Monday, January 8, 2018

Thirty Nine Life-Lessons in 39 Years

Today I turn thirty-nine. When I was nineteen, I used to wonder about the future. I used to imagine how it would feel to be thirty. But what happened between nineteen to thirty nine were beyond imaginations. Last night I wrote down several lessons I have learned throughout my life and at the end of point 39, I stepped back and smiled, "Oh, this life, so precious, so full, so beautiful indeed", my heart whispered.

Thirty-nine life lessons in thirty nine years:

1. Family comes first.
    After God.
    Before dreams, career, money, power and fame.

2. Listen to your parents.
    They know so much more than you.

3. Giving birth to a child means giving birth to yourself.

4. Your children will automatically copy you .
    So be the person that you want them to be.

5. As much as you love your children,
    always remember that God loves them more.

6. Listened children listen.

7. Spending time and energy
    raising your children is still the greatest investment.

8. Validate feelings. Stop ignoring them.

9. Prayer is more powerful than worry.

10. You can be alone but not lonely.

11. Your heart can break into million pieces
      But it can also be mended again 
      into a stronger heart.

12. Death of a loved one sucks.
      The pain is indescribable 
      but you can go through grief
      and come out stronger that you can imagine.

13. It’s okay to cry when you are sad
      but it’s also okay to laugh when you’re still half sad.

14. A journey of grief is like
      walking into the valley of the shadow of death.
      You may feel like experiencing death
      but then you are awaken by life itself.

15. Life begins today.

16. At night when you lay in bed,
      recall three good things of the day,
      give thanks to God and go to sleep.
      I bet you won’t hit the snooze button the next day.

17. Giving is not easy when you live in lack,
      but lack is only a state of mind.
      So give anyway,
      even when you feel like
      you don’t have anything to give
      because you are that something.

18. You are enough.
      Stop searching out and start looking in.
      God has placed everything you need in you.

19. You are created uniquely,
       Stop comparing yourself to others,
       it will never make you appreciate yourself
       and your amazing Creator.

20. God is always good even when you see nothing good.

21. Whatever dream you have, it’s yours to keep.
       Hard work and perseverance is required.

22. There’s bravery in you.
       Walk with your head held high.
       God is your bravery.

23. You are created to conquer any challenges.
       Sometimes quick, sometimes a bit longer,
       But you will conquer.

24. Everything in life needs time and nurturing to grow,
      including yourself.

25. Forgiveness is indeed a decision
       to walk out from your own prison.

26. You may be disappointed
       but choose to move forward
       and see the beauty behind
       any setback and disappointment.

27. The truth says
      "you are precious,
       you are never forgotten,
       you are not forsaken"
      The liar says
      "you are nobody,
       you are forgotten,
       you are not as good as the others"
       Choose wisely.

28. To mainain any relationships,
       first you must maintain the relationship within you.

29. In order to grow,
      you need to be willing to listen
      to the people whom you seek as leaders or mentors
      because for some reasons,
      they can see a bit farther than you.

30. Don’t overanalyze,
    be brave and take risk.
      You only live once.

31. It’s okay to ask questions
      And it’s okay not to find the answers.
      Some matters are better left as mysteries. 

32. Most of the time,
      the answers of your prayers are different
      than any of your imaginations.

33. To know what you really want in life is
      a journey of searching deep within.

34. Living life in full color is a heart attitude.

35. You can be someone’s answered prayer.
      Be willing to say yes
      when God ask you to do something
      (even when it doesn't make sense.)

36. You can find joy even when your eyes are closed.

37. It’s better to do what you can do today
      than worrying about tomorrow.

38. Sometimes we need to watch and wait patiently
      for someone, for something to grow and bloom.

39. Life is hard but we can do hard things.
      Loving others is hard
      Marriage is hard
      Raising kids is hard
      Building career is hard
      Serving people is hard
      Pursuing dream is hard
      Staying on course is hard

      This is how we were created to be
      We can do all things 
     through Christ 
     who gives us strength.

Can you relate to any of these thirty nine life-lessons? 
Send me a message and let me know which one, 
I would love to know your story.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

What Widowhood Has Taught Me

Widowhood was never a dream to me but at 32 years old, I became one.

Out of the countless words of sympathy and encouragement people gave to comfort me, there was one that provoked a war in my head. Someone once told me, “There is a gift behind your pain”

It was cold. 
It was heartless. 
It was cruel. 

I didn’t see any gift, any good thing, any lesson coming out of my pain. I was angry but decided to keep the painful words in my safety box and leave them for some years.

Six year has gone by. There were days when I felt like caving in. There were days when I felt like screaming because all I could see was pain and more pain. There were days when I felt like running away because life is just.too.hard. But surprisingly, little by little I discovered beauty along the journey of widowhood. The journey has changed me.

Widowhood has taught me several lessons.

1. Widowhood has taught me that even when a heart is broken into pieces, that same heart has the capability to be healed and made whole again. 

My heart was shattered into tiny pieces when I knew that I had to endure the journey as a widow and a single mom. As I have shared countless times in my writing, I didn’t even know how to survive a day. All I could feel, see, taste, smell and hear was pain and fear. My days were filled with tears and more tears. Sometimes I tried to hide it from the kids and ended up soaking my pillow at night. But again and again God rescued me. He comforted me with His love. He sang over my sorrow. And little by little my heart was mended back together again. I could smile again. I could sing again. I could dance again. I live again.

2. Widowhood has taught me to make a decision for myself. 

Growing up as an indecisive girl, I was always afraid to make mistakes. As a married woman, I relied so much on my husband whenever I needed to make a decision. When I became a widow, one of my greatest fear was making a decision for my children. For the first few months, I relied so much on other people’s help and opinion but then I realized that no one knew my children better than me. So, six months after the passing of my husband, when God asked me to move back to the country where I was born in, with all the courage I have left, I made one of the biggest and best decision of my life.

