Forgotten dreams through faith

So my blogspace has been pretty much the only online outlet where I overshare my life stories. Yesterday I leveled up and decided to share a bit on my Facebook with the hashtag #raremomentsioversharemylife. lol.

I spent a good 15 mins staring at the post and proof-reading before hitting ‘post’, stark differences to my wordpress behavior. I just click ‘publish’ without even proof-reading.

I did it because I felt like I needed to share that aspect of my life, also a sorta little thanks post to the people around me who helped got my dance project in church going.

However, my oversharing was only 50% of what really happened so here I am to ramble the full bits.

I remember the exact moment my parents told me that being a dance teacher as a profession was a terrible idea. We were in the car, in the shopping centre carpark basement in 1 Utama shopping centre, I was in the backseat, I had just finished my ballet class of the evening.

Ballet teachers don’t earn sufficient money. That was the main gist I got from the talk. I wasn’t a fantastic dancer anyway, my parents only sent me to ballet classes because they just wanted me to have exposure, a hobby, an experience, not a profession. They said there were far more better dancers than me in this world and I would never be able to reach that competitive environment, “our family isn’t made of athletes, there has been no family history of good athletes”. Basically, there has been no successes in that area, I shouldn’t try. Funny fact was that my dad’s elder sister was a part-time ballet teacher at the time but my dad dismissed it as being just a side hobby… again. They finally agreed that I can do it in the future after I get professional degree and get a professional job and just do it as a side hobby thing like my aunt.

I was hurt. But there was some truth in their message. I wasn’t the best in my class, my teachers would forever critique my technique instead of complimenting it. There were girls built with far better ballerina bodies than I did with the technique quality of pretty much close to principal dancer. I would fail to qualify even to audition for the Australian Ballet, okay maybe I would but I would be kicked out 1st round. Professional ballet training was out of the question.

Reality slowly crept in and I continued the ambition of being a dentist growing up. I then joined a new class where my new ballet teacher, who was an architect by day and ballerina by night, blew my mind. I told my mum, “I’m going to grow up and be like Ms Boon”. She was so boss as, she was the only teacher that saw the gift in me and when my mother wanted me to stop classes to concentrate on my academics, she persuaded my mum not to.

I got my ACL in my teens. Pursuing something of a dance nature was completely out of the question. My dual work-life dreams completely shattered. I took some casual classes in ballet later one but my knees never felt the same again and grand-jetes makes my knees cry instead of joy.

Then the church told me to make a dance group in sunday school. It was years after all those dreams and ambitions, I was over it and completely thrown them away to the extent I had forgotten about it. I was so hesitant at the offer but took it anyway. (mainly also because he announced to the parents that there was a dance group happening before I gave a proper ‘yes’).

Yesterday my girls performed during Sunday Service. The gush of joy I felt when I saw them nailed the moves. For weeks I did not know if it was even possible, 90% of them not from a dance background. Simple steps took them weeks to grasp, my co-leader and I were stressed to the core. But they nailed it on performance day and the feeling was so much better than receiving a distinction in my exam. No joke.

God made it happen.

He remembered that dream I had even when I tucked it away saying it wasn’t possible to reach it again. It wasn’t the professional teaching I had dreamt of but more. It was the sharing of His gift of dancing nonetheless and it made it so much more worth it because I witnessed the growth in every single girl over the weeks of practice. I was given the opportunity to be more than a dance teacher, I became a role model. I felt Gods work through every single moment of the process and it didn’t hit me until performance day, that this had been my dream as a little girl.

I was at the bottom of the stage smiling at the girls and telling them to smile back to the audience, the same way my teachers did when I was younger. “You don’t want the camera to take a sad pic of you dancing”. I realize that I was saying the phrases my teachers use to tell me, this time to the younger girl, my girls. I was living it, the dream of being a dance teacher one day and God made it possible because He knows the yearnings of our hearts. He gave me more than I imagined.

The world can say it’s not possible but if Jesus says yes, nobody can say no. He will make it happen in due course, no matter how long it takes. Have faith.

‘You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’” Matthew 17:20

 

 

 

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Beyond the cubicle

I’ve been wrestling with myself for the past few weeks if I should continue writing. There had been many occasions where I’ve entered the site with a blank page in focus, gazillions of ideas flow into my mind and I just don’t know where to start… in the end, I will close the page and tell myself to get going with life instead of lamenting on them.

