He lights up your darkness

(Note: I wrote this post on 16 July 2016 and then deleted my blog. I’m reposting it here again on my new blog to encourage others who are going through a difficult time in their lives)

During my second miscarriage, my regular gynaecologist was away on holiday and I saw the covering doctor instead. Since it happened just right after the first, I felt a little resigned to the situation but nonetheless still sad.

There were already signs of miscarriage so it was not a sudden discovery. But something hit me hard – the closing words of the covering doctor were,

You already have 2 children; so don’t feel so sad about it okay?

I left the clinic with those words in my head. The next few days, I started telling myself,

I don’t deserve to feel sad.

I already have 2 children.

I felt that by feeling sad, I was being insensitive to the struggles of childless couples. Also, I felt I was doing my children a disservice. There was no time to grieve, I’ve to care for my children, I’ve to be there for them.

But choosing not to grieve was the worst. I started watching Korean dramas to distract myself. It was a terrible passive activity that has no healing effect whatsoever. I started to have feelings of bitterness and envy. I decided I had to put a stop to it.

So I started to doodle and paint in the mornings when I was alone at home.  Initially, I felt that I was being lazy. Doodling and painting has no economical or tangible benefits! I should be going out to find more work, to do something constructive, cook more, prepare more activities for the children, so on and so on.

But the ever so encouraging husband told me,

You need to do it to find rest and then gain strength for the day

 

So I started painting. And as I painted, I starting grieving and the process of healing began,

I don’t have to feel guilty for feeling sad.

I need to grieve to heal.

During one morning while I was painting, I came upon this word,

“You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.” Psalms 18:28

No matter what you’re going through, whether you think it’s a big or small issue, take the time to rest in His word, take the time to grieve, and He will light up your darkness and heal your wounds.

he lights up my darkness

Jesus is in my beginning and ending

(Note: I wrote this post on 2 July 2016 and then deleted my blog. I’m reposting it here again on my new blog to encourage others who are going through a difficult time in their lives)

A long 6 month hiatus from blogging and I’m back. Most people start the year off with a bang, I started the year off with a break because of a series of events. The second half of 2015 and the first few weeks of 2016 were difficult. I had 2 miscarriages back to back, and then my grandpa passed away, my last grandparent in my family.

It’s interesting how when you suffer from a miscarriage, you immediately want to keep it quiet to yourself and people around you who know want to keep it hush too. I was wondering about that kind of reactive behaviour. Perhaps it’s because it’s a very personal and a private experience. But I realised the deeper reasons for me were guilt and shame.

When the miscarriages happen, the first thing I said to myself was,

It was my entire fault.

I was the one carrying the life.

I was responsible for that life.

And the guilt and condemnation worsens when well meaning friends (whom I appreciate a lot in every way) try to comfort me,

You haven’t been taking care of yourself enough.

You have been over exerting your body.

You haven’t been eating enough vitamins.

I wished that were all true, then I know what can be done to prevent the miscarriages. But unfortunately, the doctor says, they were random occurrences that could not be explained because I have 2 children already. And that made me think,

Perhaps God doesn’t want me to have any more children.

During these 6 months, I’ve been resting and pondering, pondering and resting. Meditating over this simple verse we usually learn when we become a new believer,

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

I didn’t cause the miscarriages and certainly God didn’t.

Then one Sunday morning, I heard Pastor Charles Nieman speak about the passing away of his wife and how he had been coping. He shared about a verse that we are all too familiar with,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was, and how is to come, the Almighty.” Revelations 1:8

Jesus is in my beginnings and endings. He was there during the conception, he was there during the miscarriage. He was in it with me though it all, therefore there is no condemnation, no guilt and no shame.

He is in my new beginnings and he is in my endings no matter what experiences they are. And therefore I have hope because my hope is in Jesus.

I’ve asked God one more thing, I asked Him what is the purpose of this experience,

To bring hope to others. To bring Jesus to them.

I hope you feel encouraged by my sharing, I pray you will always hope in Him because He is in our every beginning and ending, in every moment, in the same instant.

alpha and omega

I missed you, my BFF

To me, there are different levels of friendship in the world: BFFs, inner circles, just friends, acquaintances, familiar strangers, and so on.

In my mind, I know that God is good. But in my heart, I’m not so sure if He is good to me. This thought has been nagging me for many years but I’ve never surrendered it to God.

I know I am a friend of God’s. But somehow I didn’t feel like I’m His best friend, like I’m not part of His inner circle of friends. The friend who hears directly from Him, the friend who is abundantly blessed by Him, the friend who is serving Him wholeheartedly in ministry. And I’m not in His inner circle because I’m not good enough or holy enough.

