Jan 20, 2018

My God is my rock...even when I don't feel like it

I've never had such a tough time in my life before. Starting off completely new at work, I started getting quite stressed and feeling overwhelmed at the amount of stuff I didn't know how to do. Across the past few months, the stress just kept building up..my brain would still be thinking about work during my sleep, and work became the first thing I thought of when I woke up. I worried over the nitty gritty details of every single thing, and I became miserable because I couldn't do well. Then it all got to the point that...my muscles got tense and my heart raced during my sleep..it tortured me so much that I wanted to quit and go home. The thing is, during these stressful months, I still read the Bible and there were many verses to remind me what's most important and of God's promises:

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died,and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:2-3

"And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2 Cor 5:15 

"For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies." Psalm 108:4 

"..but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!" Psalm 32:10-11

I have found that the Psalms have been so apt in a time like this:
"The troubles of my heart have multiplied, free me from my anguish" Psalm 25:17

And yet, I found that I wasn't able to follow what God's word said, I didn't have the ability to obey, and I feel so weak..It made me cry out to God that "I'm a wretch, but thank you for your grace of saving me through Christ." This situation exposed my heart that I don't really trust God to take care of me..and that I don't actually know him enough to trust Him? It also made me realize how scary it is to be in a mentally bad state. I feel okay currently but I don't know if it will creep back onto me again. But when I was breaking down, it was the worst feeling ever and everyday felt SO difficult, I just wanted to quit it all. 

I don't think I've actually overcome this whole thing or the root of the problem. But I guess God is my anchor even when I feel like I'm drowning in my sea.

One good thing that I admit has come out of this is that I will be able to empathize better with people I meet in the future who face stress or struggle with anxiety, instead of JUST saying "Don't worry" "You're thinking too much" "Just take it easy, chill" (I'm not saying these are bad things to say) because sometimes words don't help much if your brain has gone haywire. 

I thank God for my friends and family and church family who have been so supportive and caring in this time, listening to my rants and being so patient with me, remembered me in their prayers, sympathizing with me and not just leaving me on my own. 

I thought of writing this post because I accidentally saw my post before starting training which ended with:
I will go back to the UK in a few weeks to do my pre-registration year. Hopefully all will be well. May I always cling to my Christ even when work gets busy. And that I will always refocus on what is most important. And may He lead me to where He wants me to be and make His desires mine.
The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Clueless as to what lies ahead, but, Jesus goes with me!

Do you want to hear something sad?

Do you want to hear something sad?
Yesterday evening, I was hungry after work. I went to Tescos. I bought a packet of 4 hot cross buns. As I walked home, I tried to rip open the packaging but it was really difficult. I pulled hard at it, it finally gave way and 3 hot cross buns flew out and dropped onto the pavement. I threw them away. 

Do you want to hear something happy?
Yesterday evening, I was hungry after work. I went to Tescos. I had a hot cross bun. 

Jul 26, 2017

Looking back, looking ahead

I'm back in Kuching!

I've graduated from Optometry now and it's good to be home after the last time I came home (1.5 years ago). Now is the time to reflect again as I type and to regain my posture before moving ahead.

Thanks be to God again, for the opportunity I had to be sponsored to study in Manchester. From a human point of view, it was a great chance to 'gain better education, exposure and experience overseas' but God obviously thinks beyond that! I ended up in a church that teaches the Bible so faithfully. God's plan also included making me more like Jesus, loving Him more, and having the opportunities to share the best Gift and Person you can ever know with friends. God also placed friends in my time in Manchester who are already a blessing and will continue to be a blessing to me throughout my life. Also, Christians from church have showed such wonderful hospitality and sacrificial love that can only come from the knowledge of God's love for them (because there is no human logical reason to give in a way that brings inconvenience to yourself). I think Christians in church have inspired me to:
1. Open up and welcome uni/college students into my home next time (with food as students need to be fed), because what Christians have done for me have made Manchester a home away from home
2.  Be committed to serving Christ and His church (people) and not be distracted by the daily 9-5 work as I've seen committed Christians who have very busy Mon-Fri jobs
3. More that I cannot think of on top of my head

I've been resting and chilling back home. Went back to Sibu to visit Ah Ma and Gu Gu for a week, which was really nice (according to Angeline's terms) because I could chill at home everyday and read Mountain Rain (biography of missionary James Fraser) and chat with Ah Ma, go out occasionally..

