Green is also the colour of hope

One day, I had a dream in the day, maybe it was a vision or an imagination, or a subconscious thought:

I am running a race but at a leisurely pace because I tell myself to take it easy and not get stressed. So I take a break and rest on the green pastures. The rest is nice and relaxing, but I look back and noticed all the mistakes I made. I try to tell myself all the things I will make right the next time but I can’t seem to stop rehearsing the past. Finally I look up and I see everyone, even close friends, all running past me. I try to say “Hi”, but they seem to have no time to pause. I’m still resting on the grass and everyone is going so fast. I start to envy their speed, their progress in the race. I also get angry that they are leaving me behind. Then I start to wonder – will I still receive the prize?

ENVY. It was an ugly image of ‘envy’ – growing quietly like a weed, growing quickly. I thought I was just making comparisons or I was just a little jealous. But this ‘weed’ was competing for a space in my thoughts and it was corrupting my heart. It was messing with my mental health. It was time to cut it out of my life. As with any plant, this ‘weed’ has a root. I asked God again and again, what is the root of envy?

God told me but it took a while for me to acknowledge it. The root of envy is ‘fear’.

This ‘fear’ was no stranger nor an unfamiliar feeling. This fear had manifested itself in different ways before:

  • fear of letting history repeat itself
  • fear of making mistakes again
  • fear of never being good enough
  • fear of never feeling truly whole
  • fear of not being loved
  • fear of losing out

Thankfully, where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Romans 5:20). God replaced that ugly image with His beautiful word:

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Philippians 3:13-14

Recovery is a continuous journey of discovering one’s true self, healing from hurts and learning contentment. The first thing I did was to start a ‘Gratitude Journal’, noting down once a day for 365 days, one thing I was grateful for. I needed to forget the past, I needed to focus on the present, on the here and now. I’m running a race, a race of His destiny for me, towards my heavenly prize.

God has created new faith pictures of me:

  • I am a new creation in Christ. Old things have passed away, all things have become new.
  • I have peace with God. Jesus’ love has cast out all fear, even the fear of failure
  • I am enough. Jesus is my more than enough.
  • I am the righteousness of God through Christ. Jesus has forgiven my sins.
  • I am God’s beloved. He is my good father and and His love endures forever.
  • I can tap on God’s unlimited supply. He supplies all of our needs.

There is a prize for everyone – there is a prize for me.

But like a weed, if you’re not watchful, envy can start creeping back in again. Only ‘hope’ can cut out fear and anxiety and bring forth LIFE:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out it roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of the drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

There is hope. There is life. A life that is not struggling and striving with envy but living and thriving with hope. Green might be the colour of envy but green is also the colour of HOPE.

Valley faith

I thought I was walking alone
The dark
The nights
The cold

All along You were there
Beside
Holding
My hand

All along You were there
Before
Leading
My steps

All along You were there
Above
Covering
My head

All along You were there
Behind
Watching
My back

Now I see You in the valley
Now I know You in the valley
Now I believe You in the valley
Now I trust You in the valley

You are not just God of the valley
You are God with me in the valley
The valley of sorrow and death
Is also the valley of hope and life

faithandhope

Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ” – 1 Kings 20:28

But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. – 1 Thessalonians 5:8

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful – Hebrews 10:23

For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. – Galatians 5:5

Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. – 1 Peter 1:21

Lead me to the rock

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Though I might take three steps forwards
And then two steps backwards
But now I know I’m still making progress
I will give thanks for this imperfect progress

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Though I might slip and fall
And even make a big splash
But this time I won’t be flailing my arms
I know I can reach out to hold His Hand

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Though I might have to start from the beginning
And be the slowest to ascend
But through it all, He sets my feet on a rock
I have Christ, the solid rock I stand upon

Rock

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. – Psalm 40:2

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:2

For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame. – 1 Peter 2:6

Dream dreams

I dream of many dreams
But when I think about how I can’t fulfil them
I feel sad and discouraged
And think, what is the point of dreaming

Then I realise that dreaming is a privilege
I have a space and place to dream
I realise that dreaming is a gift
Sharing dreams with others gives me hope and joy

And even if the dream isn’t fulfilled by me
I’m grateful for that dream, for the joy in dreaming
Even if the dream isn’t fulfilled in my lifetime,
I’m glad that dream can be passed onto others

When you dream, it is not building castles in the sky
When you dream,  you are hanging stars in the sky
Commit your dreams to God and
You will experience His fullness in dreaming dreams

Dreams

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” – Genesis 15:5

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— – Psalm 8:4

‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. – Acts 2:17

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