Glimmer

Grey
Monotonous melodies
Permeating tepid atmospheres
Of meaning and mistakes
Big breaks, gargantuan falls
Grace, soft and tender
Lining clouds of thunderous tempest
Unheard, unseen
Angels aplenty
Unsteady, hoping
For better things
Brighter rays to illuminate faded portraits
Of perfection, perplexity
Animosity, confusion
Dissolution
Dilution of truth
If not for a tiny glimmer;
Undying truth
Amidst constant love
Faith to last
Emergent and extraordinary
Just faint reflections
Where, when, how yet unknown
Mysteries whisper
Eternal, unchanging realities
Enough to light skies ominous
Reach into hearts of stone
Just when you thought it’s an end of itself —
Hope reaches in
And breathes life once again.

*Dedicated to all who wait in hope and those who’ve lost the plot, but not the faith.

Provision

Life, it seems, is this odd collection of events, jumbled together in seemingly random combinations.

Just when I think I’m finally about to get a breather and play catch-up with things I’ve been neglecting for too long, something new springs up and my attention is diverted again.

For once, I actually managed to get my work done way ahead of schedule. And so I thought I’d have this considerable amount of time to get the home organised and perhaps, even be able to indulge in some hobbies for awhile.

But alas, something evil lurks about in the background. Well, somewhat.

I get a new ad-hoc request for work. My son falls sick and has to skip school.

My life is topsy turvy once again. Goodbye, plans.

I ought to get back to bed soon. I fell asleep not intending to earlier, and then was awakened twice in between all that by my son, who is currently running a fever.

I had a shower after we took his temperature and gave him meds. And now I’ve just finished having a midnight snack (way past midnight, really) of air fried frozen nuggets and lettuce with Kewpie sesame dressing. Listened to some new music via Facebook and indulged my curiosity for a bit in the singing couple, Us The Duo, who are currently doting over their firstborn infant.

Ah, why do so many women look so gorgeous post delivery and during the first year of their newborn’s life? I remember looking worse than crap and feeling pretty much the same too. I was stumped on what to wear, and struggled to locate breastfeeding friendly clothes from my wardrobe (didn’t really want to spend unnecessarily on nursing wear, so tried my best to use what I have). My hair was pretty much in a bun most of the time, unless I finally chopped more than half of it off in an attempt to simplify grooming (which I clearly had no time to do, especially in that first year of parenthood).

I guess I don’t expect to feel any better when #2 makes his/her entrance into the world. Only good thing is, as my ob/gyn says, I have the benefit of experience now. So I know what to expect, more or less. Ha.

International Women’s Day has just passed lately and being a Work-At-Home Mum (WAHM), there was no employer to surprise me with flowers or delightful treats at my (non-existent) work desk. In fact, I spent last Friday mostly working in a silent home while being grateful that I actually could find the time to work because my son could attend preschool that day as his flu seemed to be getting better. (It has since morphed into a cough and fever. Bah.)

Anyway, social media reminded me through the many posts of others that this significant day was being commemorated. So it made me think for a moment about my womanhood and how it has been so far.

In some ways, it’s sad to think that I had to choose to become a WAHM because my former employer had no options available for me to explore in terms of more flexible work arrangements. Perhaps it might have been different for my career had I been able to remain a journalist in some form or measure while raising my young son. But that was not to be.

So ultimately, being a Mum came with certain choices that needed to be made. Essentially, this is part of being a woman too. As much as men sometimes like to belittle the female gender saying we harp too much on gender equality and all that, the truth is sometimes that we do have a different set of life circumstances dealt to us just because we are female. And we do need every bit of support we can get from others (men included) to help make it possible for us to become the best people we can be. And to not let being a woman become a hindrance in any way.

Just my two cents.

On another matter, I am marvelling at how God is graciously providing for us during this pregnancy so far. I am thankful for a uni friend who so happens to be also pregnant at this time (our EDDs are like just weeks apart, with me being in the lead). We are both also expecting our second child, so that makes our experiences pretty similar in nature. This makes me feel not so alone in my journey.

I remember I had a similar situation last time during my first pregnancy with Jamie. A friend I knew from my days in iBridge (a Christian ministry to support young adults who are just entering the workforce) and I were pregnant with EDDs that were also just weeks apart.

It was cool. We shared so much with each other throughout our pregnancies, and we also discussed so much together throughout the first year of our parenthood experience. (However, things changed rapidly moving from then onwards, and we haven’t been as much in touch as before – but that is a tale for another time).

These are just little stuff, but it really does help.

Got plenty more things to be worried about this pregnancy (costs of healthcare being one), but I’m trying my hardest to take things one step at a time.

