Puffy Eyes

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“My face is so puffy it seriously hurts to cry”

I found myself saying that to my friends while clutching my cheeks and jawline to compress the puffiness that was developed from my multiple cry sessions over the weekend.

I don’t how to feel about that. Crying. I mean if you know me, you’ve seen me cry before… from laughing. It’s no secret that I’m that infamous laugh-cry emoji in my friendship groups, sometimes I feel like it’s my only God-given talent in the past 23 years.

But the crying I’m talking about is the sincere fat tears secreted by the tear-ducts from the induced heavy emotions from I-don’t-know-where (and you will tell me – It’s God).  I cry all the time. But let me tell you this, I hate seeing people cry (though it’s changed over the past few years). I don’t know how to react to an emotional person, despite being emotional myself. I don’t know how to comfort them… do I hug you? Do you want me to hug you? What if you don’t want me here? Should I disappear? As a youth leader now, I have essentially improved in this area, or else I will be sincerely fired over being the least empathetic leader ever.

To prevent the same emotions and feelings back to me, I made a point to myself to never public cry, ever. My closest and dearest friends, those I’ve lived with in boarding school, despite wailing myself to sleep some nights, have never seen me cry. Yet I cried like the biggest whack over the weekend at my Young Adults (1830) Camp. Gosh… the amount of times I had to run to the bathroom and people questioning my bladder issues. I mean I do pee a lot, but my visits were abnormally frequent… if you get my drift.

Is it the Internship
Is it God
Is it life
What is it
Do you need to talk

Do I?

Can I honestly tell you… I don’t know why I cried. I’m as confused as ever. Yes, I left a Christian Camp with less clarity and more confusion, how scandalously unholy.

I think half my crying was crying that I can’t stop myself from crying in public and it’s annoying to cry that it made me cry even more because I’m crying.

Yea I may have left camp confused. But I’m not confused with God. No, not ever. I think I left the camp with more curiosity, of what God has in store for me. I mean, yes I’m confused, but tell me and give me a millennial who isn’t confused with their life. They may have it all together but are you seriously that planned out… seriously.

It’s been a couple of days since camp. I’ve received “are you ok?” texts from multiple people who knew of my crying. Here it goes, I’m okay guys. I am. I’m not gonna be the suicidal 19-year-old again. God has sacrificed a life of a family member to teach me the value of life, so no. I will not die. I love life, as challenging and confusing it may be. But that’s the whole excitement of the journey, isn’t it?

I’m 23 now. It really hit me only a few days back despite 19 days into my new age. I’m not young, but I’m not old. I’m not all put together, but I’m strong enough to pick myself up if need be. I’m growing, I have Jesus. I am on the right track. Emotions are part of life, I have to deal with it, regardless how much I hate crying emotionally. It happens.

Cheers to my new age, more infrequent blogging and rants of my life. The blessings, the downfalls, the anger, the love and most of all… the endurance that comes out from the hecticness of it all.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

Hebrews 12:1

p/s: If you’re an Athiest and wondering why an idiot like me would still believe in God despite the awful emotions and puffiness I have to endure and making my face 10x uglier than it already is… read this.

Rabbit Milk

Does this have rabbit??”

It probably didn’t mean ‘rabbit’ but from my minimal Chinese vocab, I assumed it was rabbit because it sounded like ‘rabbit’, but given the context… it probably wasn’t it.

I was in the supermarket looking at teabags when an old Chinese lady and her husband came up to me holding a bag of Devondale Full Cream milk powder, I was the only Asian in the aisle at the time.

Do you speak Chinese?” – in Mandarin
“a bit”
“can you help us read this?”
“yeah sure…”
“Does this have 兔子?” (tu zi aka rabbit)

Huh?

In Mandarin, the same sounding words can mean a million other things due to the vast number of chinese characters… tu zi could mean anything, but to me I only knew rabbit.

