The first will be last, and last will be first

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It is quite sad
When a queen rules;
yet her people do not know her.
It’s even sadder
When a queen who serves;
gradually lost her identity.

She can’t find herself,
in the mirrors, in her clothes,
in her duties, in her commitments.
in her facades, in her smiles.

She just does whatever she needs to do, as a queen.

Subjecting herself to the King,
putting herself second to her nation,
submitting her worries and hopes to God,
diminishing her desires or hopes and dreams.

Establishing political ties,
lobbying people’s expectations…
(who are not even important to her).
Entertaining guests…
(who are actually her strangers).

It’s as if whatever she wants, hardly matters.

She gives in, she gives in, she gives in.
Until some days she breaks,
in the shadows behind a closed door.
When she can’t breathe anymore,
when her tears drown her,
when she’s broken altogether.

She simply can’t recognize herself in her kingdom.
When she goes out for her march,
(a parade she dreads on the inside)
a show done, just to please the people.

The burden on her shoulders feels too heavy.
Like a cup of poison that overfloweth its capacity.

Yet through all toil and pain,
after losing all fairytales and ideals,
there’s One God keeping her alive.

Her, Lord. Christ.

A role model who subjects His Father’s will above His,
who patiently gives in to strangers whom He loves,
Always ready to serve, yet never complaining.
Dying on the Cross not for His own sake, but for others.
And constantly praying, so that His followers are safe.
Willing to sacrifice and constraint Himself,
for strangers who don’t even acknowledge Him.
And bearing all the weight of others’ sin on the Cross.

The cup a queen must take is nothing compared to the cup of Christ.
And deep down she knows, there’s One who’s keeping her alive.
For His eyes is on the sparrows, so why would He not watch over her, too?

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31 Jul 2017

chen-yichun-2217A sigh. That’s what I did before writing this article. It’s relieving.

I feel like a ghost who is back to haunt an empty house, as this is my own space to write which I have not “visited” for quite some time. Months, to be exact. I tried to push away and not bring myself to write, but I guess it’s therapeutic. Once I lay out all my emotions out of my system I feel better, and I thank God for that.

No facades, no secrecy, just my heart written out on the net. No pretence, no poems, no deliberate alliterations or metaphors, just me, as I am.

I’ve been carrying a heavy burden the past few weeks, and I’m sure those who are close to me can sense it. It really started becoming bad after I came back from my trip to Jakarta. The trip itself was fine, there was no major drama except for the fact that I lacked sleep. But that was it. The problem of going back to Indonesia is that I ended up being deluded that I can do whatever I want with my life. Back in Indonesia, there’s almost always a demand for every kind of business, if you put your heart and effort into it. So I will drown in confusion of wanting to do a vocation I’ve always thought of trying: being a barista.

But I know it’s not realistic. And I’ve tried to read several articles that were really useful, but very hard to apply. One of the most eye-opening point I got was this problem of “repent of ideal jobolatry“. It really goes hand in hand with the fact my neo platonic thought of looking forward to death, as no job will truly complete me anyways.

And that’s where I was wrong. Not wrong in the sense that there will be nothing as fulfilling as heaven, but wrong in placing my hope and self-identity in the work that I am doing. Once again I’ve unknowingly placed my self-value in my output rather than my input (God’s word, His love and mercy etc).

The art of letting go

Why life is so burden and cumbersome for a twenty something is truly that transition of waving goodbye to carefree high school days and come terms with it. Not like “damn it, I need to work now, because I have to”.. but rather, I’m in this season whereby I need to maximize my life to help others. To support my family (parents/husband/child), not just with money but with my time and love. I’m at the phase of adulthood where I shouldn’t be thinking about where’s the next trip I should go to because Y.O.L.O., but really that full acceptance and acknowledgement that I have to bear more responsibilities, without grumbling

And it can get stressful. But there’s where I learnt: trust fall. I have to dare and let go to fall, to experience God’s hand holding and supporting me. I have to trust Him so that my burdens become light. Why am I anxious? Worried over things that might not even happen, carrying and shouldering responsibilities and doubts that should be surrendered to God? Of course, I would sigh. Because the problems and thoughts are beyond me: they are so much bigger, wider, and they are not under my control. I have to accept that. I guess that’s the difference, the joy… of being able to share my worries and let God be God, let man be man, let Christ be Christ.

