Words and Intentions

This morning I had to report to the Singapore Sands Hotel for work. Yeah yeah, you know, cool high class place and all. But nothing is very cool to me, if I have to wake up at 530am to get there.

It was a rather rainy morning, and strong winds were blowing when I reached the roof terrace. For those who do not know, I am a research assistant with National Parks Board and National University of Singapore. My job requires that I visit various rooftop gardens in Singapore, and record the species of birds and butterflies that utilize or enter the garden. From that, you probably would have guessed why rain is extremely bad news for me. I would have to cancel the survey and return another day. Having many consecutive rainy days really messes up my schedule as it is ideal that the monthly surveys for each site is reasonably spaced out.

Since I don’t know when, I developed a habit of saying a short prayer to the Lord before every morning survey. Thanksgiving for the job, and my safety getting there, and also to commit the weather into His hands. I love it that my work is dependent on God and what He provides for the weather. Stories for another time. So anyway, I did the same prayer today, but I still feared.

I didn’t know I feared until I decided to check the 8am NEA weather forecast. It is a 3-hour nowcast, and is usually a pretty good gauge I use when outdoors. I checked it when I woke up, and it showed ‘showers’ in the region. I was a bit afraid that it will be a waste of time today, but I headed out anyway. By 8am, the forecast showed ‘slightly cloudy’. It didn’t seem like it would rain in the next 3 hours. That instant wave of relief that swept over me uncontrollably shocked me. I don’t think I trusted God much today. The relief wasn’t because I thought God granted me what I wanted, but because I felt that phew, the weather wasn’t going to let me down today.

Well, I feel uneasy, I haven’t sorted it out in my mind yet. But why are we so weak? Why are we humans unable to even understand ourselves?

If the weather didn’t came through and I had to cancel my survey, I would still say God is God. But my doubt scared me more. How sure was I when I say that daily prayer to commit all into His hands? How I wish I could be sure that I can mean whatever I say, because many times, I only say what I want to mean.

Heavy-hearted but.. good stuff did happen.

Sorry for the bit of emo nemo post. Just learned about some stuff that really troubled me.

This short post is just to clarify that the weekend has actually been pretty awesome. Being able to meet and catch up with all my church friends, younger and peers alike – one of my greatest joys. I am building new relationships and improving on existing ones. A year ago, I never ever thought this would happen to me. Last June, if you were to even predict such a future, I would have scoffed at you, and just walked off. One Being to thank –

Thank God. It would have never been possible without You in me. Because Vivien without God is just…………..something that should be a thing of the past, says Vivien of today.

I am not talking to anyone because it is an obligation. I truly care and I want to love. Sometimes, it feels terribly like an obligation and a chore and I really have to draw strength for God for every single word/action, but God surprises me all the time.

But this journey has been nothing short of amazing. Thank You, thank You, thank You. Teach me how to be better for You everyday, how to bless, how to give, how to be more like Jesus and how to love You by loving this world.

I feel a song coming. Maybe I shall write some lyrics tomorrow. Because God is so amazing.

A song that comforts me all the time

Did you ever talk to God above?
Tell Him that you need a friend to love.
Pray in Jesus’ name believing
that God answers prayer.
Have you told Him all your cares and woes?
Ev’ry tiny little fear He knows.
You can know He’ll always hear
And He will answer prayer.
You can whisper in a crowd to Him.
You can cry when you’re alone to Him.
You don’t have to pray out loud to Him;
He knows your thoughts.
On a lofty mountain peak, He’s there.
In a meadow by a stream, He’s there.
Anywhere on earth you go,
He’s been there from the start.
Find the answer in His Word; it’s true.
You’ll be strong because He walks with you.
By His faithfulness He’ll change you, too.
God answers prayer.

Praying for you tonight because I really wish you are doing better now. Glad to hear bits and pieces of news about you. Wherever you are, I am sure God calls out, and you can find Him when you decide to. Fight on.

Praying for you and you and your family tonight because I love both of you so much so much, and it hurts me to see this happen. Please walk out of this and show me why I fell in love with you two so effortlessly – because I see God’s light in the both of you and what a blessing you two are to me and to so many others. Please please keep that light on, don’t ever let it out, and let it guide the both of you. May God be the center of it all.

Thoughts from Taiwan

Yes! I finally have time and energy to do this. Even now, I am kinda juggling other things like anime and a game. I am the type to need some noise to think, but just noise of my choice. Stuff that either helps me to think or I can filter out very easily. The act of filtering kinda helps me focus I suppose? Yeah, I am weird. HIII~

So, Taiwan. Where do I start? It was a trip that I agreed to go with two sisters whom I have known for about 12 years now – church friends who are not exceptionally close but we basically grew up together, and enjoy a comfortable mutual understanding with. I can be myself in front of them, even if it means making ‘bad’ comments or showing weakness, because they would know that I don’t have bad intentions. I didn’t really expect much from the trip, just wanted to do shopping, eat a lot and to accompany my friends. The timing isn’t fantastic because I had to arrange my work around it, and I had to leave my colleague to do the report’s finishing touches alone. 😦 But thank God, she’s awesome and nice about it. I need to buck up on work.