Clearly Devondale Milk isn’t from rabbits so I told her no… She thanked me profusely and walked away with her husband, insisting she was right the first time. My heart sank…

  • I did not know what on earth she was on about
  • I answered her
  • She was happy with my answer
  • I messed up so much but I didn’t know how to say that in Mandarin

I’m of Chinese descent. Born in Melbourne raised in Malaysia and speaking only English at home. My parents don’t know Mandarin themselves. I went to a Chinese school in Malaysia as my parents didn’t want me to repeat their mistakes of not knowing Mandarin, but ever since moving back to Melbourne… the need for me conversing in Mandarin has reduced and eventually I’ve lost it altogether.

It hit me with a realization walking back from the supermarket

Seeking advice from people who seemingly look like they know it… isn’t right. Representation isn’t everything.

She came to me because of my looks. I’m Asian. I’m meant to know and understand what she is on about. I even thought I did. I clearly did not.

It made me realize that in real life, when I’m seeking people for answers in terms of my spriritual walk or just life in general, they can perceive to know it all, did all the right things… but do they know it. Is it even right.

The importance of picking the right mentor is so important. We could end up in very different paths with the choices we make, either we ended up feeling inspired or driven, or completely confused and down the hill from where we started.

 

Just making my rabbit milk experience applicable to real life. It just made me realize how much I need to pray and seek God during this process of finding a mentor in my life. I do need one and I want one. As much as seeking God for advice is nice, my peers advising me on things that I find it relatable, it would be nice if someone older than me who has that actual wisdom I can learn from is present. Someone other than my parent, someone I know that she/he will be right and be on my side. My peers are lovely and I love them to bits, but as much as our experiences are relatable and we can share it with each other, we are of the same generation and we can only know so much.

Praying I won’t get Rabbit Milk.

Of course I won’t… I have Jesus.

 

The Quest

Note: Fungus is the name of the youth group I serve in. It’s Fun, Us with God in the middle hence funGus. No judgement please. It’s not funghi 

“Juanlin made me cry so so much oh my god”

I was in the toilet when I heard one of my youth homegroup members said that, there was a hint of gratefulness too. I don’t think she knew I was inside. We had just finished a night session on the second day of youth camp and I had prayed for her during ministry time and she bawled her eyes out halfway through. She thanked and hugged me after the prayer but I didn’t think she would be talking about it with her friends after it. It was a session where youth were being filled by the holy spirit and emotions were running on a high and we were running out of tissues from all those crying.

This was my first Fungus camp. First time as a leader and I have never even gone to Fungus in my life. Tell me about it, to say I was scared shitless during the lead up to this camp is an understatement. I had a respiratory attack in the morning of the first day of camp to add on to that anxiety.

10 years ago, I attended my first ever youth camp of my life and accepted Christ into my life. Shucks, 10 years… (writing this makes me feel old and it didn’t help when a youth told me I looked 27 during camp).

I knew the importance of youth camps and how life-changing and impactful it can be on a young person’s life due to my personal experience… however, my walk was never uphill ever since my own. I grew to despise youth groups due to my inability to feel belonged in one. Camp was amazing and God was amazing to me but the youth never seemed to love me the way Jesus did so weekly meetings seemed painful, especially when a bunch of people didn’t want to talk to you. The feeling never changed when I moved to Australia (hence I never went to Fungus). I loved Jesus, I hated youth groups. (I had actually hated church in general).

Ironically, 10 years later. I’m a youth leader and I went to a camp as a youth leader and doing the things I use to be skeptical of other youth leaders. 

My 15 year old self will laugh so hard if she hears where I am right now. 

I honestly didn’t know what to expect during the lead up to this camp. My well-hidden anxiety didn’t improve when I was told to lead deco for the camp and being part of the games group. 

I mean seriously, what is this angel & mortal things these fungus kids do. What are skits. Why do they do flags. What are round-robin games. Where is this place called Camp Howqua that everyone has been to and I haven’t and how am I suppose to know how big the place is to design the deco-layout… lol omg.

