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I wrote this to my daughter’s class teacher this morning.
I appreciate all the effort you put in to update us on the expectations of the school and the progress of our children.
May I offer some feedback as a parent. Both my child and I have found the year particularly burdensome in terms of expectation and amount of homework and assignments. There is hardly time left for us to relax and just be, and to have some good fun together without the burden of homework, assignments, spelling, oral and various class assessments and exams hovering over us constantly. When I come home from work, I really want to be able to enjoy my child but find it very difficult because there are bound to be some school related task to complete, be it to guide her in certain class assignments or helping her with her spelling, or preparation for oral assessment and various class assessments etc etc. Even art projects have become a chore. The list goes on and never ends. All of these have killed the joy in learning to a very large extent. Both of us get frustrated with each other when we realize we could not keep up with the demands and expectations of the school. I do not know how my child is internalizing all of these. Sometimes she seem to be able to shrug them off, sometimes she just accepts them as the way things are, sometimes she is able to rise above them but sometimes, more often than we like, both of us are exasperated to tears. I feel like an incompetent parent a lot of the time and I am not even the sort of parent who compares herself or her child with others. Neither does my child has any enrichment or tuition classes to further compete for time. This is just trying to keep up with the expectations and demands of the school alone and already we are both worn out. I really do not want my both of our lives to revolve around school. There is so much more in life that we want to enjoy but we are finding it increasingly difficult.
Please do not take this personally. I understand the school wants to provide the best education for the children and I appreciate that. Teachers have their own share of goals and demands to meet and a lot of you have the children’s interest at heart and I appreciate that too.
I don’t even know why I am saying all these. I just know I need to say them.
This is a continuation from Part 1.
- This is me recovering, following up on my previous comment.
April 30, 2010
“i am the person who wrote that depressing comment above. i just want to let you know i’ve recovered and i want to share this with everyone who has lost faith in the things of God. i had unknowingly allowed myself to become food for the devil. in recent years there has been a lot of outside criticism about my pastor and questioning of his gift of teaching. i was also very affected by a lot of believers attacking one another on the web (it is so depressing) and bad press in the local papers about certain churches and church figures here. it really stole my joy, confidence and hope in the things of God. 2 nights ago i heard one of the best sermons ever. God truly knows my heart and sent a word in season for me. i came out of the service feeling spotless, reborn and full of life and hope! i realize now that the body of Christ has been under attack and we must use our gift of exhortation to lift our brethren up. grace and peace to all of you, the united body of Christ!”
- This is me back in my element, writing in an email to my disciplers.
May 6, 2010
“….I noticed that as I start on this journey of seeking God and his leading, my original dilemma of not knowing my place in the world and in his kingdom just doesn’t seem so critical anymore. I have this feeling that hey, maybe this is what God wants from me right now, for this season, to just spend time seeking him and be immersed in him. It feels good, it feels right. In fact, dare I suggest that perhaps this is what our life’s purpose is – to seek Him and have communion with him. Plain and simple. Everything else… about knowing my calling and my dream etc, are but fruits of this main pursuit. They will ripen when the time comes. Just stay connected to Vine! I know you’ve probably heard it many times over (so have I) but I just can’t help getting excited all over again. I think it died off somewhere but now I am feeling that life again. Feeling like I am “back in my element” again, and with Kathy’s encouragement, I have started noticing people in a more personal way and ministering to them, just like old days. So I want to thank all of you for helping push me out of my “wallowing in the dust and self doubt” experience. May God send you his richest blessings, may his favor surrounds you and your ministry and may the light that you carry touch ever life that comes your way like it did mine.”
- Pray for your pastor and your church. When the enemy strikes the shepherd, he is not just targeting him, he is going after you and the rest of the flock.
- When you tear down another believer, you are making yourself the devil’s advocate. You are helping him accomplish his goal faster.
- Do not surround yourself with trash. Read enough to stay informed but do not feed yourself with trashy news, mindless gossips and camp around cynicism and negativity. If you do, you’ll feel dusty pretty soon.
- What to do when you find yourself dusty,
1st – stay away from trash
2nd – plunge yourself into God’s word. feed your spirit man with whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy.
3rd – keep company with people who edifies you.
- Seek God. Stay connected to the Vine. Your path will become clearer in due time.
- Step out in faith.
- Recommended resource: The Key to Holiness It teaches you how to stay dust free.
Since the beginning of this new year, I keep hearing of how people around me are moving on to greater things, or at least are making plans to do so. Some are taking risk and challenging themselves to try something different. Some want to retire in 10 years and are looking for ways to make that happen. Some have plans to upgrade themselves to maintain a competitive edge. Some are fired up by motivational-self-help books to get their life back on track. Suddenly I feel a certain panic. I am turning 38 in a few weeks and have accomplished nothing by society’s standards. “What about you, what are you going to do about it?” seems to scream at me just about now. I could feel a sense of rising panic and voices telling me to catch up when I heard another voice, “Guard your heart. Let not your heart be troubled”. That stopped me in my tracks. I do not want this to be a “reaction” motivated by the fear of loosing out. I certainly do not want to end up laddering on someone else’s dream. Whatever my calling is, it should not require me to compromise on what is uniquely me. The only way to make the most of this rude awakening was to invite God into the picture. And so I did, knowing that everything else that follows will be filtered through his wisdom and love.
