Monday, August 26, 2013

Hearing in the Noise

I know that deep within you, where I live, My peace is your continual experience.
From “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

Last week was an extremely busy week for me. Since in my old job as ESL teacher I didn't even have teaching duties until at least the second week of school, coordinating three events (two of them for the whole high school) just three weeks after school started was quite a shock to my system! Add the fact that I'm still learning how to do my job and you get an idea of the state that my mind was in. So many to-dos called for my attention daily. Thankfully, Eng, who manages a finance office, helped me with some of the administrative details. Still, the amount of work was too much, too soon. I was surprised at the beginning of the week when a friend reminded me of our time together. I was completely focused on my tasks that I was just dumbfounded, clueless! I didn't even know we were supposed to meet! Towards the end of the week, I set the electronic alerts in the computer so that I would remember where I needed to be. Imagine my surprise when another person I had a meeting with, called. I was 15 minutes late. Dismayed at myself and unbelieving that I forgot again in the same week, I switched the program I was using on the computer and immediately saw the prompt to go to the meeting. Somehow, the program I was using didn't allow the prompts to display. It explained why I missed the alert that I had a meeting! That was definitely good to know! Eventually, the week-end finally came. I felt relieved, shaken, and exhausted. I'd never had a week like that! How was I going to function when it got even busier? Priding myself on being organised, I saw how easily that slipped away from me.

I know I defaulted to praying more but too much of my work day took so much of my time. How do I focus? I know I didn’t want another week like that to happen again! Thankfully, I was away for my usual 24-hour time of quiet this past week-end. My mind was so tired I couldn't even think of what to pray about! I was just literally still: body, mind, and spirit. I did nothing yet I began to feel literally rejuvenated! The rest I received felt wonderful. Then, it got dark. That was when the loud music of other guests started to play. The windows in my room were shut and the air-conditioning unit was on but I could still hear their music like it was just next to me! I read my journal and turned on my own music so that it could counter the beats of theirs. Somehow, being still with a quick-tempo-blaring-music-playing-non-stop was simply out of the question! The time I cherished was lost. I slept by putting a pillow over my head. When I woke up, it was past 1:00 a.m. The soft, soaking music that was playing on my computer had stopped. My computer exhausted all its battery power. Now what? The beat of their music began to figuratively pound on my head! Was there any hope of salvaging my quiet time? My situation reminded me of my days at work. It was so hard to focus on God in the busyness. Was that the point of it all? Was the Lord showing me that even in that noise I could hear Him? That in the busyness I could still find Him? Was anything impossible with Him? Did I truly believe that? I began to pray, began to amazingly tune out the barrage of sounds, and began to relax. I drifted in and out of sleep but I felt peace. My time there was not about the music, it was about my Papa God. My time at the office was not just about the work, it was about Him. =)  YES!

By 5:30 a.m., their music finally stopped but albeit relieved, it ceased to matter. I learned to listen to God in spite the noise. All sorts of things could go on, people could demand attention and the urgent would insist on being done, BUT, I can still look to you, Lord. You will still be there to lead and guide me. In spite the noise or confusion, you can be found. You help. You are the anchor that protects the boat from being battered and tossed about. You hem me in behind and before. You stop me from being carried away to the open seas, or from crashing on the rocks. Thank you, Lord, you are my anchor, the one who holds me and enables me to be.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Grief in Waves

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9, KJV

While on my morning walk, yesterday, I suddenly remembered my mother before she had her Alzheimer’s. It was just after I thought to myself that I didn’t want to be overweight (especially my stomach!). I realized that if I were to be honest with myself, I actually walked early in the morning because I enjoyed the morning air, I liked the sounds of the birds’ chirping, I cherished the time when I talked to God, and I believed that the walk helped me not to gain weight (and that’s not in the order of importance). [As I write that, I just want to state that I love my non-thin friends! Some of my much appreciated friends are not slim. I, personally, just prefer to be my size - less heavier is even better.] Knowing that, I understood for the first time that my mother shared the desire ‘not to be obese’ with me. All of a sudden, I remembered how periodically while standing, she repeatedly twisted her stomach left and right very quickly. Her elbows were tucked to her sides and would move in the opposite direction of her twisting. Occasionally, she also bent over and touched her toes. Not known for being active except when she did those activities, she used to catch my attention! I never asked her why she exercised. I suppose it was obvious to me that she wanted to lose her stomach flab. She had a mound for a belly and I teased her that she looked like she was 3 months pregnant. Actually, my officemate who is now 5 months pregnant has a belly that looked like hers, then. Really! Now that I’m around the same age as my mother, then, I wish I wasn’t so insensitive. I never connected it that what probably motivated her to exercise was partly because of how I teased her. Actually, kids do not often know how to withhold truth when it hurts or when it is embarrassing to hear it. I was obviously that kind of kid. Realizing that reality while I walked, I immediately felt sorrow. I grieved for my mother who related with me and knew me. Because she'd forgotten me in the last 2 years of her life, and was no longer the same years before that, I had to go back in my memories. I also grieved for my sins. I was so sorry for being that critical way.

