Thursday, January 17, 2019

Ten Years from Today



In the midst of #10YearChallenge hype, I found myself drowning in mixed feelings of brokenness and gratitude. The other night, the kids and I went through old photo albums on facebook (yup, most of them were switched to private since 2011), and we couldn’t help but shed some tears and shared laughters as we scrolled down those good ol’ days.

So, where was I ten years ago?

I was a thirty-year-old mom with three children under 10. My youngest child was only six months old and I still had a lot of baby weight stuck to my body. I was a full time mom living a simple life in a small city of California, running an online business with my late husband, and serving together as a family in our local church. My day consisted of getting the kids ready for school, dropping them off, getting groceries, feeding the baby, preparing lunch & dinner, tackling an everest-high of laundry weekly, cleaning the house, and millions other chores in between. My simple dream was to raise my family well and have more than enough resources to bless more lives.

Where was I ten years ago?

Writing, speaking, leading people, movements and institutions never crossed my mind.
Cooking, changing diapers, folding laundry, chasing little ones were my familiar.

Little did I know two years later, my world was taken apart and flipped upside down.
Little did I know two years later, my dream was shattered into millions of tiny pieces.
Little did I know three years later, we left our familiar to walk on water.
Little did I know ten years later, we are exactly where we're supposed to be.
Saved by grace, sustained by grace.



Friends, maybe you’re like me. Instead of getting excited with #10yearchallenge, you found yourself in between sadness and joy, brokenness and gratitude.

You’re happy to watch the children grow but wish to share the joy with your late spouse.
You’re thankful for good opportunities in the past years but still long to spend those days with a soul-mate.
You’re happy for all the memories made with your spouse but still wish to hold that baby of your dream.
You’re thankful for years of bountiful life but wish you didn’t have to go through those chemotherapies and medications.
You’re happy with your weight-loss victory but wish to have a better relationship with your parents.
You're thankful for these years but wish to at least see one of your dreams come through.

Friends, the past ten years may not be easy for you and we may share a similar story but we need to remind ourselves that we wouldn’t be here today if it’s not for God’s grace. Yes, we have so many reasons to throw ourselves a pity party but we also have a lot more reasons to trust God. My God, your God is someone who can be trusted all the way.

You keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, 
all whose thoughts are fixed on You!
 Isaiah 26:3 

Friends, no matter how hard it is and how stormy the future looks like from here, we have to keep the posture of gratitude and good expectation. Let us live, love, work, create, serve from the position of trusting the One who is in control, who is never confused, who is never surprised, who never walks away, who is never too busy, who always remembers, who always understands, who always cares enough to give His best to each one of us. And therefore we must stay grateful and push ourselves to find joy even in the midst of a mess.

So, where are we today? 
We are right in the middle of His loving hands, tenderly cared for.

Where will we be 10 years from today?
We will be in the center of His plan, soaring like eagles, living lives beyond our desires, petitions and imaginations, carrying hearts that overflow with gratitude.

Friends, have hope, find joy and enjoy this gift called life




With love, 

Felecia




Tuesday, January 8, 2019

#finallyforty




It feels like yesterday when I penned down "Life in 39 lessons". Somehow turning 39 was filled with high anticipations of a new season. Call me a weirdo, but I truly couldn't wait to be forty, you know, just like a girl who can't wait to be seventeen. I had butterflies in my tummy thinking about being forty. I could smile all day thinking about the day when I'm finally forty. I would imagine the places I'll go, the people I'll meet, the dreams soon to come true. 

There is something about becoming forty.


Little did I know, soon after, I embarked on a wild ride of the decade. Within three hundred and sixty five days, life challenged me to make vertical leaps of faith in the midst of a spinning world. Many days, I felt powerless and cornered. In the back of my head, there was a voice that kept chanting "life is too hard". Imagine a young fifteen-year-olds who came home after days of High School dramas, I would end many days sulking & crying due to all the "dramas" of my life.

Lesson #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

Preaching to myself didn't always work when I had to deal with mental conditions, financial struggle, betrayal, health challenges, disappointments, brokenness, confusions, questions, doubts and postponed dreams. 

There is something about becoming forty.



And as much as I wanted to curl up in bed every single day, I had no choice, I was already on the way to forty. "Just keep swimming" I told myself and there in the midst of the chaos, I found a treasure, one important lesson in becoming forty:


Life is a gift
(lesson #40)


gift /…°ift/ -noun 
a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.

As a mom of three, I have learned that one magical element of any special day is the gift. Each birthday celebrated in my house is always highlighted by a gift (from a simple handmade one to the epic-wish-list-dream-comes-true one). And because I love my kids so much, I would try my best to give them the best, to give them the biggest smile (and maybe some happy tears), to out-give them, to make their dreams come true, and to give them even more than what they ask.


One day, Jesus told a story about the good shepherd and his sheep to His disciples and He said "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]". John 10:10 (AMP)

So, my Father, out of love, has given me (and you) a gift, life itself. Knowing Who my Father is, the gift He gives is always good, enjoyable, fun, beautiful, over the top, well-thought-of, above and beyond imagination. Therefore when He said that He came to give us an enjoyable life that is full and overflowing, I had to trust His words. I chose to trust His words regardless the reality in front of me.

I am choosing life.
I choose to receive the gift of life.
I choose to see life as beautiful because it is a gift from my good good Father.



