I believe for most of that one year, God had been molding our character and unity as a couple. And He still is.
We learnt to be independent from our parents and at the same time, to be depended on God together; instilling steel into the back bone of our marriage.
Not everything has been ‘and-they-lived-happily-ever-after’ though. We do have our crazy moments where we fall from lovers to enemies in an instant; from hugging to strangling each other. Haha…
For most parts of those moments, they primarily stemmed from our differences in personality, gender traits and personal habits. For instance, I’m the outgoing and adventurous sort while my wife is more reserved and safe.
So you can imagine how we can unknowingly or knowingly unnerve each other. That’s explosive couple-discovery! Haha…
Fun as it may seems but there’s no doubt that marriage is hard work. There are loads of loving and forgiving to do each day on top of the practical challenges that need to be tackled.
Nonetheless, I give thanks for an awesome first year (and the latter years ahead) of marriage. Indeed, God is good!
Besides the opportunity to present gifts to my family and friends, it was also a time of expressing appreciation for their involvement in my life.
This year was also special because I spent it with my wife. Our first Christmas together.
However, nothing excites me more than knowing that members of my family or friends leaping in faith to embrace Christ into their lives.
This year, my sister-in-law finally received Christ and including my eldest niece. This has been an answered prayer not only for me, but for my brother too.
Much credit to the Children Church ministry of City Harvest Church. Their volunteers have been relentless and faithful in caring for my nieces for the past year.
I believe their love and service had greatly influenced my brother and his wife into attending church regularly and inching closer to God.
Beautiful are the souls of those who avail themselves to be vessels of God’s love. And all for His glory!
Over the weekend, one of my uncles, Danny passed away. He was 58.
His sudden death caught most of us off guard as he had a heart attack that took his life in the next hour.
None of us had the chance to see and talk to him for the last time. And that was sad.
If anything, it served as a good reminder to cherish every moment with my loved ones when they’re around me.
At least I can take some comfort that my last memories with him were over a few laughs that we briefly exchanged early this year.
Since young, my late uncle Danny had been my favourite uncle. I guess I liked him because he was fun-loving and had this ‘bad boy’ image.
Now he’s gone. He’ll be missed.
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” ~ Abraham Lincoln.
My recent trip to Perth with my family was an answered prayer.
It was a fabulous and much needed platform for our family to bond.
And especially since we have never spent that much time together for more than 15 years.
Loving my family
Personally, this trip revealed more of my self-centredness.
Being in close proximity with my family helped me in measuring my level of love for them.
So I am grateful that the more than one week together in turn provided the opportunities for me to increase my love towards my family members by serving them.
And being the eldest of my siblings, I think had not much of a choice lar… Ha ha…
Proud of my family
Given our family’s past background and that of my two brothers having families of their own, the trip thrusted us into a situation where we had to be one BIG family.
But of cos, in such a situation, it could have either break us or make us.
And I’m relieved and thankful to declare that we made it as a family by His grace! Ha ha ha…
Lastly, if I could give thanks for one takeaway from this trip, it would be how it has allowed me know my family members better and appreciate them even more.
For instance, I was able to witness how my two younger brothers played their roles as a husband and father to their own families.
This has helped me developed a new found respect and love for them. As their elder brother, I’m really proud of them!
In the midst of this month, I have attended two funerals.
The first funeral was a friend who died in an unfortunate and tragic accident (see inserted picture).
The other was my step-grandma who passed away because of old age. She lived a full 86 years.
I believe we have been through enough funerals to observe that one of the important things that we leave behind when we depart from earth are memories.
Leaving behind memories
Memories are the traces of marks that are left behind from the encounters and experiences that family and friends accumulate with the person while still alived.
Ideally, these memories should be pleasant for others to remember fondly.
The truth about this observation is that people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Therefore, how we relate and treat people around us matter more than what we know or say to them.
For instance, I may not be able to recall what my primary school teachers taught me more than 20 years ago, but I have impressions of them from how they related with me as their student.
Making that difference each day
So what am I saying?
Resolute to deposit lasting memories to those around us by treating them with love and respect; little acts of kindness to others will go a long way in making an impact and leaving a legacy.
The small daily differences we make towards others, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
Right after that funeral service, my dad and decided to catch a movie.
Our first moving outing
Honestly, I can’t recall when was the last time I watched a movie with my dad.
I believe it was our first which made our movie outing a memorable experience for both of us.
Apart from that, it was also made memorable because of the movie. We watched Slumdog Millionaire.
I hardly ever write reviews on the movies I watched. But because this movie was really good, I will share briefly on it.
Using a unique story structure and scenes weaved around a Mumbai teen, Jamal who finds answers towards his quest in winning “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” from various encounters growing up in the slums.
What I truly appreciated about this movie was the honest presentation of the poverish state of the Mumbai slums. The movie gets under the skin of the city on every imaginable level.
Personally, it showed how low man could stoop in order to climb out of poverty in a dog-eat-dog world. Instead of rejoicing that Jamal was finally reuniting with his childhood love, I was left burdensome on our fallen state.
I strongly recommend this dazzling movie in getting a good glimpse of our real world under the bondage of sin and poverty.
One of the highlights for me during this Christmas period was an interesting conversation that I had with my eldest niece, Jacqueline.
We were at the Christmas Rock event by City Harvest Children’s Church. And this unfolded towards the closing moments.
Jesus is God
“Who is Jesus?”
“Jesus is God.” (me shrieking with glee).
“Oh… so Jesus is like xxxxx.” (she mentioned one Chinese god name which I couldn’t catch)
“Yes, but Jesus is the real (true and living) God and He LOVES you!”
This exchange was going on in Mandarin and I did my best to explain with my limited vocab.
Making theology simple
Shortly after listening to the pastor’s message, she turned to me again and asked, “How come God the Father and Jesus is the same?“
I replied, “Well, its like you and daddy. Both of you are different persons but share the same surname. Likewise, God the Father and Jesus though they are different persons but they are also the same.”
Explaining the theology to a 7-year old can be really challenging. I was not even sure if I replied correctly, but those were the words that was put in my mouth to answer.
Nonetheless, I thank God that my niece’s heart has been spiritually awakened. I pray that those ‘seeds’ of truth will one day bear the fruits of her salvation in Christ.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day.
If anyone were to ask me how I would describe my relationship with my mother, I would just say that it is a love-hate relationship.
Far from perfect relationship
Eight years ago before moving back in, I could tell you that there were 20 six inches thick and solid concrete slabs between my mother and me.
We rarely communicated and the only time we managed to communicate was during a heated exchanged.
This hostility is accumulated over the years with a family that lacks intimacy, and disappointments incurred. But in spite of this, somehow in our hearts we knew we shared this unspoken love for each other.
Learning to love and forgive
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility
By the grace of God, through many “trials and errors” with more exchanges after I had moved back, the 20 slabs of concrete has been reduced to 8 slabs now.
At least now, we are able to carry a decent conversation without raising our voices. Ha ha…
I believe God has been teaching me to love more by forgiving more through this process. And He still is.
Making her day
Recently, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that being a testimony also begins at home, just as it matters in the marketplace.
I have to admit it is a tall order for me and especially being a man where expressing feelings and showing love doesn’t come that natural.
But I guess I need to have faith and obey by being more deliberate when I am home to share my life more with my mother.
And I know the breakthrough will come for us when I would be able to say, “I love you” without hesitance.
I think that would sure make her day rite? =p
Picture taken proudly with my healthy and handsome new-born nephew, Tristan and his sister, Jaime on 11 April 2008.