week eleven

There are a great ton of things to be thankful about today and this week.

School has not been easy and in fact, it’s been challenging me A lot and I get bogged down by it quite a whole lot. I find running an escape for me, often trying to get one hour out of the schedule to head for a run that often feels – liberating. When I run, its easy. All I hear is the sound of praise from my music playlist and my heart is always being lifted in those moments. My heart is always encouraged and enlarged – only when I choose to praise. It takes a huge load of discipline to set my heart to do it and I’m thankful for friends who have inspired me to do so!! Thankful for the good light-hearted conversations that we have!

And that’s in the evenings but when I get back home and start on work again, I often find myself whining about the impossible amount of workload ahead of me (which I still think is very true ) really will take a miracle from God to get past this semester. In those moments, I find myself relying a lot on the encouragement of friends around me – you all know who you are – thanks for dealing with all my whines HAHA its really quite bad. It stresses me out so much though I hate to admit it. But as the sem goes on, I realised just how much I try to take things under my own control. I sleep late and wake up early, totally not giving my body sufficient ret (no wonder my brain is degenerating) haha. Just yesterday as I tucked myself to sleep, I find my mind wandering and panicking a little because there is so little time and so much work – it felt so overwhelming to even choose to go to sleep. And I woke up to this,

Don’t let the lesson be lost on you. God wants to be trusted as the Great Worker who never tires and never sleeps. He is not nearly so impressed with our late nights and early mornings as he is with the peaceful trust that casts all anxieties on him and sleeps.

Evidently God is trying to say something haha. And in that moment I had to tell my heart and mind to rest and let God be in control. I have to tell myself that it’s alright to be sleeping a little earlier because rest is necessary. One thing at a time, slowly. Really just need to get past the next two weeks and the third one will be slightly less stressful without school lessons and all – just churning essays. It’s been a semester of 0530/0615 mornings and it’s taking a toll on me.

That aside, today I’m so glad for the mini discussion we had in class about truth. I was growing quite restless during class from settling some admin stuff but I caught myself and challenged myself to speak up when necessary. And it was this moment of feeling like “fire in my bones” except its chill in my bones HAH, I know I was quite stirred when I heard a friend commenting on truth as being a convenient stop-point for people. In that moment, my heart was just beating really fast because I felt a need to say otherwise. Truth is not easy and truth definitely isn’t just a convenient stop-point. In fact, I propose otherwise, in a world where relativism is everything, could it be that our laziness to search for absolute truth and our persistence on our own truths and reality (relative truth) is a convenient stop-point? Haha I was shaking in my seat, (possibly half the cold and half from raring to speak) It was daunting really, to know that postmodernism, relativism is very real in the classroom but at the same time, it was extremely comforting to know that the Spirit lives and is alive in the classroom that we speak – that I do not have to be afraid, but with gentleness and reasoning, voice out the thoughts I have. And haha its so funny I always send “HELPPPP” signals to Hannah and exchange funny looks with her haha. But its through all these that I learn to listen and to reason also. It was also in discussions like today’s that I am reminded about the importance and sometimes the harshness of truth. Truth can be hard to receive and hence we reject certain truths and prefer our versions of truths. Or we find truths too complex and complicated for understanding because we have to uncover so many plausible accounts of truths and take into consideration different people and factors. As I sat in the classroom, I am reminded that truth is simple. And it’s in such simplicity that it becomes profound. That is where the wisdom of God is necessary to help us discern what is truth and what is not, to help us to appreciate and stand for truth.

I admit that I’m not the brightest student around or the most articulate ones even. But I thank God for each opportunity and conversation to share and understand the heart of another. I ask God for opportunities everyday and He sure is gracious with them! I remember a wise friend once said, apologetics is not just for the intellectual but for everyone and invites all to come and learn about engaging our minds to love God. Therefore I cannot be lazy but I must press on – to love God with my heart, mind and soul.

