He loves me enough

This has been one of those trying weeks.

Emotions seriously out of whack, crying unnecessary tears of disappointment.

But in the midst of the pain and anguish, God’s shown that He does know what is best for me.

And He loves me enough to withhold from me something that I thought I wanted but was completely out of His plan.

Sometimes we place unrealistic expectations on those around us, whether it be our friends, colleagues, spouses.  We put them up on a pedestal  and we begin to link our happiness and sometimes our contentment to how they treat us or respond to us.  I know I did.

And how loving is He to care enough that each time I begin to ground my happiness on whether or not someone meets my expectations, He withholds that relationship from me.

Once I refocus and get my head on straight again, once I go to Him as my source of joy and satisfaction, it’s like He allows me to have it back again, keeping an eye on me and making sure I don’t let my own flesh get in the way of something He has gifted me.  He is after all a jealous God – when things or people start to take His place in our lives, He has the authority, power and love to take those things/people away.

You give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.  

Lord, thank you for clarity like never before.  Forgive me for abusing what you had gifted me.  Help me to value and treasure what is presently before me and respect and love those around me within the boundaries you’ve already laid out for me.  Thank you for giving me insight to your grand plans for me and thank you for your patience with me.

“Keep my commandments and live, and keep my law and teaching as the apple of your eye.  Bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Say to skilful and godly wisdom, you are my sister and regard understanding or insight as your intimate friend.” – Proverbs 7:2-4 AMP

– Ames –

P.S. Enjoying this song right now…

Impatience uncovered

Oh wow. I just realised that I have used the word “impatient” at least 7 times in the last couple of posts… *sigh*

I think that being impatient really stems from not truely believing that God’s got the best plan for our lives. We’re impatient because we want things to happen on our timeline, not knowing or understanding that whatever we have before us is there for a reason, His purposes. 

I want to repent of this. I need to repent of this.

Impatience also means, in my view, that you start striving to make something happen on your terms or timeline. That equates to stepping outside God’s will which can lead to some dangerous consequences.

So I’m resolving here and now to be patient with life. To relax and chill over things I choose not to control coz I’ve given Him reign in that area of my life.

To not get too enthusiastic about people I click with coz it might scare them away. To not put unrealistic expectations on others. To take things slowly and be at peace with all those around me. To love greatly and forgive quickly.

I’m not saying I’ll get it right all the time but this is the direction I want to travel in.

– Ames –

life investments

Over the last week or so, I’ve been slowly making my way through the book, ‘The Invested Life,” by Joel C. Rosenberg and Dr. T.E. Koshy.  The subtitle to the book is, ‘making disciples of all nations one person at a time’.

The book is based around two simple questions:

  • Who is investing in me?
  • Whom am I investing in?

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about this book are the personal testimonies that pepper the chapters of how the lives of men and women have been transformed because of those who took the time to invest in them and disciple them.

In Chapter 2, the authors highlight three characteristics of a disciple that really come in the form of the people they have around them.  Dr Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary puts it like this:

  • a “Paul” – an older and wiser believer to invest in your spiritual growth;
  • a “Barnabas” – a friend who encourages you, teaches you and keeps you accountable; and
  • a “Timothy” – a younger believer in whose life you can invest.

– mentioned on pg 29, The Invested Life

Lately, I’ve come to better understanding of the role I’ve been given to mentor the “Timothys” under my care.  I know that my life is not my own – in the sense that whether I like it or not, these guys and girls watch how I live and potentially will follow the example I set in how I approach ministry, my work, relationships, my prayer life… it’s an incredible responsibility but at the same time, such a privilege to be a positive influence in the next generation of leaders.  It’s how we leave a legacy that outlasts our earthly lives – we can do a good job of it or just float through life accumulating things and investing in things that have no eternal value.

I’m also so thankful for the “Barnabases” that God has sent my way in the last year or two.  After I moved into my current church home, I thought I would need to join a life group at a slightly bigger church to get the support and encourage I needed to continue serving faithfully at the place that God has placed me.  But, God had other plans :).  Soon after, people I’d met over the years but had not really formed strong or sustained friendships with, started to come out of the ‘woodwork’.  He has pinpointed some individuals who have spoken faith and truth into my life and continues to bring people in to encourage me in my walk with Him.  I’ve recognised that I’m not the kind of person that needs that constant daily contact to keep me on track but every once in a while, a good D&M over coffee/food with a sister in Christ is enough to carry me over for a few more months before I need my ‘hit’ of inspiration so to speak :P.  God is good.

