35

Fast-Fifty-Number-35

September 3, 01:45 pm.

At this time, 35 years ago, I was born.

It has been thirty-five years God entrusted me with this life and as always, I can never thank Him enough; no words can ever cover even the slightest of the incandescent happiness I feel.

Funny thing is, some people think I turned 25 today, others 28, a few 30. No one went for the big 3-5 – except for my family who definitely already know my exact age. I believe it’s not because of make-up, since I ever so rarely wear them, but because God is with me and His joy overflows in my heart, and that I am very grateful for the life I’m living.

I am grateful for too many things…

I’m alive and breathing

I’m healthy

I’m happy

I have a job

There’s a Starbucks near where I live, just 10 minutes walking distance (oh I definitely count this as a blessing!)

…and many, many, many more.

These last few years  I’ve been trying to appreciate what I have more than getting stressed about what I don’t have; learning to say more of, “Thank you Jesus for…” rather than, “If only I had…”

Thank you Jesus for everything.

Thank you Jesus…for me.

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalm 139:14 / King James Version (KJV)

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Unconditional Love

Go ahead and drive the nails in My hands
Laugh at me where you stand
Go ahead and say it isn’t Me
The day will come that you will see

‘Cause I’ll rise again
There ain’t no power on earth that’ll keep me down
Yes, I’ll rise again
Death can’t keep Me in the ground

Go ahead and mock My name
My love for you is still the same
Go ahead and bury Me
But very soon, I’ll be free

Because I’ll rise again
There ain’t no power on earth that’ll keep me down
Yes, I’ll rise again
Death can’t keep Me in the ground

Go ahead and say I’m dead and gone
But you will see that you were wrong
Go ahead and try to hide the Son
But all will see that I’m the One

Because I’ll come again
There ain’t no power on earth that’ll keep Me back
Yes, I’ll come again
Come to take My people back

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I just heard this song for the first time today on YouTube. I was actually looking for Salvador’s “David Danced”; after I found it and watched it, somehow my eyes were drawn to another video…and it was this one, “Rise Again”, by Salvador’s Nic Gonzales.

As you can see  from the lyrics above, this song is about Jesus saying these words to the people who crucified Him, mocked Him, who didn’t believe that He is the Son of God. Tears didn’t stop falling from my eyes from the beginning until the end of the song; Nic sang it beautifully and from the heart, and I felt God’s love throughout this song. This is a beautiful song, with a powerful message.

But the words that really got me was when Jesus said, “Go ahead…“. Imagine you were the Son of God, did absolutely nothing wrong and were sentenced to die on a cross. Don’t forget those painful whips, that crown of thorns and those non-stop mockings thrown at you loud and clear.  What would you do? Let me tell you what I would do. If I was the Son of God and had to endure all those things, I would’ve come down from that cross and make sure those people suffer slowly to Kingdom come. (Sorry, I’m just being honest)

Yet here Jesus said, “Go ahead…” – which means He literally let those people do whatever; mock Him, torture Him, crucify Him, bury Him.

And they did.

Even then Jesus said, “My love for you is still the same.

Society tells us, when someone hurts us, we shouldn’t be nice to them and when someone gave us hell, we should never forgive them, let alone love them. But Jesus did neither. He didn’t have an attitude towards the people who hurt Him and He forgave them for all the painful, cruel and disturbing things they did to Him. I CANNOT fathom THAT. I seriously cannot. But I’m glad He showed them what love really means.

Personally, I can’t imagine after all the awful things I did in the past which hurt Him and were definitely rebellious against Him, He still loves me just the same. Already have teary-eyed just writing that last sentence. It is most definitely a privilege to be forgiven by a loving God, to be chosen to serve a living God and especially to be able to call Him “Father”.

No words can ever express my gratitude, but I know two words that define what both God the Father and Jesus have: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 / New International Version (NIV)

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Different? No Problem.

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”Polydactyly or polydactylism (from Greek πολύς (polys) “many” + δάκτυλος (daktylos) “finger”), also known as hyperdactyly, is a congenital physical anomaly in humans, dogs, and cats having supernumeraryfingers or toes.” – Wikipedia

That’s my feet you see up there. See my right foot? It has 6 toes instead of 5 aka Radial or Preaxial Polydactyly. It has been like that since I was born. I know many people who are ashamed of being polydactyl, but I can honestly say I’m not one of them – thanks to my big brother’s reaction when he saw my right foot for the first time; he was 3 and I was 2, and one day we were sitting with our legs stretched out, he saw and pointed to my right foot and screamed, “Mummy, Mummy, look at Ella! She can glue her toes together!!! I can’t, but SHE CAN!!!!!!!” Mum said he tried so hard to “glue” his toes, but of course he couldn’t.

Growing up, Mum would tell me that story whenever I was feeling down and it never failed to put a smile on my face. She said, “Oh I will never forget his face when he was screaming hysterically about it – as if you were a superhero or something! And you should see your face – my, my, you looked so proud!” Now combine that reaction with the words my parents instilled in me: it’s okay, it’s not something you should be ashamed of, it’s an extra gift from God because you are extra special in His eyes. An old family friend even said that it brought good luck to my family. So you know why I never feel ashamed of being polydactyl.

