the small vessel..

~”A small vessel in the hand of the Magnificent Potter”~

That’s what I usually put up in the description section on my social network/blog site. The reason behind it?

Ever since I opened my heart to Jesus back in 2005, I’ve had this impression that starting from that moment, my life will function like a bowl, or a vessel, to receive and hold whatever blessings and revelations He’s kindly giving me, and to pour them back out when the time has come, i.e. when the bowl/vessel is brimming to its full capacity.

I think I did draw some pictures of those vessels, but pretty sure the drawings would be an epic fail because I’m just HOPELESS at drawing. They were there merely to serve the purpose, to remind me of what I receive, and to keep everything on track. And then this particular vessel came into my mind, on this one, cold Melbourne night when I was chatting with Daddy.

It’s made of clay, it’s brownish red. At first the vessel looks pretty normal. It’s fat on the bottom part before it goes slightly larger before going slimmer all the way to its neck, as it expands for a bit into a shape of an opening.

Okay, I said, that’s a pretty normal vessel, Lord.

Then He zoomed in on the neck of the vessel, as it appeared to grow narrower and narrower that it was almost impossible to draw water from the opening afterwards, because the neck was simply too thin for anything inside the vessel to come out easily.

Now that’s one faulty vessel, I responded. You’d either have to be a super patient person to draw water from that pot or you have to make a hole (a bigger one, of course) or maybe smash it so you’ll get to the liquid inside quickly.

Now here’s what He shared to me,
My life is just like that small, fat vessel. Empty in the beginning, God as the Potter slowly fills my life with His goodness and love and joy while slowly shaping the clay into the ‘body’ of the vessel.


This post was last edited on August 20, 2010, at 4.50pm. I would have been back home in Surabaya,  counting down the days when I would get to see Andrew again in a month time.

And I can still remember why I couldn’t finish this piece. It was the fear of the reality of my purpose. Let me try to continue.

As God continues to fill me up with His goodness and kindness, it starts to reach to the brim. And that is when God will start to ask me to give. At first it is doable to draw the water out of the vessel, though the hole is a bit narrow. But the time will come when I will be required to give more, and I will give out of my brokenness. The vessel will be broken, and shattered to allow more water to pour out.

That is such an apt description of how I live my life. I am so worried about a lot of things I will think of myself first. I will make sure I will be okay first, before I will open my heart to give to others. This is how God teaches me to be compassionate. I honestly dread that word, it requires humility and sacrifice, and I am not big on those two. Breaking the vessel, and thus breaking my heart and my will to serve others is going to be God’s way to train me as His daughter. I know full well that I will suffer, and I pray that I will form a new habit, a holy one, so His purpose will shine through me.

 

do not fear.

You have two choices

The way I see it, you have only two choices:

  1. You can spend your days dreaming of a better life.
  2. Or you can do the messy work of taking your dream to the world.

You can sit around, playing the what-if game, or you can start saying, “Let’s.”

Right now, your dream is perfect. Safe and comfortable, it’s untouched by your dirty, human hands. Stuffed in a box on a shelf, it’s tucked away — far from the world it’s supposed to change.

Here’s the truth: you’re squandering your passion. For sake of personal comfort and fear of messing up your calling, you’re robbing the world of a gift — your dream.

Is it worth the cost?

 taken from  ‘How to Stop Dreaming & Start Living‘ by Jeff Goins.

I fear a lot of things. Petrified by things tangible and intangible. Frightened by unpredictable existence. I fear height, sometimes darkness, death, and failing.

Fear cripples you. It has crippled me for some times. It slaps a big ‘no’ to ‘maybe’, however silly ‘maybe’ might sound. It labels ‘impossible’ to dreams, however improbable they are. It squeezes out the good juice out of the fruit and leave it to die, rotten, left out.

