Tag Archives: Life

Trails of Tears: I Cry Because…

the music is reverberating around the house. and i sit here alone with a pint of rocky road ice-cream, drenched in my own tears.

i thought this crying has been because of “pms”. but that period has passed. and i still weep puddles of tears every day, or nights, for the past two weeks. when i shut the door of today behind – be it laundry-hanging, errands-running, friends hanging-out, movies-watching, cooking or translating, when i am left alone with nothing and no one but me, it is hard to suppress the feeling of sadness.

i cry because i am here in Chiang Mai, and my family is there in Bangkok.i cry because i have wonderful memories with this guy, whom i want to continue building more memories with. but the timing is not right. and we just have to press “pause” in this beautiful friendship. i cry because God tells me to wait, when i would rather race and reach the finished line. i cry because i feel so helpless, and all i can do is to accept God’s will. i cry because i am paying a high price of full obedience, and even though total surrender to Jesus is sweet and i would not trade anything in the world for this peace, this submission to Christ is. still. hard.

this year, God has called me to do unimaginable, out-of-comfort zone things. leaving my job. being rid of financial security. telling me to wait. pulling people i hold dear out. bearing me naked, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. all of these, so i may be completely, totally, wholeheartedly dependent on Him.

the only thing i am holding on to is the vision i received from Him while i spent time up in the mountain. God, enthroned, and me at His feet with Jesus and the Spirit wrapping their presence around me. the sense of safety. and the whispers of Him, “while you wait, worship Me. serve Me.”

so i am here, sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, with an empty pint of rocky road ice-cream (yeah, i finished all of it). my face is still streaked with trails of tears, and all i have in my chest is tired sobs.

but because He is God, and i am me, i can say, even with gritted teeth, that “Lord, You can have your way…in me.”

because Jesus Christ has already paid the price, i am willing to be broken and molded new…so i can strive to be perfect, just like Him, by His power and mercy.

because although there are a million ways we can choose to live, doing what God thinks is right is the only best way to live.

and even though i will cry a thousand tears for the next 143 days, because i am human and can’t get over my obnoxious pride, thinking that i deserve better, i am still willing…to be at His disposal.


Be Present – a Lesson From Badminton

i should be in bed by now. instead, i am wide awake, listening to the clicking sound of my own keyboard typing. it is in the quiet of night i get to explore the inner part of me, the part that was hidden and cast aside during the rushed hours of the day.

have you ever woke out of bed and started doing things instinctively? we jump out of bed, brush our teeth, take a bath, pull out our outfit from the closet, get dressed, eat breakfast, drive to work, go about our day, drive home, eat dinner, read briefly, yawn, slip under the blanket and go to sleep. is it the same with you? most days, i do exactly like that.

one of my dad’s favorite childhood teaching was – be present. be there with yourself when your brain thinks, your mind plans, your hands touch, your heart feels and your lips speak. know what is being done at the moment and aim at the results. picture what you want for the final outcome.

dad and i loved playing badminton together. he taught me how to hold a racket, where to position myself in a court and how to serve burdies. he was an athlete. it was no doubt he was far more advanced than i was. but i dared myself to beat him. we were both competitive when it came to badminton. one evening, in the heat of my losing battle, when the sweat and tears blurred my eyes and my hands were shaking, dad shouted from the other side of the court,

“mink! don’t just hit burdies aimlessly! look at me, be present and serve!”

though i was young and didn’t even consider badminton as a career, i took the advice. i watched dad intensely, then looked at the burdie in my hand, threw it up and hit it with all my might…

if it were tennis, i scored an ace.

from that day on, i have tried to live by dad’s teaching – to be present in whatever circumstances, wherever i find myself in and whoever i am with. the moment is there for us to catch but, if we blink, if we don’t pay attention, it will slip away. and we might never get it back.

i am practicing being present every day. it is never easy, especially for us, women, who are multi-taskers. but it’s worthwhile. i literally instruct myself to brush my teeth, comb my hair, wash my hands, plan my work and do one thing at a time, as almost impossible as it might be. i also try to drop everything i am doing at the moment to be there for my family members or friends. sometimes the voices you listen to aren’t heard until you turn and look into their eyes.

working on being present is, to me, another form of meditation. it slows down my living pace, raises a sense of awareness of those around me and also directs my path. when your heart and head are clear, you hear the voice of the Lord even clearer.

the Bible scriptures show us how God is always present to us:

 God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble. (psalm 46:1)

 “Am I only a God nearby,”
            declares the LORD,
   “and not a God far away?
Who can hide in secret places
   so that I cannot see them?”
            declares the LORD.     

