The Good Thing In Waiting

•Singleness-related post part 2 ✌🏻•

I remember one time during my single years, a group of friends asked me “what kind of man/boyfriend/husband you’re looking for?”. They weren’t fellow believers, and I was naively/idealistically answered,

Someone who loves God”.

I could tell by their face expressions they didn’t really expect that kind of answer and asked me why’s that so. I replied, “because a man who loves God will also love me”.

I often suggest my single “sisters” to prayerfully write a list of criterias of future spouse they desire. At times when we don’t really know what we want, we may tend to make decisions out of emotions/feelings. To know/find out more what we want/need from our future spouse can help us to make more sound decisions.

I wrote 10 things I would like from my husband-to-be. Although I don’t remember this whole list anymore (I might laugh at myself when one day I read my journal again – I still keep it at my parents’ house in Indo 😛), I do remember the “top 3” I firstly wrote – for me these are the “non-negotiable”, criterias that I NEED from my husband.

No.1, he must be a man who loves God (not just a so-called “Christian”/“Church Goer”).

No.2, his spiritual growth/maturity must be at the same level or above me (I write more details about this on my blog).

No.3, he needs to have a “heart for souls” (I knew God has called me to evangelism, so naturally I wanted my husband to be “in the same team”. Like what I wrote in my previous post, I have the conviction that having the same vision unites a marriage stronger than merely love).

The rest of the list – these things that I “want” – it’s negotiable. Eg. Able to play instrument (my husband can play guitar), a funny & easygoing person (he still makes me either smile or laugh everyday lol), resided in Jakarta (unexpectedly he is from Jambi, Sumatra instead 😂), height above 175cm (he’s obviously shorter than that 😂) – I’ve forgotten the rest of them, really.

But I hope you’re getting what I mean, the criterias that you “want” usually only to satisfy your flesh desire. If your future spouse has them all, that’s great! But more often they don’t, so be prepared to make compromise.

However, I would strongly encourage you not to compromise the criterias that you NEED from your future spouse over your “convenience”.

(A scenario: “I already like this man -or woman-, but he/she isn’t really serious/committed with God. Maybe I can settle this matter LATER. Maybe I can be the one who bring him/her closer to God”.

Sadly, what often ended up at the above scenario is, either both of them went backwards, or the other one later “complained” that they seem couldn’t make their partner be more serious with God…).

However I’d like to mind you also, that each person’s love story is unique because our God is SO great and creative and He did not create us to be a machine, so when I write this I’m not sharing a specific “formula” to be applied. I’m just sharing from my own personal experience and from what I often witness.

Moving on….

Because I was too naive/idealistic, I also expected that when I met “the one”, God would somehow speak very clearly to me (like those supernatural stories I often heard previously, “as soon as I saw him/her, I knew he/she would be the one I got married to!”).

For some years it did not happen, my male friends all “pushed” me to make decisions and to just wait for the supernatural sign would waste my time lol.

In the end…. well, I still did not hear any audible voice from God or any other “supernatural coincidence” when I met my now-husband and throughout my decision-making process.

God works differently and uniquely, He knows best how to speak to us, in what kind of way, and in what timing.

Sometimes He can give us supernatural signs, other times He can speak as “ordinary” as through His own words in the Bible, through people/friends/family members – but He always SPEAKS and GIVES ANSWERS to those who seek Him earnestly. Don’t despise what seems like ordinary to you hence limiting God to speak only in ways you demand to. HE is the GOD, not you.

We may be confused, upset, stressed for not being able to discern what decision we have to make (I’ve been there).

But the most important thing I learn through this quest of finding/waiting for “the one” is, to seek God for who He is,

to seek Him not for getting an answer or whatever else He can give us, but truly long for an intimacy with Him. We just want to be close with Him, because He is the owner of our hearts!

Through the intimate moments He will share His hearts and desires with you.

Then we will live up to see His promise is true in Psalm 37:4,

“Delight yourself in the Lord,

and He will give you the desires of your heart”.

It is a beautiful process, my friends.