I have my portion and part to play, but the rest is in the hand of the Lord’s. I should stop worrying about a, b, c, d, e, f, g… if I can truly believe and trust that the Lord will provide. The Lord will be there. He will be there for me.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2

3 April 2017

Teach me to be patient on Lord, just like a bridegroom waiting for the day of Your coming. Bless and comfort me, that my heart will never be astray to the distractions of this passing world. Help me to focus in Your love, that empowers me to do good to all. Alleviate me from my pains and burdens, and take away my anxieties. Secure me through the joy that will complete my soul, now and forevermore.

My problems are small, yet I humbly surrender and admit that they are they too big for me. For I am nothing without You. Fill me with Your Spirit, so I will produce the fruits that You desire. Many fools despise You, yet I know I can confide in my heavenly Father who watches over me. No one loves me like You do, and no way will I ever fathom the depths of Your love. So Father I pray with all that I have, from the deepest longing of my heart, that You save me and lift me up. From the shadows of sheol, the brokenness of sin, the power of the evil forces surrounding and surmounting from within. Help me to hate what I should hate, and desire what I should desire. Help me to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” In the name of most precious name Jesus Christ, my true Lord and only Savior, amen.

SeLF reFLex(tion)

Self-absorbed, “selling fish”. As if the whole world revolves around you. Seemingly victim i zed, unknowlingly harmful.

Yet what are we, truly?

You (and me) are but a sigh; like a fallen leave in an early autumn. Another speck of dust in the view of history. One blink — and we reach eternity.

Why mingle and toil, and cause others to suffer from the ironic inferior complex? Being puffed up to eat your ego for breakfast every morning. And then have others’ misery for dessert. Truly, truly (I) say to you where have you been putting your priorities?

Open your eyes; cleanse it with fire. Because silver needs to undergo 7 rounds of extreme heat before it’s purified (as we would be in heaven).

Remember: let no one mistake your failure for others’ adverse influence. As a tree bears its fruit, so are you showing behaviour of your own skeletons… an intangible pandora box.

Whether you realize or not; at least I have a mirror to look at, and the heavens to pour out the grievences. I shall not be put down by the earth: and focus my gaze upwards… the place of comfort and everlasting enjoyment.

It’s so weird to be transparent here I feel pretty uncomfortable…

Here are some other thoughts which were convoluted over the past few days.

  • I kind of gave up hoping of getting married
    Not that I don’t want to, in fact for the first time in my life just a week ago I’ve finally established and could admit to God that I want to. I’ve always had issues with commitments, and gets bored easily. I’m afraid of being tied down, not that I don’t want to be faithful. I’ve always been faithful. But sometimes I just need something radically different erratically and tend to live on impulses which might be unsuitable for long-term relationships. However I’ve come to realize that there are things under my control but many more which are not. I’ve come to accept and (trying) to embrace the fact that I shouldn’t harp my feelings or hopes on it. I shouldn’t wonder when, how, where. Simply because nobody knows but God. Well, that’s what I thought initially.
  • But then, I found a more profound meaning and understanding of what God was trying to teach me. To be more patient for His time, and be more submissive to His plans. Everything is beautiful in it’s time, and that letting go and surrendering all to God was always something I’ve lacked. And I’m beyond thankful that God has once again taught and ongoing-ly reminded me to do so: to let go and let God.
  • However, I learnt something else through this relationship too. I learnt that it’s wrong to always subconsciously place my hopes onto anything or anyone aside from God. I often get disappointed not only because I have high expectations of that individual (including myself, which stresses me out sometimes), but that I often misplace my hopes elsewhere instead of God. I get disappointed of my boyfriend who is already so kind and amazing, simply because I expected him to be almost perfect. But that’s impossible, and that’s when I was rebuked by the Holy Spirit (I think), to look onto Jesus. He is the real bridegroom. He is what will satisfy me, He is what completes me, He is the one who is unconditionally loving, self-sacrificing, filled with justice and compassion. He is the person that I should rely on the most, the One who never gets tired of my conversations and prayers, my confidante. Not my boyfriend, not my husband, but my God. For once in a very long time I felt the meaning of what it’s like to be His church, His bride. And it’s pretty amazing.