Meanwhile, I am also thinking a lot about whether I am doing enough to bring out the potential in my eldest child. I have seen him grow so much in the past few months, and I’ve never been prouder. But I also know there’s going to be a lot of changes ahead for him. I wonder whether we will be able to help him navigate through this season well.

Guess I have to trust that God will provide for us in every way, be it in terms of physical needs or even the emotional/mental/spiritual aspects of this part of our family’s journey. He has been faithful all throughout past seasons, of course, so I have literally no excuse to believe that things would be any different now.

(Small note: The image you see at the start of the post is my son’s masterpiece of arranging magnetic music notes on my old music board which my Mum kept since my preschool days lol).

Solution

One of the biggest dilemmas of life is this: To understand what you are here for and what you should do about it.

Intertwined into this terribly complex subject matter is the issue of your faith. It is not just about what you fill into the Religion field of a form detailing your personal details. It is the entire trajectory of your life. The sum of all your life choices, convictions and the very core of what makes up your personality. The sense you make of your past. The force driving you to push forward into a better future.

These are such important aspects of your life that they are so hard to fathom. And even tougher to write about.

Yet I feel that I should attempt once again to talk about these things to you, my dear reader. It’s been a long time since I have done this. And regrettably so. But I have had such a hard time sorting out these thoughts in my head for a very long time. In fact, I continue to ponder some of these issues every day. Some questions remained unanswered. But time and again, I have found that I have enough to keep me going, to assure me of things yet to come.

So I am writing this post with the intention of communicating the hope that I have found for myself. That impetus for things unknown. That anchor for the soul.

I am here to talk about my journey of faith and where it has taken me. I feel small, because my tale pales in comparison to so many other more spectacular ones out there. Yet this is my story. And it ought to be the song I sing to any willing to listen. Or in this case, whosoever should read these posts of mine.

There’s so much of background stories to address that I don’t know where to start, honestly. But let’s just talk about what’s happening currently. And then maybe, if the need arises, we can, figuratively speaking, travel through time to help it all make better sense to you.

I am, at the moment, a mother to a toddler on the brink of preschool, and a wife to a man contemplating a career move. I am also a self employed individual, supplementing family income, but at a reduced capacity due to my choice to work at home to look after my son.

I am also the daughter to church leaders. My father is an elder of a small independent Charismatic church, and my mother has been in and out of church leadership roles in support of my father’s position throughout the years. My parents have also played a part in pioneering several churches that are now among the biggest ones in the Klang Valley. This is my legacy and the foundations upon which my life has been built.

I am a Christian, both by heritage, but also by personal choice. I believe in upholding virtues of truth, justice and integrity at all costs. I live my life seeking a higher purpose, one that is determined by God alone and which I believe He would reveal to me if I maintained a close relationship with Him.

I question daily the decisions that I have made to be where I am presently. Did I choose right? Is it affecting my family’s quality of life in a positive way?

One major dissatisfaction that I consistently have is with regards to the state of my spiritual life, because I used to do so much more in this area than what I do today. In essence, I often feel displaced, unsure of my footing and what I should be aiming for. The destination I should be heading towards.

I do not have a lot of the answers I long for. I am frequently cynical when I review my past and what it has made me become. Sometimes I feel somewhat resentful towards God because I was promised a lot in my earlier days, and it doesn’t seem like any of it is materialising at all in real life.

I have reached a point in life where I openly admit that I have no idea anymore where I’m headed in life. I just know, for every given moment in time, what my focus should be and which responsibilities I should shoulder. Currently, I believe my main objective is to nurture my family (support my husband in whatever he does and raise my child well).

What I am certain of is that the decision to be at home with my son and relinquish a full time job was God’s will for me at the time my son was born. What I was (and am) not sure about was how long this would last or what should happen next. I am reaching the point where I need to contemplate what this should be.

Amidst this uncertainty, while I was attending Sunday service, I was prayed for by one of the prominent women in my church. At the time she approached me, I was praying with Luke 5:5 in mind. I was telling God that all I needed was a word. A word from Him and I would spring into action to do whatever it was that He desired of me.

And then this lady prayed for me. Much was said, but the one thing I want to share here is that she mentioned that I was seeking a solution and that God was my solution. A cliche thing, I suppose, to any bystander eavesdropping on us. But to me, it clicked somehow.

I am worrying about how my husband and I will afford preschool for my son. We have yet to work it all out, or to even decide on where to send him. But this. This timely encouragement from a church member who knows almost nothing about the finer details of my life, is what I needed to hear.

I am still working things out over here. But I am comforted.