“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
            declares the LORD. (jeremiah 23:23-24)

yes, i know that, though we were made in His image, we are not God. and we can’t fill the whole heaven and earth the way He does. BUT we can make impact in someone’s world by being present in their lives. your mom and dad. your siblings. your spouses. your children. your friends. your lovers. your colleagues. your neighbors. how can we influence these people if we are distracted and drawn away all the time?

what are getting your attention now? your facebook friends or someone sitting next to you asking when we can go out for lunch?  your unfinished marketing plan or your children’s plea for you to just take a look at their drawing? the corrupted influence over 100 people at work or the honest life-changing impact in a sunday-school child’s life?

living is making choices. even though i am still young and foolish, believe me, i have been to the moment of complete absence. i never realized i missed so much until everything passed away.

::time is of the essence. when it flows, it doesn’t return. be wise::

I Am Lost

the rabbit leans back against the moon with all its grace and peace. and i sat on my small balcony staring at it with jealousy…trapped in fear and disappointment in this world of imperfection.

i take comfort in the ordinary of life: the swaying branches of tamarind trees outside my balcony, birds with its chirping  and their swoopy flights in search for food, the bicycle ride in the evening, the laundry hanging in my room and grey’s anatomy at 7:oo pm. although many things go wrong more than right, there are things that still make sense.

my life is like a room after party, littered with cups, bottles, plastic bags and garbage. my heart is a mess. and i wonder when that good day’s gonna be mine. i just exist. i don’t live. again, i question myself how on earth i ever got here. one thing i learned from this is – when you try to control life, it bounces away from you. the tighter you grip, the quicker it gets loose.

i am tired of living.  i am tired of having to run this race. i am burnt out, exhausted and empty. but God’s mercy is like a sweet drop of honey. romans 8:1 says,

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

and r0mans 8:39-40,

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

i know i don’t deserve any good things. i have sinned against the Lord and i should be condemned. but this is the promise i need to hold on to because it is a glimpse of life. surely, the miracle will happen. when it comes, i will make a dash for it and live with hope again.

God, A Loving Father

humbleness is shown not only in our action but also our attitude. we could serve a mug of hot water to a coughing person; stand alongside and offer comfort to those who weep or quietly listen to the teaching, suggestion or correction from our friends. but if, deep down in our hearts, we don’t repent, then the act of humbleness is nothing but the disguised pride.

God’s love covers multitudes of sins. yesterday night, while i was looking through my friend’s photo albums, i came across this picture.

i sat pondering on the love and protection bestowed upon the little girl and how content she was in the Father’s arm…and tears took me by surprise. the song “all my desire” by ray watson was playing and i could hear God speak to me, “all my desire, all i require, all that i need is in You”. 

it was a simple song with only 3 sentences. but it is the message essential to my ears and touching to my heart. why makes christian life so complicated? sometimes all one can do is to sit in her quiet corner with repentant and broken heart…and simply worship. let the Spirit soak Himself into her barren life. let Him heal her wounded heart with salve. and let herself be loved. because we fail so much. we crash into immovable rocks and stumble hard on the ground. and our first instinct is to blame others, is to be silent and play a martyr…not out of humility but of pride…just to get the attention. and then we run through a blaze of fire. we are burnt with our sinfulness. we can’t escape it. and at the end of the day, we crumple onto the floor, face streaked with tears…unstoppable and lose all our pride we held so tightly during the day.

and we realized that all we ever need is in Jesus.

there is nothing worst and most frightening than to be caged in fear. God is challenging me to accept myself the way i am and also take His love as it is. i am afraid of discovering who i am turning out to be. but i have to believe that the Lord is creative and His hand will never fail me.

“Lord, this change freaks me out. i don’t know what to do with myself. i seem to fail at everything. i am haunted by guilt and fear. it has been difficult, Father. but now i come to You…asking You to heal me, cure me and make me whole again. i give this self to You. please do unto it as You will. i thank You for You. when all else fall apart, i can count on You to be a good listener, a loving Father and a righteous Judge.”

