Monday, 6 October 2014

The Lesson on Patience

This morning, I took my baby out with our helper to make a trip to the library for some printing work. The library was not opened and its server was down. We ended up having a long, lovely walk in the park where I spent lots if time praying for my husband.

Sometimes delay and disruption in our human plans are opportunities to give up our own agenda and let God decide how we use our time. It is easy to feel frustrated and anxious, but as we ask God for help, surrender ourselves and follow His agenda, peace will replace anxiety and things fall into place in an unexpected way.

 "Lord, I feel frustrated that things are not moving the way I want. I am so worried but I trust that You will help me finish my work with success.  What would you like me to do now instead? Please help me align my timetable and plans with Yours, and let my work be fruitful in every way. I trust that You will bring the work You have started in me and through me to completion. Amen."

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Patience and Prayer

After a dry spell in my life where I felt God did not answer my prayers, I had come to realise how little my faith was as I chose to doubt when things were not moving.

How much do I trust God? It was very revealing, the way I prayed, that I was repeating the same things again and again and again. I came to realise how anxious I was, and that I thought I would not get heard unless I repeat the same requests. Over time I became both bored and discouraged, and stopped praying at all.

At a certain point, I asked myself why bother praying at all if God does not seem to do anything. Immediately I refuted this thought as God is surely good and merciful. And then it dawned on me that I got to respect and trust in God's timing, and during this time of waiting the Spirit should yield its fruits of patience and faith.

"Delight in The Lord and He shall grant the desire of your heart. You will show me the path of life, and fullness of joy in Your presence, at Your right hand happiness forever." Psalm 37 and Psalm 15

As I rejoice in the goodness of God, things begin to move and situations are turned around. New ideas are inspired and breakthroughs are made. 

I am so grateful for this experience which reflected what was in my heart. Truly, I can be honest with God in all my feelings and just let Him meet me where I am, and never be put to shame. 

God does not only want to answer my prayer, He also wants to touch and heal my disbelief.

Monday, 15 September 2014

When Gratitude Has Become a Challenge

Recently I have been invited to participate in a five-day gratitude challenge. I happily accepted and thought it was just a piece of cake.

Writing positive Facebook updates is as easy as ever.  What surprises me, however, is the impact it has on me: as I am pushed to write down thankful thoughts, I become more focused on the blessings I have received, and how much I am indebted to those who have been loving and kind to myself and my loved ones in various ways.

As our lives are filled with the buzz of constant flow of information, practicalities, plans, aspiration, anxiety and also unforgiving thoughts, it has become a challenge indeed to just pause for a second and focus on what we should be grateful for in life.

Choosing gratitude has reminded me to focus on what is noble, what is kind, what is good and what is praise-worthy. It softens my heart, opens my eyes, and motivates me to get moving. 

Let God plan your family

Recently there has been a strong desire in me to conceive a second baby, and have more than two children. I discussed it with my husband and he feels happy about it. 

There is so much pressure in the world to plan and space your children in a way that makes most sense for finances, career, living space etc. Sometimes health concerns may also come into play. However there is no fool proof formula to calculate how many children to have and when. We can only turn to God and surrender our desires and fears to Him, trusting that He fits everything together for a better future.

Just as I was contemplating the matter, a friend of mine told me she has just discovered that she is pregnant. Despite not planing to have more than two children she and her husband believe that it is a gift from God and trust that Ge will provide. To me, this is an encouragement as well as a confirmation of what God is speaking to me.

I remember that Jesus was questioned by some about paying temple tax. Our Lord asked one of the disciples to pick up a fish, and found a coin in the fish'a mouth. He then gave the coin as temple tax.

As we honour God and seek His kingdom, all the rest will be given to us so that His will can be carried out on earth as in Heaven. For everything belongs to our God.

As I reflect on the incidents of life, I become more relaxed at the ups and downs of life and there is a peace in my heart despite the many recent difficulties in my husband's job, and the uncertainty in my freelance business. For The Lord must complete the good work He has started, and He will not let those who trust in His name be put to shame.

