Monday, January 28, 2013

A Journey of Faith

Today officially marks my three-year anniversary in Australia!

Three years before, I lived a busy, career-driven life that affords me with comfortable luxuries – overseas travels, fine dining, shopping galore, home service assistance, etc... All but the luxury of time, sleep and rest.  In search for a better quality of work-life balance, my journey has led me here to the shores down under.

Now, looking at the three years that just passed before me, I asked myself if I got what I wanted? 

The answer is yes and no. Three years is not a long time, but to me it feels like it has been a long, winding and arduous journey.  In a span of three years it has given me a sweet love, candid moments, honest realities, painful heartache and bitter pains, which I have now come to accept and which in return gave me beautiful memories with introspective lessons in love, life and myself.

I am now living a so much simpler life with lesser, if not close to zero work stress. Life here has taught me:

- To relax, calm down, take it easy. Stress is sometimes self-inflicted. Life does not need to be perfect for it to be happy.  

- To be content with what you currently have and be grateful even for the smallest blessing.  You will never learn the real value of what you have, until it is gone.

- To be humble.  I lived a very comfortable life with everything at my disposal back home.  I was a princess.  Here, I am faced with a different reality.  I am considered one of the ordinary migrants from a third world country.  I have to strive harder to prove my worth.  I have to be secure in myself with who I am as a person and not let any speck of racism pull me down.  And in my battles I strive not to be arrogant but instead display confidence with tact and grace, because after all, that’s what a real princess is made of.

- To live a life of putting my faith in action.  Faith is more than head knowledge. Real faith is measured in action through the daily decisions and life choices I make.  I have not fully mastered this lesson yet. I’m barely passing the mark on this one. This is still a work in progress. But I am getting there, by God's grace.

-  To love someone fully, madly, deeply and passionately even to the point that it hurts.  To be loved gives you inspiration, but to love gives you courage and strength, so much so that no matter how it hurts, pain becomes bearable.  I personally never knew that I would be capable of this kind of love.   I discovered it here.  Something about it is magical, beautiful, and indescribable.  You have to experience it to grasp its depth, beauty and meaning.

-  To let go and let God. There are just things outside of your control.  Everything does not need to make sense for now. Just keep the faith and trust that God knows what He is doing and that He is with you, holding your hand in the thick of the storm.  Sometimes He may be silent or sometimes we may feel like He does not care.  Well in fact He does.  He has His reasons.  Circumstances in our lives are engineered to fashion us in preparation of His good, perfect and pleasing plans for our lives.   Things may be bleak at the moment but sooner or later when you go in to the future and look back to the past, you will then be able to connect the dots and realize where and how the journey has taken you.  Soon enough, things will fall in to place, and then things will then make sense.  But for now, let go and let God.  You will never know the meaning, you will never fulfil the purpose and you will never experience God’s best plan for you, until you let go.

When I left and came here, I let go and abandoned the life I had back home.  Did I regret it?  Admittedly, there were days that I would question myself if I did the right move.  But I look back in to my journey and remember how God led me here and how He perfectly engineered the events that brought me here.  I look inside my heart and I find peace.  Yes, without any doubt in my heart, I made the right decision in moving here. 

I ask myself again, did I get what I wanted in moving here?  The answer is still yes and no… but there is more.  Although things may have not exactly been what I expected, I know I am here for a reason and a greater purpose.  And I have a feeling it is going to be something bigger than me.  What is it?  I still do not know. I know for sure it is not going to be a walk in the park.  Most likely I am in for another rugged and probably treacherous journey ahead. I am a bit nervous and anxious of what lies ahead actually.  Yikes! Pretty scary!!!  But if I don’t step out in faith, I will fail to see what God has in store for me next.  Damn! Definitely don’t want to miss out on that!  Whatever it is, it is yet to be discovered as I continue in this rugged but exciting journey of faith.  It is something yet to be experienced as I day by day press on to let go of myself and let God.

God, I let go and lift everything to you.  Amen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Next Chapter

Brain, sorry for the overload. Eyes, sorry for the eye bags. Pillow, sorry for the tears. Heart, sorry for the bruises, cuts and damages.  This time, I promise to be better.  I promise to take care of you.  Last year, I have been to the doctor, more than the previous past 5 years combined.  In fact, last year was my first time to be admitted to the emergency department. The emotional stress I went through affected not only my emotional health but my physical health too , causing me immune system problems, heart problems and digestive problems.  

