SO TAKE ME BACK: Presence

How many times must I stop to be reminded of God’s presence?

Life throws me in a whirlwind sometimes. One moment it’s a calm sunny day the next you’re spinning in your head trying to figure out your thoughts.

I’ve been thinking why I feel these feelings, why I want certain things and why I’m not satisfied with my current situation. Perhaps it’s because my life has been changing: people that come and go, situations that are always changing and consequences to those things. I’ve been thinking how they affect me and how I must deal with it: How do I come out strong? How do I come out a champion? What can I learn from these experiences?

Today I learned from two people and then received encouragement from a few key people in my life.

T.D. Jakes, “Keep the Change”: ‘The process begins with understanding how relentless and tenacious we must be in order to prevail over the adversity we confront. There is a mind-set of the champion that gives him an edge. It is his refusal to accept average or ordinary that puts him in a place of unprecedented distinction. In fact, there is a discipline and training that forever positions the gladiator as the winner he has meant to be. Once he has been programmed to succeed, he will ultimately rise to his highest and best self because he has been trained to win, conditioned to prevail, and called to be a conqueror. He has been positioned to be a winner, and even if he loses everything, he has that nebulous, seemingly indefinable gift of landing on his feet in shoes with silver linings.’ [Reposition Yourself – T.D. Jakes]

Okay, Sarah. You are in training to come out a gladiator, to come out your best self, to win any situation you are given. That also means you can conquer feeling lonely.

Joyce Meyer, “A Vital Necessity”: ‘If our thoughts are going to affect what we become, then it should certainly be a priority that we think right thoughts.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

One of the best aids to freedom is asking God for a lot of help – and asking often. One of your weapons is prayer (asking). You can’t overcome your situation by determination alone.

Just as my physical life is dependent upon my vital signs, so my spiritual life is dependent upon spending regular, quality time with God…. Once I realized that right thinking is vital to victorious living, I got more serious about thinking about what I was thinking about, and choosing my thoughts carefully.’ [Battlefield of the Mind – Joyce Meyer]

“For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)

Okay, Sarah. You can’t do this alone, ask God for help. Think about what you are thinking about and choose carefully.

My friend/mentor Anouk always speaks life into me, she’s inspired me and planted so many seeds in me that are growing today. She reminded me this: All these things you’re facing is normal. It’s normal to want to be with someone but loneliness is different from finding someone to be with. Your source is God, people can give you happiness but your source of happiness comes from God. Loneliness is something you must work on through spending time with God.

Then I’m reminded yet again of God’s presence. How do I feel His presence? How do I know that He’s there?

If you were to ask me what my happiest memory is, one memory to pull out when I’m facing the hardest things in life, I go back to the beach where I’m lying down on the sand as a 5 year old girl next to my dad looking into the night sky. We sit there silent, next to each other, feeling like there’s nothing else in the world but him and I watching the stars shine.

This memory is so vital and so vivid because my dad showed me what the word ‘Presence’ means. When I look back with my imagination, I can literally feel my dad right next to me. I can see him, I can see the stars, I can feel the sand and I can feel the temperature of the cool night.

Fast forward to me grown up and facing the world on my own I now understand what it means to have God my Father next to me, what it feels like to remember that His ‘Presence’ is in my day to day life. I can close my eyes and I can see Him, I can trace His footsteps along the way in my whole day, I can feel Him walking with me, and I can feel His embrace.

I’m thankful. Thankful that God has given me such a beautiful memory of ‘Presence’. I’m thankful that today I had a great day by myself but realizing I wasn’t by myself. I’m thankful for the key people that spoke to me today. I’m thankful for my thoughts. I’m thankful for my situation. I’m thankful for the training, for the battle and for that which is keeping me in touch with Him. I’m thankful that while I’m facing hard situations I can see His Presence shining on all my circumstances. I’m thankful that He has filled me with joy and happiness in the midst of loneliness and in the midst of all this.

#presence #stop #source #memories #happiness #stargazing #sotakemeback

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PASSION

❤ I see a heart so strong and so tough. It has a healthy invisible shield around it so that even when obstacles as big as asteroids hit it they would only burn away. 

The source of this heart and the beating of it resounds so deeply it vibrates and ripples throughout because it beats for Christ. 

Each beating of her heart is powered by the love and grace of Christ and it is beating because of every drop of blood Christ bled for her. 