Sure it can be painful, heartbrokens may happen, but know that God is there to give you wisdom,

to give you His own self.

Our future spouse is not perfect, just like we are not perfect either. Yet if you have the earnest desire to glorify Him through your choice of future spouse, He is a Good Father who will not despise your dreams.

Keep on seeking Him and His wills above all else, the whole experience of getting closer to Him is the BEST thing in the waiting process!

Until my next post friends 🙂

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Single but WHOLE

I’ve been “indulging” myself a lot in writing since I was still in primary school.

Not long after I became a born-again Christian in 2005, I sensed God’s been calling me to use my words and writings to be blessings and encouragement to others.

I am the kind of person who cannot keep good things (testimonies) to myself, I just have to write them down, or share them with others in person/words. So ever since then, and with that desire from the Lord, I commit myself and find joy in sharing my words here/blog/else (despite my own limitations), as God’s willing.

I share a lot more about motherhood and marriage now (obviously because I am in that stage of life season), but for quite some time I’ve been wanting to share my testimonies particularly in “relationships” esp when I think of my friends/sisters in Christ (many of them are much younger than me).

I had been there too, in “singleness era”, and God’s been giving me precious revelations that now in my marriage, I can see that He is indeed faithful and true to His words.

After I broke up with my previous boyfriend/s, I’d been blessed with a good 4-years time being a “single”. I came to know Christ personally in the first year, and as I discovered my life purpose and callings furthermore, over time I began to understand too the kind of husband I NEED to be with, in order to continue to live up my vision #livingforGod.

Thankfully, His Spirit was always there to guide me. He gave me discernments, He allowed me to learn from my “mistakes”. I just couldn’t decide this very important life decision by my own! I need His divine wisdom and revelation.

That’s how significant to completely rely on HIM rather than trusting our own (many times can be deceiving) hearts (Proverbs 3:5-6 👉🏻 my go-to verses many times in my life).

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

6In all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make straight your paths.

If I could summarise what I learnt during those years:

1. Use the single years to be made WHOLE by God.

A whole person only seeks fulfilment from and in God alone, and not from other persons or this world. This is a lifetime process (even as I am now already a married woman!), but it’d be a great benefit to gain and live up this revelation ever since our young age.

2. Having a bf/gf WON’T make our life perfect. It is not a goal. It is not your identity.

Sure, we can be “lonely” at times, but trust in God’s timing and process. Use these “alone” times to worship Him, to seek the unseen, to give praise to Him (you may be single but hey you’re still breathing! ✌🏻 Clearly God has destined a bigger purpose for your life right now!).

CHOOSE (make a conscious decision) to seek Him in your singleness, ask Him to prepare your heart (and your future bf/gf) heart, pray for your future “the one” even when you don’t know him/her yet!

Speak blessings for them, for their family, for their life, for their spiritual growth – let God enlarge your heart even from now! (Esp for women, we are trained to be “tiang doa” for our family starting from this singleness years!).

3. Pray for a future spouse who have same vision with you.

One time during these precious years of my single life, God revealed and convicted my heart, that “Love” alone is not the strongest glue to a marriage! Esp when human tends to relate “love” to merely feelings – this lovey dovey feelings of love won’t be there throughout the whole years of marriage (more about this in other section ok 😝).

Therefore our marriage needs a greater cause to live for, a shared vision – a GREATER PERSON – to bind up this relationship.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken – Eccl 4:12

“Three strands”: I, my spouse, and His Holy Spirit.

Lastly, I pray on behalf of you for the Lord to move your hearts so you desire to pray and ask for personal revelation from God.

Every story is unique, there is no exact “formula” when it comes to our walk with Christ.

But one thing remains the same, He will always reward those who seek Him wholeheartedly. Not such as physical blessings alone, but more towards satisfaction in finding Him and His wills in your life. To know that you were created for a purpose, and in every life season He is always there for you.

More than I pray that my words and testimonies can be a blessing for you, I pray that you experience for yourself God’s love in your daily life.

