Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Collateral Beauty

Oh dear I shouldn't have started on this have to leave within 6 minutes. But I just cannot help but express myself. The movie was breathtakingly beautiful, every single moment of it. My favorite quote is the movie punchline (spoilers alert!): Remember to notice the collateral beauty.

I am writing due in part to the first SW prayer group that we just had. I felt like falling to my knees during sung worship that was such a beautiful joining of voices that gave this heart a glimpse of heaven again, and again when Revelations 4 was read. Oh my God, dear Abba, thank You for granting me the desires of my heart. I wanted for us to be a brighter light to the SW community, and today I see how it might happen. I see hope and passion in these faces gathered together in the Honours Room, sharing passionately about their vision for this season/semester. Indeed, You have not given us a spirit that makes us a slave again to fear, but a spirit of sonship. So much beauty felt and seen today, in the laughter, the sharing, the harmonising of voices, in the read Word.

And also even in the coming together to discuss about Engineering for Good. E4G is slowly (or rather quickly haha) unfolding. Help me, amidst this, not to be proud, Father. To be completely humble before You and before men.

Collateral beauty is sometimes the more beautiful than the obvious one. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

4am

It's the 4am epiphany again.

I am very glad that this time it was for Glory Presbyterian Church. Pretty sure my proposal will be taken favorably, excited to see what happens. Thank you, Father, You have let me do what I wanted to do.

On more trivial things, I discovered another time capsule while searching for those One Piece name stickers I got made eons ago (don't know why I suddenly got reminded of their existence). Introspection is my nature, I am sure of that now.
 The closest reason is (2) it was really a pleasant surprise. Jolted my memories of a more awkward Kang back in Secondary 2, still needy for friends' affirmations, trying to fit into the cool kids gang. Those were the days of Neoprints, junk food at JEC, altercations with people (including once with Newtown Secondary kids lol).
 

I really thank God for preserving me. Not only that, He has added so much to me such that my 'priorities' have been fulfilled, even though He was way down my priority list. I am joyful rather than happy/cheerful which sustains me through difficult circumstances. Belvia and I ended up being in the same class till Secondary 4, after which we went to Junior Colleges that were just opposite each other. I have made firm friends from school. I guess I am cherishing people better? 

(4)... Is still important to me but hmm I don't feel like it will be a big priority.

And Abba Father, I have indeed roamed Your world. So many beautiful sights and sounds that tug my heartstrings and incite such a range of emotions within me. 

I am on my way to work that I find such meaning and purpose in too, something that I have wanted to do since I was 18.

Why am I so blessed, Lord?

"就 如 神 从 创 立 世 界 以 前 , 在 基 督 里 拣 选 了 我 们 , 使 我 们 在 他 面 前 成 为 圣 洁 , 无 有 瑕 疵 ; 又 因 爱 我 们 , 就 按 着 自 己 意 旨 所 喜 悦 的 , 预 定 我 们 藉 着 耶 稣 基 督 得 儿 子 的 名 分, 使 他 荣 耀 的 恩 典 得 着 称 赞 ; 这 恩 典 是 他 在 爱 子 里 所 赐 给 我 们 的。“ 以弗 所书 1:4-6

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Perfect Selfie




Jaslyn started taking selfies when she was backpacking solo across Europe during her student exchange in Amsterdam. The permutations of facial expressions were endless against the backgrounds of cathedrals, stunning lakes and quaint buildings. She also developed the habit of scrolling through her photo album, staring into her face and figuring out what exactly she was thinking or feeling when she took that selfie. Jaslyn became quite obsessed with this activity, trying to figure herself out through those selfies. Surely those solo travels are a process of self-discovery, and the beautiful sights inspire a kind of beauty? Yet the closer she stared at those selfies, the more strange she felt to herself. It was the same when she put her face close to the mirror till even the carefully concealed blemishes became apparent. There was this prickly discomfort the more she did so, and that made her try even harder to get that perfect selfie. innisfree, Etude House, Majolica Majorca. Jaslyn could rattle off the makeup brands she had gone through in the search for the best concealer, mascara, lipstick. 

