First time making a gif so after seeing these holiday pictures, i thought it would be fitting. Happy holidays!
Where would we be in a world without moms? Lately I’ve been having one of those “a-ha” moments where I can tangibly feel my love and respect increasing daily for my parents, especially my mom. How exactly it feels, I am inept to describe but it’s best explained by the aching sensation of all those neglected years of not seeing what I ought to see. And that is, how I possibly can misinterpreted all the thoughtful yet forceful guidance as nagging and often another bothersome life’s hurdles to jump over. How easily annoyed I get when she didn’t readily comply with my wishes. How I looked down on her for not knowing what I know (as if I’m the gatekeeper of knowledge or something). Stupid right? It troubles my heart greatly just thinking about all the negative thoughts that ran through my unfiltered mind.
There is no sense in beating myself up now. It can only change for the better. The source for this epiphany came from my recent trip to Vietnam. There, I stayed with my aunt. Countless stories were exchanged which sparked a curiosity that ignited my heart: What was my mother like when she was my age?
My aunt told one story of faithfulness and dedication that I’ll now share. At the time when the war broke out against the communist, my parents were engaged. Because my dad was higher in ranks, they imprisoned him for treason. The Fall of Saigon in ‘75 pretty much left everyone for dead that wasn’t in the communist party. Prisons in Vietnam were unlike prisons here in America. If you had no loved ones hiking up a journey to pay a visit or cannily slipping money to the prison guards, you were as good as dead. As often as she found the time, my mother would travel long distance, hiking in the mountainous terrain to give food and extra clothing for my pops. Pretty gusty for a girl who could’ve been raped or worse, killed. Everyone, including family members urged her to call off the engagement to save her from a tough life ahead. At the time, uncertainty was the demon that terrorized our family. They did not know when he would be released from prison, if at all. Many potential suitors from rich families asked her hand in marriage for the obviously reason that she was beautiful. Nonetheless, she remained loyal for not one, but 7 agonizing years. Being engaged was not a binding commitment. Everyone would understand from her situation if she were to call it off. There was no sense in wasting your precious 20s in waiting for the unknown. However, their love endured the test of time and during those 7 years of trial, they remained absolute loyal and dedicated to each other. I have so much respect for this woman. Who can possibly top this real life love story? Very few, if any.
She lived through so much life and I haven’t even been born yet. Over the years, many valuable life lessons were handed down to me. One of which I can recall clearly. I remember sitting at the dining table, just her and I, and the topic of the purity of a woman was thrown out there. How every woman should hold so tightly to her purity that it becomes the most precious gift when she finally finds a man that she would spend for the rest of her life. Purity should start from the inside which bleeds to the outside bc one could not contain it. She went on giving examples of how practically to live this out. Dressing modestly to not draw attention to oneself in certain areas, act graciously and with class, don’t cheapen yourself by throwing yourself at them, don’t get involved with boys at a tender age, etc. etc. to name a few. To not awaken love when it’s not time, to sum it up in a nutshell. We had countless conversions about this that it’s been engrained in my mind. At a young age, God has given me the wisdom to take this life lesson to heart. Perhaps this is why I guard my heart so protectively. It’s because I truly value her wisdom. My mother, if you knew her or lived with like I do, you would be floored by how Christ-like she is. How can a person who worships other idols have so many characteristics of the Almighty God? I can only think that it’s because of God’s grace on my family. She is so generous to the point that it annoys me. The term “giving sacrificially” comes to mind, one of which I am learning as we speak. A person who’s so much like Christ in certain aspect ought to KNOW Christ. And so, this has been my prayer request ever since I accepted Christ not too long ago. For my mom to know the love of Christ has for her in a personal way. To be so stunned by the love story that Jesus died for her that it makes waiting for my earthly father for 7 years fail in comparison. This is my deepest desire. To share the love of Christ to someone I love so immensely. Lord, I know this is Your will. So now let Your will be done!
You’re looking at the face that taught me things that I thought wasn’t in me. What makes my mom so special in my eyes? It’s just simply bc she’s MY mom (and Tran’s. and i guess Ryan now also).
*I private a lot of posts but since this is a first public post in months, my bad if it’s a little lengthy.
If you ever met me, you would think I was an extrovert — I preach, I lead praise, I talk to everyone, I talk too much, and you can hear me laughing from across the street — but I am a full-blooded introvert.
If it were up to me, I’d rather be in my boxers all day eating Godiva while…
When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone for the sake of the gospel? One of the lies that Satan has been using against me is that God prefers working with extroverted people; people whose good social skills thrive in pulling and winning nonbelievers over to Christ. Those who are not awkward at engaging in small talks and make developing new friendships seemingly effortless. Yup. That’s sooo not me. God wired me in a way that I get recharged when I’m away from people rather than from a crowd. I always thought the ideal evangelist is someone who’s a people person, an outgoing extrovert, a go-getter, etc. But lately, little by little, God is slowly crushing the lie. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are communal beings. He does not live in solitude but is in perfect community, therefore, his people, in his image, should follow suit. God doesn’t call us to be comfortable and go with the motion but he’s all about loving his people in a way that they can FEEL the love even at our expense. In the words of Francis Chan, nothing we do in this life will ever matter unless it’s about loving God and loving the people he has made. And so, despite my “introvertedness”, I need to be more inviting when it comes to people outside my circle. Been told that when I don’t smile, I look like a serial killer. Lovely.