At about the same time, Seth Barnes, whose blogs had spoken to me in the past came to mind. With his wealth of experience in discipling and his passion for helping people reach their destiny, there must be something he can offer to help me along in this journey. We got in touch and together with another lady, Patti, they got me started on my journey. I spent two days pouring through blogs Seth had written in the past about dreaming and destiny. I even found some gems in the comments others left in his blog. Noted down everything that stirred my spirit, not fully knowing what they mean for me or where they lead yet. Basically just thinking and asking questions along the way. These are what I’ve got so far. Seth are Patti are guiding me over email as we go along. If you are a friend and a believer, do pray that God will make the path clearer with each step that I make towards Him. Perhaps you find the following resonate with your spirit as well. If they do, why not start your own journey?
- God’s dreams – dreams that build God’s kingdom.
- Besides missions and ministry, what else builds God’s kingdom?
- Emily’s dream of being a Hollywood actress. How is that a kingdom dream? How do we who are already on a conventional career path make it a kingdom dream?
- Must we always give up the conventional path?
- We come alive doing what we’re created to do. What makes me alive?
- There must be God-room in every dream. If he doesn’t show up, the dream won’t happen.
- Get the dream right. HOW?
- A good idea is worth doing badly.
- Fear constricts our heart.
- What shapes our dream – world’s needs, our passion (heart), our plan (head), our skills (hand)
- Dreams become clearer as we pursuit different impulses.
- Is it ok if you don’t know what you’re called to do but feel like you’ve been called to so something? Because I am not sure, which makes me wonder if I’m answering the call.
- Do I feel like I am where I am supposed to be or do I feel like I’ve been called to do something else?
- What legacy would I leave behind? Who have I been influencing or ministering to? How have I touched lives?
- Impact and legacy starts with listening – to God, to people we serve, to people whom we are accountable.
- Greatness = dependence on God > takes risks > unpredictable
- Turn off the noise your my life and seek God whole heartedly.
- Greatness has little to do with your competence.
- Read Steven Covey’s 8th habit.
- What is Jesus asking you to do?
- To follow Jesus is to be available to do impossible things.
- He may take us to places that are deep but have some familiarity. Eg, a relationship that is familiar but feels impossible. Reaching out to them may feel like deep water to us.
- God may want to deal with your heart before he has you extend your heart to others.
- Examples of deep waters:
bad habits that eventually define who you are (eg. too critical, too negative, too withdrawn)
reaching out to people different from you
- God wants to eventually move us and trust us with greater challenges that build his kingdom.
- God gave you a heart and passion for a reason. He expects you to listen to your heart and do not dismiss your passions.
- What is the my heart’s cry? Can I trust my heart? How will I know if it’s truly free from self-interest, fear or my ego?
- We don’t just fall into our highest and best in life. We often have to meander a little at first, fight and take mad risk along the way.
- The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
- God knows the plans he has for us. When we truly open our hearts to Him, He has us covered no matter what his dream is for us.
- We need to surround ourselves with a community of people who trust in his work.
- Trust in God’s timing.
I had the wonderful privilege of listening to Pastor Ray Bevan speak last night. He is the senior pastor of Kings Church in Newport, UK. Such a funny and lovable guy that one. It turns out that prior to his ministry, he was a member of a professional pop-rock band which was managed by the same people that managed the Beatles. He is a small man but my….he is BIG on humor, life and God. I was thrown off my feet when he opened his mouth and sang (to God) a modified version of Rod Stewart’s, Have I Told You Lately. Ahh…that voice and the sincerity that came through converted me all over again. I hope he will sing it for us again when we all get to Heaven one day.
As wonderful as the opening was, the meaty part of the night was his message about a God of second chances. It continues to bewilder me how the right messages come together at a time when I need to hear them most. Here are some notes I have taken last night.
Title: Building with Burnt Stones: There is no Plan B (God only has Plan A) Plan A here refers to our destiny. We are the burnt stones. God builds his purpose and his church with people who has been burnt by life, people who has messed-up.
- Do not disqualify yourself because of your failures.
- It is what happens inside you that matters not your failures.
- God recycles failures.
- Our failure is not an issue to God. Our pride is.
- God can handle your honesty.
- Never confuse consequence with judgment.
- Consequences can be a good teacher. Accept them, learn from them but don’t be condemned by them
- When God deals with you about your failures, he always deals with you confidentially. Just you and God alone. You don’t have to worry about other people’s opinion.
- The most essential thing to know if you want to be a recycled stone is to never underestimate the power of mercy.
- God re-routes you to get you back to Plan A.
- Christianity would be very easy if it’s not for our humanity
- God knows it is awfully slippery out there. He knows our humanity.
Jesus asked his followers to leave everything for a season so they might learn to see with spiritual eyes. They went on a destabilizing journey that forced them to depend on God. Most of you have been on a journey like that of one sort or another………But there are other kinds of journeys that throw our lives out of balance and send us in God’s direction. The journey of divorce, the journey of unemployment, the journey of an extended illness. None are welcome, but God can use all of them to force us to depend on him……..I aspire to the kind of vision Paul describes in the first chapter of Ephesians: “your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what he is calling you to do…” But most of the time, I prefer the hazy vision that comes with a comfortable lifestyle. Most of us are comfort-seekers. We need something really important to pry us out of our recliners. – Seth Barnes
These were words in season for me. Honestly, I don’t think there will ever be a time when I don’t need to hear it. The entire post (which is really not that long) is worth reading. If you’re going though a time of change, this will encourage you to stay the course and look up! cos all is not lost. In fact, you might just become an even more brilliant star. <wink>
Life feels a lot like a learning field lately. It is uncommon, almost sacred. It feels like Jesus himself is walking beside me with hands draped lovingly and protectively around my confused little frame, gently asking questions and then nudging me to listen to that ancient wisdom I have grown to know, as I consider events and people and all that is unfolding in and around me. It feels like taking a walk through the museum of life with my mentor. Not that I purposed in my heart to mull over them. They just happen