“Halfway 2017”

It is halfway of the year 2017 already… not a surprise, but I still can’t believe how fast time flies…

I come to think to the earliest days in 2017, in which I chose the word “THRIVE” as my “word of the year”, a practice that I’ve been doing for the last 3 years (my word of the year in 2015 was “BELIEVE”, and “FAITH” was for in 2016).

And here I am feeling a bit down and running of hope… and make me thinking in which way I have “thrive”?

Things are not getting “easier” this year… problems and conflicts arise (even more!), disappointments lurking very often, “my faith” is also getting volatile than it’d ever been…

Of course, setting aside the gloomy weather and my weary heart at the moment, there are so many things that I am thankful for this year. But yeah, back to the word “thrive” – I don’t think I am “flourishing, growing vigorously, growing well”,  just yet.

I feel it is so hard to let that first bud coming out, let alone blossoming into a beautiful flower.

But then again, sitting here alone by myself make me thinking even deeper… maybe…. God is putting me at the best soil and surroundings for me to thrive…? Maybe, this is just what I need… Through the hard conditions, the heavy rains, the storms, the scorching heat.

James 1:2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

I haven’t been able to see all of these trials as “joy”… Maybe I still don’t understand what’s “steadfastness” for in my life… I still have hard times to accept that God’s wills for me not to be happy, but to be holy… Maybe I don’t want that “perfect and complete” (according to His ways/view)… Just maybe.

Lord,

You know my every thoughts and my every struggles.

Please assure me that I am not alone,

every time the world clouding my mind heavily.

Lord,

Show me and give me the understanding of Your perfect love,

and let it be my greatest comfort, assurance, and joy in my life.

Help me, Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 55:6, 8-9

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

 

“Intercessor at Home” – reassuring my calling to pray


I made this art couple of months ago, because I admitted that this was true. “A family that PRAYS together, STAYS together”.

However, every now and then I (we) often let ourselves catched off-guard; fence down and weeds reappear. We “forget” every now and then about #UNITY in #marriage.

It is not about our own (too little) kingdom, but it’s about God’s kingdom on earth.

Then when conflict arised, we weren’t prepared. By then it felt like it was “too late”.

 

Yesterday I had a talk with my close friend/cousin/sister #thebest about this topic, I told her I don’t want to pray out of fear as the result. You know, fear that “if I didn’t pray, things will get chaotic“.

I believe this isn’t the right motive and the correct heart condition to pray. And it soothed my soul that she understands! She knows and experiences the same thing (the beauty of sisterhood in Christ).

 

This morning then His Spirit reminds me this verse:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,

but of POWER, LOVE, and SELF-DISCIPLINE” (2 Tim 1:7).

I can, CAN, pray not out of fear – because His Spirit enables me to!

Praying out of flesh will result in burn out, praying in spirit will take me to higher places with Him.

 

This morning I choose to reject the lies and intimidation,

This morning I choose to listen to the Shepherd’s voice.

He knows my name, and I belong to Him.

I will keep praying and become the “pillar of prayer” for this family #istriadalahtiangdoa

I will not complain and asking God (again), “why me? why do I have to be the one who prays?”. I know now that the Lord is reassuring and reconfirming me once again, to pray is my calling. I am called first and above all as an intercessor. Not in the church, not in my cell group – but firstly at my home! Just between me and Him, beneath the silent walls of my home.

When later I get weary, I shall take rest in Him, again and again.

“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” – Isaiah 30:15

 

 

 

#crunchynatsjournal

“The Thing About Perfection” 

My version of the “Pot Marigold”

There isn’t such thing.

Perfection only belongs to the God who created the universe out of His divine wisdom.

I believe in “practice makes progress”, not necessarily “practice makes perfect”.

There is always a room to improve, heart to be taught, mind to be renewed, and life to be changed.

Good things can grow from imperfect things, so “perfect” doesn’t always have to be the purpose.

