:: the slow poison of staying put ::

There’s always a problem with staying put. Especially when everyone else is moving forward.

Whatever you decide, don’t stay because you are afraid of change, saying goodbye, or ending up alone. There is nothing more harmful to your heart and soul than sharing them with someone not meant for you. – Beau Taplin

I want to move forward. And i remind myself that in order to do that, i need to be OK with being alone. God, You know what’s best. I leave it to Your trustworthy hands.

Don’t push the panic button just yet, Ellie. You’re alright.

 

:: resonance ::

To be one with whom my heart resonates with.

People who don’t know me prolly won’t understand why i make the decisions that i do. My family, included.

What goes beyond the rational, seems to be ‘too much to ask for’. No, my standards are not too high. And no, i’m not being picky or fussy or hard to deal with. Yes, a person may have a stable job, a nice house, serves in the House of God and oh, he’s nice…and for most people, this is a rare find. But for some reason, it wasn’t enough for me.  It just didn’t…resonate. There was no spark. I would be short-changing this person if i were to agree just because ‘everyone else’ thinks it’ll be a great match.

And i know me. I know that when i find that person, or if he were to find me, something would click. What happens then to the one that i had agreed with out of fear of being single for the rest of my life? I have faith that God has His best for me. It may be this person, it may not. Having faith, after all, is not in the absence of fear, rather, in spite of. I do not regret my decision. I quote my pastor for sharing, “I’d rather be single than to be married to the wrong person.”

I just want someone who resonates with me. Just one thing he says and does that will resonate my being with conviction and admiration. Someone i can look up to and have mutual respect for. Someone i can be the best of friends with.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

:: generosity ::

I really believe in generosity.

Heck, i grew up in a Peranakan family which is more community-based Malay than it is being a calculative Chinese. (totally racist, yes, but you get my drift). So, i grew up always having more food than i needed on the table. AND learning that i should always prepare MORE than enough food for guests on the table. Why? Because ‘pantang’ to have less than more.

Getting saved and knowing that generosity is a kingdom value, wasn’t hard to accept at all. The struggle is more of teaching others to do the same. Truly, it is something to be caught, not taught. I thank God i caught this early…and having it instilled further as a believer of Christ, has proven to be more of a blessing to me even though i give to others.

Some things on generosity that i’ve learnt, practised and am still learning to practice:

  1. Paying for another person’s meal. Simple stuff, really. But you’d be surprised how hard it is sometimes. Especially when you think the person is less deserving of it. But man, the effect to fullness in your spirit, is far more than the food/drink you can consume.
  2. Never letting the offering bag pass me by without giving. Painful, really. Especially when you didn’t break down your money. And all that’s left is RM50. HAHA. But test Him in this, says Malachi 3, and we’ll see the windows of heaven open and we’ll receive blessing so much so that we can’t contain. I think our perception of the windows of heaven needs to change. Because while i have NEVER experienced cash pouring down from heaven like rain, i have NEVER (and i’m totally serious), NEVER experienced starvation/lack despite having my bank account registering only RM1 as balance. God blesses beyond our imagination and uses people we never thought He would use. I’m still learning to trust God that He doesn’t function the way *i* expect Him to.
  3. Paying for my leaders’ or peers’ meal. Now this is a tricky one. Because sometimes it ends up paying for an entire table. But i’ve been challenged to do this (so this is not a MUST), and i am learning to practice it whenever i can. And because *i’ve* been blessed with the same and am constantly surprised when it happens (still), i WANT to do more of it. Its a nice surprise for them and an irrrepressible joy for me because i generally feel happier when others are happy-lah. And it reminds us (people who can afford to pay our own meals), that there is some good in the world. It is also honoring :) I see my mentor rushing to get the bill to pay for our senior pastor (and fight it out), oh, so Asian. Surely i can (afford to) do the same?

Just a quick thought, if we could do it in our friends/families/business meetings, etc, WHY NOT in the church? My own reasoning is this: because there is an evident ‘blessing’ that we see > i gain friendship, favor and prolly a business deal in tow.

But please see God’s Word and meditate on this:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

My bank account is not limited because He says its not.

 

:: decisions ::

Decisions, decisions.

God, Your leading please. I will wait.

An excerpt from Why You Will Marry The Wrong Person:

The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.

I suppose i’ve always erred on the idealistic side. I also want my first to be my last. And i also have imaginations aplenty on how my ‘ideal’ should look like. But it’s been awhile. I’ve grown to be comfortable, and contented, being on my own.

But to be generous, and kind. And patient. With someone else. I need to learn.

And the irony is that, these things are also what i’m looking for.

I want you to stop planning, stop wishing, and allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing, one that you cannot imagine.

I want you to have the very best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.