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On the sidenote, there’s been so much on my mind that I need to properly sit down and process but time does not allow for now. So they’ll have to wait!  But really so thankful for the grace of God in the little things and the big ones and providing even for project work!!! God knows I need all the help I can get heh.

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my heart is to seek first

God’s time for further revelations of the heart might come later.  Tomorrow was not our business; it was His.  Letting it rest with Him was the discipline for the day, and it was enough.

Elisabeth Elliot

Discipline of the mind and knowing that we have the mind of Christ. Knowing that for from Him and to Him and through Him are all things.

God’s been teaching me so much in this season. And I thank God for friends that share with me in my moments of delight, confusion, uncertainty and stress! Hah.

When I was running on Wednesday, 3 words came to mind: stay the course.

And as I sat to journal on Friday, I am challenged with many questions,

what is the course of purity? what is the course of holiness?

what is the course of humility? what is the course of justice?

what is the course of self-control? what is the course of courage?

Peace that passes my understanding, love that conquers my fear and regret

Joy unending, eternal pleasure. In Your presence, my risen King.

I will seek first Your kingdom. I will seek first Your righteousness. 

Always easier said than done but definitely necessary to wrestle with.

 

 

 

 

 

surrender.

It’s 8:44am right now and I’m enjoying this moment of solitude in the school. Most of my classes usually start at about 0930 or 1030 and I have this tendency to come like one hour before my classes. I just like being early and planting myself somewhere to give me time to get ready for school.

These past few days I’ve been learning how to commune with Jesus all over again, especially on the way to school. It’s always never easy to focus on 1 thing especially when I’m a huge multi-tasker and it just makes me super distracted half the time! hah, talk about self-control. That’s something I’m learning also in this period. The essential idea of self-control that comes with waiting and not giving in. Control has a lot to do with our self-centredness because we want things to go the way we want it – as if our world collapses if they don’t. But truth is, the surrender of control often brings about a lot more clarity. And in the midst of learning how to surrender control and reducing self-centredness, we find ourselves on a road of sanctification.

This morning, I find God putting these words in me,

Help me to love You more than yesterday and sanctify me each day.

And loving Jesus more takes intentional effort and divine interference. I need the Spirit to draw me close to Him and I need to respond to that pull of the Spirit. And loving Jesus is hard, especially when my actions and standards don’t match up. Yesterday morning was tough. I overheard a conversation about ____ feeling upset that only his boss remembered his birthday and that broke me. Because I knew deep down, I was guilty of not expressing what I feel – I couldn’t even bring myself to wish _____ a happy birthday because I felt awkward and I didn’t know how to. At this point, there really were a lot of various emotions inside of me – awkwardness, uncertainty, fear and pride that stemmed from self-centredness. I have struggled with this for the past 9 years of my life and more, and everyday I find myself asking Jesus, what do You want me to do? How do I love in a manner that still keeps me safe?

Jesus sure is gentle and patient, slow to anger and abounding in love. As I made my way to school, helpless and upset with myself, He spoke to me. Haha it was really funny ok because my mood resembled the skies so much. It was a gloomy day, not much blue, but lots of clouds, keeping the sun out of sight. man, Jesus u know me. HAHAHA. But yeah so I began reading and praying and He reminded me through the devotionals that God helps me to do the things I cannot do. I cannot do the loving but in His love, I gain the strength and capacity to. (I know it sounds all easy and all but it really isn’t. It kills me everytime I fail to do it)

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In John 15:5, Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” So we really are paralysed. Without Christ, we are capable of no good. As Paul says in Roman 7:18, “Nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” But according to John 15:5, God intends for us to do something good – namely, bear fruit. So as our strong and reliable friend – “I have called you friends” (John 15:!5) – He promised to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.

And with that, I pray. Pray because I surrender my control of what I feel and what my flesh would rather me do. I pray because I so need the Spirit to give me the urge to do what is necessary.  The thought of Jesus speaking immediately to my situation just made so thankful that He is real. God truly does speaks, only if we listen and we ask.