And spent time with Pa and Mummy..

Caught up with friends..:)

I will go back to the UK in a few weeks to do my pre-registration year. Hopefully all will be well. May I always cling to my Christ even when work gets busy. And that I will always refocus on what is most important. And may He lead me to where He wants me to be and make His desires mine.

The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Clueless as to what lies ahead, but, Jesus goes with me!

Apr 30, 2017

What difference Jesus makes to me

I grew up in a Christian family, but during college, I started asking questions like "How do so know if Jesus really died and came back to life?" "Can I trust the Bible?" "Why must Jesus die so I can be forgiven?" "Why do I even need forgiveness?"  Finding out the answers to these questions and reading the Bible regularly for myself deepened my understanding of what I already did believe since young.

Taking Jesus and his words seriously meant serious change in my life, especially in the way I think of..everything. I see a lot in myself that definitely doesn't come from my own will. I've always been stressed by academic performance since young, but Jesus' words in the Bible made me realise the infinite weight of eternity and how my life must not be defined by my grades, job security, money, relationships etc. I still fall into the trap of worrying, but I know I'm safe in God's arms and I don't have to worry about my life. 

Jesus has also changed the way I treat other people. My natural instinct is to be self-centred and only care about people I like, but how I treat others now is always challenged by the question:" If Jesus who is the boss of my life loved this person so much that he would give his life on that painful cross, how should I treat him/her?" 

Everything changes because I know that I don'tt deserve His love for me in the first place, and yet I have true life, which Jesus says is knowing God, given to me unconditionally and is guaranteed forever.  

Apr 16, 2017

Easter 2017

One of the things in my mental Easter to-do list is to make a blog update but I feel like this is gonna be a quick one! I'm just trying to dump some of the highlights of the term (realised that the last post was on 3rd Year Sem 1).

And every blog post of mine seem to say: TIME FLIES! I can't believe the 2nd semester (and final semester at university of my life) is almost over! I'm currently on my 3-week Easter break, then we have 2 weeks of lectures, then practical exams, 3 papers, and I'm officially done with uni. It feels surreal because I remember thinking as a kid: "I'm not prepared for uni, it's for grown ups, how am I gonna survive" and now it's almost coming to an end. 

Jan: This was after one of the papers in Jan, featuring the mirror in the toilet of Sackville St Building
Jan: Students Bible Student Weekend Away at Quinta Hall (as usual) in Shropshire! This marked my last weekend away with Platt. 

Feb: EyeBall 2017, went for the sake of going because it's my last one, yeah was alright!
Pictures pictures pictures

Feb: It was CONVINCED 2017!! 
Donald Ye Ye, still so involved in student gospel work especially in prayer after decades because he himself came to know Jesus through the Christian Union at university!
CONVINCED has got to be one of the major highlights of my university life here, because you get lots of Christian students from 4 different universities and different church backgrounds, uniting in the same desire to give our friends on campus the opportunity to hear and respond to what Jesus said/did. And a week that is powered by prayer every early morning. Then you see strangers off the streets, friends of Christians coming along to events where the good news of Jesus is proclaimed! What better thing than to introduce our friends to the only Person who changes our whole lives for eternity!?
Feb CNY: Aunty Ruth (hospitable as always) opened up her house for us to invite our friends for a CNY Hotpot, where Amber also shared her story of how she became a Christian. FOOD FOOD FOOD!!
March: Went to the Cat Cafe with Lucy my cat friend

