A Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for all the blessings and guidance you have given me. As I approach the next phrase of my life, I pray for more guidance with the coming decisions that I will have to make and that you would use it for your Glory.

Ryan

I Don’t Know

Dear God,

Today is my second day in Taiwan. But you already know that. Today I went up to the top of Taipei 101. But of course, you already know that. Today I bumbled along the narrow streets of Taipei on a bicycle, which I’m not at all confident in riding. But you already know that too. Today I got frustrated at how my friends were all sailing off into the distance while I struggled to keep my balance behind. And… Yeah you know what I’m going to type next.

Yes, today’s been quite an exciting day to write about, were this an ordinary blog. But this isn’t an ordinary blog. (we both know that). Today I saw the world as how You must see it: from high above, people going about their daily lives faaaar below me, each one inconsequential and indistinguishable from the next. Yet I know that’s not how you see us.

Know know know know know. For a word that’s supposed to bear so much certainty, it sure doesn’t seem so certain to me. I know that you’ve been there today, somewhere, somehow. I know that every grace I have comes from you. I know that you care and you love me. Or, well, I think I know. But for all this knowing, I sure don’t feel it. I’m as distant to you as I was to all those tiny people below me when I was 89 floors up.

I knew as I went into today that I was going to write a blog post. I also was pretty sure that there wouldn’t be much to link to you about. But I guess, that sums up my more recent faith life. Things happen, life goes on, interesting or not, but somehow I don’t know where you are anymore.

Yet still, I cling to some tiny string; I still wonder where you are; I still write my blogposts. So there’s some hope there.

But you already knew that, didn’t you? I wish I did.

Justin

“You do not know what you are asking.”

Dear God,

Hmm, this is ridiculous.

I have racked my brains but to no avail. I can’t really think of anything to say to you. Well, this might mean that we are such great buddies that you already know all that I have to share. I suspect, though, that we are quite estranged.

This morning, as I lumbered along to the MRT with little joy and lots of dread, I spotted a fellow community member! Usually, I would bounce up enthusiastically, full of thanksgiving for the community members you send my way. But today, I could not muster any cheerfulness to approach that logger. Whoops, missed out on your goodness and love there. I’ll try harder next time.

During lunch, I went for mass because I wanted to improve my disposition before writing this blogpost. But I got all caught up in your cryptic message. Jesus, you were characteristically blatant when you told James and John, “You do not know what you are asking.”

Clearly, where important life choices are concerned, desire is not sufficient. Prudence, self-knowledge and humility are as important huh. James and John had the desire to be close to you, but they had not the knowledge or ability to cope with the implications of being close to you. Similarly, I have the desire to do good in my life (as a lawyer, since you led me to law school). Yet, perhaps I lack the knowledge or ability to cope with the implications of being a lawyer. That would explain why I have been languishing through law school and work.

God, you didn’t warn me 5 years ago, “You do not know what you are asking.” Instead, you sent people to encourage me to read law; you set in my heart the desire to do good; you allowed me to believe in myself and in you. Now, why don’t you help me maintain that belief and confidence in myself and in you?

Anyway… dinner was wonderful. A nice quiet meal at home with family made a peaceful end to the day. Thank you, God. I even had time to read my storybook whilst returning home from a send-off at the airport. Thank you very much!

God, you should know that I’ve been feeling sorely unproductive and unfulfilled. Looking back at the past 12 months saddens me, for I realise how stagnant my soul has become. I don’t have much hope in you or in myself these days. People have more hope in me than I have in myself! Well of course I still cling to faith. I have faith that you have a Plan. I have faith that some day, I will discover your Plan. I just don’t really have great hopes in the goodness of your Plan.

With these thoughts, I’ll say, Good night God! Good night the world! Tomorrow will be a better day.

Hilda

500 miles with God

Dear God,

8.15 am – I miss you. I miss us. This dryness can be so suffocating even if it is interspersed with small moments of grace. I miss hearing you loud and clear. This morning was yet another one spent with the pray-as-you-go podcast but the words fell like stones on a desert plain. Plonk plonk plonk. I run through my mind as the music invites a time of reflection but ah, I don’t even remember the question. What’s up with my prayer life, Lord? I put on some Audrey Assad and as she sings “His eye is on the sparrow, I know He’s watching me”, Father I pray for the grace to be faithful to you even if this distance between us tells me otherwise.

12.30 pm – Jesus I thank you for this meal. Help me to be loving to my teacher and the people around me.

5.45 pm – I wonder if I should head for mass today. I’m lazy and after all, is there a point of going in this dryness? Has the Lord even been lazy to me? No.

6.25 pm – Fr Luke shares that today’s readings present two opposites – Heartwarming vs Heartbreaking. Two stories of hospitality and rejection. Which is life? Both, he answers. My heart tingles, his answer is all too familiar to me. Fr Luke shares that the Christian call is not to a life of success, comfort and constant consolation. God would be spoiling us if that were so. I think to myself, “Lord, I’m a kid who wants to be spoiled” Fr Luke continues that growth always entails an entering into pain, suffering and even death as God stretches our hearts to receive him and then to be more hospitable to the people searching for Him.