My fear hinders me towards my freedom. The freedom to do things that I know I am supposed to do, things I am called to do, to bear. I fear that once I dip my feet into the trial, it will be messy, it may not work, I might have to work really really hard for it happen, and there’s no going back. The dream may not be so perfect anymore.

Gently, God asked me, “but who gave you those dreams in the first place? Who gave that desire to pour your heart and soul into words and lines, and melodies?”. It sure wasn’t me, Father. Surely it was all from You. But these ‘what if?’ questions.

What if I failed?
What if I don’t do it as I am supposed to?
What if it’s not perfect?
What if people laugh at me and think that I’m stupid and weird?

God, the Creator of night and day, the sky and the mountains and the seas, wrapped a tiny, perfect seed of dream and placed it in my heart, into my imperfect life. His dreams, His desire, His plans. All that I need to do is to believe, and take the step. He, who could actually do all that He has put in my heart so easily, chose to trust me in all my weaknesses to do them. For Him. For His friends, His children. Not for my gain, not for my benefit, but so that His plans are delivered. These tiny bulb of dreams of His, placed in the hearts of His children, what would happen to them when they are fed with faith and trust?

Fear robs you off your freedom, off your joy, your destiny, His plan. The fear of the possibility of you failing, or the fear of you succeeding thus the demand to work harder to keep you there. Just as faith is believing the unseen, fear is also believing the unseen, the false.


this post was last edited on April 15, 2012. I wish I would’ve finished this piece, I would love to know what was on my mind that made me poured my heart out like this. I am still a little weary sometimes, and maybe I have been letting the daily mundane buoyed me to exercise my duty. And how I wish I would take courage and continue to write and sing.

Not all is lost. I still have breath within me, I can still do this. This little flicker of dream and purpose is still here in my heart, I can feel it. I only have to remember to feed it with faith and trust. Lord help my unbelief.

recalling His promise.

Winter Camp. There’s always something powerful about it. I’m going to miss it this year, since hubby and I decided that we are going to focus on our works this time. My last one was three years ago, Living Water, and I can still feel the thrill, the excitement of preparing, attending, experiencing God’s superpower throughout the three-day retreat.

Though I’m not joining the Camp this year, but I am so privileged to experience, though just a snippet, the chill and the calmness of the location. This time, I’ve got the chance to watch my husband preparing the sound system for the Camp, one thing that he’s never missed doing for 11 years straight. This is the first Camp that he’s going to miss, but he doesn’t have the heart to let the team ‘walk in the dark’, working on their own without any seniors. That’s why we’re here today 🙂

Oh, we’re in Rutherford Park, Daylesford, by the way. This special place took me back to five years ago when Pastor Mark McClendon and Diane Manusama delivered strong messages about the image of God as our Father and us as His children. Entering the hall brought a smile to my lips and a twist in my heart. This was the place where God decided to ‘drag’ me into one of my lowest pit, one of the toughest moments in my life. He taught me to let go, and to completely trust Him.

There are things in life that we never know whether we are going to be ready to let them go when the time comes. Things that we think we can’t live without, will be meaningless without, things that are so infused in our lives that an idea of them taken away from us will cost us our lives. Winter Camp 2007, Undivided Heart, was the time when I struggled, played tug o’ war with God (as if I was that strong), battled between my plans and His will. He kindly, but firmly, asked me to let go of my then-longterm-boyfriend of 6 years, a request that not only scared me but questioned His love for me. He continued offering His ‘proposal’, something that He’d been working on for weeks prior to the Camp. And I continued to run away, try to outwit Him with promises that even then I knew was not going to work. He knew what’s best for me, and I should’ve listened to Him.

Well, clearly I have. Ultimately. But those three days have never left me; His unfailing love, His promise that He would give the best for me, and He Himself. To come back to this place, watching His ‘Promise’ wrinkling his forehead, working with his team on the plugs and speakers and wires. Man, I should’ve listened to Him MUCH sooner. How deeply thankful I am for what He has done, steering my life into His perfect plans. Isn’t it funny that the one God promised me was standing at the back of the room, probably staring at my back all along? So close, yet so far haha.

