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The diadem of pain

which sliced your gentle face,

three spikes piercing flesh and wood

to hold you in your place.

The need for blood I understand.

Your sacrifice I embrace.

But the bitter sponge, the cutting spear,

the spit upon your face?

Did it have to be a Cross?

Did not a kinder death exist

than six hours hanging between life and death,

all spurred by a betrayer’s kiss?

“Oh, Father,” you pose,

heart-stilled at what could be,

“I’m sorry to ask, but I long to know,

did You do this for me?

Max Lucado

Strangely feeling like I have my life back.

Met some of my favourite people this weekend, and saw familiar faces from ARPC, which was a great encouragement, considering I had assumed only Prinsep friends would attend.

Was particularly happy to have met Yanyi and Jessy at the same place – creative minds work best together, and God willing, we will see something amazing from the talents He has given us.

God willing.

This is the start of something new! 💐

Perfect

I think today bordered on being quite perfect.

A colleague coming over with cinammon bread, and stranger with a pram asking me in a heavy mandarin accent if I teach the violin, and entering another parallel universe at the violin workshop, where I finally donated the old guy to a child from Taman Jurong.

And of course, badminton courts that were booked and ready for a match with colleagues next Thursday.

Lookin’ up 🙆🏻‍♀️

chapter 29, life story

My story: Chapter 29, Section 1, is composed of hundreds of vignettes that offer irrefutable evidence of God’s presence and love. To put God on display, however, is not as straightforward as it is for someone whose mind works in concentric circles rather than linearly. Mine.

Some people share only the pieces of their stories that demonstrate their strength and show they have it all together. I am aware that these pages have held more weaknesses than most, and while it may not be ‘safe’ to include acute details, it requires a fair amount of risk to commit them to these pixels. What is the point, then?

Perhaps it is that I thrive on stories of redemption, even my own. Writing out these struggles demonstrates a victory over them, because in the depths of my frailty, God is still working. He is patient and kind and is still working on me.

“But blessed is the (wo)man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

(Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Two Thoughts

A good friend had recently asked me what I wanted in a life partner. One would have thought I would have this sorted out by now. Surprisingly (and perhaps disappointingly), this is not so. But though it bears further refining, I’m getting closer to an answer. Patience and kindness is definitely way up the proverbial list there.

Wisdom that is not of the world is another. And I am increasingly led to wonder if such wisdom could be found in another perspective to this very Singaporean trajectory I’ve led.

Sometimes I forget that interruptions ARE the Ministry. Time and time again, Jesus Himself slowed down or stopped what He was doing to minister to someone. That’s a difficult model for me to pattern my life after, given that I am used to developing this Type A personality than I am about putting into practice God’s Plan A in this life – reaching the world. I have the opportunity to embrace an Everyday lifestyle of Spirit-directed living and labouring while listening in to His promptings in every moment. But in this selfish way of living, I don’t.

Irony, indeed.

My God has challenged and called me consistently to serendipitous ministry – “along the way” opportunities that become something larger and grander in His sight. How clearly He speaks to me in those instances.

Can I get in line with my Director and follow His script?

Looking for my “God moments” this week – divine appointments from God that can manifest in a quickly beating heart, a gentle nudge inside, or the overwhelming emotional compassion for a person or situation that makes me feel I must do something. I will be unsure about where it will lead, but I will trust the One who’s leading.

Here we go, January.

Shinji

turning

It’s been two years with this team (plus some newcomers), and I continue to thank God that they are the answer to my prayers for a good working culture at HED. What started as a forced community, working in close proximity, soon became natural and enjoyable. I’m getting ready to move off soon, but not before I start to tie up loose ends, finish up a Cabinet Memorendum, and begin in earnest to grow a little fearful of where the next division will take me.

People are very different. And all too often, I fail to celebrate the blessing of diversity. I feel much more at ease cloistered around people just like me. I know I forfeited God-given opportunities to speak into lives when I started placing boundaries on what was my “personal space”. And ended up drawing the line when I’ve felt I reached my capacity to overlook, to love, to give. Yet, in many moments, when I’m stretched beyond myself, His love supply fills my lack.

My dearest dance buddy took time off to give me a healthy birthday treat for lunch, despite how time is measured by dollars and cents for her. The rain was no dampener, although a 23-degree wind chill was decidedly unexpected.

Finally ending the evening with young people I’ve seen grow up and mature, youth whom I’m so proud to walk with for this short time we have left.

Yes, it’s a little like endings and goodbyes and looking ahead with the strength of what was behind. We don’t have a need to rewrite the stars here; I wouldn’t have done this any differently, or have wanted to be anywhere else.