So, to answer the question that I tossed out at the beginning: yes. I try to avoid awkward conversations at all cost, and so for me to ask someone on a coffee/dinner date that I only meet once or max. twice prior, well it’s kinda a big deal. But God kept telling me to be intentional. People need to know that they are wanted and sought after even if it’s only for friendship. For this reason, I have been reaching out to couple of girls from my church that I don’t know well to jump start this thing. And although meeting corporately provides encouragements to my brothers and sisters, of which I need to do more of, individual one on one meet up is where I will blossom. My prayer as of the beginning of the year is for God to unveil the blinders off my eyes and see the hurt people are carrying around. To go deeper with people rather than staying at the surface where it’s safe. I’ve come to a place where I accepted that this is my God-given personality and this too, is made in his image.
I might sound like a loony but for real, every time I style my hair a different way or decide to not wear make-up for the day, I feel unrecognizable and I like it. This is why, to my amazement, when people say hi and carry on about their usual conversation, I am so surprised bc in my mind, I had already magically morphed into a different person. Now I tested this theory out with the Sunday school kiddies several weeks ago. Either Renewal kids are super bright and they see within my soul or I’m delusional and look the same however which way i present myself. Im sure it’s the latter. My incognito mode wasn’t successful after all.
<and can I say, when the kids call me Miss. Ngan, my heart just melts into pieces>
Read somewhere that at birth, newborns have two natural fears
- fear of falling
- fear of loud noises
Hypothetically if this were true, that makes all other fears a derivative of our surrounding. Not for one second do I believe that God builds us to live in fear. I am not talking about rational fears regarding the fear of the Lord or escaping from danger but those imagined fears. Those fears that leave us crippled and limit our ability to unleashing maximum potential. For me, this is the fear of men, the fear of the unknown, and my personal beast, the what-ifs. Wonder where these fears stem from. From a certain angle I can justify that everyone has them and move on. Learn to live with it sort of way. But to a greater degree, (and this is me trying to strip it down to the core) it is because I don’t believe God is good to me. That he is not really on my side. He throws curveballs and watch how I swing. Is this true? Well obviously not if you ever read the bible.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
But for those fears to remain, it doesn’t sit well with me. Deep in my heart, on some sort of level, I do not trust that God knows what’s best for me. But for me to think that somehow I can outsmart him or know what fits my situation is ludicrous. There is a constant dialogue that goes on in my mind. Negative thoughts, negative thoughts, negatives thoughts. The Holy Spirit raging wars on my behalf and tackles it with Scriptures. I need to give myself at least a fighting chance and provide ammunitions. What are my ammunitions you wonder? glad you ask. It’s scripture memorization of course!!
And now I am totally going off tangent. But that’s the beauty of tumblr or any blogging sites: there’s no written codes. Let’s go back to those fears that have me at a choke hole shall we? There is a knowing that God is good. Even if he condemns the world to hell, he is still good. But I learn it solely from the standpoint of knowledge. On the flip side, I also have tasted how good he is on a personal level. But exactly how deep that level is probably child’s play. “Oh, he heals me, therefore he is good” “He allows me to have a job to pay off my mountain-high student debts, therefore he is good.” my bad, my thoughts are all scattered. Basically what I’m driving at here is perfect love casts out fears. Whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 4:18). You see, the one who KNOWS that he/she is being loved perfectly by God, JC, and the HS should have freedom to live life radically. To not be paralyzed by fear of failure, rejection, acceptance, the unknown, etc… I feel like this is me trying to reach the state of nirvana or something. But can one truly live out 1 John 4:18 on this side of eternity? I think the answer is yes but only by the sheer grace of God Almighty.
Paraphrasing/quotation from a Christian novel, The Shack by William P. Young (great read) :
Most birds were created to fly. If you clip a bird’s wings and remove it’s ability to fly, it loses its purpose. We are like birds in the sense that we were created to be loved. So for us to live as if we were unloved is a limitation. That is not what God intented. Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly. And if it’s left unresolved for very long, you can almost forget that you were ever created to fly in the first place. A bird is defined not by being grounded but by his ability to fly. Remember this, humans are defined not by their limitations, but by the intentions God has for them; not by what they seem to be, but by everything it means to be created in His image.
—Times Valentine's Day Version
"Father’s Love Letter"
You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
I am familiar with all your ways.
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
For you were made in my image.
In me you live and move and have your being.
For you are my offspring.
I knew you even before you were conceived.
I chose you when I planned creation.
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I knit you together in your mother’s womb.
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
I have been misrepresented
by those who don’t know me.
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
For I am the perfect father.
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
And I rejoice over you with singing.
I will never stop doing good to you.
For you are my treasured possession.
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
For it is I who gave you those desires.
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
And I’ll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
He is the exact representation of my being.
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
My question is…
Will you be my child?
I am waiting for you.
Love, Your Dad