This is the moment when I look back, and declare that none of what happened was from me. It was all Him; His perfect plan, how He has shaped me, and how perfect everything is right now. I’ve had this quote by Joel Osteen posted last year when I was preparing my wedding, and I’d like to recall that.

God’s plan for your life is so much bigger than your own. You’ll look back and say, “That was God. I never could have done that on my own”.

Nice one, yea?

I’m currently in the middle of a search, something that is going to affect my family’s life. Looking back to what He has done, I am glad I stayed close to Him. I really don’t want to play tug o’ war with Him anymore; He is way too strong, and way too wise for me to play around with. To trust Him will probably involve doing things that aren’t making any sense at times, but I guess the best and safest way is always to listen and obey Him. He is our Father, after all, the One who knows what’s best for us, the One whose promises never fails.

These past five years have been awesome. I’ve seen so many of His promises have been fulfilled. I really believe that when the time comes for His promises to be fulfilled, nothing can stop Him.

It’s 7.05pm now, about 7 degrees Celcius, and it’s pitch black outside. My fingers are frozen, and I’m still waiting for the guys to finish testing the drum kit before we can go to Daylesford Town Centre for some hearty dinner! My tummy has been growling, though. This weather is testing my appetite.

Wishing for another life-changing Camp for all camp-goers! WinterCamp 2012, Victorious Life, be blessed!

dry.

Sticking to my blog theme, if this was a real bowl with one serve of rice inside, considering the cold weather, you’d get a dry, slightly moldy chunk of waste.

What a waste.

I’m not ready for a long post today. Any normal bloggers would want to boast their holiday trips with photos and stories attached to them. I’d love to do the same, but I’m just not ready yet. Not when there are so many things in the back of my mind that demand more attention.

I’ve been away for 3 weeks to attend my best friend and maid of honour’s wedding in Jakarta, and continued my trip to Thailand for 6 nights with my parents. Though without my brother, who refused to come along because he’s got his own wedding to prepare, a family trip is always treasured. My dad is not a traveller, he’d dig his heels so deep in the ground whenever we plan to go somewhere outside his regular visiting countries. Luckily, Thailand falls under his regular category. I’ve been there once when I was 14, and hubby never visited Thailand yet, so we decided that while Dad’s got time to spend with us, we’d take it.

And now, back to reality, to the struggle of everyday life.

This is where I found a bit funny. I’m assuming that to most writers, writing excites them. True writers can’t NOT writing, they just have to write. I love writing, too. But now I started to feel that writing, or blogging, frightens me. Why? Because blogging demands me to be honest. With myself, first of all. Because I can’t write stuff that are not from my life experience.  And sometimes it is so damn hard to be honest with yourself, because there are times when you don’t want to think about all those things, when you don’t want to accept it. And once you write them down, they become real. And you’ll have nowhere to run.

That’s why sometimes writing depressed me. Because I can see how dry I am, how empty I’ve been, how resourceless I am. The fear and doubt of going through everyday is bordering to unbearable at times.

You called me to write, Daddy, and I still believe in Your plan. But I just can’t figure out how I would inspire others through my writings if I am hanging dry myself. I can’t stand not writing, but whenever I sit on The Chair and start writing, I can’t think of anything else but lamenting on my life. And I know that’s not right. But where should I go? What should I do? What shall I do when one thing that I love doing scares the life out of me now?

please and thank you

Please, and thank you.
That’s how Momma taught me to.
For what happened and wishes that haven’t,
please, and thank you.

From the day we were born, we were designed to ask, to demand, to take, to require. To get something to satisfy our comfort, to patch up the sense of lacking in our days. Giving wasn’t actually natural; we had to be taught on how to share our toys or cookies with our bench mates when we were kids, to surrender something out of what we have, to be willingly be separated from something out of our lives. And since it was more natural to take, we will more likely to demand something back after we give.