Then, I remembered the verse above and asked God to forgive me. I also received His forgiveness. At first, I didn’t feel forgiven but I knew that it wasn’t about how I felt. I had to just accept it for what it was; His remarkable gift of grace in the forgiveness. As I continued to mourn my being unkind to my mother, the Lord made me realize that my mother didn’t take my teasing her, against me. She loved me, anyway. Somehow, even when I asked the Lord to please tell her that I was sorry, I knew it wasn’t necessary. I was loved by my mother and there was nothing to forgive. The Lord, also, loved me in spite the way I was.

And most of all, I understood that my remembrance of my mother was the Lord’s way of helping me process her death. (My mother passed away on September 9, 2012. The postings from September 4-28, 2012 were mostly about her.) More importantly, He wanted me to deal with my sins so that it wouldn’t come in between us. He wanted me to remember so I could ask for forgiveness and find resolution in Him. The verse below became very apt and now I know that I need to continually work out my salvation. I am game for that. May the next wave, come.

In repentance and rest is your salvation
Isaiah 30:15

Monday, August 12, 2013

Grace Update

This is another update on the court case against Grace International School (GIS). If you would like more information about the school, please log on to

As of last week, the school will request from the Supreme Court to appeal the second court's decision. The school will await the court's decision which will be out next month. In the mean time, there are contingency plans to fall back on if there is a need for them.

Here are the ways you can help:

  • Please pray for favor with the Supreme Court to accept the appeal.
  • Please help us get the word out by inviting your networks to consider giving to the first phase of construction on the school's new campus. The goal is to raise 4.5 million USD, start construction before the end of 2013, and be in the middle and high school buildings by the end of 2014.
  • Pass along publications/videos from the school's advancement division.
  • Connect your networks to the GIS Education Foundation (GISEF) through the website:
  • For prayers that the school would continue to be good neighbors regardless of what's going on.
 Thank you most of all for helping us pray that the Lord will be glorified in the future of the school and with the pending appeal. Lord, bless you.

Monday, August 5, 2013

At 52

With Eng and Ethan at Ob Khan National Park
Last week, I turned 52. When I think of that number, I cannot help but recall that on the eve of our wedding, Eng consumed several (all thirteen of them!) B52 shot glasses as he attended his stag party at a downtown bar. He had a massive hangover the next day but somehow he managed to show up at church, say his vows, and marry me. I'm grateful for the Lord's grace then, as knowing what I do now, I wouldn't have it any other way.  In spite our differences and the years of hardship in our marriage, I'd still choose Eng and do it all over again, He has definitely changed and come a long way since then! Nowadays, he goes out of his way to serve me and it surprises even me! Yesterday at a staff party, he gave me some delicious banana roti and we weren't even sitting together! Somehow he read my thoughts across the room because I was just then contemplating about getting myself a plate. This is all to say that changed or not, Eng is still my precious birthday gift. Of course if you ask me, I definitely prefer the changed one!

Our two older sons called me from Toronto to greet me (one was late!). While there, I'd already picked out their gift for me. It was the expensive footwear written about two weeks ago. =) I am so glad for that as I wouldn't have been able to afford it!

Our two younger sons gamely woke up (well, one of them grumbled a bit) at six a.m. so together with Eng, we could go to a place I liked and have them bless me. It entailed driving to get there, hiking to the perfect spot, and then having them each pray for me. I enjoyed that gift a LOT!

From there, off they went to soccer while Eng and I had breakfast and a Thai body massage. Aaaahhh, enough said.

At my new office with my new Teaching Assistant, Eli
To end the day and just before Japanese food, we passed by my new office at school. We rearranged the furniture a bit, anointed the room with oil, and prayed. I asked that they pray for me and for the new job that I would do. I'd always known from the time I heard my start date of August 1st that it was my birthday gift from Papa God.  I don't know the specifics of what the Lord has in store for me. Yesterday, I received some of my job training and the question that kept going through my head was, "What on earth had you done?" But, the Lord, knowing I needed encouragement, had at least three people tell me at the staff party that they were pleased that I got the job because it suited me. I don't know where they were coming from. I do thank Papa God for his goodness and kindness. Who else would give me time with my father in Toronto, a serving and devoted husband, four loving sons, a new job with my own office to go with it, plus the encouragement I needed? I am overwhelmed by Your love. Thank you, Lord!