March: Cat Bakewell came to visit, and we caught up after 2.5 years of not seeing each other ever since the MCKL days! It was awesome to encourage each other in Christ

SBS Group 10!
Optom Group 8: Aidan, Mark, Shin Yi, Penny, Maria, Fahim, Me, Jit Ming, Maheen, Pui Yee, Lawrence, Qayyum. This was during our last ever clinic- FIT!
March: Right at the beginning of Easter break, I went to visit Charis in Dundee! It was spontaneously planned, and was great, could catch up with her, know her Dentistry gang, see Dundee and know that my teeth is a Class 2 Division !

After that, I was just studying + chilling in Manchester. Am 'pacing myself well' this Easter as I'm treasuring my last moments in Manchester as a student. 
Ruth Givan drove Tricia and I to Quarry Bank Mill!

Platt Fields, photo credit to Ally

Platt Fields, photo credit to Ally
Angeline and Ally being funny. LOVE SPRING
14 April: I decided to go for a dinner event in London with the newly elected Sarawak CM Abang Jo. Before the event, I walked from Euston station to Little Venice, then to the venue. (2 hours total! So say hi to sore legs now.) 

Little Venice-ish area

April: Lan Berambeh with Abang Jo and a room FULL of Sarawakians
The event was interesting, I had no regrets deciding to go for it (which also included an adventure of running home after arriving at Manchester Piccadilly station early and realising I brought the wrong railcard, then after going back to the station, explained to the staff and she let me on the next train which I wasn't meant to be on. Thank God. It was a day of experiencing mercy. Plus it was Good Friday).

Abang Jo talked about his plans for developing Sarawak and they all sound good, so my prayer is that God will bless his plans and his leadership over Sarawak. The event in general also made me love Sarawak a lot more and does put the desire in me to serve in Sarawak in the future. But God, lead me where you want me to be, and let me have Your desire.

The trip also brought along a rare opportunity to catch up with Alicia my Arang senior! To our knowledge, we're the only ones from Arang who are in the UK so it was indeed a rare chance to be able to talk to someone about Arang-related things. And both of us were pointing out the fact that we're so grateful to be given the opportunity to study in the UK!

I'm also thankful that God slowly changes my priorities and mindsets--my heart. This year I find myself less stressed about work and more His-Kingdom-conscious. Have to keep reminding myself of what matters most in the end and whether my decisions are made in the light of eternity. 

Jesus, this Easter Saturday, I remind myself again of how You've poured out yourself for us wretches who do not deserve anything from you. We deserve God's wrath and yet you took all the world's wrongs on yourself on that Good Friday- you call it good because it was victory on the cross. Thank you that you paid the price I can't ever pay. Thank you that your coming back to life from the dead means we have a hope that is unfading and lasts forever. See you face-to-face next time. :)

"Though you have not seen him you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:9

I'm going home in 2 months, by then it would have been 1.5 years that I haven't been home! Kuching!!!

Jan 4, 2017

December 2016

Just a quick update on what's been going on in the past month because I'm taking a break tonight from studying (in fact almost forgot to write this post, was watching NASA space videos just now instead, the one of the lady explaining how they live in the space station is so cool!)

So Term 1 of Year 3 ended on 16th December. To be honest, any more than that and I would have been so exhausted by university. It has been physically and mentally very exhausting. But God has been good and I have enjoyed the term, I just really needed a break ahahah.

Then 30 of us from the course went off on Sunday for a trip to Johnson&Johnson's The Vision Care Institute down south. We had a night of hotel stay (the few of us girls spent the night playing Politiko and taking crazy backward videos), then a day of workshops at the institute.

I then followed Piriyanga home in Ilford, near London. I loved spending time with her family and really enjoyed their hospitality.