I’ve been learning about this law of give and take. I’ve pondered on the verse, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” from Acts 20:35b. When things around demanded something out of me, I often asked silently, “what have you got for me?”. And that’s when disappointment arises.

We demand more, making excuses that we can’t really give anything out if we don’t have anything to give in the first place. We expect things from everyone; from our parents, our families, our spouses, our friends, our community, our churches, our governments. Not necessarily material things, more than often we expect mental supports and loyalty, and love. Since nobody is perfect, more than often we all miss the mark. Expectations thwarted, and we simply chuck our ‘giving mode’ out of the window.

Disappointment suffocates. It hinders us to see the goods and highlights the faults in everything. It holds us from joy, it closes our ears from edifications. When things don’t go as expected, it’s hard not to be deflated. So what to do now?

Expect less, give more.

Simple, yet tough. There’s a huge challenge in Jesus’ message on giving, because He knew we need to learn everyday. We might be expecting, demanding lots of other things in life, but maybe, all that we need we have received. Right here, right now.

Please, and thank you. This “please” might not be about asking at all; it could be, for some of us, about letting things to happen, and we can still say, ‘thank you’.

I have hope that there comes the day when we will experience first-handedly on the joy of giving without having a return. Our God knows we need saving everyday, and He can only do that when we soften our hearts, leave our pride at the door, and receive from Him. We need to remember that God doesn’t demand perfection from us, yet He gives perfectly. How could we expect perfection from others when we are not perfect ourselves?

When we learn to give, and maybe, eventually, we find that even our imperfection in giving brings joy to others,  then we can understand the joy of giving. Until then, let’s learn to say, “please, and thank you”.

***********************************************************************************************
Dear Daddy, please, teach me, and thank You for everything. I’m humbled by Your love.

image courtesy of Three-Sixty Press from Keep Calm Gallery.

unexpected encouragement.

Cruising over my favorite blogs, when I found this;

in the cleft of the rock.

“God said, ‘Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by.’”

~ Exodus 33:21-22

Sometimes when it’s the darkest…

God is the closest.

Never thought of this before. This is so unexpected, so encouraging. Thank you for sharing this, Alece.

 

Father’s Love Letter.

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you. 

Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. 
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. 
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. 
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. 
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. 
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. 
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. 
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book. 

Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live. 

Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb. 
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. 
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don’t know me.

John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love. 

1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father. 

1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. 
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. 
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. 
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. 
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. 
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. 
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. 
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul. 

Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. 
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me. 

Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart. 

Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. 
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine. 

Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you. 

Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart. 

Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes. 

Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. 
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. 
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you. 

Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you. 

1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love. 

Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me. 

1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child? 

John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. 
Luke 15:11-32


Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications 
©
 1999-2011 www.FathersLoveLetter.com

God loves me.

I’ve spent some time thinking about my personal happiness commandments, and the first question I asked myself was,

“What makes me happy?”.

I could think of some answers.

Having a good laugh with good friends.
‘Me time’; good book to read, painting my nails, writing.
Singing; it makes me happy most of the time.
Goofing around with my husband at home.
Snuggles with my mom, recalling old stories.
Snuggles with my husband after a long day.
Ice cream!

When I asked myself to think deeper, I feel happy and content when I can comfortably be myself, and nobody minds. When I feel secure that no one’s going to judge me or think differently about me when I am being myself. When my imperfections and everything else in me don’t give any reason for others to think twice but to love me nonetheless.

What makes me happy? Or happiest? It’s when I feel secure. Secure and content of what I have at this moment.

I did mention in the previous post that I’d have “Be Yuko” as my first commandment. But when I thought about it, it wasn’t completely true. Sometimes I wished I was somewhere else, or someone else, or I wished I have done more or differently than what I have done right now. Being myself sometimes disappoints me. And whenever this condemning thoughts of “you’re not doing enough, you should’ve done differently, you’re not good enough” started to take over my head, the only thing that will calm me down is the conviction that my God loves me no matter what.