It was in Italy that Jaslyn learnt that majolica referred to the exquisite ceramics that were twice-fired to create that stunning iridescent effect. No matter how she turned the hand-crafted plate around in her hands, it remained a flawless work of art. Jaslyn was seized with the urge to know the potter behind this majolica. Surely he who made the stunning piece must have a kind of beauty too. A selfie with him will be perfect. Somehow she managed to extract the information from the shopkeeper, and started the search with an address scrawled on her train ticket stub. He was damn hard to find. When Jaslyn was finally on the right street, she paused. Her heart was fluttering in anticipation. As she neared the house, she could see the potter's wheel. And then, the potter. 

How can the potter be described? There was nothing in his appearance that should be desired. But still, since she had come a long way, Jaslyn approached the figure bending over the wheel. The potter, sensing her presence, paused and let her watch the wheel spin to a gradual stop. "I always tell tourists to take a picture of the earthen clay instead", his soft voice broke her trance. "See, the blemishes on this bowl have to be smoothened out before it can be fired the first time." His deft fingers ran across the clay. "But it is only in the transformation from fragile clay to ceramic, ready to be turned into a work of art, that these blemishes fade into the background. Refining fire. Making these majolica has taught me much about beauty." As Jaslyn looked full into the potter's badly scarred face, her heart welled with the recognition of deep beauty. "Yes, that would be perfect."

xxx 
I know this is not from me because the idea literally walked into my mind when I was on my Hallelujah playlist on the way home today. Thank you, beautiful Potter.
                                                                                            

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hubungan

I'm not even offended, just think that Dr Chiu is so cute
Aku betul-betul tak suka membincang hubungan dengan lelaki aye. Tapi mesti menghadapi di musim ini aku menyedari. Aku betul-betul menikmati bercakap dengan senior aku tapi tak mahu give the wrong idea. Aye, kenapa sangat rumit? Aku rasa mahu memberitahunya yang jelas tapi tak tahu bagaimana. 

"Pepper conversations with 'friend' liberally" (Hahahah this is almost-sad funny)
Aku masih percaya semua perkara untuk baik kami yang kekasih Tuhannya. Menggunakan ini untuk keagungannya, Abba. You hold all things together. 

Tambahan, aku menyedari aku betul-betul suka Pi. Tak tahu rasanya tapi aku tak bimbang. Kerana dia yang berlari bangsa ini dengan aku. It will come to pass if it will  Sekarang, aku berlari rasa gembira.

(used dictionary too many times sighpie I'm gonna have a hard time in class next semester)

Perubahan: Aku sangat tak suka ignore kawan aku, tapi seperti mesti, to draw boundaries. Aye actually I still have this niggling doubt at whether it is really 'wrong'. #kenapasangatcomplicated

Sunday, January 1, 2017

新的事将要成就,我们要唱新歌

Usually as years draw to an end, wistfulness and bittersweet memories lead me into a reflective mood. This year has been quite different; as I review the year and FB reminds me that exactly one year ago I was on the plane back to Singapore reading cards from my dear friends, I have a quiet joy. Lord, you have been faithful and good. 
Majodi Centre | Anntic 2016 Unshakeable

Yesterday morning as I nursed a cup of coffee under the vast expanse of cottony clouds, I made a recommitment to God: To continue loving recklessly, enabled by the Spirit. As God is love and I am of God, let me participate in this divine hospitality that condescends to be where we are.
2017 would be a change-filled one, personally and in the ministries I'm in (hopefully). I'm expecting days of intense emotions, of perplexity and of clarity of purpose, of intimacy with God and of temptation towards atheism, of good days and of terrible ones. Through it all, it is well. Indeed, it is well with my soul because it knows the Source of life, the Light of men. 

Resolutions
1. To really consider how I can spur and build my brothers and sisters up in faith and good works- to engage the world for God.
Lesson from Ezra and Nehemiah- do I identify with my community out of love, and build people, or do I bulldoze people in self-righteousness?
2. To continue asking and thinking about how we as Christian students (and extending to working adults soon) should engage the world.
And to do so in trust and good courage, dear Father.
3. To be more intentional in loving my family

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Unbelief

"I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24b)- the cry of a father begging Jesus to heal his possessed son.

