May242012

A prayer of lament.

Lord, have mercy on me.
Give me grace that I need,
the unconditional love you freely give.
I repent, according to my unbelief, my inequities,
the places I am too blind to see and too arrogant to hear.
Forgive me for my transgressions.
The ways that my heart is hardened,
unwillingness to see and go beyond.
Abide in me Savior.
Allow me to abide in your love.
My heart is too proud to rest.
I cover my weakness. The lies.
Humble me, O King.
Help me to see who you really are. Reveal yourself to me.
Tenderly yolk my heart.
When darkness falls,
when all the world is still.
Be my daily bread and wine.
Fill my heart, almighty God.

December92011

Rooted by the waters.

Oh God, my God.In this season of my life marked by a sense of loss and sickness,
just as a tree planted by the water’s edge
extends its roots towards the current,
so do I turn to You, Source of Life.

Root within me
the confidence that nothing can separate me from Your love for me,
the assurance that nothing can alter my dignity
and the hope that I may continue to bear fruit
today and tomorrow.

July132011

Spoken word poetry

Surprisingly, I’ve been enjoying the unemployed life. I have never in my life had a time and space where I could be creative with time. Who would have ever thought not doing anything for a chunk of time could actually be healthy…? It was eureka moment for me when I realized just a couple days ago that I actually enjoyed being jobless and with no commitments. I think the only summer I’ve had was when I was in first year, and the rest of the summer’s I’ve either spent my time in school with a part-time job, or a full-time job.

I’ve been spending a lot of time these days writing spoken word poetry. The first time I began to write was when I was an undergraduate student taking a course with my utmost favorite professor/dear friend/mentor. She is the main reason why I think being in academia as a profession is actually worth it and life-giving. Anyways, every week we need to write these responses based from our weekly 30+ page articles. There was this one week where she got our class to go to a spoken word event that was hosted by City Hall in Kitchener and as an assignment had to write our own spoken word poem. I always thought I sucked at writing poems and only really talented people could write good poetry. However, little did I realize that poems are simply ways to express, articulate, and to call your own. My first spoken word piece I wrote for an assignment got an invitation to be performed at my school’s Slam Poetry event that was hosted by my program. That was the first time in my life where I was in a public space but felt heard, safe, and was able to own. Since then I’ve been able to write poems here and there, but would never be able to spend a good chunk of time on one poem. It’s been nice to have a lot of fun writing, being creative, and spending more time to myself and taking care of who I am. I’ve also been able to spend time volunteering at places I’ve always wanted to volunteer at but could never find time too. I started orientation today at the Queens St. Commons Cafe, which is a part of a non-profit organization called the Working Centre that’s right in the core of Downtown Kitchener (aka, the heart of the marginalized). It’s a cafe that sell reasonably priced baked goods, organic/vegetarian&vegan/all around yummy foods, as well as focusing on building community, providing hospitality, and it being a safe space for all to hang out.

Although I’m learning new ways to use my time and currently being in a space where I’m enjoying myself, it’s not easy to trust that God will provide. I habitually struggle with depending on Him and trusting. These are also issues I struggle with generally and need to learn how to depend and trust others. Being brought up as a child that was only taught to rely and depend on myself screws with your mind when you start to figure out yourself, especially when you add the word [racial] to identity. And can honestly say that this year has been the toughest one yet.

Just a few words from scripture that’s been my motivator in getting through:

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are GOOD.

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, thought is is great.

Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me.

Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.

Psalm 25: 1-21

July22011

Choice.

Choice - consists of the mental process of judging the merits of multiple options and selection of them (Wikipedia). 

An noun (or an adjective) that comes with such responsibility, ownership, and at times, fear. The word, choice, has been a primary way in how I see/trust/know Him. 

June222011

Baggage.

When will I be released from my baggage? 

May182011

Holding on to what you believe.

As much as city/script was mind blowing, powerful, and crazy, I have to remind myself that it’s not just as a week-long conference where I get to emerge myself in scripture with believers everywhere, but really a baby step in committing to new things and ensuring that I actually follow through with those commitments. I left city/script understanding God’s original intent for man and women, for creation, and for relationships, and now I feel like I’m already disbelieving a lot of things that I experienced at c/s. It’s a continual struggle to believing that God is good in times where you are vulnerable, not in control, and not getting a hold of anything you want/need too.