Her heart contracts as a muscle that’s been trained to be fit, to be firm and to be exercised daily. 

This heart of hers is vibrant, it’s genuine, it’s authentic and it’s kind. 

This heart is open to everyone she encounters and any situation she faces because it’s expectant to serve others. 

This heart does not sleep, it doesn’t stop beating for its calling and that calling is to bring glory to its master, its lord, its king of the most high. 

This heart never stops reciting the promises of God and the word of God which is for her. 

This heart burns passionately of all that God has for her. 

This heart is ON FIRE for Him. This heart beats steadily and confidently Every. Single. Second. Because this heart serves a Purpose: To love people, to love God and to love herself. 

This heart is my heart.

#passion #strongheart #purpose #heartbeat 

GOD SPEAKS

Me: Why God? Why? Why? Why?

God: Get Ready! Get Ready! Get Ready!

Patience and Temperance is something I’m still working on. We live in a world that demands immediate gratification and I totally see how my life has been catered to getting what I want when I want it. That’s what makes it so hard when it comes to even bigger blessings in my life. I almost assume that I’m supposed to receive the blessings right away or that something must be wrong with me.

But, as Joel A’Bell explained, we need to know the difference between what we want and what we need. Restrictions build character, builds temperance. God leads us in temperance.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors hand known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)

As many have reminded me, God is not a God of confusion! At the moment I desperately feel like I’m in need of some things in my life and every time I go and think about it I end up with the same conclusion, ‘Why is that something in my life not to desperately seek after Jesus?’

I hear God yelling at me, trying to ingrain His message of how much He loves me in my mind, my soul, my spirit. He’s shouting at me, “Sarah! Get ready! Stop worrying about the future! I have so much for you, but you must be ready when they come!”

What is He wanting to do in you right now, Sarah? So much! Growth, Independence, Confidence, Happiness, Never Alone, Faith, God is my Source, Love, Patience! The list goes on.

There are so many things He’s wanting to do in me at the present time that prepares me so much better for whatever that’s coming. But these things even prepares me to face situations I face now! I’m in fact so thankful that God has given me this revelation and that He’s the most patient teacher and the most patient Father. He is willing to take me slowly on this journey so that I can understand the process of seeing myself become someone beautiful and someone whole that He’s made me to be.

From T.D. Jakes book ‘Power for Living’ he says this:

“Why is the blessing delayed? Why must I wait?… Am I in the right place at the wrong time, or the wrong place at the right time? Lord, what’s up?

Why does not merely say “Give me an answer.” It’s a demand, an inquiry, a request that you talk with me, that you dialogue with me until I understand your thought process. It says, “Communicate with me until I understand your wisdom, until I know how to deduce for myself and determine in my mind the things that you have deciphered in your maturity. I know that I may appear to be inferior and my intellect may be less developed than yours, but explain the situation and break it down to my level of understanding that I might be able to determine the matter for myself. That way, when you’re not around, I can equate and come to a solution or conclusion on my own without the help of others. I need to think in a decisive manner for myself that I may learn to be independent.”

T.D. Jakes also says, ‘The biblical perspective of life is not one of unfulfilled dreams or unanswered prayers. The biblical, godly perspective of life is one of insight, direction, hope, fulfilled dreams, and visions. Just because the vision tarries doesn’t mean God has changed His mind or given up on you. It could very well mean that the timing or the situation is not right for God to get the ultimate glory and benefit out of your trusting in Him. Hold on to faith even in the midst of the battle.’ [Power for Living – T.D. Jakes]

Maybe you feel that you had dreams that God has taken away, maybe you feel that God just doesn’t have big plans for you. I’m here to tell you with my personal testimony that that’s not true! The bible tells us that God has given us promises, that he fulfills our dreams and our visions. God is a God of perfect timing, He is a God that blesses you every single day. What is something that He’s blessed you with today? Learning to appreciate the small things and the every day things widens up your lens to see the things you can only see through faith. The life that you’ve been given is one to live to the fullest, one that God is walking with you step by step to guide you into who He’s called you to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Can I encourage you to turn your focus to how much God loves you every single second of your life, to his presence in your life. He’s been with you the whole time. Every time you feel alone, ask him to embrace you, ask him to show you what is unseen. Every time you feel like giving up, think about what He’s doing in your life currently, He’s always doing something in you to get you to where you’re going.

