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!

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.

intermezzo: electronic romanticism.

I was in the middle of my writing when I realized my Blackberry notification light was flashing. It was an email, from my hubby.

Hmm? He was supposed to be in the bathroom next door, doing ‘business no. 2’. The email said, “Hi honey I love you. Regards, Andrew A”

‘What’s with this romantic gesture all of a sudden?’, my suspicion flared. Still, flattered and giggled like a school kid, I replied, “cheeky baby, I love you, too :)”.

Around 10 minutes afterwards, he skipped into the office, gave me a hug and asked, “have you received my email?”
“uhm, yes, I have replied”. “Oh?”. He checked his iPhone, and continued, “ah it worked. I tried using Siri to send an email to you before. It actually worked :D”

…… *cue my mouth going O; speechless*

Sensing something was not right, he quickly added, “but I do love you, mu :D”

Yea, yea.. I felt a little bit deflated, but had a good laugh, nonetheless. Good laughs over silly, trivial things, is good for you, I guess 🙂