Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Finishing Well

Somehow at the end of every week, the feelings of inadequacy would resurface. I feel exhausted. I have given everything I have to give, yet I don’t feel satisfied with what I've done throughout the week.

I didn't get to know my kids well enough. I didn’t get to start the kids on the starfish craft. We didn’t practice handwriting for the week. I was too serious and not funny enough. I was easily irritable and impatient with the kids. I wish I had done a better job at helping the kids read. I feel like a total failure!

Then again, maybe I didn’t do too bad after all. Majority of these kids has grasped the concept of addition and subtraction. They recognize new words. They know the months of the year. They even know the order of creation off by heart. They have interacted well and shown loving kindness to each other in the classroom.

I think I’m going crazy. I strive to end each week well, but what does it mean to end well? How do i know if i have been successful?

I know i can’t and shouldn’t measure it by looking at the kids’ grades on papers. If that’s the case, then maybe it’s about asking, Did I do my best everyday? Did I depend wholly on God for wisdom and strength? Did I put my kids’ and parents’ needs above mine?

Yes, i did. But, i still don’t quite feel successful? I still feel unsatisfied with myself, knowing i could have done a better job.Then again, we’ll always be able to do a better job than the last since there’s always gonna be room for improvement.

It was only recently, through a group devotion, that I was made to realized that from God's perspective, my success as a teacher is all about my love walk with Him and others. It isn’t about my kids’ academic achievement. Neither is it about how much of my teaching program I have covered. It is however about this:

Did I disciple my kids?
Did I illustrate Christ love to them, and teach them how to be loving?
Did my passion for life shine through, and did I encourage these kids to follow their God-given passions?
Did I set my kids on the paths they should go and instill in them the desire to grow and become more than who they currently are?
Did I model and teach them perseverance, patience, kindness, and self-control?
Was my focus on teaching with intention--not perfectly at every moment, but as a whole, from the first day to the very last--did I keep sight of the ultimate prize, which is eternal?

I’ve realized now how intricate it is for me to judge myself or evaluate myself. So, I’m gonna let God, who is my identity and source, and whose ways are higher than my ways, determine how well I've accomplished His tasks.

In reality, it doesn’t matter what others think. It doesn’t even matter what I think; for only what He thinks matters.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A new year

I miss December. There's so many things I love about it. There are the fabulous Christmas lightings and decorations; caroling; and Christmas parties. The smiles and sheer joy on people’s face as presents are exchanged. The many gatherings with family and friends, both new & old, near & far, at camps, weddings or birthdays. Plus, the aroma of both sweets and savories, filling the house continuously with the smell of food... ;)

Perhaps if I had super powers, I would make every month of the year a December. I don’t think I would mind having the same countless delightful moments I had in December over and again. It’ll be a pleasure! But then again, I’ll be really blind and self-serving if I choose to do that and not want any changes.

Life is full of changes and will always be; that’s a fact. And in as much as I don’t really like changes, I need to remember that the Christian life isn’t about the pursuit of personal happiness. Rather, it is about the pursuit of God’s holiness. It is only as we pursue His holiness that true happiness, contentment, can be found; even in the midst of changes.

I’m pretty sure that that one day when we get Home, we won’t have to deal with changes anymore. But until then, we will have to courageously and faithfully depend on the strength of His grace to cope with every life changing circumstance that comes our way. And for this, dear Lord, I ask that You’ll enable to do so each and every day in this new year.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beauty of marriages

He made the first move in showing interest in me despite my weaknesses and failures. He took the initiative to express interest in making me His bride. He shed His blood to confirm His interest and love for me. And so I said, “I do”.

Since then, He has never left me. He’s always there to lead me, protect me and provide for me. Thus I know He is serious when He said that we will be together for eternity. And I look forward to the day when He personally comes again to bring me to His side.

Maybe that’s why I love weddings so much. Witnessing a man and a woman come into union as they exchange vows is such an assuring reminder of Christ eternal marriage covenant with us, His bride. It’s also an incredible joyous occasion where the reunion of many meaningful friendships takes place- a fore glimpse and taste of what it will be like when He comes again.

I’ve always wondered why weddings have such a special place in my heart. Now I clearly know why.

PS- To Gladys & Eugene, Jacob & Yap, Lu Chien & fiancĂ©, thank you for inviting me to be part of your Big Day. It’s truly an honour & blessing. Can’t wait to see you guys in Dec!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Specially for the newlyweds

To be honest, I don’t have many sweet memories of growing up with my kor as he was quite a grumpy, hot-tempered boy, who didn’t like to smile. He was fierce and must always have things his way. And so, You Shen (my younger brother) and I never quite enjoy being around him. But, things slowly changed when he started studying in Perth, and changed even more after he met Deborah. He became a more caring and considerate person, as well as a protective and sociable brother- someone whom I became very proud of. It was a total 180 degrees positive change in his character and it was this change that slowly brought us closer together. We began opening up to one another, sharing our personal life stories and fun times together.