Trust in Him as He guides you to your destiny, your purpose, your dreams. It’s not easy to walk on this path without faith. Great faith is needed to continue on this journey and you can do it by partnering with Him. Ask him to carry you as you walk the tough parts of life, ask Him to lift you up when you’re feeling down, praise Him for all that He’s done in your day, ask Him to encourage you and to show you how much He loves you.

I believe that it’s not just holding on to hope but that we have a responsibility to remind ourselves each time we stumble, of the things God has already shown us and the things He’s showing us right now.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love. For I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go. For you I entrust my life.” (Psalms 143:8)

PASSION

This passion more evidently took a big launch and started to grow more and more on my birthday last year. A passion that, as my dear friend encouraged me, ‘bursts with sparkles inside a bottle.’ One that longs for more of God and to seek Him earnestly. ‘When the enemy starts to shake the bottle trying to break it, the passion inside started shaking and all the light and sparkles burst out of the bottle.’

To be honest my life hasn’t always been smooth. In fact, if you want a big picture it’s more been sloppy slopes, sometimes mountains high and definitely valleys low. I’ve overcome a lot and that’s made me who I am today. I’m sure many of you can identify with me, I’ve struggled with identity, relationships, and with loneliness.

My journey thus far (& by the grace of God I’m still learning) has personally shown me that my identity is His masterpiece, there’s none greater than the relationship I have with Him, and that I am Never Alone.

You are God’s masterpiece

I used to think that I couldn’t fit in anywhere, that my physical appearance and inner identity couldn’t blend in with anyone. As a result, it’s given me the perception of never being able to measure up, not having the qualifications to talk to people who I thought didn’t accept me, and has made me ‘timid’.

Through series of revelations is how God keeps reminding me that I am His creation. He created me this way in order to reach a diverse group of people. My identity includes things like being an Asian woman growing up and educated in a Western world. But those things that used to make me feel timid is rather a strength because all these different parts that make up me can reach all these different spheres of people that not everyone else can. Without changing myself or ‘trying’ I possess an already existing influence. I can help so many, I can understand and relate to so many and I can encourage and edify an expansive group of people all over the world. How amazing is that?!

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21) 

I love this book ‘Anonymous’ by Alicia Britt Chole, it always encourages me when I’m at a place where I’m feeling low. She says in her book, “Within our souls, we possess a need to be valued and wanted, wondering what makes us special. But, only God can reach that place because He is the One who created that place… So let’s reposition our it-is-not-enough feelings behind God’s it-is-enough truth. We are the recipients of God’s attention and acceptance. What could the world actually add to that?”

Jesus has given me freedom, He died on the cross and rose again to tell me that I AM QUALIFIED, I AM VALUED, I AM HIS MASTERPIECE.

My Relationship with Jesus

I’ve had my fair share of relationships and none of them have been anything like what I have with Jesus. Yes you can say it’s different but it was a long journey for me to shift seeking love and attention from men to seeking the one who loves me with a love that none can compare.

On this rough journey I’ve had series after series of disappointment, sorrow and hurt but thankfully it has only taught me a huge lesson and pointed me towards learning my ‘Boundaries’. [A must read: Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend].

If I were to get a little bit more personal here… Since I was someone who lacked basically Any boundaries, I’d given others control over my feelings, attitudes, behaviours, choices and values. Instead of building my relationships on freedom – likewise to our relationship with Christ, I’d opened up ways for people to take advantage of me, to disrespect me and to cause a lot of hurt. This was my responsibility and sometimes without them even knowing, it was destroying the relationship.

Thankfully after learning about boundaries I’ve been able to develop healthier friendships, I’ve learned how to better guard my heart and how to prepare myself for the one God will bless me with in the future.

Did you know that you can have a relationship with Jesus? You can speak to him, ask Him to help you, to bring you joy, contentment, to take away your sorrows, your sickness, your troubles.

Jesus is your companion, your ever present help. The word of God says “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13) and “He leads you beside still waters, restores your soul,… and even when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death you won’t fear no evil.” (Psalm 23) You can have no fear in any given situation!

Never Alone

Loneliness is something that I know I must constantly overcome because God knows that He might have just shown me how much He’s constantly by my side and then I might just lie down and start thinking I’m all alone again. #single #thestruggleisreal Haha.