The Long Weekend At Church

it was a full weekend. i half hoped that i would be able to get lazy, lay around in my room with both TV and computer on, eat junk food and not have to do laundry. well, i did get to do all those things…for three hours. for the rest of my saturday and sunday, i spent at church. 

having pulled myself out of comfy cushions, i quickly threw a t-shirt and a pair of shorts into my tote bag along with toothbrush, toothpaste, yancey’s “soul survivor” and the bible. i was running late so i shuffled my legs as fast as i could. i hopped on a red truck, hopped off and hopped on a yellow truck (yes, chiang-mai has colorful transportation. there are red, yellow, green, blue and white. i wish they’d add pink and purple to the transportation system). as i strode toward the church, something amazing happened.

i was feeling grumpy and poopy because i felt that coming to church on a weekend wasn’t a kind of fun i was looking for at the moment. i also had that nagging sense of guilt and wanted to hide from Him more than go into His presence. while i got closer to the church, i became more aware of my surroundings. the green rice plants were swaying against the evening breeze. the clouds were easing slowly as the sun started to set. and the half rainbow arched on the eastern sky over the lahu church’s green roof. God was inviting me into His gate…His kingdom. what a contrast! the loving God was welcoming a bad-tempered woman like me! grace…so sweet.

anyway, youth group had the fast and pray night on saturday. it was the first time for all of us to fast and pray together at church. we were psyched up and energetic for the 1st two hours. the next 2 hours, i saw sleepy eyes, yawning and even some nodding heads. 🙂 we had a great time of worship and prayer. one of our prayer points was the flooding in thailand, which gets more severe day by day. it is one issue that i want you to join in interceding for our brothers and sisters, who have lost their homes, farms and loved ones. there will be a lot of homeless and hungry stomachs once rainy season is over.

today, we, girls, still groggy, slipped out of our blankets and sleeping bags (someone set up the alarm clock in the middle of night. and that someone had too deep of the sleep that she didn’t even hear the alarm set off. everyone except her and her friend was woken out of sleep because of the constant ring). at 7:00am, we had morning service. then at 10am, we had the usual service. i was singing 2 special items with the youth group and church’s choir band. it was neat. then in the afternoon, we had fellowship with the youth group from our neighboring church. we rode in two trucks (i was having my skin toasted within 15 minutes. the sun was scorching. there was no way to hide from it). when we got there, about ten people were already there. we danced, sang and played games together. then we worshipped the Lord. i got goosebumps. that gathering was genuine. although we barely knew each other, when God’s spirit was upon us, we were a band of brothers and sisters in Christ. we shouted praises to His name. we sang from the top of our lungs (i had never done that for a very long time. almost 3 years). we prayed together. it was neat…just being in that place and worshipping God with the people i love. this kind of love didn’t take place because of time and endurance. it was spontaneous, coming from the fact that we were God’s chosen people and we were there because God wanted us to be there. and we were siblings.

after youth group, we came back to our church and hung out. i learned two new cords from my karen-burmese friend. he is a great musician. i enjoyed being more acquainted with him. he’s come to the  church for a month or even more…but i just started to feel comfortable enough being around him and goofing around with him. yeah, i take time with friendships and relationships. then we had the evening service and had dinner. then here i am…home at last.

it was a long weekend un-separated from the church. but i’m grateful to be back and active at the church again. i love spending time there…and i love the people there…adults, youth or even children.

Especially On Weekends!

i am supposed to go to youth group meeting this afternoon. instead, i sat down and reached for my notebook computer. my 1st excuse of not wanting to go is because it is too far. 2nd is it’s saturday and i need rest. 3rd is i’m too lazy to take the bus rides. all were summarized to one decided answer – i am staying home. what a lazy bum!

i recalled typing this sentence in my past posts but i will do it again – i really miss home especially on weekends! it’s not that my activities will be much different from what i do here. saturday at home means sleeping in, eating, chatting with mom and sisters, maybe going out to Big C supermarket for a walk, or if i’m up to it, i will even take long bus ride to downtown bangkok. but the fun side of being home is after i wake up, i get to bug my sisters about being sleepy-heads and dragging them out of bed. i get to eat mom’s breakfast and go out with her for lunch. when i walk to Big C, my sisters will accompany me. and when i take a trip downtown, there are many people to watch along the rides and at the end destination, my friend will be waiting there.

chiangmai, as much of a home as it is to me now, still doesn’t bring the comfort i need when i need it. i LOVE chiangmai and i’m not planning to leave soon. but my problem is i’m lonely, even among people…even in the sea of faces. i do have life and i have got friends here….but i’m a bangkoker at heart (okay, annie, my friend who is actually from bangkok, is going to pick at me again because she says that i’m from nonthaburi, a metropolitan area. not bangkok. but i’ll save the story for another time. ^^) and, y’know, no place is like home.

meet annie. she’s a tour and visit specialist at compassion now. 🙂

this is a polite face. when you're close enough, you get many different kinds of expressions. hehe.

yet i need to be open-minded.  being in chiang-mai, i take joy in my own comfortable space with cable TV, internet, books and a clean fridge; the view of mountains even when i’m right in the heart of the city; some few good companions from work and church whom i have shared meaningful memories with; easy trips to the woods and decent job. God has blessed me abundantly.

there is no solid point i’m trying to make this afternoon. i just have to write and to get my thoughts and feelings out. but i do hope that someone hears me. i need some meaning in my life, someone to live for and some clear directions for day-to-day life. and, yes, i remember writing about “passion” 2 days ago. i’m not losing my grasp of God. i just need some tangible moments right now.

family's meal never gets boring. added a friend, it's even more superb! from left: mo, mai, mom and my friend, manna. i miss you guys.