I’m also beginning to realise and learn a lot that love is costly. Love doesn’t just cost me my time, effort, heart, you name it. Love also cost me – a lot of myself. A lot of self-denial and a lot of patience. And I’m not just talking about loving our friends and loved ones. I’m talking especially so, about loving people that’s very hard to love for various reasons.

And then Jesus gently reminded me, “Perfect love drives out all fear.”

Oh guess what, dear friend Claire Carter just sent me a quote in time to end this post. HAHAHA.

“The meaning of our lives emerges in the surrender of ourselves to an adventure of becoming who we are not yet.”

– Brennan Manning

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that same morning :’) The sun still shines through.

mentoring

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Alternate Fridays with Sherlyn :’)

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I think we’ve come a long way since last year? But I am so happy to see you where you are today! 🙂

Mentoring sessions with Sherlyn help me to learn alot! I learn how to let the Spirit speak! (especially when random questions come my way heh) I learn how important it is to discover the beauty of God’s word together with each other. (recall learning about Stephen and how his face was radiant with the glory of God and learning about John the Baptist, *cues the wilderness and wild honey* this man is a forerunner) I learn, most importantly, how to share life as friends and listen as well. ( cue “true friendship happens when…you choose toastbox over subway because ellie doesnt like bread”)

And I remember watching some Gospel Coalition video about mentoring girls that they do not have to come with excessive preparation but sometimes just simple hearts of coming to open the bible together and pouring into it. It’s so true!! But of course, preparation is still required nonetheless 🙂 heart mentally emotionally and spiritually.

There’s always much to offer, from her life and mine and how God has shaped each one of us! I also love how we can do Brennan Manning’s book together and just discuss about those words, and allowing them to strengthen our faith together!!

As I type this post, I am also extremely thankful for mentors in my life, whether unofficial or official, have loved and been there for me!! For being there and sharing their wisdom and experiences with me and just journeying with me as a friend, a sister and a mentor. For that, I am eternally grateful.

🙂 God provides people to journey with us every step of the way, through the various seasons!!

week 7

It’s Week 7 of school already and wow, pretty intense 7 weeks. Just submitted another assignment and was out researching for my next paper. Took a short break and watched some videos of Todd White in Israel and man, they were so encouraging :’) I was reminded immediately to be praying for exchange, to ready my hearts for the people we are going to meet, the lives that we can potentially touch and vice versa. Not just a matter of walking the land Jesus walked, but learning how He walked amongst His people.

These days I’ve been praying for alot of clarity and discernment and a realisation that I’m so bad at identifying what I feel. But that aside, I am so thankful for 6.15am days and reading Elisabeth Elliot’s Be Still my Soul that Judith got me! I figured that my body will be dog tired by the time I reach Fridays and the weekends. Need to do something about that.

One good thing though, I’ve been enjoying poetry and creative writing class so much :’)

this afternoon was a first.

first time feeling defeated

first time almost bursting into tears.

first time I almost wanted to just quit.

But thankfully, I feel better now. I kept asking myself why it mattered to me that I did well for the presentation even though everyone’s pretty much MIA and that made it so tiring. To be honest, I’ve never gone through a horrible presentation before and this was a first. And I disliked how I had to carry the team even though I’m not good at the subject and I asked for patience to deal with group members who don’t seem to care. And then I just wanted to show some grace.

Yet at the moment of the presentation I think something inside of me snapped.

I kept singing “Jesus everything I count as loss – just to know You and to be known  as Yours” over and over again, to remind myself that all these too, shall pass. All these too, are vanity under the sun.

Eternal perspective, dear heart. 

tis so sweet to trust in Jesus

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

truly the sweetest thing to trust You Jesus 🙂 my favourite spotify playlist is piano hymns and I play them while I study!

Many things coming my way this week but trust and obey.