Enough is enough. 

I choose to be happy.  I choose to find peace and contentment in whatever situation.  I put my trust and hope in God.  He is faithful, even in the midst of frustration. I choose to rejoice in him, even if the victory is still on its way.  

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

This is a journey of faith, I aim to finish it well (so help me God).

Life may be tough and unkind. I choose to fight back with love and kindness.  Even if life gives me hundreds of reason to cry, I will remind it  of the other thousand reasons to smile.  And when life gives me something that will make me feel afraid, I will still continue to live, love and learn.  Because at the end of it all, I want to me remembered as the lady who loved her life... and life loved her back.

Life is like a book.  Some chapters are sad, some are happy and some are exciting, but if I never turn the page, I will never know what the next chapter has in store for me.

So from hereon, I adopt the attitude of gratitude.  I wake up everyday with an excited anticipation that something wonderful is about to happen.  Oh what a wonderful thought it is to think that some of the best days of my life have not happened yet, but it is on its way.  It is coming, I can feel it in my gut and in my heart.  I do not know what it is... that is why it is called a SURPRISE  :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Portals of Time

I challenged life and summonsed it by bravely declaring that I am ready for anything.  And life responded back to my challenge.  The thing about life is it knows perfectly too well the most brilliant response ever.  Clever enough to leave you astounded, even dumbfounded sometimes.  

The sarcasm of life answered my challenge with a bold retort.    It brought me to my greatest fear.  Yesterday I found myself right in the heart of the very situation I dreaded to happen in my life.  

As soon as I turned my back to leave the table where my friends and I had lunch, my eyes - as if gravitated by magnet - immediately zoomed in to MunchK, amidst the peak-hour Sunday lunch crowded restaurant. He was sitting  on a cozy table for two, by the window along the main walking aisle of the restaurant.

And from then on, everything went in slow motion.  I can't believe how many thoughts per second I was able to produce in such a short span of time. 

I looked at him and was magnetized by his enchanting smile.  I see that sparkle of smile in his hazel brown eyes. I miss that smile.  He looks handsome as always, and he looks very fine and healthier compared to the last time I saw him.  He looks pretty buffed up, he must be going regularly to the gym now.  I looked at his shirt, it is a new shirt. I like the color.  It compliments his skin tone.  He must have bought new pairs of shirt to accentuate his now lean and muscular frame.  It looks good on him. Wonder how it feels to hug him?

I looked at his companion.  It is a girl, no she looks more like a woman.  Are they on a date?  Are they still getting to know each other?  Or have they been going out in a while? ... Oh, no!  I don't have a date.  I wish I can just grab hold of any man right now and hold his hand as I am about to walk through past them. Damn!  This is the reason why I should start going out on a date right now.

I looked at the woman.  She looks all right.  She looks plain, simple, domesticated.  I am glad that he did not go for one of those slutty looking women.  She looks nice and kind.  I looked in to her eyes.  I saw those eyes before, I felt them before.  They were once mine.  Those love struck eyes, hanging on to every words he say and laughing at his silly jokes.  She acts demure.  Either natural or intentional,  she looks like she is in to him.   She looks like she will take good care of him.  At least she is someone I approve for him.  Good enough.  And more importantly, much to my relief, I think I can confidently say that I am still  undoubtedly more beautiful and stunning. Whew! (very big sigh or relief!).... But what's the point? She has him in the end.

I then finally remembered my break up curse.  Just after a year after our break up, all my previous Ex's end up getting married.  So she must be the soon to be Mrs MunchK.  Why not?  Our supposedly dream house is already finished by this time. He needs a new lady of the house.  Hope she likes the color combination of the kitchen panels and the tiles that I chose for the house. Hope she does not mess it up with cheap and draggy interior decorations. Hope she keeps it clean and tidy. 

I looked at myself.  Damn!  I should have worn an "eat-your-heart-out" attire. Damn this rainy day, which has prevented me to wear the ruffled top and floral mini skirt that I intended to wear.  Damn my easily cold body which resorted me to wear a black cardigan over my sheer top.  Damn this bad hair day, I had a better hair yesterday why now?  I could go on daming about myself, but what's the point?  I look at her, I still look more trendy, fashionable and damn pretty.  But it is pointless, MunchK is with her and not with me. 