You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest thing, keep experiencing the satisfaction that I AM, keep listening and learning the things I tell you, 

you just wait, that’s all.

 

:: struggle is real ::

Sebak hati aku.

Am so thrilled that my friends are rightfully appointed and being honored. But omg, they’re all leaving. I know we’re all still one church, one family and most definitely, still friends. But it still *feels* different. I’m gonna miss them so.

I didn’t feel it as much when they left the first time but boy, i sure feel it now :(

How is it possible to feel happy and sad at the same time?!

And to have no emoticon for this.

#thestruggleisreal

*****

A friend sent me this emoticon after i ranted a little. Made sense.

JoelV

New beginnings.

Ok, Ellie. Stop being such a wimp.

 

:: this slow pace ::

I turn 29 this year.

Nothing i’m particularly worried about, really. But i am thinking about it.  About how much closer i am to turning 30 and if i am HAPPY with that.

Have i done all the things i used to say i wanted to do before i turned 30 because it’s turning up a lot sooner than i expected/noticed it would be.

I write this post only so i can track back thoughts and remind myself this is where i was and compare myself in the future to it being where i’m at.

  1. I’m comfortable with my job now. After years of complaining and (still) fighting with my dad over different views of how to do things, we’re in this pace of pulling and pushing when it requires. I pick my wars wisely now.
  2. I’m happy being in Acts Church. I really am. This is the place i’ve been worshipping for the past 10 years of my life, and it’s a decision i’ve not regretted. My dad thought it was just a phase when i accepted Christ. 10 years on, I’ve grown so much, made so many memories, i intend to stay.
  3. I’ve kept my friends. Some albeit closer than others. A few of which i’ve kept since i was 7. That’s more than two decades of friendship. How could i not be thankful for that?? It’s a feat in itself, honestly. A feat i’m tremendously proud of. Here’s to decades ahead, #TheKawans.
  4. I’ve traveled more than i ever thought i could. The record is at 10 countries now and i’m thankful for the opportunity.
  5. I’ve never been in lack, financially. Thankful to God for always providing in the nick of time. I can FINALLY say i’m stable and i have INSURANCE. Ha! Now that’s a feat considering how i would rather spend the money on that beach holiday. I found applying for my own insurance was probably one of the most adult things i’ve ever done.
  6. I’ve conquered my fear of open waters by taking my open water diving license under PADI. And not long after, my advance diving license. Survived night dives that left me shivering (and it’s not because the waters were cold).
  7. I’ve seen someone i cared about move on to someone new. Sure, i can’t say we’re the same kind of friends we were then. But hey, i can look him in the eye and not cringe.
  8. I’ve seen close friends move away to different countries for different reasons, making me feel a bit lost for awhile. But i’ve learnt to get out of my comfort zone and make new friends.
  9. I’ve finally visited Semporna, Sabah. For some reason, this was a bucket list. And i’m so glad i went. So beautiful, a place. I would go back.
  10. I’ve bought my own bedsheets. And actually cared what threadcount it was. Ok, i just added this in because it didn’t feel good ending on a 9.

I’m sure there are more milestones that should be recorded but i guess those that came to mind are here. Considering how there’s still ONE more year to ‘rush’, i would like to:

  1. Go to Disneyland. In Japan or the US. Oh, Ringgit, can you please not fluctuate so much!
  2. Move out of the house. So i made a vow to myself that i would move out of my parents place before i turn 30. Honestly, that dream is nowhere close to materialising because i honestly can’t afford a (tiny) place of my own. But it’ll be nice to have my own little space. Perhaps renting a room of my own?
  3. Think a little bit more about setting up that paper shop. I always thought it’ll be nice to own a little paper /stationery store with the prettiest prints! Offline, online, doesn’t really matter i suppose.
  4. Sing in a little gig that is out of my comfort zone. I’m still shy with my voice, so preferably where no one knows who i am. Another fear to conquer?

I’m excited. For the more that’s yet to come. The many more people to meet, countries to visit and experiences to remember. And yes, there’s nothing remotely spiritual about that.

Turning 30 is really, just another day.

(i’ll update again when i actually turn 30 =.=’)

#prayfortheworld

So many FB posts, many friends whose FB profile pictures had changed to show support for Paris’ mournings. So many comments, some quite distasteful.

Deep down, it has shaken us that PEOPLE, not religion, not countries, can be so heartless…to be able to kill so many people. There are those who kill literally. And there are those who kill with words.

It’s a people problem. It’s a heart problem. You and I can get there if we’re not careful.

“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, GOD, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10 MSG

I’m going to choose to speak life. There IS hope for this world. #prayforparis #prayfortheworld #speaklife

prayforparis

:: fasting day #2 ::

Decided to pray and fast for Campus Camp that’s coming up this weekend. There’s just been something off with the responses we’ve been getting from our students and i KNOW that it can’t be solved with just physical responses. I repent from my own prayerlessness on days when its just so long and tiring. But there’s no better time than now to get back into track!