Take delight in the process,

Have joy in the waiting time.

And hello my soul,

Waiting doesn’t always mean unproductive,

Sometimes it gives time of ripening.

It is okay not to be perfect.

“The good life is a #process,

Not a state being.

It is a #direction,

Not a destination”

– Carl Rogers

“Dear Diary – pressing the pause button and choosing the better part”

“My Souvenirs” 💛

We’ve been back from our month long holiday, life with its all routines has gone back to places. Some has changed; I’m talking in particular with Arielle, who has just turned 9 months old. She has started crawling actively, pulling herself up and standing and back to sitting position less wobbly, pulling drawers in and out (my first experience putting on the safety guards for the drawers turned out to be pretty much an accomplishment to myself as a mother lol – I didn’t use any of these safety guards when I was with Aimee); my little trinkets aren’t that safe anymore ~ welcome to the new phase with a crawler baby at home!

Not forgetting to mention, she becomes more clingy too. I guess (I HOPE) this is just a temporary phase that soon will come back to “normal” again, and maybe mostly caused by the frequency we had to carry her more often during our holiday (you see, the perks of coming back to our own lovely #homesweethome is we get to enjoy clean floor again – one which is really up to my standard! I am not a total clean freak, but yes I like to keep my home clean and free from hoarded stuffs lol).

Oh, and her cries and screams become louder too *sigh* *lol* (but I’ve got myself used to the higher pitch her sister has so this one isn’t that threatening, perhaps haha).

While with baby number two I am more demanded to excel in “physical fitness” lol, maybe not so much anymore with my first daughter (turning 6 years old in September!!). With her I am “forced” more often to get down on my knees and pray asking for wisdom, even for the simplest task like assisting and keeping her up to her premier’s reading challenge this year. All these new things I get to experience with a prep student is fun and exciting, but because they are also “new”, I lean on closer to my Father in Heaven. Why? Because I know I won’t be able to do it all without His strength, His wisdom, and His grace. Of course, I can ask advices from my friends with older kids, I can read some practical tips from magazines/internet; but I still firstly trust in the One who has assigned me this calling as a mother.

Well, they are about my kids. Then the rest of my other life roles as a wife, as a homemaker, as a handmaker, as an artist, as a friend, as a minister, as an intercessor, as a daughter – and much much more. I admit I don’t have all the time to do this equally “good”. I am torn between many responsibilities, I have to prioritize some roles above others, and contribute more hours according to my life focus.

Eg. at the moment I’m still not ready yet to get back to my business life. I haven’t got back to any painting yet, my mind is cluttered. I need to ask the Lord once again for the purpose and direction. Meanwhile, I know that my family and kids are my number one priority with my time at the moment, and life as a mother of two hasn’t been any better. My kids grow up so fast, this isn’t a secret anymore and I don’t want this phrase to catch me off guard one day in the future and leave me with any “I wish”.

❤️❤️

While my mind was racing with these kind of thoughts (in between talking to my own self and praying to Him on the other), one still small voice whispered in my heart, “worship Me, and all the other things will fall at its places accordingly“.

His Spirit reminded me to not get caught in life busyness, that I forgot to sit down at His feet and just enjoying His presence.

Take one part, the best part, and do it heartily.

Luke 10

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

In the midst of this life busyness, let me choose “what is better”. One that will not be taken away from me.

One day when life and all its routines and responsibilities end – HE is still my portion.

Matthew 6:33

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The world can wait, yes, the world can wait.

But my soul will not.

My soul thirsts and hungers for more of You.

Soak me with Your presence.

For only in Your presence I can see what is true, precious, and noble.

Nothing else than You.

The world can wait, yes, the world can wait.

Let me worship You above all else.

 

Lesson From Alabaster Jar

🌿 Alabaster Jar 🌿

This morning when I read the story of the woman with her alabaster jar in Matthew 26, my heart is somehow drawn toward this jar which has taken a significant part in this wonderful story and become a symbol of devotion.