I didn’t really think too much about the trip in the spiritual sense. But I did continue reading the Bible, and saying my silent prayers, telling God how amazing He is, how wonderful His love is, how queer some things are, how interesting some things are and the list goes on. Whenever I am thinking and not talking, I am ‘praying’ – I like to tell God about things I see. It’s cool to just muse together with God, much like laughing with an old friend who knows your thoughts, who gently points out your acts of immaturity and occasionally sternly reminds you that you are called to be better than this. 🙂

The trip was pretty fast-paced, and most of it was rushing from one shopping location to other under the stern leadership of my friend. I get mentally drained very easily – and at some point, I was being a shopping or eating machine with a checklist of things to do in my head.

But I felt an overwhelming sense of peace every time my eyes chanced upon a cross or the name of a Christian group/organisation. It may not be a church, in fact, I don’t think I saw any church buildings. It was mostly Christian help/bible study organisations. That sense of peace was so refreshing it always jolted me out of my numb mental state, and reminded me of who I was – child of God. Then what came next were the questions – so what am I doing as the child of God? Why do these organisations exist?

And within the next few days, I became a lot more spiritually sensitive to what I saw. I prayed for God to teach me. More than seeing the glamorous part of Taiwan, the clothes, the pretty things and people, how well-dressed and polite and happy they are, the good food.. I saw the people and the aches behind their smiles – their needs, their pains, their burdens, their heartaches, their confusion and what they yearn for. I don’t know what is it exactly, but it saddened me immensely; I am guessing if I was feeling their need and hunger for something more in their lives, perhaps a space that only Jesus could fill. I don’t know I don’t know, and I didn’t want to dwell on it too much in Taiwan because it was too much for my mind to handle, and I would be spacing out all the time. But it still bugs me even now.

If you have been to Taiwan before, you will notice that they are mostly very polite, and sweet and helpful. They come across as really kind and pleasant people (save for a few), and it makes me wonder why can’t I be a better person like them. I am not commenting on their hunger for something good and eternal because I think they are good people and they deserve heaven. Nope, I think no one ‘deserves’ heaven – we all fall short. At least I say so for myself. I don’t know about seeing ‘evil’ people..(haven’t really thought about that) but when I see good people who are, well… in a way, lost, it hurts me badly. I wish so hard that they could experience the God that I know and how utterly amazing and fulfilling that is. How unbelievably good and how unbelievably secure. How I wish they could experience this joy for themselves. How I wish that their smiles would not look empty and aching, but really radiate from the bottom of their hearts. Ever seen someone do something silly to themselves, and wishing so hard that you could help him or her by sharing how you lived through it?

I am always on the verge of being suicidal. I think about suicide all the time. But I am learning to tell myself NO. I am learning to tell myself my God is good and He is bigger and stronger and more powerful than anything the world can throw at me. And because of who my God is, I will live on bravely, day after day, and I will wait for Him to come again to take me home. When I see people throw away their lives, I understand what it feels like to be on that end and feeling forced to make that choice, but look, we can make the harder choice – to stand up again, breathe, and live on! I can only do this because of God. Without God, there is really no meaning to life here for me.

[So, Vivien, you have complained so damn a lot about Taiwan – are you going to stop at that?]

I guess some people are going to go down harsh on me for not doing anything constructive about the situation. Yeah, I don’t have anything constructive, but I do see hope in the power of the cross. For all the things I do not know about Taiwan, I know one thing. The cross is already there. I keep seeing the crosses around, even in tourist destinations. There are prominent Christian celebrities who start entire movements to spread love and kindness in the name of Jesus. And there are definitely people who seek the truth and what is good and perfect. There is this utterly amazing Christian bookshop called Campus Books. There are Christian bands in Taiwan. There is hope in the promise of the cross, there really is. So what can I do? What can we do as Singaporeans sitting comfortably in the comfort of our homes when the world is so dark out there? (And even here as well actually….)

Pray for Taiwan, yes. More importantly, pray for the Christians in Taiwan too – may they hold on to their faith and their amazing God, and just, shine bright. To the Christians out there in Taiwan, may the country be blessed because of you.

Thank God for Taiwan and all that it has taught me this trip. Just this lesson alone, was worth the trip.

wishing i had more to give

I feel like that all the time. I wish I knew all the answers; I wish I had what was needed to help everyone get what they want; I wish I had the time to love everyone I wanted to love, and in the way they want to be loved; I wish I could give more of myself to build them up, to see them grow into stunning, shining individuals who love God wholeheartedly. But hahaha, well – I either don’t have it or I get very tired from doing it. As I pour myself into knowing and loving more people, I find this increasing need to just retreat into my little private space, even if it’s just doing nothing but playing lame computer games, watching lame tv or taking an intentionally long and slow walk home.

I realised that when I am tired and I want to switch off, I usually assume fetal position. Hahaha. It’s my way of saying, gosh, please don’t talk to me or ask me anything, just let me exist. I like being there and observing and listening, so I won’t feel like going home – but nope, I don’t want to say anything. Haha.