I had an assignment and test due during the week leading up to camp. I had a number of silent break-downs during shower time and despite the chaos… I heard this silent inaudible voice in the back of my head…

Do you trust Me

I knew Who it was and He was the only one carrying me to prevent me from cracking.

I trust you God. I do.

It was this trust that pulled me through. I knew that He could and He will. He had pulled me through Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry was no difference. 

He showed me this by placing people who were understanding to work with me and guide me. I was blessed enough to have a group of leaders who were supportive of each other as we worked through preparing for this camp. I didn’t even feel like I was leading deco, it felt like it was all done. It was only until the eve of the camp when one of my fellow leaders realized that it would be my first Fungus camp ever (like I didn’t even go to one as a youth, all these leaders have been in Fungus as youths themselves). Apparently, I was heading it up like I knew everything… well I didn’t know a lot of things but God did, true story

Back to where we were, it was ministry time on the second day of camp. Youth were stepping out during alter call to be prayed for, it suddenly dawned on me that I was a leader and I had to pray for these kids.. omgosh I was never the kid that stepped out during alter call, let alone as a young adult. What am I gonna say.. OH GOD PLEASE HELP ME OH MY GOD PLEASE.

Leaders were stepping out to their homegroup members and I saw my girls in front with their arms lifted high in surrender. They were hungry for God. They want more of Him. They want Him.

A mini time-travel began to occur in my head and suddenly I was that 15 year old again. The frustrated 15 year old who disliked youth group and never wanted to go. What did I do. What did I want.

I wanted to be prayed for…. but no one did.

Time for you to pray for these girls. Don’t make them feel like how you did. Make them feel Jesus’ love and your love for them. Let them know that they have a purpose and that they belong. Be the youth leader that you never had as a youth.

Early during the year when I just started being a youth leader, I was enjoying it. I told my friends I liked it, I was there because I think God wants me there. I wanted to work with youth in the future and get into the Youthlaw department for my legal clerkship. Being a youth leader will help my CV and my youth pastor really wanted me to join the ministry anyway. I took those as signs that God wants me there but never knowing the true meaning/calling behind it. I mean remember that time I was torn between leaving kids and joining youth…

That night I knew. Hearing Amanda’s words in the toilet and receiving the little notes of appreciation from my homegroup throughout camp made me truly realize God’s plan for me in this ministry. It made me understand the power of trusting without always knowing what is next and the faith involved with all that. The theme of our youth camp was The Quest and I was on a quest without knowing I was on one and that night ended that subconscious quest of mine as a youth leader.

This is the story of the girl who hated Youth Group. You truly will never know where God brings you next.

I love youth group and I love Fungus.

p/s: I’m in the State Library La Trobe reading room while writing this. Teared a tad bit during my writing and I think the girl next to me thinks I’m a loony LOL.

 

 

 

The Pork Belly Challenge

I’ve always been aware of my indecisive character, in fact, the struggles of making decisions just frustrates me itself. But when you’re confronted and told off about your character, you know it’s pretty much a hardcore problem. I’m talking about being told off by a non-family member, I get told off by family so much but others, not really.

As a Christian, I’ve always loved the fact that I could escape this problem by “Letting God decide”, “give my problems to God”, “It’s in God’s hands”, “Jesus take the wheel”, I-don’t-need-to-do-this attitude. I feel like I got it all handled, when people ask me of my decisions, I’ll respond (to their annoyance), God is still handling it.

I know you hate those type of people.

You’ll hate me.

I was told by my friend while discussing my problem, that God has given us the abilities to make our own decisions too. It kind of struck me in 2 ways:

  1. God blessed me with a brain to use
  2. God also dumped the problem back to me

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to be pushed about and have people make decisions for me. But when I’m stuck with situations where I seriously have no idea what to do, I struggle big time. Sometimes I’ll narrow it down, but sometimes choosing between the best of 2 favourite options kills me even harder.