It hasn’t really been intentional avoidance either, the past few weeks, despite being 3/4 of them holidays, I’ve been so occupied with church work and paid work and everything in general. God has provided me so much over the holidays with productivity, but for some reason, I feel like I’m not spending enough with Him. It’s not just that, it’s been the first holiday where I did not start a K-drama on (shockwaves everywhere).

Just this  weekend, I gave 2 Sunday School messages in 2 consecutive days in 2 churches. I’ve never done anything like this before, along with the added activity of cooking within the message (we were doing a kind of Masterchef series for the kids to be engaged with the message). I agreed to do the 1st one as a ‘rehearsal’ for the second day. Everything went as plan, my boss was happy with it and I received pretty good feedback. Mindset was feeling that I can bring on my A game the next day.

Sunday early morning, we got a text that my boss/leader had to go to the hospital for an existing health condition. My head swirled a bit as I hopped off my bed. I was the speaker today, my leader is not around, the utensils will be half gone, oh my…

I rushed my Sunday morning self-prep for church and dashed to the kitchen for all the pots and pans and ingredients for the lesson and message. Not to mention I also had a dance rehearsal before Sunday School with my girls dance group and my co-leader and I were meant to be doing their masks for the dance.

I could feel my heart rate pumping as I drove to church, I could feel the tears welling but I didn’t know why. My car was playing me Kpop songs about ‘happy endings’ that shouldn’t be playing, so irrelevant, but I couldn’t reach my iPod to change the playlist.

I kept repeating to myself that everything was fine, that I will be okay. I regretted the lack of devotions I should be doing during the holidays instead of burying myself in work. If only you did those, read the devotion books instead of the daily verses from the app. You wouldn’t feel this way.

I unloaded my pots and pans, got to my kids church area, I saw my friends. Everything will be okay. Then I realize I left my phone in the car and ran back to retrieve it.

On the way back, it came, I could not catch my breathe and I could my heart pounding. Not Good. fear fear fear and my anxiety attack was back. The toilet. It was the only place I knew that was safe since a child, these things can come and go there without anybody knowing it happened.

There have been occasions during these moments where once I’m in the toilet, I do not come out, it can be hours. It can’t happen, not this time.

Nobody ever knows about what happens to me during a nervous breakdown/crazy attack. It’s one of those terrible weaknesses I feel ashamed of, like I wasn’t strong enough to carry on and suck it up. Of all days, on the day I had to preach about the Holy Spirit, it comes.

I had to tell someone or else the day would be worse than expected. For the first time, I texted, I texted for help. Help came and help came with prayer and I felt God telling me that it’s okay to let it out beyond the toilet cubicle.

Yesterday I gave a message about the gift of the Holy Spirit and how it gave me courage. Yesterday it gave me the courage to step out of that toilet cubicle.

The Holy Spirit knows what to do. Trust. Faith. Guidance. He provides all that.

The cubicle is no longer my sanctuary.

 

Bionic babies

Lets’ talk about egg freezing, mainly because I’ve completed 2/3 assignments due this week and I’m feeling good.

Egg freezing.

What?

So basically taking those single eggs that will ripen one at a time for every month in the next 40+ years of our lives ever since the age of puberty. If unfertilized, gushing of the blood from the lady parts will happen, also known as the period or the ladies best friend.

Females have all our eggs God-given to us, all few hundred thousands of them, since the day of our birth. Yes, God already planned the birth of our children on the day of our births… how crazy is that? So why freeze them eggs when we have plenty and going to get one every month for the next 40 years (till menopause)? Well, studies have shown that apparently, we have an ideal period of time where the eggs that

Well, studies have shown that apparently, we have an ideal period of time where the eggs that pop out of the ovum are “ideal”, yea I know… it’s like smarter babies or something, eggs fertilized after that ideal period will be deemed “terrible”.

Okay, not that bad, but those babies will have higher risks of abnormal birth or diseases in the future.

Hence, the desperation of women to get pregnant before the age of 36, the desperation to get married before 30, if they want a lot of kids, and the desperation to find their soulmate before another ideal age which I can’t keep up with.