Friends, I may not know your current situation. You might be dancing on the hills or walking through the valley. I am too still waiting for my breakthroughs to come. I am too still facing impossible situations. And maybe you are too.

But please allow me to offer you a different perspective. I would like to invite you to see life as a beautiful, well-thought-of, and purposeful gift. Yes, you may still need that income you've lost, you may still need that healing in your body, you may still need that peace in your marriage, you may still need a life-partner you've been searching for, you may still need that good relationship with your family.

But I want you to be aware that God knows exactly what you need, He knows your deepest desires, He hears you prayers, and He is working on every detail of your life. Therefore, we all can rest and instead of focusing on the battle,
we can start breathing the air He gives,
we can start chasing those butterflies, sunrises and sunsets,
we can start laughing at those funny moments of life,
we can start smiling at those beautiful souls around us,
we can start taking things lighter,
we can start singing,
we can start dancing,
we can start learning something new,
we can start enjoying every meal,
we can start dreaming impossible dreams,
we can start climbing those mountains
we can start creating epic inventions,
we can start living an overflowing life now.




Today, I am finally forty. 
I have arrived to the day that I have been waiting for and I plan to live & enjoy this life.  
Join me, will you? 


With love, 

Felecia 



Friday, November 16, 2018

A Letter to my Fellow Single Moms



I have never dreamed of becoming a single mom. Yet in the blink of an eye, I became one. In June 2011, I became a widow and a single mom of three young children. Terrified, angry, disappointed, broken and hopeless, I was. For all my life, I have dreamed to raise a healthy, happy and whole family, so when the reality hit, I had to make a choice to stand up for the children and days to come.

Being a single mom is a different journey. As children don’t come with manuals, so does being a parent or even more a single parent. Below are four things I have learned throughout my seven years of being a single mom, they may not be manuals but I hope they can help you gain a little confident to walk in your journey.

1. Your children are important and so are you.
Take a good care of yourself. Make a priority to start everyday with a prayer and devotion as you need to be fueled by God and His love over and over again. It is important for you to continually remembering the truth that you are never walk alone, that you are never forsaken or forgotten. Make time to be honest with God and with yourself. Acknowledge emotions and deal with every single one of them. Find your own way to process your grief, disappointment, anger, fear and make a decision to let go and let God to help you overcome your feelings.

Make time to refresh your soul, take some alone time to reflect on what God has done, catch a good 30-minutes-hot-shower, take those offers from friends and families to babysit the kids, take a walk, exercise, spend a good hour reading in a coffee shop, put on some make up, watch a movie, dress up, and make time for friendships.

Take a good care of yourself so that you can take a good care of your children.

 


2. Your children are growing and so are you.
Give Grace (lots of it). You must come to a place of awareness that single motherhood may not be your first choice but God has given you the grace to grow in your role as a single parent therefore when mistakes and failures happen, receive God’s grace and extend grace.

In the early days of being a single mom, when the kids were acting out and I lost control of my emotion, I would run to the dark and start playing the blame game. If only he didn’t die, if only the kids had a dad, if only I had all the time in the world to raise my kids closely. I would blame myself for being so angry, I would blame the kids for acting out, I would blame the people around me who seemed to be not caring enough, I would blame God. I forgot all about Grace. I forgot that I was still growing in my new role. I forgot that God has poured out His more than enough Grace. I forgot that my kids needed Grace. I forgot that everyone around me needed Grace.

Growing up means trying out new things. Growing up means making mistakes. Growing up means being aware that failures are parts of lives. Growing up means forgiving oneself and others.

Grow in Grace for your children to grow in Grace 



3. Your children are trying to figure things out and so are you.
Take one step at a time. Take this life lightly. Remind yourself continually that God’s got your life and you don’t need to know everything in advance. Life will easily overwhelm you but you have to make a choice to trust God wholeheartedly. Fear and worry of the future can easily creep into our hearts. Negative thoughts can grow from one to a million within seconds as soon when we entertain fear in our heads.

As a firstborn, I used to be an idealist-perfectionist-control freak individual (sounds pretty scary, huh?!?) but being a widow and single mom has taught me the most valuable lesson that is to let go of control and trust God. After all, He is the beginning and the end, He knows every detail of my life, so why bother to outsmart God? It was a long process of learning to trust God completely but no turning back for me.

One of the best reminders I received when first started the journey “take one step at a time at all times”, still is the best way to live.



4. Your children are never meant to walk alone and so are you.
Find your village, love that village, build a home in the midst of the village, and you will never feel lonely anymore. When we are hurt, it is very easy to feel alone and separate ourselves from others. Throwing ourselves a lonely pity party would feel more comfortable than anything else. But the truth is when we start to be aware that people around us are placed by God for a purpose, we must be willing to start opening ourselves to them.

Receiving from others was one of my greatest challenges in the early days of being a single mom. I always felt that including others in the journey of parenting means I have failed to be a mother. Until I came to the point of realizing how selfish and arrogant I was to keep rejecting others who were willing to sacrifice for me. As I started to open up myself, single parenthood became less scary and more meaningful. The journey has become merrier with the whole village. Again, no turning back for me.




Friends, regardless how long you have been in the journey of single-motherhood, I just want to remind you that you are doing fine. You have what it takes to be a mother for your children. Stay grateful. Stay beautiful. Trust God because God’s got this.

All your children will have God for their teacher 
What a mentor for your children! 
Isaiah 54:13


With love,
Felecia


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