I searched for more information about this particular jar; it was made from precious stone in Israel, resembles marbles in colors and textures.

And interestingly, unlike most of perfume bottles nowadays, the top has to be broken and the perfume inside the jar could only be used once.

Isn’t that just like our life?

The word and principle of living #YOLO is popular in this world, because it is true that we only have ONE life on this earth to live it to the fullest.

However, when God is not at the center, this precious life will be used and dedicated mostly for OUR own pleasures and satisfaction – which will one day also come to an end when our momentary time on this earth runs out.

The truth is, we were created for something that lasts even longer. We are all eternal being.

Life does not end when this one short life on earth ends.

Brokenness in our life is also inevitable. But just like this alabaster jar, the sweetest smell of the perfume can only escape when it is broken. And God is able to turn this brokenness to bless others and bring glory to His name.

Isaiah 61:3

“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, 

the oil of joy instead of mourning, 

and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor”

For the display of HIS splendor, it is.

#crunchynatsjournal

“Begin with Him”

Morning reading 🌼

🌼 Marriage Topic 🌼

I sometimes complain to God, “why I have to be the one who need to ask forgiveness and/or give forgiveness (even when my husband didn’t even ask for one) and/or initiate good conversation after a conflict/disagreement happened?” #whyme #thatquestion

This morning this statement from the book I’m still currently reading (“What Did You Expect?” by Paul David Tripp) ring again:

“We must fix our marriages vertically before we ever fix them horizontally”
The core problem is not that I don’t love my husband enough, but my problem is I don’t love God enough, and because I don’t love God enough, I don’t love my husband as I should.

I let my little kingdom reign instead of the Lord’s.

To forgive and to seek reconciliation first of all mend my relationship with God. Can you really pray to God when in your heart you are disliking someone? (Other than the prayer “please Lord change him/her” #haha).

I hope over time and with intervention of His Spirit when a conflict arises (yes, it is ‘when’, not ‘if’), the question I wrote the earliest won’t matter anymore. It is easy to write this when things smooth sailing ⛵️ I’m praying there is grace we both need when we are required to put into practice what we know/learn.

“He must become greater,

I must become less”

John 3:30


#2017mindfulmarriage

“The True Grace” – The Awakening Truth 

(Today’s post is quite long, I must say it is one of those significant moments in my journey following Christ).

Going back to the devotional I read on the March 8 this morning, because the truth is awakening and I feel like this is the first time I have my thoughts explained in words so descriptively, and I need to digest it more thoroughly.
Sometimes I have this worry and “fear” that I still don’t get God’s characters right after all the years I follow Him.

It’s so easy for us to be trapped inside our own bubbles of theology.

“Theology” is not something that only priests and church leaders have or get to understand. Every one of us has our own view of who God is, and that is the theology we actually live in, not really what the church or our cell group leaders teach us to believe.
I still often think that as God’s children, I “deserve” easier life. When I experienced difficult circumstances for quite a long period, I pleaded God over and over “Lord I need Your grace”. But still I have to endure the hard situation/s for months, some for many many years. Then where is the GRACE?

Does that mean that I am not experiencing grace when I don’t receive the relief that I need yet?
This is where my eyes been opened. Apparently the “grace” that I was asking is the “grace of relief/grace of release“. Like when Paul asked God three times to set him free from the thorn of flesh, and God answered him instead that His grace is more than enough for him, YET the thorn remained.

Yes, this is the view that I apparently see and live in, my own “incorrect” bubble of theology.
I cannot define God’s grace according to what I want or think right. That way I leave space for disappointment toward God whenever my prayers don’t get answered the way I’d want them to be (regardless how “good” they may be).
When God allows me to endure difficult situation just so I can learn to TRUST Him more, that is GRACE.

When He allows me to endure hard circumstances and people just so I can be TRANSFORMED more into like His Son, that is grace.
When you think of the word of “grace”, what do you really expect from God?