I had a catch up with my high school friends last week and one of them was telling me how her sister’s firm was sponsoring the freezing of eggs of their female employees, what? wow. Talk about company benefits right there, that’s incredibly generous of them… I mean bionic babies are not cheap.

Bionic babies are expensive babies, they are risky and can cost more than a Ferarri, yes a big fat nice luxury car, imagine that speed and joy you can have (if you like those things). I guess to some die-hard wannabe parents, babies will provide the same speed (chasing around) and joy (laughter), hence worth the same cost of money. I’ve personally known parents who’ve undergone the bionic method (IVF) method and failed.

I’ve personally known parents who’ve undergone the bionic method (IVF) method and failed. They were loaded, but the loss of a potential child, 3 times, was too much for the mother, she quit her job and fell into depression.

Bionic test-tube or natural, the fertilization of a sperm and egg is life.
This could honestly lead on to another pro-life debate which I’m keen… next post! 

I’m not gonna lie but I’ve honestly considered freezing my eggs before, I mean I’m shedding all these God-given eggs every month, why can’t I keep them? They’re gonna be wasted!! They are life too! Aren’t they? They are potential babies! Potential children! Potential life! Why can’t I freeze them?

I remembered openly voicing my opinions on this topic during family gatherings, only to be met with disapproving faces. I come from a multi-faith background, so Christian, Buddhist, Muslim and Atheist uncles and aunties are present, all disapproved.

No Way!

“Not a natural way of having babies, not good, bad luck to the babies.”

My reason for this is due to the environment we are now in, the strong emphasis of having a career in a woman instead of motherhood, this sense of female empowerment and all that feminism. Women in current society want to be a force to reckon with, we want equality, we want the same respect we deserve in the workplace, be that strong lady that God have created us to be.

If you’re telling me biblically women are meant to be in the household…
snubbing
go read your bible again. There are strong God-fearing women in the bible and they are a force to be reckon with… so shush.

But motherhood, will it get in the way? Society certainly thinks it will, hence the company perks of freezing the eggs of employees. 35 years of age is prime time in the commercial world, you either make it or break it, and motherhood can be a dealbreaker (I mean 9 months of carrying, plus those hormonal changes).

I know there’s been many pro-life groups and Christian lobbyist strongly against this idea, against the Godly way of procreation.

Honestly, I am on the fence with this. Bionic babies have brought joy to many families, if it was cruelty and unethical, there wouldn’t be such a growing market for such a technology and treatment.

What is your opinion?

p/s: my 3 years in a science degree has not been wasted, I still have a deep passion for science… deep deep down. Science and Law. Much nerd, Level Asian.

 

New tunes, new season of happy

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in this site (actually I did, I have a couple of serious drafts still in process), so this is a less serious… lighter note.. check in to say hi post.

There’s heaps that went on over the past month since my last post. Good and the bad, as always, God wants to keep a balance in our learning curves. The good comes as a reward for overcoming those bad challenges (in my perspective).

Bad points first. I fell incredibly sick on easter break, got myself a horrible eye infection which made my left eye swell and throb double its size. Still has a scar and occasional awkward creasing here and there but it’s healing so praise God! However that whole episode made me so preoccupied of wanting to heal everything faster made me slack behind in uni work, so technically right now, I shouldn’t be here but continue one trying to finish my assignments.

Good points. I have to say, so many I can’t begin. My eye swelling is gone so I’m incredibly happy. I am leading a girls dance group (for like primary aged girls)! We haven’t started yet but I am so excited!! Probably more than I should be. This wasn’t the original reaction I gave when I was first told to do it, in fact I must admit I probably gave a pretty reluctant face. But going home and sleeping on the idea and falling back on my childhood dreams of being a dance teacher one day, I’ve come to embrace this whole idea, in fact I’m pretty darn excited.

Next, new music. ohmygosh. New music. Despite my sick week, I managed to sneak in a night at the Planetshakers conference last week and God blessed my ears with some amazing music that my soul can just cry out to Him everyday with them, no joke. It’s not just Planetshakers but I managed to encounter some pretty some pretty sweet sounds a few weeks before when procrastinating on Youtube (Bethel Musiccccccccccc).