I guess right now I’m still praying for God to highlight the “Pauls” in my life.  I definitely count my parents as my “Pauls” who have invested copious time and effort into my spiritual growth but I know that it’s important to have someone outside of the family context to speak into my life as well.  There is someone I have in mind but I think more prayer is needed before I approach them.  Afterall, life investments shouldn’t be taken lightly…

So, who is investing in you?  And whom are you investing in?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

– Ames –

I’m a professional

A famous radio talk-show host began to lose his hearing, had drug charges made against him and then started to lose his ability to speak.  He said (as quoted by Jentezen Franklin in his ‘Drag it off the Road‘ message):

A professional is somebody who does what they know they have to do regardless of how they feel.  Do you think I felt like coming into work this morning?  I don’t always feel like it but I do it anyway because I’m a professional.

Sometimes we need to just quit doing what we feel and just be a professional about it.  It’s true for the life of a student as well as a Christian.

Just get on with it.

♥ Ames

Waiting

Beware: random thoughts to follow…

The idea of waiting is kind of growing on me. Society generally has us all in a rush to get from A to B but there’s also that concept of enjoying the moment. Enjoying the season of waiting.

For me, in terms of relationships, waiting means anticipation, hopefulness, mystery, more time for personal growth, opportunity and capacity to invest in others, less angst and emotional drama, being independent of others but depend on God for all your needs.

I feel like there’s a group of people who don’t get much attention in our society: The Happy Singles.  Single people who are loving life and living it to its fullest.  Why don’t we read or hear about them? Because we love the drama, the complicated relationships, the heartbreak of people dating and sleeping around so happy, uncomplicated, unattached single people = boring.

Oh well.  I’ll still enjoy waiting.  I feel like right now, free of all kind of romantic relationships or crushes, I can love fully and freely.  And that’s awesome.

I’m so thankful to get a second chance at living life as a happy single :).  I could do with a few more years of this bliss.

Praise God.

♥ Ames

Learning to say ‘No’.

‘No.’  Such a small word but it has so much power.  It can propel you in one direction or another.  It can bring one person joy and another person heartache.  It can cause you stress or decrease your stress.  All that in just two letters.  Two letters, one syllable that I, at times, find hard to say…

There are a lot of things I want.

I want to be an amazing guitarist.  I want to be a great teacher and preacher of the Word.  I want to go and fight injustice in a third world country.  I want to be up to date with all the trendy restaurants and food joints.  I want to be a top honours law student.  I want to volunteer my time in the community.  I want to be all I can be for my friends.  I want to invest proper time and effort into my piano students.  I want to be an involved sister to my autistic brother.  I want to reach and save the lost.  I want to run a fundraising event for the Trust Fund I started.  I want to be an encouragement to my parents.  I want to be a talented photographer.  I want to cook delicious meals.  I want to have a consistent and dynamic prayer life.  I want to be a super witty and clever blogger.

There are a lot of things I want but I can’t be all of these at once.  Maybe one day I can do/be all these things, but right now, I’m learning how to say, ‘No’. Saying ‘No’ is not necessarily a bad thing… it’s about what is effective.  It’s about saying ‘No’ for a greater ‘Yes’.  I know that it’s better to do a few things well then to do a lot of things mediocre.  It’s about knowing what’s a priority, knowing what God wants me or you to do right now this year, this month, this week, this moment.

How do we know what to do and what should be placed on the back burner?  Make some time, make some space to get still, get quiet and cast your burdens on the Lord.  Petition Him to show you where to invest your time and I guarantee, that as you wait on Him, He’ll reveal His heart for you, to you.

It worked for me :).  Try it and see!

♥ Ames

Goals for 2012

If something isn’t in writing, it’s just a floating idea… HENCE, I sat myself down to write out what I’m going to be aiming for in 2012:

  • Exercise 3+ days per week
    •  pretty self-explanatory; I think digging in the sand for pippies yesterday counts as one day :P
  • Read the Bible everyday
  • Spend money wisely
    • As you can see, this goal started out as ‘to not buy any clothes’ but changed after my dad told me that goals should be positive ones rather than negative
  • Be more bold and courageous in pointing others to Jesus
    • There are still times when I’ve shied away from pointing to the true source of my joy so I hope to make the most of every opportunity this year
  • (Re)establish the Law Students’ Christian Network on campus
    • We had a good start with the prayer group in Semester 2 last year but my goal is to create something that can be maintained and grow even after I graduate
  • Get all H’s in Law School
    • Though clerkship positions will definitely help me on my way to securing a grad position in 2012, it never hurts to do well academically too!
  • To read 12 books cover to cover
    • I have a bad habit of starting books but not finishing them… this will change!
  • Complete Suzuki Piano Training!
    • I’ve done all the practical stuff but just need to quit procrastinating and put down all the written teaching points AND send them off to get full accreditation!!

 I have a feeling 2012 is going to be a big year… bring it on!

♥ Ames

A Story: Friend For Life, Part 4 – how it is now

Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3.  Now the final installment…

He changed.

Dramatically.