So much to chew on this truth, and so much more to live them in. 

May we be courageous enough to find and to live in the truth, no matter how unpleasant sometimes they can turn out to be. 

Unity in Christ 

In February I and my husband agreed to fast together to seek God’s wills in each of our individual life as well as collectively for our marriage and family.

One word that I receive during the period is: “UNITY“. It is a simple word, but seemed like it’d been buried deep down amidst life busyness and “cruise control” operating mode for our marriage.
I was reminded and rebuked at the same time, when I was angry was it because of my concern for my husband or concern for our marriage? I have to honestly admit that most often, I was angry because he offended MY feelings. 

It’s not like we as couples are not allowed to have arguments, but my concern is we too often fight for issues that are simply rooted from our SELFISHNESS instead of fighting for causes that have eternal impact to God’s kingdom on earth!
This marriage certainly needs a greater focus; a greater plan, purpose, and calling rather than our own selfish agenda.

Otherwise, what differentiates our marriage as Christ believers with others?
We need the unity to love God above ourselves, 

because it is difficult to love our spouse without having our relationship with God restored.

You don’t fix a marriage first horizontally; you fix it vertically” – Paul David Tripp.
I’m still praying for His grace to make this revelation becoming real in my daily practical life.

For now I shall close with another quote from Tripp,

If you are God’s children,

it is never just you and your spouse,

somehow hoping that you can work your way through your problems.

No,

there is a third Person who inhabits every situation and location of your marriage.

He is with you, He is willing, and He is able to come to your aid”.
What a good news!

I never walk alone.

When He calls, He always equips.

I know He has prepared a greater plan and purpose for my marriage, and this year is like my “wake up call”.
Have a blessed day and marriage beloved (maybe one day I can write about “courtship” topic based on my experience for my single friends 😛).

.

#2017mindfulmarriage 

#crunchynatsjournal

“Valentine 2017”

Yesterday Valentine’s dinner at the comfort of our own home 😆

We usually didn’t celebrate Valentine, mostly because my husband thought Valentine was on Feb 28 (you get how charmingly unromantic he is 🤣). However, this year I wanted something different. In line with my intention to “work out” more of this marriage rather than letting it “go with the flow” (inspired by Tripp’s book “What Did You Expect” I’m currently reading #2017mindfulmarriage – special hashtag I created on Instagram to record this year’s related journey 🌞), I decided to plan something a little bit more special.
Since his love language isn’t about “giving gifts”, I didn’t buy him anything. Instead I planned to cook something special for him (not because my everyday meal wasn’t special 🙊 #selfcompliment #gataumalu 🤣) and did an extra table arrangement with my limited skills and resources lol.

Few days ago I asked him before went to sleep his favourite meal (I was expecting “steak” 🐮 would be his answer, but turned out his answer was: BACON 🥓 hahaha!) – so there it was, I made Portobello Mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese and topped with bacon, grilled yellow nectarines and some more bacon to put them on top of the salmon avocado toasts, poached spinach, fried sweet potato chips – it was all like a big (mess) mixed up lol but hubby liked it anyway ✅ #missionaccomplished #thankyouforyourgrace haha).

The point is, I’m learning that “marriage is like a long-term exercise in gardening” 🌱(thank you Tripp for this insight!). Beautiful garden isn’t a result of any shortcuts. Works need to be done, and surely not for a lazy or impatient gardener.

This small thing I do is just my act in planting seeds, seeds of mindfulness and my way in expressing my care toward him. Rather than complaining he didn’t do or give anything special yesterday (which he did give me something special hooray! #kemajuan 🤣), I decided to be intentional and do what I could do best from my part.

Well, thank you for reading anyway. Sometimes it isn’t all about the “theory” but also the “daily practice”, and yesterday was just one of them haha.

God bless your marriage and relationships too beloved! ❤️