How so? Because if He doesn’t love me, He wouldn’t even bother creating me in the first place. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14), and this is more than enough to calm my heart on any rainy days. I am secured in His love for me.

I’m not going to be naive and say that everything is okay. As a matter of fact, I know full well that life has its ups and downs. But whatever life may bring forth, I know in Whom I shall confide. When I don’t feel that my day deserves a smile, I want to remember that there’s one Being that loves me no matter what. And His love will never end for me.

This is my fundamental understanding about my life; rain or shine, God loves me. Good day, bad day, God loves me. And no one can take that away from me.

So, Happiness Commandment #1 is : God loves me. Simple, straight-forward, and very true!

😀

ps. here’s a blog I found when browsing about ‘what makes you happy?’. The tip is quite handy, too! and it’s got a short video of Joel Osteen talking about happiness.

humored. and loved.

Choir co-ordinator informed us that choir ministering on BIC Anniversary Sunday will be wearing colorful shirt with black suit.

“Hun, I need to grab my other shirts from the apartment on Saturday. I’ve only got white with me here”. Hubby said okay, since we will be passing the city anyway on the weekends. Though have resided in the new house in the suburb for a month now, most of my stuff are still in my room in my old apartment in the city. It hasn’t been a problem since I’m working from home so I have no obligation to wear any formal clothes when I go out. Only on Sundays whenever I’m scheduled to minister.

Last Friday and Saturday sessions just happened to drain our energy. My eyes were prickling at the end of practice on Saturday, and Andrew got a headache. After having the much-needed lunch at Peko-Peko with some music team members, we decided to go straight home. Nearing the freeway exit right before our street, a realization dawned on me.

“Hun, I forgot to get my shirts from the apartment.”

I really didn’t want Andrew to drive back to the city. We’ve spent an hour already on the road on the way back. It was the weekend so it was packed everywhere. I told him I’ve got this Myer voucher for womenswear, so might just use it so it wasn’t put to waste. The voucher was a $20 off for every $75 spent. Not too bad, actually. “How about we go to Chadstone? since you’ve got this voucher, you can find a clutch to go with the new dress, too”, hubby suggested.

I was really tired that afternoon. All I wanted was taking a hot shower, put on my pajamas and read on my bed. I wasn’t looking forward to do any shopping at all. And it was Saturday, too, I couldn’t imagine the parking and the crowd. But no choice, the voucher ends on Sunday and I did need to find those stuff.

Apparently, it was easy to find parking. Andrew exclaimed, “thank You, Daddy!” when we found an empty spot right in front of the entrance. We went straight to Myer, and roaming around level 2 to start with. Found no decent work shirt with reasonable price, we went one level below. I was passing one rack of clothes when Andrew picked a peach satin blouse with some frills on the front side and on the arms. I wasn’t too sure since I don’t wear frillies that much.

“But it suits you!”, Andrew insisted. I wasn’t sure whether he said that so we could go home sooner (poor boo-boo), or he was being genuine. But I brought the blouse with me anyway, just in case if I couldn’t find anything else. We continued our search, including me strutting in front of the mirror, trying on various clutches. I wasn’t sure if it was the clutches, or I just wasn’t in the mood of spending. I just couldn’t find a nice one. So here I was, holding a piece of peach satin blouse everywhere, went up and down and around the ladies section, hoping to get more options. I was so picky because I didn’t want to spend too much. The blouse was $59.95, and the clutch was around $60-$70. Picky, or stingy, I don’t know, but I decided not to buy the clutch today. Andrew had left me at this point for the household section, checking up on the price of knife sharpeners for our new knife set.