Anyway here are those sweet links that will be too selfish of me not to share!


so gooooooooood


listening to this takes me to a magical place I can just go to heaven


I feel so empowered after listening to this… it makes me feel like I can do anything (I can)

So I should get back to what I’m meant to be doing, being the good student I should be.

I should add, I’m back to some fasting too. First one was a success so second round here we go 🙂

I promise after this assignment I’ll be back with more posts and music and shindigs.

Leaders Retreat

12 years ago, a shy 9 year old girl stepped into Sunday School for the first time, she learnt about God and the love He had for her. She knew He was almighty but there was always a sense of timidity and fear in her heart that were barriers to her courage.

Fast forward a few more years, she was still shy. Mingling with people were never her strongest trait, people never really approached her but little did she know it was the barrier she created that repelled the friendships she could have made. The barrier made her hate the people in church, she felt the world was against her and the church was an enemy… she couldn’t accept the fact that God and the church came together. She loved God but the church could never be her friend and she couldn’t be friends with the church.

Yesterday, I returned from a church leaders retreat. I was laying in bed on the first night of the retreat thinking to myself… oh my gosh I’m a leader in a church. Even though I’ve been at the church for 2 years now, I still have moments like these that makes me feel gobsmacked at my current position. Though it makes me uneasy as I get flashbacks of the mistakes I’ve made, it made me also realized how far I’ve come, from the little shy girl I used to be.

It wasn’t and instant transformation and I still have struggles with the barriers I’ve made for myself. The barriers I made for myself made me feel safe, the concept of “sharing” in church (as in the forms of telling stories about your life) still daunted me… ironically I own a blog. I’m not that enthusiastic worship or youth leader who hops around people questioning the lives of people and exposing their own. I was a kids leader who was there to facilitate and inspire young lives the way God did for me, in more of a background work sort of way.

We were in groups in one of the sessions where we were told to go around in a circle for prayer requests. It came to my turn and my mind went blank despite being in this position for about a 100 times in the past couple of years since coming back to church. “Pass” I said, as people went around the circle for backache and shoulder pain healing requests.

All of a sudden as the prayer circle started, one of the older members interrupted and pointed to me, “I don’t really know your name, but God tells me that He wants you to learn how to trust in him, trust in the Lord with all your heart and He’ll make your paths straight.” I’ve heard that Proverbs verse many times, my favourite one of all time in fact. I do trust Him… but why do I need to be reminded? Sometimes reminders to me is a reminder to myself that I’m incapable of reminding myself stuff, which annoys me.

Prayers continued on for the girl with no prayer requests and then, a second elderly member said, “I have a vision for you, a vision of an upward spiral, it’s not an easy road that God will take you, but if you trust His ways, you will always head upwards.” Not that I didn’t already know that I’m taking the tough route in my life, another reminder that my life is… hard.

But it’s these hardships and tests that God builds me to take me to higher places. As much as I occasionally still beat up myself with those mistakes I’ve made in those flashbacks, they happened for a reason. I don’t know many of them yet but I only know it is God’s will and part of His plan. It took years to beat some of those barriers down but I felt some of it being knocked down as the group prayed for me, it took seconds.

A normal person who finds out that life ain’t gonna be easy would probably beat themselves up even more, a normal person who sees their peers moving on into the next phase of their lives while she stays back for another 5 years to attempt to new course will feel ashamed, a normal person who sees a crush being taken away by a close friend will be heartbroken.I feel at peace, surprisingly.

I feel at peace, surprisingly but not. I have never been more excited for a season so unconventional to the way I was brought up to believe, a season that was meant to be daunting for me. But the comfort of knowing that my buddy Jesus is gonna be next to me in this upward spiral gives me that peace and hope, knowing everything will be okay and maybe even better.

Lord, you made that terribly timid girl a leader, You must have seen things I couldn’t see and even now, it sometimes still seems a blur to me.. whatever the reason was or is. But, I am still your daughter and love you the same as I always did despite the times I’ve rebelled. You’ve been merciful and still give me the things I have today. I trust you with all my heart and am excited for this new adventure we’re going together because you’ve always been the best teammate I could ever ask for in life. We are on this upward adrenaline filled spiral of life that will take us places. Let’s go!

Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon

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Never had I been so intrigued and amazed at warfare until visiting Cu Chi Tunnels. Not the blood and death part, but the survival of the soldiers and the perseverance they had during the war. The Vietcong… are just brutal bad ass people in both good and a bad way but I am mindblown just by everything from that visit.

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Mekong

By far some of the best food I’ve eaten on the trip. It was just that bomb of a sweet ball that I tried, pretty much the highlight of that place. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera along to the river due to safety reasons…

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Oh temple visits too..IMG_3871

Saigon

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Apparently Angelina Jolie ate here. Authentic food.

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In Secret

Just a little background music of my current fav worship song while you read

As you know.. I’ve been fasting. And struggling… with fasting.

Fasting is suppose to come with prayer. Which I admit, was only consistent for only the first 3 days. Then the hunger started to kick in and each time it did, I get edgy and moody and tend to sleep earlier or more. My tolerance level went lower for everything and my mood for studying just went down. My brother thinks I’m crazy to pick the exam period as a time of fasting, so does my dad.. and maybe you.

I’ve been avoiding meet ups with friends at night as they come with food. I know we’re suppose to fast in silence and keep in a secret as God is the only one who is supposed to know, but I didn’t want my friends to think I was starving so I told them anyway, on Day 2. Thankfully… somehow, either they have memory issues or it was meant to be, they forgot that I was fasting again and they were offering me popcorn during movie night the very next day. That was the last time I was out at night. No more.

Sunday came, I was off-duty for kids church due to my exams (such a kind boss). I honestly had this temptation to wag church since I didn’t need to be there anyway (for duty calls). But something didn’t seem right if I skipped, which was obviously due to the fasting, so I went anyway.

The message was “Don’t Stop Rowing“, by one of our church elders. Telling us the importance of spending alone time with God and I quote..

Jesus spends some time alone with God and so must I

He emphasised alone. I thought to myself, that’s easy… I love being alone and I always and love praying alone anyway. He was telling us basically that prayer meets and groups were not enough. I subconsciously thought this was something aimed towards the more extroverted part of the congregation.

I went home. Next minute for devotions… I got the same message on ODJ about Saving SolitudeCoincidence much?

I felt like it should be something to blog about. But morning came and I got distracted with stuff and went shopping with mum and lunch with my friend. I decided to scroll on Instagram and then…

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WHO’S WATCHING | How many times have we given to the needy or practiced a random act of kindness without status updating it on Facebook? How often do we sit alone at church and spend time with God, secretly hoping that your pastor walks in and sees you? Could it be that we don’t believe that God is watching when we give to the needy and that He isn’t listening when we pray hence seeking the validation of man for our good deeds? When Jesus teaches us how to pray, the first thing He mentions is to go into our rooms and shut the door. It’s not easy to sit in an empty room and pray if you don’t believe that God is present and listening. However if we truly do believe that He is, we wouldn’t feel the need for our prayer times to be noticed by people for we are only robbing ourselves of God’s reward, far greater than the reward of man. Pray in secret and receive God’s reward in full today. #sundaysermon #heartbeatchurch #matthew6vs6 #dailydevotions #oneonetime

A photo posted by Sonia Lee (@thesonilee) on Nov 1, 2015 at 10:29pm PST

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Okay…

God is definitely trying to tell me something.

Yes I do pray alone. Very good at that and I absolutely suck at group prayer. But..

I’m not praying enough

At this moment of fasting, I should be praying more than I should be. I was fasting and praying for a purpose, I should be consistent. My physical hunger should also represent my spiritual hunger and be filled by the spirit. I shouldn’t be venting on others and blaming my moods on hunger, it’s like a direct blame towards God. When clearly… me.

I know if you’re a non-believer you must believe I’m crazy as. This girl must be fasting as a disguise for dieting. I do admit though, I stepped on the scales and it did drop in the first few days but it’s climbing back up again (honestly no idea why). I shouldn’t be focussed on the scales and it was never my intention in the first place, my intention was to find my purpose in life. Which I have yet to find.

God will satisfy this hunger I have. He will lead me and guide me. Jesus did it for 40 days. I am a daughter of Christ and with Him by my side, I can too.