Although the ups and downs through this relationship has been both painful but filled with immense joy, I’m very thankful to see how God uses this relationship to sanctify both my boyfriend and I. I’m so glad and grateful to see how God works in his life, like mine, and how His glory shines forth. This understanding comforts me, to know that in my relationship now the centre is Christ. And it’s amazing to know that I’m finally in a relationship that glorifies Him. I have to say the “honeymoon” period is over, but now it’s a time of not only learning about each other’s habits and characteristics, but adjusting, loving, accepting and embracing each other more. We’re in this stage of a deeper connection, a separate kind of love compared to our initial attraction. I thank God that He sustains us and guides us through our mistakes and in this relationship.

Soli deo gloria.

A Life of Lies, seeking the Truth

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I’ve always struggled with this, and I’m sure many of my friends or fellow brothers & sisters in Christ go through a similar challenge if they are in a competitive first world country. I “allow” my life to be swayed by lies and end up being discontent. More often than not we forgot that we have already obtained the best prized possesion through salvation (Eph 2:8-9). Yet this most important metric we should often reflect becomes something we take for granted.

Too much noise. Distractions. We automatically get fed by so many worldviews through the things we read, browse, hear and observe. How much have you accomplished? How are your peers doing? Are you staying up to trend, ahead or a laggard? Are you being appreciated for the work that you do, the contributions that you make? Where will you be in 3 years? Have you “got things sorted out”? Are you closer to your aspirations? Do you enjoy your vocation or are you staying there for survival? Do you have joy daily?

But despite all that, what did the Bible say?  The complete radical opposite.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Rom 12:2

And I feel like I’m back again at square one. Back to my habitual sins. Evaluating myself as the world would, instead of living and working for the audience of One (Col 3:23). Instead of pursuing and living my life to sow heavenly rewards. In simpler and harsh terms: to please myself instead of my Lord. I pray so very often to be unlike Israel, disobedient, forgetful, self-absorbed, ungrateful, silly and unwise. But here I am again failing through this process of sanctification.

Nonetheless, I thank God for these moments: a time whereby I have no other choice but to sit still and reflect and witness how His Spirit and Word works (2 Cor 12:9).

Meditate. Slow down. Read. Pray. And re-focus my priorities. And remember this: that I have already gotten the most important thing in this life that matters, and the world’s standards shouldn’t be the race that I am competing for (1 Cor 9:25). That all these discontent is due to my underlying ingratitude and ignorance. The reason for this unhappiness is truly because I THINK I deserve something better. But that is a lie (Proverbs 11:2). Because I don’t deserve them. My over inflated ideals should get a wake up call, and remember that I have gotten grace. Grace is something we receive although we don’t deserve it (Eph 2:8-9).

Humans are humans and God is God (Exo 3:14). Ultimately when we idolize others or ourselves unknowingly, we’ll just end up being so dissatisfied. When we seek joy from the wrong places, recognition from the wrong audience, comfort from the wrong source. That’s when things crumble. So Lord please hear my prayer, to help me to only need and want you to be satisfied. Since I was created by You and for You (Gen 1:27; Col 1:16) please accept my plead to only desire You (Ps 25:5, Matt 22:37) and remember what You have done (John 3:16). And have joy (Rom 15:13). In order to work and not ask “what’s in it for me”, but to serve as a steward and see, “what can I do for others?” as stated in Phil 2:3-4.

After all, how am I to learn all of these if I do not learn to be humble? The pre-requisite of being instructed and acquiring God’s promises is a teachable heart… that was why it was written before the reassurance in Psalms 25. Because we have a part to act out our faith (James 2:17).

“He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” – Ps 25:9-10.

Flight

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Liberty (of some sort).
Finally a breath of fresh air.
Without pretence; no facades.
Not a glimpse of fear,
or a dose of insecurity
running through my veins and heartbeat.

I could just paint,
freely.
Without a client to worry,
without a mistake to care about.
A speck that does not require doubt.
No need to worry for any insult.

Finally a way to fly,
freedom rings,
in art.