On the other hand, I remember getting to know Deborah at an Overseas Christian Fellowship camp about four years ago. We were roommates during camp and she was certainly one roommate I’ll never forget because I had never had a roommate who could sleep so much and so heavily like her. Every morning, she would have to wake up earlier than me for either music practice or breakfast duty, but somehow, I would always be the one who end up waking up earlier. Did she have an alarm clock? Yup…but it didn’t mater whether she had one or not. Not because she didn’t bother using it, but because she would sleep right through the alarm anyway or snooze it for uncountable times until I woke her up personally. I don’t think it bothered her at all her alarm clock was disturbing others as she was just too deep in her sleep.

But, although I knew she had an abnormal sleeping behaviour, I could see my kor falling for her, for she didn’t seem like a high maintenance girl who needs to go shopping every week. More importantly, she was a committed Christian who had and still has a soft and gentle personality, as well as a caring and considerate heart. And so, when my brother told me that he was going after Deborah, I was more delighted than surprised to hear that.

Ever since then, I’ve had the privilege to see them grow closer and deeper in their relationship with each other as time went by. I’ve seen them learn to like opposites interests so that they may share and experience the same things with one another. My brother has started learning how to eat spicy food, something which I know he would never have done if not for Deborah. Similarly, Deborah has learnt to like watching Australian footy because my brother enjoys it. I’ve also seen them learn how to celebrate in each other’s successes and carry each other’s burdens, which is a very encouraging thing to witness.

From friendship to courtship to loveship to marriage. No words can express how happy and relieved I am to be able to see them both finally married today.

Dearest kor and Deborah, today is a day you will always remember. A brand new beginning, the start of a new chapter in your life, with moments to cherish and treasure. Although there will be times when you both disagree, these will surely be outweighed by pleasures. So, live joyfully forever as lovers and friends, and as husband and wife. And with God’s grace, may your lives together be always blessed with the same kind of love, joy, excitement and hope He has given you today.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

By the world’s standards, my mum is not a Supermom. She’s organized, keeps the house beautiful and tidy, but not always. You’ll find her frazzled and unorganized at times, especially when she’s got million and one things on her to-do list. She can leave the house with her blouse inside out, obvious dabs of face cream on her cheeks, or purse left on the kitchen table.

But, so what if mum’s not a Supermom who can multi-task efficiently? I love her anyway. Even if she can only succeed at doing a few things, I still love her. I love her not because she can do many/little things for me, but because she does all things with utmost love and care for me.

If I can make mistakes, have stuffed up, moody or even bad hair days, so can mum. How arrogant and egotistical I would be if I were to think that mum must always be a perfect model, setting perfect examples in life.

I love you, mum. And I always will.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Life's freedom

Freedom…a common thing we all long for in life. But what is freedom? Does it mean being able to do and say things, or choose whatever we want? A life without any restrictions or limits- is this really what freedom is all about? Somehow, the more I think about it, the more I disagree with that definition.

In our world, many live their lives without any boundaries. More often than not, such liberty eventually results in negative behaviours like bullying, drug abuse, drinking, and pornography. Very soon, these behaviours become a habitual thing, and the one who gets caught up with them are enslaved by them, for they find no ability to control their habits. When this happens, will we be able to honestly say that this is freedom?

Perhaps it is fair for me to say that in reality, human freedom is a very limited freedom. It can only lead us to become slaves to negative acts, feelings and behaviours- sin. Conversely, God’s freedom is the real freedom we yearn for. His truths illuminate the true meaning of free living and thus, keep us from sin’s destructive bondages.

The Bible says that we become slaves to whatever we give ourselves to (Romans 6:16). We can be slaves to God and be free from the bondage of sin, for the truth will set us free. Alternatively, we can be free from God and be slaves to the bondage of sin. This is a choice we each have to make. Which one will you choose?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who are the really educated ones?

Compare a learned man to an uneducated one. The former is literate, cultured, rich in knowledge, and receives systematic education. The latter, on the other hand, has no privilege to education or whatsoever alike, maybe due to poverty; not trained in any universities or schools of learning, and could look uncivilized. Yet, why does it seem that the learned man is slower at understanding the things of God than the unlearned one?

Perhaps we, the learned ones, are putting too much trust in education. We think that education and knowledge is the key to solving all our problems, be it health-related, business-related, or social issues. Many even believe that education is the key ingredient to successful living, for it helps us gain wealth and fame, beauty and material things. But, in reality, we are actually educating ourselves further and further away from God.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not against education. I try to help kids understand that education is good and important so that they can be encouraged to learn. However, education alone cannot help us gain the real life of love, joy, peace, and freedom, which only Jesus can offer. Plus, we can be the most refined and knowledgeable people in the world, and yet be in fact foolish, if we choose to ignore His truths.

In the eyes of God, the "better-educated people" are perhaps the ones who grasp Him more easily and closely. They may be illiterate, uneducated, uncultured, or simply unsuccessful in the eyes of the world, but they are truly the wise, educated and successful ones because they know Him.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools ~ Romans 1:21-22