After c/s, I made the commitment in quitting my job even though I knew I wouldn’t have another job to back me up in, as well as deciding to do some counselling over the summer. So far, I’ve already done the first commitment (quitting my job), but now been really doubting if I had many the right and best decision or not. Actually, I know it is probably the best decision for me (in terms of my mental, emotional, and spiritual, sanity), but have been worrying a lot around where my source of income would come from and how I would be able to pay off the next round of bills. I mean, I’m barely making it through with my current (soon to be, ex) job, and now that I know I’m officially unemployed for the rest of the summer creates a tremendous amount of anxiety, fear, and burdens. I’ve been asking God to provide me a well-paying job so that I would be able to officially pay off all my bills, and not live everyday having to calculate my budget or how many more hours I would need to work in order to pay off the next months’ rent. I feel hopeless, devalued, and tired. Hopeless in not believing that I’m good or useful enough to find a job that doesn’t exploit, misuse, and threaten, devalued in believing that I’m not worthy in being employed at an organization with purpose and good intent, and tired of having to prove my dignity to others and in general just tired of all this vulnerability and deep exposure of myself. It’s been hard to remind myself how God is good when He brings order to our chaotic lives and when He reminds us of our dependency on Him – real hard. I’ve been trying to grasp and fully understand God’s character throughout this process but still, I leave with having more questions than answers.

However, although I’ve been wrestling with all these questions about God’s character, and of course of my own brokenness/crap, one thing that has been resonating with my heart is how God has only been nothing but loving, calm, and tender. I still haven’t been able to connect the two together (being totally freaked out not having a job for the rest of the summer and feeling loved by God), but hopefully that would be one of my other commitments this summer – fully understanding God’s character when I feel like my life is falling apart. The only thing I got right now is God being my and the only hope and provider. Just gotta hold on to what I believe.

“Woe to you, O destroyer, you who have not been destroyed! 
Woe to you, O traitor, you have not been betrayed! When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed.
O Lord, be gracious to use; we long for you.
Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.
At the thunder of your voice, the peoples flee; when you rise up, the nations scatter.
Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts; like a swarm of locusts men pounce on it.
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.
Look, their brave men cry aloud in the streets; the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
The highways are deserted, no travelers are on the roads. The treaty is broken, its witnesses are despised, no one is respected.
The land mourns and wastes away, Lebanon is ashamed and withers; Sharon is like the Arabah, and Bashan and Carmel drop their leaves.”

Isaiah 33: 1-9

April212011
Transition and change, two biggest words that I most despise. And ironically, the two always come together - just like one  big combo. It’s been a constant struggle this year to understand the  roots of my brokenness and to also fully understand my value and  worth…. 
This picture reminds of me of what I want my soul to look like. Being drenched in living water and being released and free from my burdens, weaknesses, and brokenness. I feel like an onion - God is peeling off all these layers one at a time…..

Transition and change, two biggest words that I most despise. And ironically, the two always come together - just like one big combo. It’s been a constant struggle this year to understand the roots of my brokenness and to also fully understand my value and worth…. 

This picture reminds of me of what I want my soul to look like. Being drenched in living water and being released and free from my burdens, weaknesses, and brokenness. I feel like an onion - God is peeling off all these layers one at a time…..

March142011

a season of loneliness, disappointment, & control.

I will exalt you Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared med from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.

To you, Lord I called: to the Lord I cried for mercy: “what is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

— Psalm 30.

Transitioning into a new chapter of your life is always difficult. I’m learning to understand how hard it is to really be in the shoes of people who have graduated and been drifted apart (proximity wise) with close friends. This season has been a really hard year. The more I try to focus on developing who I am, and the more I try to understand who God is, the more heartache and brokenness I see within myself. It’s as if I continually see things within myself that still are broken and haven’t yet been fully healed.

My everyday routine before heading off to work is: wake up, sometimes shower (depending if I’ve showered the night before or not), brew coffee, eat breakfast, check email/facebook/daily news/surfing the web time, and then head off to work. This morning as I was checking my email, I noticed that I received an email from the Human Resources Department at TD Bank. I applied to a teller position last week and had received an email requesting a phone interview. I had the interview and thought it went semi-well because of how I didn’t know what to expect for the interview and also because I was nervous. However, at the same time I was also confident that I was going to get the job because of my relevant experience within the customer service industry. Anyways, I was really looking up to this position so that I can finally build up my resume, have a decent job from post graduation, and ultimately so that I could finally get out of my current job at Spring Rolls. As I read through the email with a lot of excitement hoping that I would have been accepted the position with TD, it turned out that I was simply still a candidate with “impressive qualifications” (whatever the heck that means) for the position and that they were looking for people that better fit their requirements. My heart sank of course in consideration to the fact on how much I’ve been really wanting to get some sort of corporate position and also because I finally would be able to work normal hours where I had the flexibility in meeting up with friends/people in my community. Automatically as I found out that I didn’t get the job, my head (and until now) has been going in cycles of constantly asking questions on value, self-worth, and why it’s been so hard to get a company to hire me as just an assistant. I’ve been questioning God what this means for me, and obviously it is not the end of the world that I didn’t get some teller job and do know that there are plenty of other jobs out there that actually use the my skill sets. But I’ve been beginning to see my own brokenness as I search for jobs that relate to my strengths and bring out the skill sets I can bring, and I must say, dang is it hard to see it. The really big thing I need right now is to be released, forgiven, and healed from these self-ingrained sinful characteristics that I have about myself. Sigh. God, let Psalm 30 be my prayer.