Home cooked & tapao-ed food! Aunty told Piriyanga's uncle that she had a friend around, so he made extra apam (bottom left and top right) for me to try some! I did like it, especially the milk one! Apparently it's putumayam in Malaysia)

The lovely Piriyanga, coursemate and friend, thank you for being a great host and for bringing me around
We went into London to just walk around and enjoy the Christmas lights. Compiled a little video summing up our London day trip!

Tamil love on a plate :)
 To be honest, I would say I enjoyed spending time with Piriyanga's family in the house more than going into London for pretty Christmas lights but I guess that's me (or maybe I just didn't like being in the cold). I enjoy 'people' more than 'place'.

Leaving Piriyanga's home (so she can study without being distracted by me :P), I went to Uckfield to visit the store I'm doing my pre-reg next year at. The colleagues at the store are lovely, am again thankful for that.

Took a train to London (to take a train to Manchester). Had a few hours so spare, so I rang up Joey Chee whom I haven't met for 2 years since leaving MCKL and we had a quick Chinese dinner/catch up at Chop Chop (which was surprisingly Cheap Cheap too, but Chee Chee told me the reason why) near King's Cross.
The Joey Chee. Thanks for meeting up even though you had lots of revision to catch up with
(actually you won't even see this because you probably don't know I have a blog)
So, technically, after the term ended, I was still on the go for 5 more days or so before getting back to Manchester again. The day after I arrived Manchester,  I met up with Su Jane and Charis (I haven't met this girl for 2 years too!!)
It was so nice to catch up with these two beloved sisters in Christ :)

On Christmas day, I went for Christmas service at church, and sat with 2 Chinese students Kevin and Bing who were visiting for the first time, We then went to the Matholes' and they hosted us for their Christmas meal! Thank God for their love shown through their acts of service. Their kids were lovely too!

Donald Ye Ye asked me to bring a few friends over to his place over on Boxing Day too, so I brought TWO other Chinese friends to meet him.
...AND TOOK A PICTURE YAYYYY I have a picture with Donald Ye Ye (Yay Yay?)!
I studied with Pui Yee for most of the next few days at the Learning Commons..

Then I caught a cold so I was sick over the last day of the year and the first day of the year. But I think it was my body shouting at me to get some rest. It also made me talk more to God and pray for family and friends which I might not have done if I was well and busy trying to revise.

I was reading an article on meditating (focusing of mind, not emptying of mind) on God's word and I realise that I have been swallowing but not chewing on God's word. I have been rushing and not savouring my time with Him. When I haven't been fed well with His words, it made me fall into the pit of worrying once again for the future etc.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

And the only person at loss when I don't feed myself with His words is--me. Because I worry instead of claiming and experiencing the joy and peace that is given freely to me in Christ.

Read Philippians 1 just now and did have a few things to ask God for. A love for Him that abounds more and more, boldness, to take charge of ME, to make my life worthy of Jesus' good news, to stand firm with my Christian brothers and sisters, and to be the 1st place in my heart above pride, money, success, wanting a comfortable life..

And how my heart is so prone to wander (Edit: Just realised I said the same thing in 2 recent other posts too, just proves a point innit). God is so faithful even when I'm unfaithful.

Then I happened to read this:
Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' Luke 15:3-6

A reminder of how God chases, relentlessly, those of us who are lost.

Okay those were a whole bunch of random musings thrown into the mix of updates.

I'm still such a workaholic even though I think I'm a lot better compared to last year. Like, tonight because I'm not studying, somewhere in the back of my mind I'm thinking to myself whether I will regret not studying tonight. But I think I will be fine so I shouldn't worry so much.

It was nice to give random calls to Ajia, Mummy, Gugu + Ah Ma in the midst of studying too (because the future me would've wished I did things like that instead of just study, so hey, I think I have a good balance already).

Well, nice to have a litttttttlle break before exams start in 17 Jan. To be fair, this is much less stressful than term time so I should embrace it!