Written From My Heart

i have used too much of my head. i have been trained to plan ahead, to get thoughts organized and to make things productive. but now…i just want to use my heart to write. i am now closing my eyes and type from the deepest part of my heart.

i am struggling. i feel depressed. i am in the depth of questions, “what am i doing?”…”am i still fit for what i do?”…”would i be better off somewhere else?”. being in a corporate organization has pros and cons.

the good parts are training, empowerment, discipline, new experiences and many more. having worked here, God has opened my world to another side of the country and opened my heart for the karen people. i get to travel. my 1st official trip out of country was to china, when i had a training with other colleagues from america, india, indonesia and philippines. i get to use my skills of language to serve God and His people. i am living and working closely with christians. He answered my prayer, which i asked Him before i graduated, “three things, God. travel. use linguistic talent to serve You. and a christian organization.” what more do i need to ask?

but you can’t have the good without seeing any faults. i haven’t had much time for myself. i am being trained to be someone who is not me. i miss my old self…the girl who cared for others when they were in need….the person who was compassionate and could understand what others went through…the servant of God who was not bitter or resentful towards the world. i might not be as perfect as i should be but i was myself…and i loved that self.

now…i am weary. i feel like i’ve come to another step of life, a step higher. it feels so cold. i appreciate and cherish the work i do now because i know how much impact my work can make on children’s and other people’s lives all around the world. i am grateful for the investment and trust people have showered on me. photography. writing. trainings.  but there are so many battles going on. and i’m losing the true person that i am. the more i try to be better, the more i sense failure. my thoughts are consumed with how imperfect i am, how much more i have to live up and how i will never be able to do it well.

living is not out of passion but of obligation and duty. i think of the biblical patriots, how a lot of them served the Lord but never got to see the promises made to them. what did they hold on to? the only answer i can think of is the faith in the Lord that got them thus far.

i don’t have any answers to the struggles i am battling with. i don’t know whether i’m in the right place or not. i used to know…i was quick to hear His voice…but now…my heart is hardened. the constant injustice that happens to children and women. the bad guys who still reign and rule. the wretchedness Satan brought upon this world and the selfishness that came with human nature. i must be on the wrong path. the more i serve, the more hopeless i become. it isn’t supposed to be this way. if i truly serve the Lord, i should be joyful and hopeful, shouldn’t i?

the world is so vast and i am so small. what right did i have to think i could change it?

but my eyes have seen too many witnesses…how God CAN make the impossible to the possible. you all know so well from the bible. the wall of jericho. gideon’s incredible victory. God’s protection over david’s life. five loaves and 2 fish. broken prisons and the shouts of glory.

then many real life’s stories. i cannot deny that God is here with me. but i am so lost. i don’t want to do anything but to find somewhere quiet…apart from people and work…a place i don’t have to think about earning money or thinking about where to find food. the place i and God meet alone.

a prodigal is still wandering out in the desert and trying to find her way home.

apart from God there is no lasting quenching of our spiritual hunger and thirst.

each of us was created in the image and likeness of God. we were made for God’s fellowship, and our hearts can never be satisfied without His communion. just as iron is attracted to a magnet, the soul in its state of hunger is drawn to God. – billy graham

I Miss…

…the huay bong village. that deep yearning…that longing for something unreachable is there. although i struggled with the language and the concept of self-worth, the place drew me nearer to God. every night, i would look forward to shut the wooden door behind me, crawled into the mosquito net and laid myself down on the hard mattress. i was eager for the moment because i knew that i would meet God there. in my sorrow and fear; in my disappointment with people and pain, the Spirit revealed Himself so tangibly to me.

in the dark room, under my flashlight, i pored over His comfort and promises. they were alive and spoke to me directly. i treasure such moments. this desire is indescribable. but imagine…when you have met with God, when everything else fades, and you know that this is ultimately “the” moment…and then you’re back to the normal, you just consistently want to be back there again with the one you love. i guess that’s a rough version of what i feel.

yes, the condition was tough. i was bitten by lice and insects. the enjoyment in leisure time wasn’t air-conditioned malls or internet but the interaction with neighbors, the run in open fields in the morning and the sit by the creek with breeze kissing cheeks.

but, surprisingly, i was okay with it.

i found Him not only in my dark bedroom or on my wet pillow but also in the cracks and wrinkles of the elderly’s ancient faces, the infant’s cackle, the moo of cows and water buffalos, the 6 smelly fish and 3 lemongrass, the sincere apology of the one i’ve come to appreciate and love and the foreign conversation i’m still getting used to. through the people and adventures, i experienced God’s love.

the knitted connection between people and nature is what the Lord intends for me. it helps me to understand the triune God better. we can’t be without one another.

