say to be wary if you are easily put off by bloody scenes. I could identify with Don and Eva in several scenes, and though the characters do seem “perfect,” their weaknesses do show up in several places. But overall, the message that the movie left me with was an incredibly encouraging and motivating one: Sometimes we don’t end up fulfilling our dreams; God uses them to help us discover His purpose for us. And isn’t that what we all want? To be who He wants us to be? To bless others? The answer for me is most certainly a “Yes!”

Grateful – 2 Years and Counting

im here for you proved

It was nearly midnight. I crawled wearily into my sleeping bag, but couldn’t help noticing the girl beside me, holding a Bible and flashlight.

Now, who in the world would dream of reading Scripture in the dead of the night after a long, exhausting day of hiking, games, outdoor cooking, and team activities?

So it wasn’t just those homeschooled girls who had been zealously brought up in the faith who had real relationships with God.

It wasn’t just those ministry people who were aflame for God.

It wasn’t just those people who’d had dramatic encounters with God who really had Him in their lives.

Normal people like her could, too.

I wanted to experience the type of relationship that she had with God. I wanted to know what it was about God that meant so much to her. I wanted to feel for myself this God that she had such a personal relationship with, she felt something was missing in a day without time spent with Him.

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She is beautiful. Maybe not to others, but to me, she is simply beautiful.

Beautiful- deep in her heart. Simplicity, honesty, humility, and that love for God. That’s what attracted me.

How much she, in this age, respected her parents, and wasn’t afraid to show it.

How she was willing to admit her mistakes, and share lessons she had learnt.

How she was courageous, standing firm in her beliefs despite the deteriorating moral standards of our culture today- music, fashion, conduct, language, you name it.

That night, we had our first real conversation. An honest, vulnerable, and yet fulfilling one like I had never had before. May 3, 2014. In a yellow-and-green tent, in the middle of the night. Yes.

Her voice still resonates in my mind. I still remember the passage we read and discussed that night.

Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

~Matthew 6:19-24

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Since that night two years ago, that relationship has grown. It is a gem to me- deeply treasured.

She’s stood by me in my happiest moments. She doesn’t waver when I make the dumbest mistakes. She always has a word of encouragement for someone who needs it.

Her spontaneity and enthusiasm are contagious. She’s willing to be vulnerable, and takes correction humbly.

She doesn’t fake it when she doesn’t understand. She doesn’t judge someone for their mistakes, actions, or emotions.

She respects those who tease her, and cares for everyone, no matter how insignificant.

She doesn’t look for admiration- she looks for ways to be a blessing and a light to others in her corner of the world.

She is motherly, caring, and kind. She is willing to sacrifice to help others.

And I know beyond a doubt, no matter how badly I’ve failed, she’s there cheering me on.

I know beyond a doubt, no matter how small my success, she’s happy for me.

I know beyond a doubt, she will be there for me through thick and thin.

Maybe not physically, but spiritually and emotionally, yes.

She is that friend – we don’t need to meet every day, or even every week. Sometimes we don’t even talk when we see each other- we just wave from a distance and carry on.

It’s really true. Real friends don’t need to talk to you all the time to be connected. Real friends are already connected to you.

1 universe, 9 planets, 245 countries, 809 islands, 7 seas, and I had the privilege of meeting her.

All by God’s grace.

Each moment spent with her, each memory that lingers here, each word that echoes in my ear- they’re all expressions of God’s grace.

And I’m so grateful for that.

It’s been two years, and I pray there will be many more to come.

I am truly grateful. 🙂

And as a final note to my beautiful bestie:

You’ve done so much for me, and walked so far for me.

Now, this is the least I can do for you. Love you so much!

cry shoulder hug pillow friend me