That seeking God becomes your greatest joy and your foremost desire, much above your need for a life partner.

God bless you my friends!

Rest and Be Still

Have you been in a place you feel that you are “so close yet so far” with God?

Maybe you’re in Sunday service at church, or at home during your “quiet time” with God – the access to “God’s presence” is openly available – yet your mind and heart are distracted with many other things…? Truly so close, yet so far.

I’ve been there too, many many times.

Yesterday someone unexpectedly gave me a card with a little gift, inside the card it’s written “God thinks about you all the time”, and she wrote that somehow she was just thinking of me, and added “If I think of you in this way how much even more God thinks of you” 😭

It was a simple gesture, but His Spirit used it to stir up my heart and inside I cried out, “I don’t want NOISE!! I just want God’s presence!”.

I cried with repentance asking for His forgiveness, how my mind and my heart are so easily got distracted.

Could I just have REST and BE STILL in His presence?

Those things that bothered my mind could wait – this one-on-one time with my Creator are too precious!

Even when I don’t think of Him all the time, HE DOES.

And same thing goes to you too,

even when you don’t think/don’t want to think of Him, He still thinks of you ALL the time.

Now that’s the kind of LOVE and FAITHFULNESS that welcome us with open hands… no fear to be judged. Let’s come to Him with a focused and thirsty heart.

May His Spirit inside us calm the noise inside our mind, and may we reap the harvest of REST in His presence.

Nothing else to worry about,

nothing else to fear,

nothing else to prioritise – other than chasing His presence alone 🌿

Exodus 33:14

“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

#crunchynatsjournal

“Grow Where You Are Planted”

This morning I learn another #lifelesson from my simple gardening at home 🏡

Few days ago I noticed that a couple of my Philodendron leaves turned to yellow/brown. A healthy leaf’s color is obviously lusciously green, so I suspected there must be something not right with it.

I lifted up the pot and saw that there’s been many growing roots since the last time I potted it. I don’t call myself as a “pro-gardener”, but I know that some of indoor plants need new, bigger pot for it to keep growing in healthy rate.

So does with my Peace Lily, which for almost 3 years still in its original pot!

This Lily looks healthy enough, but if I hadn’t transferred it to a bigger pot, it will not grow any bigger. The stems looked cramped inside that small pot.

I added more soils as I replanted them in larger pots, and these thoughts came to my mind, how human’s life (MY life) can resemble as much as these plants in terms of #growing!

I’ve read some articles that said that replanted plants could have stress because of its new environment (stress, even for plants! 😬). Same could be applied with me. As I take new steps outside my comfort zone to the unknowing, sometimes it could cause me stress (eg. added tasks and responsibilities within scarce resources namely as time and energy).

However, I know deep inside my heart the reason for me to make the step is because I want to grow.

I want to grow in my faith in Christ, and (I’m learning to accept this) the only way for this is to move outside my comfort zone (uncomfortable, yes) and following His callings. Sometimes it even involves trials and difficulties!

God never promise an easy life in following Him. In fact, Jesus said to deny ourselves and take our cross daily! No cross is light as feather nor soft as pillow!

And yet, He has promised us “abundant life” in following Him. Not so much in physical treasures that will be gone once we leave this earth, but an overflowing joy and grace in time of need, like no other place or human in this world could offer.

In midst of difficulties, tiredness, and struggles against my own flesh and pride, He has promised me an eternal reward and REST whenever I come to His presence.

If the world can say that it is good for us to step outside from our comfort zone, how much more we, as Christ followers (not merely “fans”), also grows in our spiritual life (and it often/always involves moving outside the comfort zone too). We do it for the crown that comes from the Lord, for eternal reward and not for human praise.

So grow where you are planted!

Allow God to move us to a “bigger pot”, so we can keep on growing instead of dying!

Spread your roots and bear fruits 🍉

“To Enjoy More of God”

Outside is cloudy and gloomy weather. Winter season in Melbourne. I’m sitting with a mug of coffee and small candle lit. My youngest is sitting next to me doodling with my vast collection of colorful pens that I keep handy on the dining table (every second or so she interrupts me), while her sister is still peacefully sleeping on my bed after she move from her own this morning before her dad leaves home to work.