But thankfully discipline is one of my strengths and I’ve been learning to, as Pastor Bobbie says, take my own thinking cap off and put God’s thinking cap on. I believe that it’s not a season of waiting but a season of training me for what God is preparing for me. Loneliness doesn’t just go away once I get what I want, or once I get a husband or once I have people around me. Loneliness is something I must face head on and realize I can defeat it every time with a revelation of how it’s impossible to ever be alone. God is always with me, I am never alone.

I had a wonderful wonderful experience in New York where God literally, step by step, showed me I am Never Alone. Having it be my first time being in New York city and traveling by myself somewhere unfamiliar, I woke up and decided ‘today is going to be my chance to have a perfect date with God’.

From the outset, I never had a moment where I felt lonely or afraid and I even felt him caring for me and protecting me. I can’t believe I never realized how much easier my day could be if only I remembered that He was with me.

If you don’t know me, I’m a huge planner and huge on details and precision. I plan not only where I’m going but the experience I’m going to have. So, literally I plan which bus at which time and which road I’m going to walk on. (Crazy hey?) But somehow on this day where I chose to have a perfect date with God, I let go of all that planning and in came God’s perfect timing. I let Him lead me on the date I decided to go on with Him. He showed me a route full of emotions that brought me so close to him, so intimate and so loved.

Rather than taking the usual shuttle to the city, I managed to find a bus through random people that just decided to give me advice (probably angels that God sent, haha) that saved me a ton of money and immersed me in the local and the culture which I so fell in love with.

So the first stop I went to FDNY for a tour. When I got there, even though I called to make sure there was a tour, it had already started and what’s even more hilarious is that they didn’t tell me it was a tour for little children. Nevertheless, I felt God love on me so much. One of the firefighters approached me and had a great conversation with me. He gave me a personal session on fire safety and ended up asking me about my trip. He really cared for me and through that I felt it couldn’t be more obvious that God was telling me ‘My precious daughter, I care for you so much’.

This was my first experience of God’s perfect timing: I got there just in time to meet the fireman who even though was in the middle of a tour, had time to have a personal conversation with me.

Then I walk out of FDNY and tried to find my way to the next destination. I had a couple tours lined up but wasn’t sure how I was going to go about it since tours start at a certain time and have queues but I went ahead letting God guide me step by step.

I walk up to Radio City Music Hall to ask about the tour. My second experience of God’s perfect timing: They said to me, ‘come on in! the tour’s about to start in one minute’. Because I had a pass, even though there was a huge line, I got ushered in, got given a pass, and started the tour right away. The tour was fabulous, I was fascinated by all the details of the building, the history, the fancy, the luxurious, the creativity and the talent. But what resonated within me was God telling me how much he loves everyone just as much as he loves me. Everything might be so amazing but never as marvelous as His love for me.

This may be unbelievable but right after the tour I made my way to the Rockefeller centre to see if I can catch the tour there. God faithfully showed me once again his perfect timing: I get to the reception, they tell me ‘Yep, right this way’ and showed me to the man leading the tour. I have no idea how but again I was first to get in and without lining up the tour started. On the tour I was shown the richest of the rich, ceilings made of gold, beautiful stories of expensive art but God showed me that I am His creation, that I can dream big, that he has so much more to offer me and that all I needed to do was follow wherever He leads. I understood that God knows my past and He knows my future so all I needed to do was to prepare myself in the present.

Then I made my way to the 9/11 World Trade Centre Memorial Museum. There I deeply felt God share his emotions with me. I saw things that made me feel extremely sad, heartbroken to the brink of tears but I shared that moment with Him and felt him so intimately. He showed me how sad he was watching the people he loves pass away and when I felt how much God loves them I felt how much I love his people and how much he loves me.

Even now I find myself feeling lonely at times but that’s why we must constantly remind ourselves with the promises of God and be ready to change our thinking into God’s thinking because we are in fact never alone. God has so much love for us to experience, so much for you to appreciate, you have the ability to transform from feeling defeated to shouting out the victory of conquering something that was holding you back.

He says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Let’s not let anything cause us to think we should feel lonely because God is with you, He can help you, He can be your comfort, you only need to take the initiative to ask Him.

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Have you ever felt the need for someone to love you deeply and to know you completely? Can I tell you my story, of how Jesus was my answer to that question?