Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Luckily for me, I didn't delete last week's pictures from my camera yet so I've still got something... even though it's not a lot.
Anyways I think it was last Thursday when we had a pep rally in school where they celebrated three teams winning the MAAC Conference together. For the first time since never, three sports teams at my school won MAACs at the same time. It's pretty crazy. This year we've got men's basketball, men's soccer and the women's indoor track & field taking it home at the same time.
On top of that, a swimmer at our school actually qualified for the NCAAs which is a conference held at the national level. This is the first time anybody from the MAAC conference, let alone our school even got to that level.
The pep rally was kind of lame. Not a lot of people showed up and the speeches were contrived and sounded completely insincere for the most part. Except for maybe the men's basketball coach, everyone else sounded like they were programmed robots.
It just felt weird to be celebrated for something I didn't earn. The girls' track team won only because of people who scored points and since I didn't score any points, I felt out of place. But oh wells. I should really learn to appreciate the moment right? Right!
This past Saturday morning, Aaron did me a huge favour and changed my car stereo to new one.
If you didn't know, my old car stereo was an original factory model from Honda which started acting crazy about four months ago. By January 2011, it wouldn't play CDs at all and kept making a really loud annoying ticking sound every few minutes.
You can imagine how frustrated I was sitting in traffic, trying to listen to the crackling radio through the "TZZ TZZ TZZZZ TZZ TZZ TZZZZ" sound.
The new stereo is super awesome because I can finally plug my MP3 player in. Yay!
In all, this week has just been a really long week. I don't know what it is. I eat the same food everyday because I don't feel like cooking anything else. But I do feel like eating other things like laksa, Hainanese chicken rice...
Instead I'm having rice, Japanese fish soup & stir fried baby bok choy with mushrooms.
The weather was so beautiful today, it actually felt a little bit like summer! Temperatures rose to about 16 Celsius and we all wore shorts and T-shirts to track practice in the park. I even got a little tan; you could see the tan lines on my legs...
Dear God, when will this week be over?
This is what I get when I ask God to teach me discipline! Haha!
No, but really... Even though this is a tough week, I'm learning some serious time management skills here. God really has a time for everything. Guess this is just a season of work. It just seems especially tough when your season of work is occurring during other people's season of fun you know? Everyone else seems to be getting to enjoy their spring break while I'm....
Ok I should really stop complaining!
Besides, right now it's time for me to log off, take my paper home to pore over and make brownies for supper.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
So after half a morning of hunting around for computers to use on campus, I finally found myself in a computer lab (all by myself too, thank goodness) with my entire thesis to start from scratch all over again.
Despondency, hopelessness, weariness... I guess those are just some of the emotions that are running through my heart right now. How can I find the strength to finish all my assignments, give my physical best at practice, be a kind friend and withdraw myself from anger?
"I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalms 121:1-2)
I only know that when this storm is over, as long as I am holding fast to God's Word, He will lead me out to open spaces, besides green pastures and quiet waters.
As for now, I can only do my best (like you said, Talia) and let God do the rest...
Dear Lord, I am certain that all these things are happening to bring about a better ending. Because Your Word promises that Your plans are to prosper me and not to harm me, therefore I will cling to Your righteousness and faithfulness to do all these things. I ask for Your divine help and blessing over all that I put my hands to do today. May Your hand be upon me at all times... Thank You Lord for Your peace that passes understanding. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I find myself dreading next week because I don't want to have to see the people who are making me upset and making everything seem as if it were my fault. And it's so much worse because God tells us to do good to those who hate us.
Talk about an impossible mission...
It's one thing if people are upfront about disliking you, but it's another when they put a smile on their faces but their hearts are full of venom. You never know when they're going to lash out but getting bitten is inevitable when you're surrounded by snakes.
But again, God says to be at peace with everybody, if that is possible.
If this were three or four years ago, you know I would be having a tirade about how much these people stink right now. But things have changed since then. I try to hold my tongue and pray for those who get under my skin. But it's not much easier now than it would be back then. To be honest, this is ten thousand times harder.