School holiday is on for two weeks. The last couples of days I really have a good time with my kids, and I intend to do so for the rest of this holiday. And when the school starts again, it will be a reminder for this mumma to not be so much in a rush that she forgets to slow down and just savor the moment with her children. For now it means I have some time to write.

Earlier in the morning I remember a set of questions regarding my spiritual life I saved in my mobile phone at the beginning of the year. I intended to sit down, meditate the questions and write down my thoughts — and these are only happening now, 6 months later. right. Never too late.

I’m writing this blog entry to answer the one and first question out of many (because after I finish writing I’ve just realized I write lengthy enough already for only one question! lol. The rest of the other questions are actually good way to prompt me to write my next blog posts). So, here is the first one:

  • What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

Before you quickly answer your own, would you take some moment to meditate the word “to enjoy God“? For me, to enjoy God isn’t really about “going to church diligently, not to miss a single week” etc. I feel I’d miss a HUGE bull eye if I thought in that way. When you “enjoy” something, say, a new café, you’d go there not just for the sake of putting your feet at the place. You’d really be interested to taste the food, embrace its surrounding, to really let yourself be present, be there — your heart and your mind (mobile phone camera to capture the pretty food is acceptable, occasionally :P).

When you “enjoy” your time with a friend,  “what to talk about” isn’t really an issue. I have a twin best friends live in Singapore. We’ve been friends since we were in Kinder. Despite our distance, we chat frequently via WhatsApp, and whenever I visit Singapore during a holiday, we talk and share our hearts even more excitedly and never run out of a topic!

What can I do to increase such enjoyment with God?

I usually have my quiet time with God in the morning. When I freshly awake, with a cup of coffee in hand, there is a fine time slot in between after I finish my morning chores with the kids and before I walk to school with them. But lately I’ve been thinking, why do I restrict my time only in the morning with Him? Sure, I can still pray and read the Bible sometime later in the afternoon.

But the thing is, I’d been getting used to use my time at night to “relax and watch TV”. After busy and sometimes exhausting day, I just want my night to be as lazy as a couch potato. Therefore I prefer to do my art works/orders during the day in the midst of multitasking other motherhood duties, and at night I just want to retreat. In front of TV. Even sometimes I don’t really watch it, it just came out of habit. Night time equals with TV time, you get it? haha.

Now why do I not retreat, in God’s presence instead? I feel it is time to break out the habit. Lately I’ve done it several times, and I can say that I find it is satisfying! I’m in no rush to chase the school bell; I’m free to sing any worship songs, reading a book (and not just one paragraph then fallen asleep lol), reading the Bible (following up the morning chapters, or reading other chapters that I feel the Holy Spirit draws me to).

By the grace of God, I feel more motivated to trade off my “TV night time” now with “retreat time” with Him instead.

When you enjoy time with God, “what to talk about” and “what to do” are not really an issue. The creativity will flow in, inspired by His Spirit lives within us.

Don’t let the “how” hinders us to come to Him. Begin our step by giving our time.

God’s given us invaluable gift of twenty four hours in a day. 24 hours that is actually on loan! In any given time He can take them away from us, our moment living on earth ends and we will turn into dust. But our spirit will either go together with Him in heaven, or to hell — both of them eternally. forever. once it’s done, it’s done. That’s why our decision how we live our life now is significant — it is about our life and death!

James 4:8

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world

Here on earth we have the chance to make the decision – God, or the world. Choose one, not both. We live in vanity and lying to our own self if we “love God” and at the same time also “love the world”.

1 John 2:15

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

The good news is, because of how great is God’s love for the world (John 3:16), Jesus Christ has become the sacrifice for our sins by dying at the cross. His precious blood has washed away sins for those who believe and He has risen on the third day, defeating the impossible and the death. For those who believe in Him, they are called children of God and His Spirit lives within them (John 1:12).