Ok, my jaw dropped and my heart beat so fast that made my ears go deaf.  Must contain myself and not create a scene.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Just pass by them as if you did not see them.  Gently and subtly.  Gather grace and confidence, as much as you can.  Whatever you do, do not faint, do not cry and do not hug him!!!  Chin up and walk quietly.

What if he sees me and looks at me.  Shall I smile?  Or pretend that I did not see him? Would I look guilty?  Or snobbish?  I don't want to be misinterpreted. Or shall I just casually greet him happy new year and say hi?  Shall I introduce myself to the girl? ... No.  I do not want to spoil their lunch, nor ruin their day.  Might as well move along and head to the door. 

I successfully passed by them.  Whew.... I took one last look, but my friends litterally dragged me out of the restaurant as fast as they could. One even held my neck straight, si I would not look back. The moment I stepped out of the restaurant, I trembled and I cried.

I cried even more as soon as I reached my house.  I asked God, WHY???  Everyday, I prayed to God to spare me the agony of me seeing MunchK with another girl.  In my prayer I asked God that He would only allow me to see MunchK's face again, if He has a purpose and if He has a plan for us to get back together again.  And I really thought that He would honor me this prayer?  After my break up with my other ex's I never had to face this kind of situation. And to think, my hometown is even smaller than Adelaide.  Why now?  Why with my MunchK?  Adelaide is too small for us.  Right now, moving interstate becomes a lucrative option.  Shall I take this as a sign?

That fateful moment was clearly predestined. It was no coincidence.  First, I was meant to meet another group of friends for lunch somewhere at the opposite end of the street.  However it got cancelled at the last hour.  Secondly, the lunch I had with the friends I was with was an impromptu thing.  I was a bit hesitant to join, but I ceded to their invitation somehow.  Third, we were supposed to go to the nearby restaurant where we usually  have our Sunday lunch.  However, on that that particular day, it was closed.  For some reason, I was meant to be at that place, at that time.

Ok, fine - this is meant to happen.. but why??? Or at least, what can I take out form here?  I cried my heart out and sobbed like a brat before God.  And softly, I was reminded.  "Didn't you say you were ready?  Now you are ready."  

Slowly, I was enlightened with these thoughts:

1) I faced my fear and conquered it (somehow and barely breathing).  I know I could have handled it better with more grace and poise. But at least I was better than what I had imagined.  At least I pulled through without creating a scene before him.  All these time, I was haunted with the fear of how I will handle the situation.  Now I know the answer.  It is not as bad as I thought it would be.  Painful but bearable.  

2) God revealed what was in my heart.  Peace.  No bitterness.  No matter how much it hurts, the joy of seeing him, seeing that sparkle in his eyes, even if they were not meant for me is good enough for me.  I am glad to see him well and looking better. I would rather see him happy with someone, than alone, lonely, miserable, sickly and drunk.  I thought I would be reeking mad or go puking at the sight of him with another girl.  But instead, my heart ws filled with gladness and relief.  Seeing him smile made it all worthwhile.

I was also surprised by how I do not feel any anger towards the other girl.  Well, in the first place, she has not done anything wrong anyway - except be with the man that I wish to be mine.  But it is not her fault.  Contrary to what I thought I would feel, I do not hate her.  In fact, in all honestly, I wish her well.  I am glad to see that she is able to make him smile. I want to thank her for that. I am happy to see in her body language that she is interested in him and is keen on pleasing him.  (It takes one to know one - even in that short split second of time)  I wish she will serve him, take care of him and be a good partner to him, more than I ever could.  

Surprisingly, despite of what I saw, that flicker of hope (of possibility of us getting back together) still remains.  I thought it would be extinguished, in fact I hoped it would, but I was wrong.  Hope remains, stubborn as a wild grass.  It may have toned it down a bit but it still remains, flickering on.  

3) He has clearly moved on.  I looked at him and there was no reaction from him.  I do not know if he saw me.  It could be that he is so into her, that everyone around them fade away like wallpaper backdrop - including me.  Or if he saw me, I do not mean anything to him at all  anymore, not even deserving enough to receive a second glance.  I am just another face in the crowd.  Nothing more, nobody special. 

He has clearly moved on ... or has he really?  If he is just acting like he never saw me, then he must be a really very good actor. Could this encounter mean more to him, as much as it does to me?  If it serves a purpose for him, what could it be?  ... Will it bring him a realization of his mistake of letting me go?  Or a confirmation of his good and wise decision of leaving? But what's the use of analyzing?  What business do I have in his own life choices?  Whatever it is, it is entirely up to him.  If there are any regrets in letting me go, it is up to him if he lets his pride get in the way of his pursuit for me, or if he beats all the odds to find a way to win me back.   