Lord, I commit our marriage, our son, our family and work to You. We also surrender out hopes, plans, fears and desires. Protect and prosper us. Let us praise You always as we experience Your mercy and kindness. Amen. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Value of time

Recently I have been struggling with finding a focus in life as our family is blessed with an amazing helper. Gone are the days when I had to work around the clock to look after the baby, housekeeping work and freelance projects at the same time. But now as I have time to myself, I cannot help but feel guilty that my husband has to work so hard, and that sometimes I ask my helper to look after our son so that I can have some time. 

Deep down in me there is a fear of squandering away free time that is hard earned by my husband, and not being a proper mum. There is also confusion as to how I should structure my life as it has been so baby-centric in the past year. What am I to do with the free time? How much free time should I be entitled to? I can only imagine the magnitude of empty nest syndrome experienced by parents once their children have become adults. I feel displaced and disoriented even now.

Now I realise I have based my value on my son, and on my family. I have prided myself on how much work I do for our baby, how much time I have spent tidying our flat, and how much paid work I have done. Whilst they are not wrong and are definitely my responsibilities, they do not define who I am. They are as meaningful as they reflect where God wants me to be and how He wants to bless me and others in His ways.

One of the dangers of parenting lies in the way we take for granted that we should be providing and taking care of our family, and with that always implied a certain sense of routine. When the routine becomes shanken it is revealed whether we have been using the occasions to draw close to God.

I think that the only way to guarantee a gainful, meaningful way to use time will be to pray lots, pray first, pray honest, then just get going. The temptation is to overthink, overplan, and then sit there and be overwhelmed by one's thoughts.

Taking the time to quiet down and write, I am thanking God for this precious moment of reflection, and grateful for the love and support of my wonderful husband who is still at work now. Love fills my heart as I send prayerful, loving hug vibes to my dearest one. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Joseph the Adventurer

Today as I was eating some roasted pumpkin and pasta,  Joseph pushed away his pork and pumpkin congee and looked at my plate. As I handed him a piece of roasted pumpkin, he first took a tentative bite with his two bottom front teeth, then grabbed the whole chunk of veggie. He even managed to pass it from one pudgy hand to another to finish it off in several bites, all without dropping any morsels on the floor!

And two days ago he showed Daddy he had learnt how to play music in the CD player. He always opened it and took the disc out so I thought I might as well show him how to play music. And he proved not only to be a fast learner, but also a music enthusiast as he wiggled and grooved to the music!

And then yesterday he discovered how much fun a bucket can contain as he saw Mummy poured a bucket full of ice water onto Daddy's head! Now he enjoys rolling, kicking, carrying, and even riding the bucket as his personal cable car.

Too much cuteness. Seeing the world through Joseph the adventurer is so much fun! 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Meditation: Mother Mary with the unborn Jesus

 Yesterday, my husband and I wanted to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. As the chapel was closed, we ended up praying in front of the grotto. 

My husband asked me how I felt praying to the statue of Mother Mary where you cannot see Jesus, I replied: "Why, Jesus is always with Mary. He is inside her womb, otherwise she would not be able to trample upon the serpent." 

My husband was surprised because he never thought this way before, and I realised how important it is to remember that Jesus went through the whole cycle of life: from being an embryo to growing into a fetus, and then into a baby who was delivered through the birth canal, and who just cried, giggled, pooped and nursed like all babies do. Like my baby does! 

Pause for a moment to think about how vulnerable God chose to be through the incarnation of Word into Flesh. All Jesus relied on for nutrient was through the simple if not meager diet of Mary, provided by the carpenter Joseph. What kind of stress did pregnant Mary and father-to-be Joseph went through? Does Baby Jesus get enough food? Am I making enough money to support Jesus and Mary? And to travel to Bethelem in Mary's third trimester- will the journey be safe? How should we provide for his medical care if anything happens?

Yet things turned out to be just fine, and Jesuswas born a healthy child, just the way God intended.

The world is a fallen place, and day to day we are faced with many dangers and limitations. However, we must believe that God's grace is always enough. No matter how challenging and humble our circumstances are, how weak and vulnerable we feel, we are able to do what we are called to do as long as we obey Him and fall into the right steps with His calling.

It is easy for my husband and I to become anxious as our little boy grows everyday. However meditating on how the Holy Family raised Jesus helps building up our faith, helps us pray for our son, and receive our peace from God.