With such an amazing grace, how could I not love Him in return? With such a great faithfulness and love, how could I not want to enjoy more time with Him?

Father God,

I pray may you give a heart thirst and hunger after You. To seek you in my hours, to love you with my life. Thank You for everything You have done for me, thank You for being faithful even when I am not. Help me to live for You and not to be double-minded. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

“God Cares”

I prefer not to write or post things related with (sad) issues happening from around the world, but maybe this time can be one of the few.

This morning when I woke up the first news I read is about the death of one of my fave designers, Kate Spade. Worst thing is she committed to suicide, leaving a letter to her 13-yo daughter who was at school.

I don’t know her obviously in person, but this news still lingers on my mind. And my heart goes to countless people out there who had lost hope and thought this would be the only way out…

This week I also need to paint two artworks with sad stories behind it (one of them is at the above pic which is still in progress).

As I prayed to God telling Him I feel powerless and clueless, I was also thinking here I am — who juggling with many thoughts and struggles to overcome sins in my daily life. I feel like these are so far less “important” than the fight others have to endure (particularly with sickness and cancer).

Yet, instead of hearing a condemning voice telling me that I need to be more grateful and my problems are just “nothing”, I heard this gentle voice that simply said, “I understand. I care”. 😭

Praise the Lord that He is not a God who can only sympathise with “major problems”. When you worry about things, when you pray about something — God KNOWS and UNDERSTANDS that they are meaningful to you, and therefore He also CARES!

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about #anything, but in #everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the #peaceofGod, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

— do not be anxious about ANYTHING, meaning that no small or big problems should make us living in worry!

— but in EVERYTHING, meaning that no problem is too small for Him not to listen to our prayers!

Surely His thoughts are not my thoughts, and His ways are not my ways, and the way that “He cares to even care telling me that He cares” — that’s just my moments of GRACE.

We are loved dearly by our Creator,

Draw near to Him and bring our prayers,

Not merely for our own needs,

But for others who need it much.

Prayers of the righteous avails much,

We are empowered to do so not because we are righteous (we are SO far way behind this, right).

But because Jesus Christ has died at the cross for our sins and rose again, He has taken away our old self, and He has given each one of us who believes in Him new robe — His righteousness 🙌🏻

Maybe we feel like prayers not really mean something, but the One who listens to them is the Mightiest! Who is able to do immensely more than what we ask or imagine.

Praise God for that. And now I shall continue again with my art works and leave you with a moment of grace from Him.

Serving God in Motherhood

I am very much encouraged by a revelation from my bible study this morning. From last week I’ve been learning about a specific topic about God’s 3rd commandment “Honoring God’s Name” (from Following God Christian Living Series by Rick Shepherd).

But for now, allow me to share this.

Mark 9:33-37 — Jesus’ disciples been arguing about which of them was the greatest. So who is it?

Jesus sat down instead, and said “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else”.

Then He took a little child in His arms and said to them,

Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes Me..”

Then the following sentence from my study book astonishes me,

“The heart willing to serve a child truly represents the heart of God”.

I, as a mother of two, being reminded that fulfilling my children’s physical needs and nurturing their mind, soul, and faith are opportunities to exalt and honor the name of Jesus!

Honoring God’s name isn’t only about singing worship songs, or not swearing using His name. They are the easiest examples, but what I need His Spirit to continue open my eyes with fresh revelations is beyond worldly wisdom.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond the dirty diapers 💩, messy rooms and kitchen💣, screams🎭, nagging⚔️, and cries🔫 (the smaller your child is, the more mess you have to deal with) — but here, at every day, lays my #momentofministry 🌿

My ministry isn’t (restrictedly) at church or cell group, but this — the unseen by people, but seen and valued much by the Lord. Here lays the moments to honor God, to serve Him.

God’s “love” and “grace” by far are invisible to them — and this is my calling as their mother (and jointly together with my husband), that is to make the invisible character of God become visible in our children’s life — WE are the representative of God’s heart.

Does this truth make motherhood even harder?