Having the $60 less 5c blouse with me, now I needed to find something for at least $15.05 so I could redeem the voucher.   After around 45 minutes wasted on going in circle looking for a bargain, I finally gave up. My feet sore and I started to feel my head spinning. Andrew came back to see me, and he finally decided for me to just grab the handbag hook. They’re around $20-$25, and I haven’t had one yet. So I grabbed one with crystalize owl embellishment on it for $24.95, and made my way to the cash register, which happened to have no bee-line. I presented my peach frilly blouse picked by Andrew and the hook to the girl, and she scanned them. I also showed her my voucher, and took out my credit card to pay. The girl looked a bit unsure, took the voucher and had a read, and explained,

“this voucher is valid for a total of $75”

My turn to get confused. “uhm, aren’t they around $85 already?”. She scanned the stuff once again, wrinkled her forehead, and said, “these only came up to $34.95”. Andrew looked at me, bewildered. “If that’s so, I’ll just take the blouse”, I finally said, since there was no way I was going to roam around once again only to waste more time and money, vouchers aside. She scanned the blouse, and looked blankly at the monitor, before turning to me and said,

“This one is only $10. It’s got 75% off on it”.

*silence*

Then I barked a laugh. “Alright I’ll take the blouse!”.

I just couldn’t believe it. We’d wasted more than an hour to look for a nice blouse with a good price. I got sore feet and a backache and light-headed, Andrew needed to do ‘business no.2’, and we were dead tired. I walked around looking for something else, thinking that I wouldn’t buy this one if I’ve got more options when what I needed was in my hand all along! I actually ended up with what I needed for much less that I thought I would spend. Waayy leess. We walked back to the car, shaking our heads in disbelief at how funny this afternoon turned out to be.

And the blouse looked pretty with the black suit! I can actually wear frills, apparently.

I know this might be a trivial example, but I am still amazed at how good is God’s sense of humor! And how He listens. He listened to what I needed the most; I needed a colorful shirt, and I didn’t want to spend too much. And I’ve got exactly that. Amazed, totally amazed.

Hubby couldn’t help himself not to take a small credit from this experience.
“Now you know you can trust your hubby with fashion?”
“Yeess..”
“Who’s got better taste in fashion, now, huh?”
“Youuuu…”
“So I can be your fashion advisor, now, yea?”
“YEEESSS” *throws toilet roll*

Still, I had a good laugh. I am humbly amazed. And also amusingly humored. My Father is cool and funny, and He listens. I am loved 🙂

Happy Birthday, BIC Melbourne!

That’s me (on stage, far left) in my peach frill blouse. Didn’t look too clear in here, but I felt pretty in it 🙂

Whom I belong to.

I came to Prayer Tower last Tuesday, and I’m glad I did. Since flying back to Indo in December last year, I’ve been longing for a session where people can encourage each other through songs and prayers. I specifically prayed for my FA, I asked Jesus to guide my heart back to this wonderful group of people, to the same community where I came to know about His love through friends. People were praying fervently for FA, for breakthrough, for a radical change, for a burning desire to follow Jesus, and my heart cried out the same prayers. I love my FA, I want them to desire God more than anything else.  

But I guess God had something else in store for me that evening. At the discipleship session, KD mentioned a verse from Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. And it rang true to my heart. 

I love God, I do. And I know and believe that He loves me dearly, too. But as I went through new revelations, challenges, Winter Camps, disappointments and everything else He let me to have, I still have that fear in my heart that I need to keep proving myself to others for them to accept me. An acute insecurity, if you may call it so.  

