tumbles and risings

fiftful sleep and occasional nightmares result
from a mind
that refuses to hit the “pause” button.

this week has been one of some tumbles.
I like the ring of the word –
because tumbles remind me of children,
and how when they fall and bruise their knees,
they may cry for a while but they
always get back up again:
the tumbles are forgotten in the
excitement of rising up to new
adventures.

truly thankful to God for the past two days
of risings,
not that circumstances had miraculously changed,
but I have learnt new lessons

on how to sing this lifesong
freely, beautifully, passionately.

floral reflections

I love, no,
I love love flowers.

Maybe because they’re fragile, easily blown away by the wind –
and I empathize with them.

Maybe because they’re beautiful –
and I appreciate beauty.

But on a deeper level,
their very existence shows that while not useful
in the strictly utilitarian sense
(unlike corn and wheat),
these fragile beauties occupy a place in God’s creation:
a reminder that things need not be purely practical.
Beauty’s not a waste – not if it comes from the Source of all beauty.

speak, Lord, in the stillness

The necessity of being still before God

Be still, and know that I am God:
(Psalm 46:10)

Often when our hearts are tossed
here and there by fleshly feelings –
by selfishness, by anger, by discontent –
we cannot hear God.

When we read His Word
with an unsettled heart,
we often mishandle the Scripture,
using it to support our twisted ideas.

*

It is not in the tumult of passions
where we can contemplate who God truly is,
and seek to adore Him for His majesty and meekness.

Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
(Psalm 131:2)

Only with a soul as a weaned child
can we even begin to
know that He is GOD,
the eternal and infinite Being –
begin to grasp His infinitude
and gasp in awe at it.

Only then can we hear Him aright,
subjecting our twisted ideas
to the unbending rule of His holy Word.

Be still, my soul.

triumphs at my cost

For the longest time, I was idealistic.

But that is an euphemism for naivety. My brother bluntly told me once that he thinks I live in an universe of my own.

Though it’s exaggerated, I know what he means.

Airy, dream-like, almost ethereal.

*

I had ideals. Ideals impossible in this fallen world of sin.

God had to pull them down, one by one.

He did, this year.

By the mistreatment and the eventual break.

By working life, which officially marked the start of adulthood.

*

Were not the ideals wholesome and innocent?

That I should be loved, cherished, treasured by one who claims to do so?

That I should not have to go out and fend for myself in the corporate world, and be trampled for my lack of assertiveness and dominance?

But these are still my own ideas.

And any ideas that stand in opposition to God’s
are ideas stemming from self-will.

*

Thy will,
not my ideals,
be done.

My ideas were
shattered.

Yet I am not.

I survived,
and emerged stronger,
having come face to face with reality.

I can laugh the more joyfully,
smile the more steadily
because whatever comes my way
in God’s Providence,
I’m ready.

*

There are none of my ideals that God’s future for me must conform to anymore.

And that is good, for His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.

Buy a HDB flat/condo at the age of 35 to live with my pet dog for company? Sure.

Be wife to a wealthy businessman and mother to seven children? Sure.

Die, poor and lonely, in a remote third world village whilst doing missions? Sure.

Just as long as it’s God’s Will,
My soul is assured of the victory.

And the will of God becomes so dear to him that he loves it best when it triumphs at his cost.
(Stepping Heavenwards)

strength in weakness

“You’re mentally very strong.
But your body is much weaker.”

This is one line I’m tired of hearing –
and have to check the rebel sigh
while fighting yet another throat infection and flu.

Must I be this fragile?
What’s the point of being strong if my body will collapse when I push myself?

If my body was stronger,
I know I can go much farther
and achieve more.
I can do so much more things
if I can sleep at 2am and
still be functioning the next day.
But no, I need my 8 hours of sleep or else I’ll
faint.

Perhaps this is God’s restraining of my ambition –
with perfect health,
and without any reminders of frailty,
who knows where I’ll be.

This is the cross I must take up,
not one that I lay on myself,
but one that is given by God
to teach me to
deny myself and follow Him.

*

As much as I can,
I’ll try to improve my health
through good lifestyle habits,
but I am aware that this
weak and delicate frame is a
lifelong thorn in the flesh.

2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

conquering self-will

As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children ensures their wretchedness and irreligion: whatever checks and mortifies it, promotes their future happiness and piety. 

This is still more evident if we farther consider that religion is nothing else than doing the will of God and not our own; that the one grand impediment to our temporal and eternal happiness being this self-will, no indulgence of it can be trivial, no denial unprofitable.

Heaven or hell depends on this alone. 

– Susannah Wesley

what I’m thankful for

It’s just my bad habit to fall sometimes
into a mood that is “doom and gloom”,
but as I learnt on Sunday,
I must rejoice evermore
and in everything give thanks.

I’m thankful for sprinkles of joy
today:

hearty laughter with my students,

Oreo cupcake,

wandering alone about the neighbourhood after dinner,

chancing upon and being able to buy a Christian book I have always wanted,
Let Me Be a Woman –

I shall resolve to be sunny
one day at a time.