For example, today’s given situation:

To eat Potato Rosti for lunch or a Pork Belly Burger.

I love Pork Belly, I don’t eat it often. It will also cost me more money and it’ll make me take a step back in weight-loss goals. But it’s not offered everywhere.

I also like potato rosti, but I love pork belly more. Potato rosti was cheaper and available in more places, also a healthier option.

After much internal debate, I went for the pork belly. It was delicious, no regrets… in the first 3 hours after.

Currently, I can feel my tummy fats has increased in thickness. Definitely post-feed guilt. The meal turned out to be paid for.

Right now, the wise thing to do, with the brain God blessed me, is to hit the gym tomorrow and burn off that pork belly.

I view this as a challenge, not a complaint (I know it sounded like one in the start). God has given each one of us our own individual and unique weaknesses, to challenge us to grow into better people. This is mine, and it will be my 2017 challenge to work on.

A Christmas Gift

Before I begin, apologies for the long absence.

It’s been a post I’ve meant to do since I got the news but got a bit carried away since arriving back in Melbourne.

Late last year I was told that I had a lump in my right breast and was to go for half-yearly checks for growths and risks. It dawned on me the seriousness of my condition when I was referred to a breast cancer surgeon this year and was told that my lump grew. A biopsy was performed and by the grace of God, benign.

I’ve cut alcohol, tried to be healthy. I’m not gonna lie and say it was smooth sailing, I struggled. There were times I’d even wanna forget about it, that there was no such thing. I was only 22, to face the news that women only receive during their mid-life crisis… here I am, not even hitting the quarter-life, but with a growing lump that may be potentially cancerous??

As the date for my next scan approached, it dawned on me that it’s time to face the news again, this time without my mother. I was back in Melbourne, alone. She was in Malaysia. I started my fervent praying for the lump to not grow, or maybe miraculously shrink…

I told my parents I could do this alone, the scan had to be done regardless, it’s for my health anyway. But just the day before, I had a mini-breakdown at my hoome-group over the fear of receiving bad news alone. Thankfully, 2 of my friends agreed to come along to give me support at the Clinic.

God had better plans.

The ultrasound technician spent a good 10 minutes rolling the stick around my boob, the warm gel had turn chilly and no news about the lump. (This was meant to be a good thing, but the technician’s confused face just made me worried).

That’s weird… I can’t find the lump” She was squinting her eyes at the screen. “I think I will call in another specialist to find it for me… this never happens”

Another specialist came in, this time having my previous scans, bot technician and specialist were trying to scrutinize the scans as hard as possible. “This is an unusual case, here I was thinking that you’re an easy one but no…” she said. The specialist chimed in and said, “Looks like the problem solved itself”.

It was then I knew, that miracles happen.

God heals. More than I’d even asked for.

The breast surgeon I was seeing did a final check and told me that the lump was gone.

God’s early Christmas miracle on the 30th of November.

I’m writing this down because it is a testament to God’s love. It is something I had always believed in but never occurred in my personal life until that day, where my lump fully disappeared.

Bear in mind, I did not think I’d deserved it. I’m a normal human being who makes mistakes, commit failures and occasionally falling into temptation. There were times I succumbed to worldly things despite my faith, I was the last person to deserve such a miracle but God gave it to me.

You may believe you are undeserving, but God gives miracles and gifts to those He believes in, those He believes that deserve, no matter how undeserving we feel we are.

My heart was so full that day, typing this makes my heart full again as I was experiencing a bad day just before. It will serve me as a constant reminder that I am loved, that God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son for us, this Christmas day.

The Greatest Christmas Gift.

 

Decisions, made.

I’m an emotional person and I do my best to hide them, but recently it’s been a challenge and if you know me well, you can pretty much detect the ups and downs. If you don’t and you read my blog, you are a cheat…

Anyways, I made the decisions. I didn’t fast because it’s the time of the month and I’m anaemic. Losing blood with an already lack of oxygen and starving myself will only call for a suicidal mission.