Here’s a little story about me:  

I was bullied when I was a kid. It started from a misunderstanding when I was 10, and the bully continued until I was 14. They called me names; “cockroach”, “monkey”, “rich, spoiled girl”, “toilet”. They went pass my house on their bikes or motorbikes and shouted those names, letting the whole house and the whole street to hear it. They stole my water bottle, plunged it into the gutter and gave it back to me, soaked in dirt and God knows what. They stole my pencil case on lunch break and hid it somewhere in the class. They shot at me using plastic BB guns, and I knew God covered me with His hands when they missed my face or neck, whatever they were aiming at because I found a small green bullet under my school uniform collar without it touching my skin. I was psychologically tortured in my own car every single day for a year by the other kids that paid for pick-up service to and from school. Yes, you might think why didn’t I just kick them out or tell my dad, and how stupid I was to let them do that to me. Even my driver couldn’t stand it he threatened one of the cowards because the little guy gave me ‘the finger’ for 2 days straight, and my bestfriend said if she was me she would just tell her dad so her dad could shoot those jackasses (her dad is in Navy). But I just couldn’t fight them, because I chose not to. Mum taught me to let them do whatever they like, they’d grow tired of it eventually. “The revenge doesn’t belong to you”, she said. And she was right. 

 Though I almost never admit it, but those period of my childhood left a deep scar in my life. I might appear strong, I didn’t shed a single tear for what they did (as far as I remember), and I rarely mention that part of my life to anyone before. But it affected the way I see myself, and the world. I always feel that I am judged wherever I go, I ha

ve to prove myself at certain people and I often find or think that I have failed doing so. I could feel that all eyes are pierced at me whenever I enter the room, scrutinizing me and pointing at my weaknesses. I’ve always felt discouraged and scared whenever I was given a new role or project, because I just don’t think that I could keep up to the standard. I’ve got a serious case of insecurity, because I didn’t feel accepted. I often feel that whatever I do doesn’t seem right, and when I think it’s right I was greatly opposed and challenged. At times I felt that I didn’t belong, and when I do I have this fear that one day these people would kick me out because I’m not good enough.  

 From those issues, I ended up having that transactional way of thinking when it comes to people. “You did that to me last time, so I do this to you now”. Just so I feel like I do it fairly, meeting up to their standards so they’ll see that I’m good enough so I won’t be left out. Self-centeredness, or low self-esteem? You decide. 

I learn that it’s not how mercy does it. Mercy is not transactional, it’s freely given, though undeserved. It doesn’t matter if I did the right thing, or keep falling into the wrong side of the road, that mercy of God is still flowing for me. Regardless. In Hebrews 4:16 it is said that “let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”. We need to understand that we need mercy everyday. For me, I can’t live with my low self-esteem haunting me everyday, telling me that I’m not worth having. God shows His mercy to me without fail, He gave me more than I deserve. He taught me that whatever happened in the past, I am still accepted. He said that whatever people may think or judge about me, I am still accepted. Romans 5:8, “.. while we’re still sinners, Christ died for us”. He wouldn’t gave up His unblemished life if He doesn’t accept me!! I know, and He knows that I will never be good enough because I am a sinner, but it doesn’t matter because He has accepted me anyway. 

And His mercy is available for all of us, too. Regardless of your background, your wrongdoings or the right ones, your capabilities or lack thereof, His love and mercy is abundant, it’s more than enough for us. He died for us even before we realize that we need His mercy. It doesn’t get any better than that! Nothing in this world could beat that! 

So yes, I may have low self-esteem, it’s normal, I’m a girl. Everybody gets to the bottom of the pit every now and then. Yes, I may have some hurtful pasts and nothing can erase those memories, but who doesn’t have bad memories. All that I need to know now is that I’m safe. I know where I belong. I don’t have to wait on people’s opinions about me and my life, because I know Whose opinions matter. 

Through this, I am also reminded on what I should do towards others. Be kind, because you don’t want anyone to go through the same rough paths you’ve gone through. Be thoughtful, because there are many who’ve got similar issues. If you don’t want to sit with them and listen to them, don’t judge. Insecurity cripples, but knowing that God understands our weaknesses and how He has His mercy ready for us even before we ask for it, is one of the best promises. And I tell you, His promises never ever fail. 

Your Truth has set me free, Lord. I am safe and secure, because I know whom I belong to. I praise Your glorious name!