March82011

Where do I feel threatened?

This was a question that was asked during our small group yesterday - “where do you feel threatened?”. We studied a story in Luke where a man approaches the disciples to cast out a demon out of his son but couldn’t, and then asks Jesus if He could heal the boy and give him back to his father. Jesus then says to His disciples “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivers into the hands of men”. But the disciples had no clue what Jesus was talking about because of what was hidden from the message and because they were in fear to what Jesus was really saying to them. Then the disciples go amongst themselves and start arguing with each other who amongst them is the greatest. Jesus then explains to His disciples “whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest”.

In this story, the disciples just don’t get it. They have no idea what Jesus is trying to communicate to them, and has no idea why they couldn’t cast out the demon from the boy when they have done it before, and lastly, they don’t get who Jesus is in this. In a nutshell, the disciples think they’re all that in a bag of potato chips. As our small group transitioned into the interpretation stage of the manuscript study, I stopped to wonder… the disciples in this story is how me, myself, interacts with God probably 80% of the time (and that’s me being generous with myself). It’s also crazy how scripture is a live version in how human beings in the 21st century are living. The disciples are smart, followers of Jesus, on the process of learning what the Kingdom of God is and looks like, but also fall short numerous, and numerous, and numerous, times. They aren’t always self-aware of the things that Jesus is inviting them into, and also don’t always seems to get the bigger picture of things. This is the part when I release a big sigh of relief, reassurance, tenderness, and ultimately, God’s love and grace. Even though the disciples in this story have no inkling to what Jesus is calling them into and also calling them out of, He still continues to love, invest, and shape, the disciples.  

So, where does this question “where do I feel threatened” come from? Not only does it come from the disciples feeling as though their greatness in Jesus and self-value were being threatened by one another, but it also stems from a deep brokenness that people/human beings have. The notion of fear and being threatened co-exists. You can’t have one without the other. Same goes with faith. If you’re acting out of fear, that means that you have no faith into stepping into the thing that you’re afraid of. And if you’re acting out of faith, then your willfully walking into the places that you’re afraid of or feel threatened by. My answer to the question of “where do I feel threatened in my life” was stuff around control and people pleasing. All throughout my life being a people-pleasure was something I was good at, felt comfortable with, and found value in. What I didn’t realize up until I hit a process in trying to figure out who I am and who God is more deeply, was how much of being a people-pleasure was actually a deep ingrained sin that linked strongly with my identity. When I think of control and pleasing people, automatically two flags go up. The first one being; I can’t rely or depend on anyone because of my expectations on myself and also because I can’t have people interfere with what I’m doing (because of course, I’m the greatest of all - just like John the disciple says). In my mindset, asking for help and not being able to do things on my own was a sign of major weakness and being a solid pansy. The second flag that comes up for me when I think of areas in my life where I feel threatened is how much I actually care about finding value in people and enabling for people to define who I am. I’ve always hated conflict, tension, and awkwardness. When I was growing up in elementary and in high school, I remember I would be petrified of people being mad at me. If I knew someone was mad at me, I would either cry buckets full, or wouldn’t be able to sleep at night (this one was more so during my high school days and the first one was more so during my elementary school days). Having someone always mad at you (i.e. friends who were also bullies growing up, and my older sister) was not a pleasant or a healthy way in maintaining a good mindset on yourself. Anyways, I’ve been learning that victimizing oneself will never end up in freedom and being unbounded. Rather, being released from these areas of brokenness and knowing that God continues to care, love, nourish me in the things I need, is something that is has brought me to healing and salvation. I’m free, unbounded by chains, and unconditionally loved.

February172011

current thought process - fears.

1. being in an unknown place

2. being alone

3. malicious intentions

4. not believing God’s unconditional love to its’ fullest

5. not being to family and friends expectations

6. being a failure and having weaknesses

7. being dependent on people or rather God = sigh of weakness.

8. seeing myself rightly

9. trust issues

10. not being provided a better job than i do right now

11. uncertainty

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