3. Widowhood has taught me not to fear being alone. 

How should I raise three children on my own? How should I make a decision for us? How should I defend myself and my children? How should I stand for them? How could I live on my own? Those are some of the battles in my head as a widow. Honestly, up to this day, I sometimes envy complete families, a couple who seems to be happy living together, moms who have her husbands to share the loads of life. But I no longer fear being alone. Since 2011, I have traveled many long roads alone, I have made countless decision on my own. I have stood up and voiced out for myself. I found that living life alone is actually not the loneliest place to be. God indeed sent kind and caring friends whom after while became our family, the village where I could raise my children.

4. Widowhood has taught me to let go of control and take life easy. 

As an idealist, when my world was shattered into pieces, I freaked out. Sometimes I wonder how did I survive being shaken to my core. Losing control was the worse thing that could ever happen to an idealist but (I think) the best way to help an idealist find the true meaning of life. I stepped into the greatest adventure right after the biggest hurricane of my life. Since then, I only asked myself two questions when challenged to dip my toe in the water:

What are the best things that could happen … 
What are the worst things that could happen ... 
If I say yes? 
If I go on that mission trip? 
If I try to run the business idea? 
If I take the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of women? 
If I publish my story? 
If I reach out to the person I am a big fan of? 
If I leave unfinished works and take a break over the weekend? 
If I hold the microphone and start singing? 
If I decline the request? 

After all, I only live once, so mind as well to just do it. Taking life easy means trying my best to live in the moment and leave the worries of tomorrow at the door.

5. Widowhood has taught me that I am enough. 

After a season of doubting myself and blaming God, I came to a point where I could finally see myself through the eyes of a Father. I realized that God has created me in such a delicate way, He has wired me to be me, and He has prepared me to carry His purpose. I have what it takes to raise my three children. I can lead the family. I can dream dreams and see them being fulfilled. I have what it takes to walk through the journey. And I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am in God, Him in me and I am enough.

Someone once told me, “There is a gift behind your pain” 

Friends, some of you might be going through the valley right now and I don’t know what kind of pain you have to endure. Your heart might be broken because of hard relationship, abuse, the loss of a loved one, a long period time of waiting, injustice, financial hardship, watching yourself of someone you love getting physically challenged.

Friends, allow me to be a lender of hope to you. I need you to keep your hope up and believe that soon enough you will see gifts emerging from your pain. God longs to make your heart whole again and to show you the beauty of your journey.

“Sometimes your greatest message is the mess of your life”
-Priscilla Shirer

For His Glory,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Meet Me at Tiffany's

It was two years ago when I was on an out-of-town trip. She was a friend of a friend. We met only for a few hours, just enough to exchange small pieces of our life stories. She was in a season of waiting. I was in a season of healing. The encounter was brief but enough to mark my heart. I felt like meeting an angel.

That night I received sweet messages from the new friend. She mentioned how she just couldn’t shake my story off her head so she decided to go through my life on Instagram and the blog. I felt honored. It was easy for her to relate to my stories as she was personally going through the deep valley at that moment. We ended up texting back and forth and ended the conversation by her telling me that she will be delivering something for me the next day.

Her busy schedule did not allow her to see me personally the next day, so she asked someone to deliver the gift. As I opened the box, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw a little pouch sitting pretty in a box. The shade of the pouch looked familiar, the brand looked too familiar.

Just two nights prior to this historical trip, some friends and I threw a bridal shower to a girlfriend whose wedding was two weeks away. In that intimate shower, we picked the theme of “Tiffany”. Imagine a table of girlfriends with tiffany blue table setting and arrangement, tiffany blue decor, and three-tier cake that looked like tiffany boxes stacked together. So tiffany-beautiful. 
I remembered clearly how busy we were arranging that table and as the final touch before the surprise shower started, I straightened the beautiful cake and deeply whispered “I never had a piece of Tiffany before”. Then the bride-to-be arrived and off we dove into a fun bridal shower. 

So, when I saw a Tiffany & Co pouch in that box, I knew it was God!
With tears in my eyes and a big smile, I said “Papa, you’re too funny!”

The delivery from Heaven to Earth took approximately two days. 

From a silly and quiet wish that no human’s ears have ever heard to holding my first ever Tiffany. It was like getting a visit from a fairy godmother when she asked "what would you like my dear? just say it and it will be on your hand". But it was more than a cinderella story. It was my Papa God!

That day was two years ago. He knew I needed some sort of assurance that He hears. He knew that for the next two years I needed to remember it over and over again about how both big audacious requests and little whispers matter to Him.

Maybe your experience is different than mine.
Maybe yours is finding a little parking spot on a crowded sunday afternoon
or getting a very good deal on groceries when you are at a very tight budget
or hearing your favorite song played on the radio just when you think about it
or getting an unexpected hug from your two-year-old when no one knows how broken you are
or receiving an encouraging text message from a long lost friend just when you feel so alone.

And whatever it is, my friends, I urge you to continue encouraging your soul with those memories. Remind yourself how much He would go high and low just to tell you how much He loves you and how far He cares for you. Friends, you are precious to Him, regardless the hurricane in your life, God knows what’s going on with you and He is making a way for you. So, don’t let your tiny faith go.

For your Father knows 
exactly what you need 
even before you ask him! 
Matthew 6:8 

Friends, if He was willing to meet me at the Tiffany’s, He must be more than willing to meet you wherever you are.

For His Glory,

PS: To my Heaven-sent friend, I am grateful for the day God brought us together. You are a gift to me. Your "yes" to Papa God has impacted my faith big time. I am who I am today is because of God and your "yes". 

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