Almost overnight, there was something different about him – everyone could see it.  The prayers I’d been praying over his life had finally been answered!  Even now, I praise God for His faithfulness.  He never gave up on him.  We were personal witnesses to God’s radical transforming power and I feel so humbled to have been a part of His plan to ultimately bring my friend to the end of himself, to bring Him to the point where there was nowhere else to run but into the loving arms of the Father.

We settled back into our friendship but with a difference… I could see a light in His eyes as he spoke about God and shared his own experiences of God with me.  He has encouraged me so much and at times, I feel like he has surpassed me in my understanding of who God is – which is awesome.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though.  It took 5 months for me to realise what a big mistake I had made by entering into that first relationship.  We broke things off on mutual terms but I was severely brokenhearted when the other boy started seeing his old girlfriend again and then a few months later was engaged (ah, I said I would leave it for another post!).  But it allowed me to feel the pain that I had put my friend through the months before and it was such a comfort to know that if he made it through, surely God would bring me through it as well.   I was so thankful that he stood by my side even though I had hurt him so much in the past.

Even though God had moved in his life in such an amazing way, that did not necessarily mean that his feelings for me were automatically extinguished.  Through my own personal pain, I could not see his words and actions were clothed in an unrequited love for me.  Actually, that’s not true.  I knew he still cared for me but I knew that it would be entirely unfair to him if I was to just fall into his loving arms to ease my own pain.  I didn’t want to put him in the position that I had just been in – not only would that be unwise but it would have been entirely selfish of me.  So I left it for him to get his feelings sorted – it was not something I could help him with.  All I could do was reassure him that we would be ‘Friends for life’ and in my heart of hearts and I knew that’s all we would ever be.

Now, 4 years on from that first summer day, we’re both doing well :).  He is dating one of my dearest sisters in Christ and I think it is for the long haul.  We don’t talk as much as we used to but that has been partly due to my own personal decision to distance myself so that I do not interfere in their relationship in any way (and also moving to another church has meant I don’t see him on a weekly basis anymore).  However, he remains one of the sweetest, most generous and kindest guys I know and what’s more is that he has a solid faith in God to back it up.  He is one of the finest guys I’ve ever met and I’m so thankful to call him friend.

Our lives have taken different paths but I’m thankful they crossed and know that (if you ever read this) I am so proud of you, happy for you and love you very much.  I pray that God continues to do great things in you and through your life to inspire others to pursue the things of God more.

♥ Ames

A Story: Friend For Life, Part 3 – how it changed

Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here and here.

I remember the day I told him.  I felt like we were such good friends so why wouldn’t I?  I think I had an inkling that he was harbouring feelings for me but as he never verbalised it, I didn’t think it should matter.

I told him about the boy who’d expressed that he liked me (a story for another post).  I told him how I knew that the boy must have been on the rebound and nothing was likely to come of it.  I joked about it but he didn’t say much in response.

I just put it down to it being one of his off-days.  However, the next day, a full-blown confession waited for me in my inbox.  I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know what to say.  I also was a few weeks away from the exams of my final semester so I asked for his patience which he had no choice but to give.  I left him in the dark for the next month as my friendship with the other boy unexpectedly accelerated into something I had neither anticipated or foreseen – it had all the markings of a relationship though it was never officially labelled as one.

Anyway, the time came when he requested a meeting with me.  I told him it was horrible timing as my grandma also had just gone into hospital (that was true) but if I was being honest, I just didn’t know how to handle it.  I cared for him deeply but I also knew my heart wasn’t where his was.  So I asked for more time.  He told me later about how that period had been the darkest for him.  And that was when his own journey began…

I felt so alone. One night I just prayed to God. I prayed for Him to help me. I prayed that I would do anything, absolutely anything if He would just take this pain away. Right then, I felt the pain go away. I continued to pray. I prayed for Him to take away all my burdens and my anger. That night I gave my life for God. I told Him, ‘Here is my life take it, everything I have planned, everything I did has failed.  Take it and show me your plans, for I know that Your plans never fail, that your plans are amazing beyond my imagination.’ As I kept on praying, these waves of love were coming and healing me. I was no longer in pain. It is a feeling that is beyond words. That week I must have prayed over 1000 times. Not for myself only but for you as well.

———-

You may wonder why I am so transparent with these stories that are so obviously written from or based on personal experience.  I find that once I am able to talk/write about an event, I know that it has become a subject of the past and no longer hangs over the present.  It’s therapeutic and I think a necessary part of any form of ‘letting go’.  Dear FFL, if you still read this blog, I hope you’ll understand my need to share this.

♥ Ames

it makes you wonder.

When you hear a song, when you see a familiar street corner, when you meet a mutual friend…

Did it really happen?  It makes you wonder.

Everything seems like such a distant memory now.

Almost like it was just a bad dream and I’ve finally woken up.

Life never quite turns out the way you once hoped for.

And sometimes, that is such a good thing :).

Am I glad (so glad!) things didn’t turned out the way we planned.

♥ Ames