Friday, October 21, 2016

grace and second chances

We're all essentially bad people. Broken and bad.

And that's why we need a saviour. Someone to redeem us from this deprave state.

But sometimes, we kind of keep things "under control" and we're able to keep our badness to a minimal so that people don't really see it. We sometimes even succeed in making people think, "she's good." Or worse still, we start to think of ourselves, "Hey, I'm not that bad, I must be kinda good."

But we're still essentially bad.

And then out of the blue, out of our controlled character, we do something bad. And everyone sees, and everyone knows. Because like I said, we are essentially - bad.

We say our million and one apologies, try to make things better, wish we could turn back time, regret it over and over again, cringe when we think about it, but nothing really erases what's been done or said.

And that's when the beauty of grace comes sweeping in. When we know we are bad and we do not deserve second chances, when we know we messed up and cannot save ourselves. God comes in. Comes in and gives grace, a second chance to live again.

This grace, did not just appear from thin air. It was given freely to us but at a great cost for the Giver. God, the Giver, gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die and pay for the due price of our sins that we may be redeemed from our wrongs. Clothing us in His righteousness, God now sees us as good.

And so, despite me being essentially bad and though as long as I'm here on earth, I am still imperfect, I am able to live because of His grace. That is why I try to live unto him, to be more and more like Christ, not because I want to hide my badness (I cannot), but because I understand what grace does. It saves me when I cannot save myself.

This doesn't mean I've got a "GET OUT OF JAIL FREE" card or that I can go on being bad. No, that would be contempt and pride towards God because remember, a price was paid. A price so great, we would not be able to bear it. It should have been me, but Christ took my place.

\\Reflections after Danum Valley (14-16 Oct).

Sunday, August 28, 2016

her room

She knocks on the door. No one answers. It's a place she's not been to for quite some time now. She turns the knob and the door creaks open. It's dark and musty smelling inside. "Hello?" she says. "Is anybody here?" She feels the wall for a switch, she remembers there was one for the lights, somewhere. 


And the room illuminates. Brightly lit, lights that shine. She sees rows and rows of shelves, full of files and folders of ideas. Bits and pieces here and there, some complete, most are not. She looks through some and smiles, remembering the events and experiences that inspired those pieces. She had forgotten so much but when she read, she remembered. 

She loved to write. Words were her favourite tool. Her weapon and instrument which she used to practice so often. She was not much of a speaker, her ideas took time to flow and form. Speakers usually speak before they think and their train of thoughts move fast and fleet. Hers was more of a million fragmented jewel pieces, that needed time to be put together. But when she finally did piece them together, she always felt satisfied with how they sparkled. 

She used to keep bits and pieces of jewels she found in this room. Collecting, polishing, and storing away in hopeful anticipation of using them one day. She used to come in here a few times a day, perusing the files in shelves and putting new things in. Sometimes, she brought her work out and showed it to people whom she loved,

However, as she grew older and went through different phases in life. She did not go to the room so often anymore. Sometimes the absence was for just a season and an inspiration would pull her back to the room to work on something. But as she began her job, she went there much lesser. She was tired, busy, caught up. She didn't have time and energy to visit the room. In the end, she stopped going there. 

Until one night, when she suddenly thought, "I loved to write. What happened?" She wondered  about the room and if her jewels were still there. And so she went back to the room, her room. 


And here she is, putting together another piece of fragmented jewels in hopes that she will not forget how much she loves to write. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


I just need a place to vent, a place to pause, reflect, express.

Gosh, I'm so tired. I think I'm at the brink of burn out and am just wanting to stay in bed and not get out of it. 

So, it's been almost 8 months here in Semporna. The place is not so new any more, the new teacher charm has worn off, the whole positive, "Yes, I'm here and I'm going to make a difference," demeanour has been fed a good spoonful of the reality that this is tough. Lots of times, I get caught up in the motions of things; wake up, work, come back, repeat. Bleh. That's not how life is meant to be.

There are times I get a little discouraged, figuring that I'm busy but not very purposeful here, I need to be purposeful to be effective. One night, I lay in bed and whispered, "God, I'm so sorry. I'm really not living out the purpose You have placed me here for. I'm sorry I'm failing you." :'(

And that's when I realized.. "Hey, it's not about me. It's never been about me. It's about God from beginning to the end. And so, I am here to reflect Christ. And I got to be intentional in doing so. When I am weak, He is strong. And His grace is sufficient for me."

I don't know why I'm struggling at this. Maybe it's my personality or a character flaw. But I'm not ready to give up. By the grace of God, I will be able to learn from this and I will become better at this. I will not lose sight of my purpose of being here in Semporna and I would not settle to the point that this job is just a paycheck. No. This job is about lives: many many maaaannnyyy lives. And I do want to make a difference, make it a little better for these lives. One life at a time.

Pause. Breathe, One Life at a Time. Play.