And this brings me to the main thing I would like to say in this post. The fact that we are always questioning and seeking what God’s will for our lives is. He most definitely has a master plan for it all, but the reasons that He only reveals it partially to us are unknown. What I do know now is that He does this on purpose, and it’s for a good reason. Because if He told all, we’d likely think we are smart enough to make it without Him. But we aren’t. So we need to trust that when He is in charge, it will all be alright.

We need to have faith. To abandon the familiar paths and formulas and conventional wisdom that others tell us is the right way to go. We have to realise that ours is a unique journey, and that nothing or no one can prepare us for it. Yet we have all that we need to make it through. We have Jesus. He is all we ever need.

* * *

Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word, I will let down the net.”

And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”

So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

– Luke 5:4-11 (NKJV)

Michael W. Smith: A Million Lights

Just heard this song for the first time awhile ago. And I felt I just wanted to post it. However short this post may be. It being 4+am in the morning and all.

Michael W. Smith’s music has been such a big part of my life, all throughout my growing years. So many songs with tons of memories to go with them. I even had a book of piano scores for his The First Decade album which I meticulously learned to play, even memorising quite a few of them.

Even in the not-so-distant past while I was still a journalist, I remember being greatly encouraged by his more recent tunes such as You Won’t Let Go.

I don’t really know much about how he gets the inspiration for his songs or puts together the content, but I can say I have been greatly blessed by his music. This guy who is much older than I am and who lives so far away in another continent from me has made an impact in my life. I can only hope that I can someday have such a great influence on someone else.

Anyway, with regards to this presently new tune, what struck me the most was the lyrics of the second verse:

A million days
In every one I’ve seen Your face
I know I’ll never be alone
Even darkness comes awake

For You
All the stars are singing
With You
Every day I’m feeling
Alive

Even darkness comes awake.

Easy to forget, and yet, it is right there amidst the opening lines of the Bible. And if He can command light from darkness, surely everything else about my life is just a cinch to Him. It’s this assurance that makes all those million days or more of life worth battling through.

I’m not as alive as I used to be, especially in a spiritual, inner being sense. But perhaps the stars ought to remind me of those things that never change: how He holds everything together.

Hope you like the song as much as I do.

Providence and unmerited favour

Here I am to give praise where praise is much overdue.

Deric and I have been talking a lot about our finances lately. It’s mostly because we are thinking ahead in anticipation of what changes to our household expenditure will take place once our little Jamie joins the family.

It’s pretty scary whenever we come to a new juncture in our married life together where we’re facing something new and unknown before us.

One other example of a past experience we weathered together was the time when my father-in-law fell ill and needed to be admitted into a nursing home so he could be under constant care.

It was really worrying for us at that time because it meant a huge chunk coming out of our monthly earnings just to cover for his nursing home fees. To be honest, it didn’t leave us with any savings. In fact, it put us in a situation of deficit a lot of the time.

But somehow, we pulled through. Our existing savings dipped quite a fair bit throughout that time all the way until my father-in-law eventually passed away. Yet we never reached the point of becoming completely broke.

Fast forward to more than a year and a half later, and we have managed to build up our savings again. Not only that, both Deric and I have had increments to our respective salaries, and the occasional bonuses that have really been timely and helped us get through each month.

It’s been especially amazing during this period of my pregnancy.

Although technically it’s not possible to claim for gynae consultation fees (or any medical expense at all that is related to pregnancy) from our insurance companies nor from the medical coverage we get from our employers, Deric’s organisation does offer him as an employee another form of flexi benefits through which we can utilise to cover some of the medical costs we’ve borne.

So, in other words, we didn’t always have to fork out our own cash to cover for the regular check ups I’ve had to do in the past six months or so in the hospital.

And now, at the start of 2015, we are again blessed by another round of increments and company bonuses. This is again very timely, because we need a little more cash to prepare for my upcoming delivery in about 3 months’ time.

We are by no means rich, but are certainly comforted that we will have enough set aside to at least welcome Jamie into this world without financial anxiety.

I can only thank Jesus for all the times we’ve survived financially in our marriage thus far. It is not because we are so very competent in our jobs or that we are special in any way as compared to other couples our age. There is nothing that particularly sets us apart from everyone else around us. Just that God has been extremely gracious.

It might sound like a cliche statement to some of you reading this, but honestly, when it’s something that you go through personally in your own life, it feels different.

You realise how true it is when the Bible says that God will provide for you and that you aren’t to worry too much about it all. And when you look back and see how well taken care you have been by that Invisible Hand who has been holding your life together, you can no longer doubt that the unmerited favour you have come to enjoy is yours just because you are His.

* * *

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

– ‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭25-34 (New King James Version)