It is, in a way. Becoming a mother is never easy. A topic often discussed and made jokes about sometimes, but we have huge responsibilities.

Thankfully, a mother who put her faith in Christ never mothering alone.

His Spirit will always renew her strength as she puts her hope in Him.

Let us surrender our life to Him, fully committed to serve and honor His name through our parenting and life as a whole.

Receive this little child the way Jesus does, and let His strength works in our weaknesses 🌿

God bless your hearts mothers!

“Mami, When is Our Last Day?”

This morning before Aimee went to school, she asked me this unusual question:

Mami, is today the last day?

Me (perplexed): “Last day of what? What do you mean?

Aimee: “Is there going to be another day tomorrow? When is the last day?

Me (still perplexed): “From where did you know there is an end to our days?

Aimee: “I just think of it by myself”.

Me: “Well, only God knows the end of our days, Aimee. Nobody knows”.

Aimee: “I wish God let me know, I wish God let me know everything He knows”.

Me: “Human cannot understand everything that God knows

(Then change of topic).

Certainly that isn’t our regular morning conversation!

And now that she’s at school and I come to think about it again, I feel uneasy in my heart.

Even a 6-years old child knows there is an end to our days.

That one of these days on this earth gonna be our “last”. And yet I sometimes live my life on earth like I think this’d be “forever”.

Every moment I spend complaining seems like just a waste of time compared to this “eternity” God has prepared for me and our family.

Every impulse decision I make outside of Him, any resentment, any ignorance towards people — these are a waste of time compared to His much greater and bigger plan for my life!

I cried for forgiveness, and for His grace and help to remind me of this truth the next time I don’t have desires to do His wills.

Life is just too short to prioritise myself, my own agenda, my own dream.

The life I live now is not even “Chapter One” YET.

This is just a “preview”. Exactly like the quote from CS Lewis I post above.

I need His grace to live accordingly. Only by His strength.

Thank You Holy Spirit for speaking through my daughter this morning about Your heart desire… 🌾

“How a Busy Mom Can Stay Consistent in the Word”

Another edifying article I read this morning 💁🏻‍♀️ TIPS on “How a #BusyMom Can Stay Consistent in the Word” 💡 by Courtney Reissig – below is the summary points I learn:

1. See The NEED 🌿

If you don’t see the need in knowing God through His words in the Bible, you will always prioritise something else.

You need to see that you will not make it apart from knowing God through his Word (“apart from Me you cannot bear fruits” – John 15).

Ask God to open your eyes to that need and give you a desire for his Word if you haven’t sensed that in your life.

2. Have realistic expectations for yourself 🌿

We all have different capacities and go through different seasons of life. A mom with young children not going to be able to go back to her times of reading the Word for 1-2 hours like she used to, or having an uninterrupted devotional time.

Be realistic, but not lazy/careless/complacent.

10-15 minutes reading is better than nothing at all.

Expect interruptions.

3. Make a Plan 🌿

If I go for some days without His words, I know what effect it would bring to me, to my heart, to people around me (esp to my family – eg. Mommy becomes less patience and easily offended 🙊).

I have seen that I NEED Him and His words regulary.

When I couldn’t open the bible, listening to podcast or online sermons make a difference. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing the words of God”. It is still nourishing to my soul and spirit rather than listening to the world’s noises all day long instead.

Keep feeding in our spirit MUCH MORE than our flesh.

4. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others 🌿

Mom with younger kid/s may have less time. Another might have kids spaced out differently. Every mother has different capacities and life circumstances.

Run the race that is set before YOU 🏃🏻‍♀️ God will honor that.

5. Trust that God will do his work 🌿

God has promised that his Word WILL NOT return void in your life.

If you see the need for Scripture in your life,

have realistic expectations for yourself,

make a plan,

and don’t compare yourself to everybody else around you,

all that’s left is to TRUST that the Lord is going to work.

God will give you a desire for his Word, transform & conform you into the image of Christ.

It is all a process, a journey, an everyday walk with Him and His sweet Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 3:5-6

God bless you moms! 🌿