And these thoughts have been eating at my soul until my spirit broke down. For many weeks, I ventilated to God and wrestled with Him on how envious I felt of others who were blessed because they were part of His ‘inner circle’ and I wasn’t. And then finally one day, He spoke to me:

Was the woman at the well part of my inner circle? Was the woman with the issue of blood part of my inner circle? Were they good Christians? Were they holy? 

No Lord, they weren’t. In fact, they were outcasts. Women who have been shun by society. Women whom people think you wouldn’t consider them to be your friends.

But you did.

You reached out to the woman at the well first and she responded to You.

He had to go through Samaria on the way… Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” (John 4:4-7)

The bleeding woman was just someone part of the crowd and You healed her when she reached out to You.

She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:28)

Jesus has always been there beside me. I just needed to respond, I just needed to ask, I just needed to hold the hand that has always been at my side.

Dear Jesus, I’m sorry I missed you. Thank you for being my BFF.

my bff

 

Meaning, purpose and hope

INFJS tend to see helping others as their purpose in life (www.16personalities.com/infj)

That’s a pretty accurate description of me and probably why I chose social work as my major in university.

Meeting up with my friends who are still in the field, reading about community initiatives that have been started from the ground and social enterprises making impact in society – I felt encouraged, I felt inspired.

But I also felt left out. Here I am making an impact in just 3 little persons’ life. Most of the time, I’m just too exhausted at the end of the day to do anything else, much less have the energy to help anyone else or serve in any ministry.  One thought led to another and then I started to think that what I do has no meaning and no purpose. Looking after kids and having a very administrative part-time job just didn’t seem to make the cut of making a difference in the community, I felt hopeless.

As I was wallowing in these thoughts, I met 3 people in a span of one week:

  1. She takes care of 3 grandchildren and her husband, who amputated his leg. She has to fetch her grandchildren to and fro school and they all go to different schools. And she’s expecting a 4th grandchild to take care of.
  2. He told me he quit his job as a bus driver to take care of his 2 grandchildren and wheelchair bound wife. He fetches his grandchildren to and fro school, and also brings his wife for morning walks.
  3. Every morning, she takes the public bus from Toa Payoh to Ang Mo Kio to fetch her granddaughter from school and supervises her homework. Thereafter she fetches another 2 grandchildren from school and prepares dinner, and then returns to her home in Toa Payoh by bus again.

Obviously God had a message for me:

Do such “work” that these 3 grandparents engage in count for as nothing?

I felt ashamed that I should think of their caregiving duties as not having any meaning or purpose.

So in 2019, with faith in my heart, I believe this path that I’ve chosen has a meaning and a purpose in my life. Jesus cleanse me from all these self-defeating, self-pitying, self-condemning thoughts and I shall have hope that whatever my hands undertake, small or mundane, has an impact in someone’s life.

meaning, purpose and hope_fotor

 

Resting in grace

I still remember very vividly on the day of Noah’s birth, in the labour ward, the midwife checks with me: your 5th pregnancy?

We chose the name, Noah, because he was borne out of rest, by God’s grace. Not by our own striving, hardwork or efforts. After having 2 miscarriages, we decided to not to keep worrying or even pray ‘hard’ for smooth pregnancy. Instead we stayed mindful of God’s grace and His promises for us.

It was not a smooth pregnancy at all: spotting throughout till the third trimester, fibroids, yeast infection, gestational diabetes.

But never once did the word ‘miscarriage’ threatened us.

Noah turned 1 year old in February. Even as third-time parents, there have been so many trials and challenges. But this time around, we listened more to our paternal instincts, the Holy Spirit. We are also very thankful for all our families and friends who had been praying for us throughout the pregnancy and birth. It has truly been a journey of resting in God’s grace.

happy birthday noah

Living each day

I’ve been reminiscing about the past. My childhood. The good old days. And at the same time, I’m worrying about the future. My retirement. The coming end days. I think about the house I used to live in, and the house I yearn for.  I think about the holidays I enjoyed, and the holidays I dream about.  I think about my children when they were babies, and the adults they will grow into. At times, I feel that I’m almost losing my mind, myself, in all these thoughts, in all the busyness and noises around me.

And in one quiet moment, as I push the stroller along a shady path, just me and my sleeping baby, I become mindful of the present, of the living word of God…

“Give us each day our daily bread” – Luke 11: 3

Not the stale bread of yesterday, and not the un-risen bread of tomorrow but the bread for today.

So these days, I’m savouring each moment, I’m being mindful of His presence and I’m living each day for His glory.

each day