The past week has been difficult emotionally. I am exasperated at emotionality, (yet the prayer Break my heart for what breaks Yours is surely pleasing to You, Abba Father), at how weak I am, at how self-glorifying I am.

I have realised, unbelief is also a temptation. Is God really real? What has a baby born in a blip of time in Israel got to do with us today? Is God really working in this world? These questions came up and I guess they gave me an excuse to slip into despair which is terrible, but perhaps easier to confront then the task of faith and trust in God's working, together with it's call to obedience.

How do I engage the world? How do we, as Christian university students in Singapore, studying <insert major/discipline> engage the world we live in? I know, from personal experience and Christian counsel- I can't address all, or even some of whatever is happening. I am not even as up to date with world news as my other friends.

But how, Lord. How? I see my everyday life, the lives of those around me- is this how we engage, a part of where we are at? I will sound very judgmental and hypocritical, and I know I am:
B., a Wall Street trader in Chicago
 Talking about grades/modules/trips overseas/BGR, sometimes I feel like I am wasting time. Wasting time when refugees detained in Manus Island go literally crazy from being detained without any process of moving them out. Looking at how we buy things without thinking about the waste from the packaging that will be generated. How our Christian lives involves fellowship with CG etc that necessitates 'wasting time' doing fun stuff, involves stressing out over job applications, applying for internships/exchange, getting excited over traveling (oh God the carbon footprint and I'd still want to fly around)- I think I got exasperated thinking about how these feature so much in our lives and we'd never seem to think about it, or what I can do about it. Oh gosh, I got exasperated about having to talk to people, do admin stuff for Anntic, about fulfilling friendship duties.

It was this exasperation, coupled with a heavy dose of bad world news that fermented the unbelief. Aye, to have unshakeable faith in You! Thankful for the Christmas Eve and Christmas services, they remind me of the beauty that is here and not yet which made me want to weep.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Morning I Wept

I have been praying that I can cry everything (whatever that is) out for sometime. Since last Friday after I slept through the quarrel between Dragon and B. in the car and realised 我累了, I have been feeling like I need a whole day at home. Just to be at home and perhaps read, pray, or do nothing but look at the flowers on my table or the sun casting it's light on the opposite blocks.
Somehow, today I did. Started my quiet time with hymns. At It is Well (Bethel), I teared, remembering how I sang it in Mongolia when I was dealing with stuffs. Reminded to be quiet and trust. The next song Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing was what opened the floodgates. "On that day, when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face // Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God"
I was crying and crying because at that point my soul longed for His kingdom come so so much. And simultaneously, I heard from Him that there is redeeming work to be done here, now. I was also crying at my fears- fears of not doing enough, that I will stop dreaming, fears that 20 years down the road I will be cynical and jaded. Crying for the broken things in this world as well (and it was really cathartic).
Then it was the old hymn How Great Thou Art which wrecked me again. "When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur."
I was thinking, we are all searching for something beyond that mountain, beyond that starry sky, beyond. And that something is God. That thought brought me back to Engin for Good which we were discussing yesterday. I'm really thankful for that bunch really, as I am typing now I am reminded again that this is not a line battle but there is God, there are brothers and sisters in Christ running alongside.
Still feeling a bit fragile lol but I think I'm filled again. Sometimes it's also about framing things in my mind. Let me fix my eyes on my Redeemer, in quietness and trust. And I remember the many blessings He has given me, and I thank Him for the friends whom I enjoy and learn from.

Update: #QOTD "But I think it's a bit old-fashioned, to go into a job because of money." 
The response from D. over lunch between prayer comm meeting when I was sharing that most people in law go into corporate law because of the money. Instantaneous x100% like him better. 

Today has been a long day but a good one; the PhD interview when okay (though I am so relieved that will be the one and only one before I know the results in March), prayer comm was quite enjoyable, and I had naan and palak paneer for dinner before Diversity Symposium meeting.