I am very thankful for this weekend because I managed to spend time with almost all the groups and/or people I really love. Friday afternoon detour with the movie gang -.-“, friday supper with two sisters and a brother (quite a bit of history between us all), went out to dinner on Sat with mini-Bendito, then out to chill with my favourite bunch of random Engage boys, netball game today with err, netball chatgroup and the sunday school class! Actually this whole week has been very fabulous, met up with the prayer subcommittee, separately with two brothers very very dear to me and even a random walk up to church with Aletheia! Well, the list can go on and on and on~~~~~~~ :):):):):):)

WOW. It’s pretty amazing to just reflect upon the sheer number of people God has put me in contact with these few days. Even if it’s just a greeting, or being assigned to play the same position for netball, a short hello in the hallway, or just lame teasing on my part…it doesn’t have to be cell group, or zone gathering, or a formal church event so that I can love and bless the people around me. Love is up to each and every one of us.

Each person I come into contact with, I see it as a choice to love or to just heck care, and go find my private space. I pray that all these people have been blessed by me too, just like how I have been blessed so much so much just by spending time with all of them.

Very thankful for jingxin who woke me up from one of my stupid ideas. If not for him, I would probably have missed a chance to bless and to be blessed. I should really text him to say thank you, I shall.

Maybe we have all been there before – wishing we had more to give to people we love. But I guess……… I wouldn’t have got past this weekend if I did not allow God to love them through me. I would probably have burnt out by Friday night if it were really up to me and my strength and my determination.

But, thank God that I have God. 🙂 Feeling very very very very loved this weekend, and kind of physically tired too. Heh.

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

Thoughts from my time with jingxin

The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
When a man’s ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.
The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.

(‭Proverbs‬ ‭16‬:‭1-9‬ ESV)

Time is the currency I understand

Feeling pensive again after I saw the beautiful sunrise here at Subaru Motor Images. And maybe after being ravished by mosquitoes. 😞 and my ankle is hurting like crazy, mysteriously.

Ah wells.

Hmmmm. I was utterly elated when one of my juniors asked me out. One of those I ‘signed’ a lifetime contract with, and it will really be till death does us part. Actually, we had some unhappiness between us the past week, but we talked about it openly and honestly, and it was all resolved….and I felt lighter and a lot happier after that.

There’s a saying that those who seem the toughest actually get hit the hardest. That’s me, and for a long time, I didn’t like this weakness of mine. I wish I was really as tough and as ruthless as I seem, because I can protect my own small fragile heart from the big scary giants outside.

But lately as I started coming back to serve in church and in more active/permanent positions, I find it hard to not be myself. God reminds me all the time that He has created me this way, and is trying to teach me to be better at this whole love thingy.

I am slowly accepting myself as someone who just cares a lot, and about a lot of things and people. I worry, a lot. I think about what more I can do, what I did wrong, how to correct it, how to help others up, how not to let others fall…. And so the list goes on… And one of my better friends in recent months… Well, I think he seriously finds me tiring and burdensome. 😔 and I am so unsure of who I am after my breakup, such that I really have no idea how to start learning and correcting myself. But now, I am much better, and I am finding myself again. I feel like I am a teenager all over again, going all out to love and get hurt, because I want to love.

If I love you, I would just be so thrilled, and feel so loved that you are willing to spend time with me. Asking me out for coffee, supper, a short chat… Even the smallest of things like coming up to me to say hi, and promising to meet up soon. Hahahaha, you really don’t know how elated I am on the inside, and how much I will look forward to the day we meet, and how serious I take every invitation. And yeah, embarrassing yes, but that’s really who I am.

If I love you, I can rave about our date for days on end, and mentally count the hours leading up to it. Such an idiot right?

If I love you, I would have to try so hard to resist wanting to hang out and meet and talk all the time! I used to really like whatsapp because it helped me talk to more people, but meeting up with people…

The effort, the time, the dynamics, the raw sound of laughter, the weird eyebrow movements, the side glances, the gazes that connect, the spontaneity of conversations – oh, all the other meaningless things I would give up to enjoy all that with someone I love. If it were up to me, I would give you my time, as much as it was needed, so I could show that I love you, and make you feel loved.

At the innermost of my being, that is the currency I understand. Not just time, but real quality time. Because that is how I love and how I feel loved.

When I thank you for a good dinner/night/meal/chat/ride home, it means I really enjoyed feeling loved, and loving you. And I would recall the time with a faint smile, before I sleep.

Not everyone is easy to love, and I am probably one of the hardest to love – but when I give you my time, I really want to and I am trying very hard to love you. Because that is what God wants me to do for Him.

If I don’t love you, I really wouldn’t even be bothered to take a glance at you in real life, whether you are looking at me or not. If you came up to me to talk, I would sound like I want to end the conversation ASAP. I fail in loving sometimes, but trust me, I will try. I will really try. Just that if you have hurt me or disrespected me before, it’s going to take some time, and some convincing (of myself to myself). I give a lot when I allow myself to, but I fall a lot harder too.

Not by my own strength and might, but with His heart and with His eyes, I will try.