So i started with fasting lunch yesterday and came upon this verse:

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

I believe that God is going to do great things in camp this year. We may not have the numbers that we’ve celebrated before in the past, but may He do a great work among those who are coming and raise up new hearts willing to beat for Him.

Not by might, not by strength, but by His Holy Spirit. – Zechariah 4:4

I’m excited, i truly am.

:: a glimpse into the moken life ::

I’ve been extremely privileged to have been able to do a yearly mission trip under my church’s youth missions to visit the Moken people. It’s my second year going back there and it’s been an amazing experience both times!

I didn’t manage to write my thoughts down last year, so i thought i HAVE to do it this year. Part documenting my experience there in hope to give light to who they are and why we have adopted them as a church to support and pray for them…and part documenting my experience…for life. I don’t want to get too busy ‘just doing’ but i want to ‘be’. Some things NEED to be recorded – to be remembered, relived and re-read in the future and i wanted this to be one of them.

Islands

Known particularly after the tsunami crisis, the Mokens came to light. Neither Thai nor Burmese, the Mokens are settled in the islands and coastal regions along the Andaman Sea. They are still lacking identities, causing unequal opportunity and deprivation of public services and benefits including education, medical care and social security benefits.

Koh Chang 1

They make their living fishing and crabbing, making fresh ‘belacan’ (read: shrimp paste) for sale. We had the privilege to walk through the village in two islands, just making friends with the people there. Some of the older folks are able to speak Bahasa but mostly connect better through the Thai language. The Mokens also have their own Moken language that they communicate verbally but there is no written form – making it a challenge to learn, but not impossible! We visited them in their homes, asked them to share their life with us…and when the opportunity arose, we asked if we could pray for them. They are predominantly animistic, but most were obliging and i thank God that they’re so much more open to us now than they were last year!

Koh Chang 6

One of my highlights was just seeing how some of the Moken kids grew up. We’ve been partnering with a boarding school that has taken in some of these Moken kids who have shown potential in their education and helping them grow. These bright young kids are amazingly talented and would put most of our city kids to shame. Seeing them all so happy, so comfortable and CONFIDENT in themselves, really blessed my heart. We did a Christmas programme there, singing carols, acting out a Christmas story and ended with a celebratory dance. We also had a mini dance-off at the end of all of it, proving once again, that just because you’re born into a minority group, it doesn’t mean you’re poor. These kids were rich in the mind.

Boarding House 2

They play sports just like we do. Like the same corny, bubblegum-poppy music just like we do too. Never will i forget or hear One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”, the same way again. In case you think you have nothing to give or do to sow into these people group, know that God has put something into your hands for a reason. There’s a need for medical teams, children’s ministry (arts & craft!) and if you play sports, well, just playing a game of ball CAN make a difference in just building friendships within the community.

Boarding House 1

I had grown attached to one of the little brown boy’s from one of the islands. He is one of the typical Moken kids who may not be so well-versed as the ones at the boarding home. But wow! This kid used to pick fights with the other kids and now, seeing how much he’s grown and being so much calmer, he showed me how evident God is in this village and how He’s going to do so much more.

Koh Chang 4

I may not be able to go every year to visit and sow personally (although i hope to!), i’m hoping that this post would inspire some of you to also be part of the Moken work. To not just pray and give (as we do weekly), but to GO and experience it for yourselves. To allow God to break your heart for what breaks His. Then, would you truly understand Matt 28:19 in its fullness. This is definitely not the ONLY place you can go for missions (especially under our youth missions banner), but this IS the place that has changed me.

Koh Chang 5

I was personally seeking God for direction. I did not get an immediate answer. I went there, tired and stressed out from work, but i experienced His goodness (how He saved a particular job despite me not being at work) during the trip and i KNOW, that God has allowed me to taste just a little bit of His faithfulness. An encouragement to believe that when i give, He gives back tenfold. That when i set aside time to be present and ‘there’, He has settled everything else by the power of His name. That i may ask myself this…

Koh Chang 2

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – A Hat Full Of Sky, Terry Pratchett

He is working in their lives, as He is working in mine.

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10

Last but not least, to the people that went on this trip with me, you guys are legends. I didn’t have a proper and complete group photo but you guys know who you are. So, i’ll just end this post with the fact that i had fun being with all of you :) May God bless your hearts abundantly and open your eyes to see Him every day of your life. And if there are days post-missions that make you miss the Moken people and me, don’t just ‘shake it off’. Heheheheh.

I am blessed. And i share that you may be blessed too :)