When I was little, some doctors suggested operation, but my parents declined, as long as it did not affect the way I walk. And I walk just fine. As I grew older, I also learned the medical facts and clinical studies about polydactyl. Nevertheless, nothing’s changed.

I know some people who have the same case, but they never wear sandals when they go outside because they don’t feel comfortable when people can see that their toes are “different”. Me? I wear sandals as much as I like. I couldn’t care less about people’s reactions.

I’m so, very blessed to have my brother’s reaction and my families’ support. But if you don’t have those, I just want to say:

1. God NEVER made mistakes. When He made you, He thought you were perfect. He still thinks so, you know.

2. If someone tells you you’re abnormal–a mutant even–NEVER let it get into you. If they just want to see you from the outside, it’s their loss for not knowing the awesomeness in you.

3. ENJOY your life. Being polydactyl is not the end of the world.

God made each person different, in and out. Thank Him for it. Can you imagine how BORING life would be if all men and all women looked the same or shaped the same way? Geez. Thank God He loves variety!

I’m aware that we can’t blind ourselves from the fact that some differences are shown, while some not. And I’m not against people who opt for operation to remove their extra finger or toe because it’s a personal choice and I respect that. But for those who don’t, I believe we should do our best to accept and live with it – in a positive way, of course.

God has a purpose for everything and He’s way too great for us to understand. All we have to do is trust Him. He knows best.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9 / New International Version (NIV)

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What Makes Me Beautiful

When I was little, I was a skinny girl. I started to gain weight in my mid 20s. It wasn’t because I found a new love of eating–I’ve always been fond of food–but it seemed like my body was naturally expanding by itself each time I ate. When I got to 30, I gained more weight.

A few family members, friends and an ex-boyfriend used to love to joke about my weight. At first I defended myself from whatever they said about me. But after a while I got tired and I thought maybe if I stay quiet then they’d finally pipe down and cut me some slack. I was wrong.

I’ve grown so tired of people commenting and joking about my body, sometimes I wish I could just disappear. I wanted them to stop mocking me because I don’t have a magazine-healthy body, let alone a supermodel-thin body. But much as I despite their remarks, they got into me without me even realizing it. I started to not care about what I wore or how I looked because people would mock me anyway. And every time I was in a public place and had to stand near a slim woman, I’d move further away and then stared at the ground or looked at something in the opposite direction of that woman. I equated beauty with being skinny and the word “beautiful” had become a total stranger to my ears.

Then I got to my lowest point when the thought of taking a glance at myself in the mirror hurt me. Ridiculous, I know. But it happened. One day, I was having an off day and talked to God about it while browsing, and accidentally clicked a video. It was One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”. At first I was like, “One Direction? Really, God???” But then I listened, really listened to the lyrics. Of all the words in that song, the first line captured me – “YOU’RE INSECURE, DON’T KNOW WHAT FOR”.

It was at that moment when I really felt God held me in His arms and asked me, “Beloved, why are you so insecure?” Then He continued, “My daughter, I created you. I do not make mistakes. I love you, even when you don’t love yourself.” I fell on my knees and I cried. I asked God to forgive me for hating the way I look and for not appreciating what He has given me – health to cherish, eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, tongue to taste, hands to hold, legs to walk, and so much more.

Since then I no longer heed people’s opinions and approvals of my body and how I look. I may never get my old shape back, but it doesn’t stress me anymore. God changed my heart and the way I look at myself.

Bottom line: God loves me and accepts me just the way I am and He created only one me – that’s what makes me beautiful.

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I’d love to share “Beautiful” by MercyMe to all the ladies out there – especially those who are insecure of the way they look. This song touched me, transformed me and strengthen me. I hope you will experience the same. Know that you ARE beautiful in God’s eyes and that’s what matters. Love yourself, ’cause “you’re the one He madly loves enough to die“!

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Happy Birthday, David!

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My one and only turned 36 today.

How time flies.

Earlier today, I tweet random things about him and me…

Him: extrovert. Me: introvert.

Him: Star Wars. Me: Lord of the Rings.

Him: forgetful. Me: historian.

Him: Asian cuisine. Me: European cuisine.

Him: too much like Mum. Me: way too much like Dad.

Then he replied, “Whoa, you got everything right so far! Hahaha!” But of course! I could go on forever with this…but, better stop.

We came from the same parents, same grandparents, same great-grandparents, but our characters are far from alike. Well, we do have common interests in being silly and perpetually tease people. But, other than that, we are so unlike each other – as you can see from that “him and me” tweets. But I do love that, it makes our family complete. We are enriched by each other because we’re different.

I thank God for my brother. Like his one and only sister, he’s not perfect. But I love him terribly and wouldn’t trade him for anything…unless Peter Jackson ask me to turn him in an asylum for me to get a part in “The Silmarillion”. Oh, of course I wouldn’t do that.

So, once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVID! I love you to the moon and back!

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” – Philippians 1:3 / New International Version (NIV)

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