Success Redefined and Some Happy Pictures

here is a tidbit from “faith that breathes” by michael ross. i wanted to post it yesterday but i didn’t have the book with me. i’m on day 21 “success redefined”.

a faith that breathes…

…never says, “God, this is what i want.” instead, it always asks, “God, what do You want?

…never says, “God, i won’t…” instead, it always says, “God, i’ll do Your will.”

…never looks for self-satisfaction. instead, it looks to satisfy God.

…never seeks the approvalof others. instead, it seeks God’s approval.

…never measures success by how well things are going. instead, it measures success by a life centered in God’s will.

…never puts its own needs first. instead, it always thinks of others first.

…never looks to its own capabilities to solve a problem. instead, it relies fully on God’s power for guidance and success.

this small excerpt resonates with my current experience. as i mentioned yesterday, the sense of failure continues to nag at my heart. but how sweet God’s grace is! i don’t need to be afraid that i’m not living up to the bar. there are standards in life, at work and even at church. however, the only standard we have to live up to is the Lord’s.

God’s standard is not a long list of rules and to-dos. there is only one thing He requires from us – obedience.

a flip to the next page in “faith that breathes” is the real journey section by toby mac. he speaks of success this way:

“a lot of times they see dc Talk and me as just ‘big business and lights.’ but we know that’s not real life. the real life is who we are in Jesus and how we’re living that day to day.”

if success means doing everything one can, even neglecting his family or stabbing his friend’s back, so that he can be the top of everything, it’s a failure.

if success means putting on a fake smile when his life is shattering to pieces, it’s a lie.

if success means being responsible and strict but having no time to relax, he is not living a life.

success means living a Christ-centered life and committing to obeying His command and will even to the point of ridicule. that’s faith.

“brothers, think of what you were when you were called. not many of ou were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.” 1 corinthians 1:26-29

every human is flawed from birth in spite of our intelligence or social status. that is why grace is so sweet. sadly, many people are either unaware or just forget this fact as they grow up. so they go on separate directions and boast their ways to the end of their life…to the doomed eternity.

but the good news is God’s love and mercy endure forever. His kindness has brought many people from all over the world to repentance. and i strongly believe that one day the prophecy in the Bible will be fulfilled…”that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” whether or not everyone on this earth will be Christ followers, everyone will be obliged to kneel before Him. not only because of His fearful supremacy and incomparable power but also of His everlasting goodness, immeasurable grace and enduring love.

by ending today’s post, i am putting up some silly pictures of my time in bangkok with my family and my friend, manna, during songkran festival last week.

enjoy! and don’t forget to smile…. :o)


okay, there are some normal photos as well…


top it all up with “the bangkok i love”…


here’s what made me happy the most…

the "m" family...from left: mo, mai, mom and manna...

On Our Knees

i just finished writing a well thought-out post with 1,000 plus words about survival and fear. there was even some scientific thought in it, which is very unusual for a sentimental person like me to do so. then i clicked “publish”…only to have it ALL lost because of the internet connection error. now i feel more than a failure. i spent 2 hours writing this piece…hoping to at least accomplish something…to have this sense of triumph.


i’m battling with contentment and self-worth. i keep wondering if i am doing the right thing and at the right place. i’m reminded of my friend’s birthday card she gave me this march. she said, “most important thing of all, keep being on your knees.”

despite feeling like a failure, lost and frustrated, God promises peace when we seek His face. preceding Easter this year, i want nothing but to press into His presence. fear and worries may tightly grip at my heart…giving me no space to breathe. but here’s the devotional passage i read this morning:

“when you live to please God and to keep the inner person healthy, you discover that life gradually becomes unified. instead of running here and there, trying to do everything and please everybody, you calmly face the challenges of each day without feeling pulled apart. you find it’s much easier to make decisions because life is centered on one thing: seeking first “the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (warren w. wiersebe from “the twenty essential qualities”)

let’s kneel down and be with Him.

“even now,” declares the Lord, “return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” rend your heart and not your garments. return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. (joel 2:12-13)