Daydreaming…

One of my favourite hobby is daydreaming as it often left me feeling good. I daydream even while I was praying. Recently those distraction during prayer went as far as going back in time and winning a huge lottery ticket that would have changed how my life would look like now. It can be so addictive but also proved to be super counter productive. Takes a bit of effort to get out of it and get a move on with the day.

As I spent time in Adoration on Thursday, I was reminded of my lottery winning daydream. Typical me reaction – I smirked knowing full well it’s not possible to go back in time and buy that winning ticket. At that moment of grace, I examined the character of God – loving, compassionate and most importantly He cares about my salvation. Beautiful but it would still be nice to win the lottery ticket; said my thought all the while holding on to that daydream and smiling with no reason. Then our gracious God spoke to my heart from the scripture;

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says 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.

Isaiah 55: 8-9

Those words led me to check my heart. Truthfully, in my opinion, my ways and thoughts are better. But in reality, God sees in full and I only see in part. My humanness has two sides here – the resistance to bend to God’s will and at the same time the desire for holiness. Realizing that I do not actually have the grace to trust fully or to allow God the space to fulfill His promises; I seek His rest in humility.

God’s way of fulfilling His promises in my life has been mind blowing. One great example is the gift of my husband. I was restless when I embraced the invitation to marriage as there was no man in my sight that would be right for me. I could not bring myself to settle nor was I patient in my wait. After much struggle with God, His grace overshadowed me and I was able to fully surrender my desire for marriage into the loving hand of my Heavenly Father. It was then I found rest. Once I started resting and actually believing that it’s going to be a long wait, the man God has for me reappeared in my life. I was so busy waiting for the right one that I was oblivious of his intentional friendship for a few weeks. Now I am married to my amazing husband whose character far surpassed what I would have imagined.

The other crazy fulfillment of my heart’s desire would be my heart to serve the people of my land. When God called me out of my beloved nation, it was the biggest struggle ever. I struggle to give Him my unreserved yes most especially embracing a new nation. I am grateful for the spiritual guides I encountered while being in New Zealand who has helped me to love this new nation as my own. My prayer was “your people shall be my people, dear Lord” (Ruth 1:16). When I found rest in fully giving my yes to the Lord for New Zealand, the funniest thing happened – He called me home to Malaysia. Hence, here I am given the full opportunity to serve the people of God here in my homeland.

Reflecting upon God’s way all these while, I can testify that He is trustworthy. I just need to allow Him the space and freedom to work in my life as He wills. Visions planted in our hearts are so great that they sometimes felt overwhelming because we know it too well that they are almost impossible by our own might. I truly believe that if what we have sensed as an invitation from God is to come true, He is going to show us His splendour. So much so that we would not be able to hold back our praise of Him even if we want to, when He fulfill His promise in His time.

I left the chapel that evening filled with hope. Those words are still being pondered upon in my heart, changing me slowly. The journey to fully trust and surrender has proven to be one challenging path. If I pay enough attention to look around the path, I am sure I can pick some flowers along the way.

Dear friends, I pray that you will take time to taste the goodness of the Lord as you live a life of trust in His will. May your journey be fruitful and sweet.

With lots of love,
Irene

Touching the Divine in the Ordinary

It has been rather challenging to find my rhythm after moving out of the mission centre. Time is now fully in my control. I enjoyed the freedom of managing my own time and that also comes with the responsibility of managing the time well.

Heaps were happening through those months of being the “master” of my time. Part of me struggle to keep being disciplined and part of me was being open to see what God was saying through it all. It was indeed an invitation to touch the divine in the ordinary. I learnt to pray in a very different way – to connect to God through the moments of my day. Sometimes I felt like I was not praying enough, not reflective enough, not sensitive enough and the list goes on.

Rapid changes proved to be challenging even to a person like me who enjoyed the freshness of change. I struggle to adjust to the rapid changes especially the fact that we moved country – a new environment that calls for new understanding, acceptance and letting go of the lifestyle I was used to. Through the rapid changes, prayer life also proved to be really challenging. I struggle to make time, struggle to just show up even when I do not feel like praying, struggle to trust and was very restless.

It wasn’t until I received the sacrament of reconciliation that things started to turn God-ward again. I am really grateful for the open arms of the Father welcoming me back into His embrace again. Christmas of 2018 became a time of welcoming Baby Jesus into our home again. Our humble and rather empty home has space for God to come in – so was my heart!

The simplicity of the infant Jesus taught me that prayer can be rather simple. I am invited to connect to God as Irene, the beloved. It is about being open to allow God to love me – not quantify by the number of hours spent I guess. I was beating myself pretty hard for not fixing a time to pray. Life is very different now that I have other responsibilities to carry. So, what does it mean to pray then?

Nativity Scene at Tianxiang Catholic Church

I realized for this season of my life, prayer simply means showing up, choosing to praise God in all circumstances and making commitment to have my holy pauses through the day. On the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, my husband and I were talking about ways to increase our income. We are currently running a campaign to sell one of his e-book on special. So we talked about how many copies do we want to ask the Lord to bless us with? I was ready to pray small but my husband challenged my prayer. His point was; “if we are asking for God’s help, let’s give Him a big number”. I was scared and excited at the same time. If God answers our prayer according to the number we asked, a lot of our financial worries would be lighten. So, I was in and we prayed for the big number and let’s see what God thinks about it.

God is so able to answer our prayer in accordance to what we want specifically but does He agree with what we asked for? I guess we will find out at the end of the campaign. At that moment of grace, I told my husband this: “however He choose to answer to our prayer, especially if He choose not to give us the number we asked for, that doesn’t make Him love us any less”. It was a moment of epiphany for me – to have the courage to ask for something that I am not even sure will be answered and having the grace to trust in the infinite love of the Father, regardless of the outcome.

That God-moment of mine brought me to a rest from my “need” to be in control. My ideal thought may look really good for me but if my ideal does not lead me closer to Christ, I guess that would be in vain to have. Probably this is a glimpse of the heart of the Father. Yes, He desires good things for us, sometimes just not the way we envision it – probably way better than how we would have crafted it.

Dear friends, I pray that you find rest in your restlessness and may God grant you the grace to be assured of your belovedness – however He choose to unfold His plans to you, His love for you is infinite.

With lots of love,

Irene