Nevertheless, I should not dwell on these thought anymore.  I will just let it be.  If it is meant to be, it will be.  Miracles do exist.  God can turn impossibilities to possibilities, if it is in line with His great divine plan.

4)  He has moved on, and so must I.  Now that I have seen him happy, healthy and fine, now it's high time that I look after my own welfare as well.  I recall that sparkle in his eyes and that big wide smile he was casting before her.  Someday, I want somebody to give me that smile to me - freely and whole-heartedly.  If it is meant to be, I won't have to beg for it, I won't have to ask for it, I won't have to fight for it.

Not that I go out and start looking for an immediate replacement, but at least make myself ready for it.  Right now, my goal is not to look for love, but to remove the barriers that I have built against it.  Like a child with a burnt finger after playing with fire, I do not want to touch any forms of flame at all.  

But what is impossible for men, is possible with God.  Perfect love, drives away fear.  And when the time is right, my bluebird heart will someday gather the courage and the strength to fly again, together with that right man for me.  For now, all I want is for it to rest, safe and secure in the shelter of God's almighty hands.

5) This was clearly a test for me.  I aim to pass this test. Earlier on,  I was very confident and determined to face 2013 head on and claim whatever challenges that come my way.  I should not let this situation deter me from moving forward towards my goal.  Situations like these, bring us to a test of faith.  It is where faith extends beyond as a concept and translates itself into a moving and breathing action.  I wipe away my tears and stop acting like a victim.  I get up again, powder my cheeks, put my lipstick on, and start acting like a victor, a conqueror, a reigning princess.  

This is just the beginning of the year, there will be more challenges ahead.  Life  will throw more lemons at me.  I must start learning how to make freakingly delicious lemonades.  Life may pour more rain on me, I must learn to choreograph a good rain dance routine. Life may throw more surprises at me, I must learn to be strong and stay strong.  Life may throw anything to me, but what matters most is my attitude towards it and how I respond to it... I choose to be happy, or even at least find something to be happy for, in any given situation.

My fateful encounter with MunchK and the other woman brought me in to the portal of "Yesterday" and "Tomorrow". Yesterday feels like home to me and it makes me feel so comfortable. However, Yesterday's world is closing.  If I choose to stay there, I will rot.  Tomorrow looks unfamiliar and a bit daunting, but God promised that it would be great.  And so I take a step of faith towards entering the portals of Tomorrow.  

In the meantime, I have to journey through the aisle of "Today" - taking it one day, one single step, one journey at a time. And as I journey on, I must learn to: 

- Doubt less and TRUST more;

- Worry less, and CELEBRATE more;

- Resist less, and EMBRACE more;

- Fear less, and LOVE more. 

Monday, January 07, 2013

Embrace 2013

Happy New Year!!!

Thankfully, the world did not end in 2012.  (Although at some point I really thought that my world did.)  A new year has come. 2013.  Along with it springs forth new beginnings, new season, new hope, new dreams that ushers endless possibilities.

I am determined to make 2013 a better year for me.  2013 will be my year.  I am ready to embrace everything and prepared to embark towards a new journey.

I fix my gaze on God, His purposes, plans and promises.  I am confident that He has wonderful and exciting plans for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me.  Staying focused on God dissolves sadness and feelings of loneliness.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11-12)

I do not want to be a historian.  I want to be a visionary.  My life should not be a museum of the glorious past, but an exhibit of the bountiful current potentials and visions of the future.  

By staying focused on what's ahead, I gain strength to keep moving forward. Decisions that I make today are based on how I visualize my future.  Decisions that I make from this day forward will have a great impact on my future ... and the future of those people that I love.

Honestly, I do not know where to go from here.  But I know it will be exciting.   I embrace the unknown and allow myself to encounter that sweet surprise that awaits me around the corner.  I am ready for any possibilities, come what may - be it MunchK's surprise return, or a mysterious whirlwind romance with some other lucky mystery prince charming, or a cruising single life, or whatever, including perhaps something more than I can ever think of or imagine ... The possibilities are endless.  I am open and ready for anything.  Yes, ANYTHING!

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within in, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Chapter 2013, page one begins now ....