Even small incidents can set me trembling now because I am struggling so hard inside to not lash out in any way possible. But most of all, I am struggling to give my angry heart over to God. And why am I angry? Because of my self-righteousness! Again!
Maybe it's because today is like a Good Friday to me that this week has been so dark spiritually. I don't know and I won't jump to conclusions. But tonight I just feel really under the weather after all that's happened.
I feel unfairly treated, stepped on and tired. I ran a really lousy time trial today and I'm going to be stuck at school during the entire spring break writing my thesis while everyone else is holidaying somewhere warm.
And I just can't seem to shake this depressing feeling that's come all of a sudden.
"Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land."
"That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”"(Mark 4:35-40)
I know what I have to do but... I just feel like the disciples in the ship right now. The storm is starting to really rage and I'm afraid of falling over the boat. But why do I care when Jesus Christ Himself is on the boat with me? The Creator of all things is able to calm the storm at a word, but I have still so little faith. I see no good end in sight and I'm afraid.
Dear Lord, it's hard right now and I know You see all the things that I've been going through. Give me grace and increase my faith because I know that You have already gone ahead of me and that you are bringing me to greater heights through these trials... Be my Comforter and Strength in time of need. In all things may I continue in Your will. May Your Word be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path... In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
See it's not that I don't like to write, nor do I hate the topic that I'm writing about. But for some reason, it just seems near impossible to do it!
My friend said that I'll definitely be able to finish it on time, but I'll just really suffer during the last week or so. I hope she's not right about the second part. I want to do it now so that I don't have to cram during the last few days! I have other homework due around the same time as well.
Monday, March 07, 2011
In the morning we had practice at 07:10 as usual, then I fought to stay awake for the rest of the day in class. I didn't really learn anything interesting today. Well in German we studied primary and secondary endings for adjectives but that kind of flew past my head.
So in the afternoon, coach sent us an email saying that afternoon practice was cancelled so that we could travel to Connecticut with the fan bus to watch our school's men's basketball team play in the MAAC Championships. As in track, MAACs is a really big deal because winning it would mean an entry to NCAA for our team.
But instead of going to Connecticut, I decided to plan an impromptu trip to New York City since the sun was out and all.
And what fare greeted us! Breakfast for dinner! I had pancakes with maple syrup, sausage and scrambled eggs. Yummm..... said my mouth. My stomach disagreed later.
Unless you're thinking chocolate+marshmallow+marmalade. Because that's what it is. And in case you're wondering, nobody ate it because it tasted as nasty as it looked. That's school cafe for you I guess! That's why I try to cook as much as I can...
After dinner, I wrote the one paragraph of my thesis that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, then knocked out cold on my bed until my phone alarm rang for Bible Study at 20:00.
At Bible Study, we talked about being victorious in Christ despite our failings. Again, it was a message that I didn't know I needed to hear but was glad when I did. Somewhere along the road, I guess I was starting to feel undeserving and inadequate because of all the things I may have said or thought that displeased God in some way. I've been so caught up in thinking about how I may please God in my actions that I forgot about His GRACE.
And because I can't live up to God's expectations of holiness, I bring myself down thinking that I've got no right to be posting Christian statuses on Facebook, talking about Christ to my friends, or even conducting Bible studies. And it's true... I've got no right... But because of what Christ has done on the cross, redeeming me, I no longer need to live according to the law but according to the Spirit!
I guess what that said to me the most is that I may stumble and fall sometimes but that doesn't necessarily mean that God will turn away from me and strike me down like He did to Saul. Well... and after reading about how David was punished for despising God's law in his affair with Bathsheba, I got really freaked out. I was like "oh no! Did I despise God's law when I thought angry thoughts about that so-and-so? That's it, I'm done!"
Well, I don't want to say that all those things that happened in the Old Testament do not apply to us anymore, because God is an unchanging eternal God. He doesn't change His mind about sin from one century to another. But one thing that He has given to us today is the personal guidance of the Holy Spirit and redemption in the blood of Christ.