I didn’t take that Kids paid position. I know for sure that my commitment will decline halfway through the contract and my capacity was limited, I know there were advices telling me that ‘I can do everything in Christ’s strength’, but God gave me wisdom too, that is to not decide to please the people around me and go only with the capacity I have been given.

I’m a law student. I’m not trying to be arrogant here but the harsh reality is that I actually have a lot of load to study. You can’t advice me based on your past experiences in your different course. You and I were made different in God’s eyes, we’re not the same and what you could do in your days doesn’t mean that I could. I thank you for them good advices and you mean well, but please don’t judge my decision as an interpretation that I’m “scared of taking up more responsibilities”. It’s both flattering and disappointing to be told that you can do something but in reality you can’t.

I’ve got rid of one problem.

Now to stay in my kids position or youth.

The youth pastor has been tossing me the idea since my last mission trip to join the youth. I’d never really ruled it out because I’d worked with the youth during mission trip and it was pretty engaging, it was different. But I love the kids at my church and the stuff I’ve got to do with them this year (especially the girls) was mindblowing amazing, it’s a season too good to leave.

One of my reasons not going into the other kids position was of my plans of getting legal clerkships in the future. I’m a law student, will be a law graduate, but I don’t know if I will be a lawyer. I have no legal experience and how I got here was through complete faith that God had a plan for me and I don’t know what I will do next. I sacrificed all my years of preparing for Dentistry for this and it’d better be good.

There was an employment expo on Tuesday, just before Fashion Week shenanigans and I had to pass through the expo on my way to heat my lunch (because I’m cheap and can’t afford to buy food). Since it was in my face, may as well check it out.

I did not see any law related booths on my way to the microwaves and it was way to crowded, I can get claustrophobic. I decided that on my way back to the library, I’d give it a second shot.

The crowd had subsided and as I was walking back, right in the corner of my eye I see an orange banner (markerters take note, orange is eye-catching). It’s for a Youth Legal centre related to youth employment and legal issues. omgosh finally a law thing, Deakin is so stupid if it offers law and no one wants to employ us, what a fail.

Mr Youth Law booth worker tells me it’s hard to get in, everyone wants to do the internship there for the experience as we get an auto-credit into our course as a subject. Chances are higher if I have youth experience.. in any field.

Youth Experience

Really now

You know what popped into my brain. I could also see the youth pastor give me her cheesy grin in the back of my head.

I went home. Prayed. Talked to my mum. She even gave me her blessing. Erghh but decisions though…

Today was leadership meeting day, everyone (leaders) was there.

I saw the youth pastor and confirmed my decision, she was esctatic. My friend from kids ministry whined, my kids boss deleted (and re-added) me on the Kids Ministry chat, just for trigger purposes.

Then I saw Lauren, and later Erin. They were massive real life triggers.

I mention these two girls in my earlier posts. They moved to the church early this year, from Malaysia. New to country, new to church, no friends and still settling in.

I still remembered the looks of their faces on their first day, a bit apprehensive and doubtful, all the existing girls already had their own cliques. I knew that look. I had that look when I was their age, going into Sunday school.

When I had that look, I hid in the toilet for 2 hours. No one in my Sunday School would bother with a shy girl because shy girls don’t talk anyway. I made sure the sisters will not feel that way and no one was going to go toilet hiding under my watch.

I had a soft spot for them. I wanted to make sure that they will not have that experience I had and when I started out church life. When the dance group was set up I made sure they were in. I’d even let Erin do her gym work across the routine.

They have friends now. They’re pretty good (though the younger one sometimes roams around alone).

Lauren made an origami and passed it to me during lunch (at the meeting) and said, “I made this for you..” I looked at her, I tried not to cry. What am I going to tell her, we’re not dancing next year anymore?

As I drove to uni from the leader’s meeting, Adele’s song started playing in the car. If you don’t know Adele songs, Adele only sings sad songs, sad songs that make you cry. Even if they’re for lovers and you have no lover, you will still feel pain and sadness and YOU WILL CRY. well. I cried.

