Thursday, March 27, 2008


Today marks the completion of our family's second year in our "new house," the spacious parsonage within our church's new building. We moved in with all our boxes and books exactly two years ago, and this place has been our home since then.

It's been two memorable years, two years that have changed so much about me.

Today is also the first anniversary of this blog...a year of heralding echoes of His love. It's been one year I won't easily forget.

From the introduction of high-speed internet to the possession of my own room at last, so many things in this apartment have changed my lifestyle. It gave me many new challenges, such as hosting church activities or keeping house in my parents' absence. It witnessed many material additions, such as my beloved laptop, or a foosball set in the middle of the living room.

It's been a churchful of memories, from dedication to demographics to discipline. There was the first time I sang at a wedding. There was the production of an all-original musical. There was the cocktail birthday party we made for my grandfather.

It's been a houseful of memories too, with so many firsts. There was the first time we siblings were left all alone for a week. There was the first time a guy intentionally "visited" me (against my permission, at that). There was the first time I coordinated an online camp meeting. There was the first time I took my SAT exams. There was the first time I converted my room to an all-girls' dressing room. There was the first time I literally cried myself to sleep over heartaches.

Then there is also this blog.

It's been a year of varying encounters and emotions. Rejection from the university of my choice, my brother's hospitalization, the dramatic growth of our church, the heart-rending incidents of church well as various reflections and piercing personal lessons on ministry, friendship, faith, and humility.

This blog has recorded them all.

I began this blog one year ago, under the influence of a friend. Yet today, this blog has proved to be far more than just a spur of the moment idea, but a committed ministry and personal desire. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to maintain this blog, given the changes looming ahead and transpiring today. Yet I do know that every day, every smile and tear is an echo of His love.

Some echoes sound hollow and cold; some sound familiar and warm. They're all echoes nonetheless. God speaks first, then there are echoes. God is the one who walks upon my life to leave His imprints.

Today was an anniversary of two things, two years which feel as if they included almost half of everything significant in my life so far. This post is nothing more than a memorandum for remembering the occasion. Yet even that does not lessen the work He has done, or is doing.

May He mold me even further, one year upon another.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

When God Whispers

God sometimes speaks directly through His inspired Word, sometimes through the lips or writings of others. I've been taught by wonderful people throughout my life, and I've also been told before that God encouraged or reprimanded others through me. I guess it's always been happening. Yet some things have gotten particularly poignant for me in the last two weeks.

God speaks when He chooses to speak, often using people to do so. It may be a harsh word, or it may be a gentle whisper. It often comes from people as imperfect as could be, yet still, He speaks.

He's been whispering so much to me, and unexpectedly, through me.

When I was beginning to wonder if my poems and compositions were becoming merely rhythmic rantings of personal frustrations, several readers were humble enough to tell me that those heartfelt utters were just what they needed to hear.

Just when I felt I had no right to guide other Christians any more, after messing up myself so, God gave me opportunities to encourage younger friends to avoid the pitfalls I have seen or experienced. Just when obeying God in interpersonal matters seems like the hardest thing in the world, He opened my eyes to see so many faithful friends around me still, caring and praying for me every single day.

And when, for one reason or another, I became more discouraged than I had ever been about preserving my heart until the right time for one who would desire it, deserve it, and earn it with a pure and undivided heart of his own...I received an e-mail from someone I have never met, an e-mail which tearily put me on the right track once more, reminding me that my heart is in His hands.

Some whispers were not as pleasant.

When I met a church member that I haven't seen for years, he told me he had been reading my blog...only to add in an unsympathetic tone, "You are just too melodramatic. It's not that bad."

That hurt, but it was the truth. God does not want me to wallow in self-pity. Seeing His imprints in my life was one thing, indulging in sentimentality was another. He wants me to do more than just dramatize my life. He calls me to shine for Him.

So many whispers in so little time...

And when I began my personal study on II Corinthians, He whispered: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God...(for all that) was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God."

He whispers love, He whispers discipline, He whispers grace.
He whispers so much, when we are sensitive, weak, and obedient enough to hear him.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Idolatrous I

In a blog, there are easy posts to write, posts written during moments of exuberance. There are difficult posts, posts that reveal my weaknesses. Yet the most challenging posts, are those written in the midst of struggles, pouring from sane mind battling with hurting heart and confused soul.

During such times, it seems natural to blame external factors for the heaviness within. Yet I know that's not what God wants from me. This might just be one of those most challenging posts, a post without answers. Yet we'll see what God does with it.

As the title suggests, I've been having private battles with idolatry. People wonder when I say that. Aren’t I one of the most blessed Christians they know? Granted the fact that idols may not always be material ones, isn't my life filled only with good things? From whence come the struggles?

Quoting C.S. Lewis, "There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him. And the higher and mightier it is in the natural order, the more demoniac it will be if it rebels...the false religion of lust is baser than the false religion of mother-love or patriotism or art; but lust is less likely to be made into a religion."

Maybe my life isn’t beset by desires and practices clearly contrary to God's Word, but there are plenty of "good things" that are harmful in their rebellion. This family, these ministries, these wonderful friends...all these things that are "higher and mightier in the natural order"...they might just make my downfall.

For the past few months, I've been pretentious to almost everyone. I pretended to be just moody to my family, feigned strength to my friends, and exhibited unusually gleeful appearances at church. Yet inside of me, there was pain, confusion, and remoteness from God.

I appeared okay, but I was far from okay. No longer was God the determinant in my life. Although I obeyed Him and sought His will, although I remained faithful in my ministries, my life and heart were not under His control. The measure of my well-being was dependent upon other factors, not upon Him.

I was in idolatry. I was idolizing my ministerial accomplishments, I was idolizing "harmless" pleasures, and most of all, I was idolizing what position I held in others' hearts.

God called me back, with pain, and with things that offended my pride unlike others ever did. God called me back by showing how those “good things” had gone bad.

I did try to return to God, theoretically. Yet all the while, I was obstinately clinging on to the things that I wanted, the way I wanted them to be...I didn't want to let go of the "good things” that had come between me and God, since I denied that they did.

Last week, I gave it up. I don’t want to wait until God destroys those things altogether. I want to be near His heart again now.

I gave it up, I let go. It hurts, and it requires discipline daily. Yet I know it’s for the better. I don’t want further harm done. I want freedom to live my life the way God wants it…and He’ll decide whether those “good things” would return, and when they return.

There is an undeniable sting. It’s never easy to live without “good things” that have become part of my life. Yet at the same time, there is a peace within me. It’s the knowledge that I’m at peace with God. It’s the overwhelming comfort that I am once again an unarmed child in His hands, praying, “Lord, into Your hands I commit my heart.”

I know this post will betray me to many people. There are different readers… those who will think if I’ve been hiding anything from them, those who will be disturbed that there’s something wrong with the sweet wenslyn picture in their minds, those who will wonder if it had anything to do with them, those who will think less of me because of this.

I don’t want to think about that now. My pride shouldn’t matter.

Friends, please look around you. Be thankful for the good things in your life, yet never let them shatter your other priorities and callings. These things may be undeniably good and noble, but they might still hold misplaced value in your life, or the way you treat them might be wrong. I speak, I write, I weep from experience.

Now, I don’t have answers. I’m still slowly returning to Him. I just hope that this lesson stays with me better after this…and perhaps with those around me.