I guess... I don't know what else to make of it but I felt relieved after today's Bible study.
I must keep in mind that I should not be focusing on asking the right questions, but on listening for God's answers. He's probably already speaking but I'm just not listening...
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair." (2 Corinthians 4:7-8)
Friday, March 04, 2011
My right foot looks horrible now. I pulled the nail out on Tuesday and have been nail-less ever since. Oh well... I have no one to impress anyway.
Well my foot's not the only one that's been under attack recently. It seems as if every day of this week, there's always been a misunderstanding to test my patience. Because of those misunderstandings, a few people have turned against me and it's really driving me crazy that they don't even want to hear me out or forgive me.
It makes me angry to think that I am actually seeking their forgiveness when I've done nothing wrong to begin with! And the only reason why I'm even apologising is because I don't want bad air between us.
The worst part is, this itchy mouth of mine keeps feeling the need to justify myself with other people. It's like I want everybody else to know that I'm not in the wrong; and that obviously makes me look like an idiot even more.
This morning I got so fed up after practice that I just went back to my room and cried. I hate feeling this way. God says to "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28) But deep in my guts I am wrenching in fits of rage.
I simply can't do it alone.
It may be easy to control my outward actions, but as for the thoughts of my heart and the words that come from the wellspring of my heart, those are the most telling signs that all is not right deep inside.
Even worse, because everybody knows that I'm Christian, they're all looking to see how I would react to situations. I don't want to be a stumbling block to anybody because of my words! Then I'd just be a hypocrite preaching what I do not practice.
And through it all, God is whispering to me... Love your enemies...
Last night I attended C.L.I.M.B. (young adults' bible study) through Skype and the topic was... surprise surprise, loving your enemies! Not only that, but I've been putting up Bible verses on our dorm fridge daily and yesterday's verse was from Luke 6:27-28 as well! Interestingly, before the bulk of those bad incidents happened, I was standing by the track and my friend kept nudging me on the side to irritate me. I just ignored him and didn't even look at him. And as he kept nudging me, he kept saying "turn the other cheek, turn the other cheek" while laughing. Now when I think about it, it's really like a moment of premonition... A warning sign that I should remember to "turn the other cheek".
Who knows what is going to happen next? But I am grateful nonetheless for God's lessons in love and patience. I know that all these things are happening to refine my spirit, as long as I remain in His Word and put it to practice.
If I ever wanted to shine for God, this is the time to do it!
Thank You Lord for answering my prayers... May Your hand be upon me in Jesus' name, Amen!
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
It's really hard for me. In my previous posts I talked about how I often felt unrecognised and I'm always looking for praise and approval from other people as a result. Therefore, each time I accomplish something, I naturally want to get pats on my back from family and friends. But now I see that's just futile longing on my part.
If anything, the only reason why I managed to pull off any intellectual, physical or spiritual achievements, is really because of the great mercy and grace of my Creator, Lord Jesus Christ. He created me with the gifts that allowed me to achieve all of those things. I didn't work for any of those gifts. I don't even deserve to live- but God gave them to me anyway, because He loves me and wants the best for me.
So today, I shall share this sweet victory with God alone, giving thanks and praise to the One who actually deserves it.
Thank you God! You are superduper awesome!
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
I am severely addicted to peanuts again after a six year hiatus. Seriously didn't expect to find this brand here in the U.S. either.
Upon closer inspection, I must say those are pretty awesome farmers' sandals.
So, no prizes for guessing whether I procrastinated today or not.
If I never finish my thesis, it's all my fault. Undeniably. I had no classes, no engagements to worry about today, but I chose not to do my homework. I spent all day reading random stuff online about the latest news in cryptozoology and some book that's been laying around. But I just couldn't bring myself to write anything thesis-related!
Sometimes, I wish my grandma could just sit next to me with the cane again. Then I'd definitely write my thesis when I'm supposed to.