I cried because Kids ministry was the first ministry I’d ever served in my church life. It was the ministry that made me have faith in church life again and God. It made me discover more of myself, that I was more than the flower pot shy loser in the corner who doesn’t like to talk and was permanenetly awkward, more than a student who just did assignments. It made me realize that God can push me to do things I believe I couldn’t, but could, because He believed in me. I mean I spoke in public. That’s a feat.

I cried also because I was scared even though I was certain of my decision. It was a new thing, it was a deja vu of emotions just like the one before I entered kids ministry, but just a tad different because this time, I’m socially less awkward now but still am.. like 50%. (there has been improvements of 50%).

It’s a new season that is entering, a year straight after my big switch to law, another big switch.

To my 2 years younger self who was crying on the night before her first time serving in Kids ministry, you will miss it and you loved it. Thank God for that.

To my future self, I hope it’s the same. I’ll see you on the other side.

Decision making

Here’s the deal, I’m the worst at decision making. It makes me wonder sometimes why I got picked into being a leader, leader’s are meant to be the best at decision making. Being indecisive is the worst trait of a leader (well I get annoyed if my leaders can’t make a decision). Which brings me to this, I’m a current kids leader that’s being lead by a kids pastor but currently being offered a position to run the toddler section as a proper leader alongside the kids pastor. I can’t decide. omgosh i actually can’t decide.

A normal human being would have leapt on it. I’m the kind who weighs-in the pros and cons, it’s easy if one outweighs another but it’s the worst if they even out and the weight balance is straight. I mean, THAT’S NOT THE POINT OF THE WHOLE PROCESS. The more time I take to decide the more indecisive I get, it completely defeats the purpose of weighing out the issues.

I thought maybe because my brain can’t help itself and God wasn’t talking to me in booming voices, I should talk to people, people in church and the family (because God can speak to us through people, right?). The decision was divided and I’m back to square one. STILL UNDECIDED.

I decided to lay it off, since my senior pastor was away in America and he said he’ll discuss more about it with me regarding the position when I’m back. Besides, I had more pressing issues as a law student such as how to complete 2 law assignments due on the same day without head explosions. I’ve managed that well and better than the decisions I had to make, my head is still intact and it has to be as I have one more test due this Saturday on Constitutional Law.

Then the text came. My senior pastor (SP) is back from America. I have not made a decision. He wants to do an interview next week. 

Brain went on panic mode. The cool calm and collected manner I was planning to have for this Saturday’s test went off-course. SP even asked for my CV, like whuuut… I haven’t even drafted my Consti answers and my CV hasn’t been updated in months.

Times like these, a burning bush wouldn’t scare me. I’d rather a burning bush with God’s voice telling me to decide with A or B than walk around like and aimless drunk.

I’ve been listening to heaps of Chad Veach podcasts the past couple of weeks, many rechoing the main message that God has a plan and that if we stray, He’ll bring as back anyway.

Panic mode clearly didn’t help. I told myself that I should fast and pray on the matter but I didn’t. I ended up shoving it aside, convincing myself I had more priorities like my law assignments. I did not hand the issue to God, which I told my friends I would and that “He’ll help me decide” because I have other things to do. I deliberately dumped it in the corner. I thought I had 2 weeks on the matter but 2 weeks felt like 2 days and now SP is back and I need an answer.

Light Bulb moments

There is a significant difference with leaving the issue with God and dumping it aside and let it rot. God is not going to pick it up for use. He helps us when we are in need, yes, but we have to do the action, ourselves. As in we have to actively pray about it, it should not affect every minute of our lives but neither should be completely ignore it. We have to hand it to God with our own hands in complete surrender and ask for His guidance daily on the matter.

I did it all wrong.

But wrong doesn’t mean an automatic failure.

I have 1 more week. 1 more week to decide. It’s not too late.

One more week to Seek Him, Pray and ask the right help.