6.35 pm – It’s a simple message, one that you revealed parts of to me last Friday. But evidently, truth that my heart has yet to fully accept. Thank you for reminding me that in what seems like dryness, you are enlarging my heart for you. You are disciplining me not to be dependent on consolations. But Lord, I’m still a kid who wants to be spoilt so please be patient with me as I grow. I’m still gonna have my bratty moments.

8.15 pm – Mini victory in a sister’s life. Praise God!

10.30pm – Dear Jesus, thank you for your presence today. Help me surrender my expectations of consolation and how you might reveal yourself to me. Spirit, You’re a God of surprises, so open my eyes to recognise them in the new day. Amen

Jess

Offertory

Dear God,

Why can’t I give you my 1%?

I always told you, that I’ll start contributing to the collection when I started working. Surely not 2 dollars right. 10? 10 a week? That’s 40 dollars a month. GOSH THIS FEELS SO PAINFUL. But still I did take out that 10 dollars and chucked it in that green bag. Score some points? Maybe?

But still over the rest of Holy Week as they came around for collection. Did you know how bad and guilty I still felt? Maybe I should have dropped in 2 dollars at each moment (still’d be cheaper in the long run).

How much of my life am I giving you now God. I did ask you to call me and lead me and so I’d go. Sometimes I’d think it be better if you mark what I need to give up with like blood or smth. But then again, maybe I am not ready.

But today God, I ask this one thing, that you help me see all that you have given me. All 100% of it. All that you’ve given freely to me. Yeh, I think that’s a good place to start today.

Amen

Swee

A Day in the Life of Sarah

Dear God,

(: I had Phonics lesson with the children today. They learnt the letter M and tried forming sentences with one M words all by themselves like “My mummy make a muffin.”,  “I have a mummy who loves me very much.”, “The mountain is too hard to climb.”, “The moon is so bright.” Yayy! They are improving! 😀 Then we went to the playground. I tried to play with them but I got tired faster than them.

): In the afternoon, I overheard a conversation about getting new teachers in. But now, I am getting used to the children and they are starting to like me too. But I haven’t told the school yet. I’m scared to make the decision. I don’t like to make decisions. I don’t like to talk to you also.

 Sarah

Email to God

To: God
Cc: Mother Mary; All-Saints
Subject: [For God’s Understanding]: Review of Work Life vis-a-vis Other Aspects of Life

Dear God,

This email seeks God’s understanding of the struggles I face in this phase of life I have entered into and how I am striving to make amends to improve my overall lifestyle. Following up with the promptings You have given me, I have conducted a review of my work life vis-a-vis other aspects of life.

Aim

2.   This review seeks to uncover aspects of my life which need to be challenged and improved so as to achieve a more holy, holistic and healthy lifestyle (3Hs). To summarise, the following are the main objectives:

a) to have a life more centred on God (Holy);
b) to have a more balanced lifestyle (Holistic); and
c) to improve the state of my health so as to better function as Your child (Healthy).

Background

3.   I started my working life on 16 June, 2014. It has been 40 weeks. Presently, work has become a top priority in my life. Having to deal with 100-150 emails per day (non-peak period) and work 58 – 65 hours a week is by no means an easy task. Yet sometimes I question if much of this is due to personal choice. Work is different from studying as there is no definite end point – it keeps coming.

4.   It is therefore not sustainable to continue at the rate I am going. As such, either a drastic change or a gradual change in lifestyle is required. I am of the view that the latter is more feasible given the present pace I work at and the inertia to change.

Having a Life more Centred on God

5.   Due to the momentum of work I am mired in, I often push myself to go on and on, by my own strength, forgetting to turn to You. I do this in spite of the times when I do turn to You and find myself in a more peaceful state. As such, I need to constantly remind myself of how I should arrange my priorities in life.

6.   I shall use the analogy of the life of a tree juxtaposed with the life of a person. Does a tree have to photosynthesize so arduously that it fails to respire and withers? Likewise for man, does man have to work till he has no respite and burns out? For a tree, while God provides the vibrant rays of sunlight during the day, at night, the tree cannot photosynthesize in the absence of sunlight. But God’s rays are still existent, the tree can see it in the face of the moon. God is as present as ever, as He tells the tree to rest.

7.   It is the same for man. During the day, we have to draw strength from God to do the work we need to do. At night, there should be time set aside for rest and more importantly, to be with God, even if it just means having simple conversations with Him.

8.   I am reminded of the quote, “A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be, it is obeying God”. We are not so much defined by what we do but by who we are. So I should give Glory to God by being a child of God and not worry about the amount of work I do or the number of tasks I accomplish in my daily life.

9.   Naturally, striving to be a child of God would mean remembering God in what I do, like how a child yearns for his parents. As a result, things will flow and take their place. From being a child of God, I can learn to be more patient and kind at my workplace which should after all, be the Lord’s vineyard. We should not do work for the sake of it. We should do it because we are committing to God, as His children. This reminds me to examine the question, “Who am I committing to?” when I engage in all the “doing”.

Having a More Balanced Lifestyle

10.   Due to the number of hours I spend on work each week, my life is now work on weekdays and partially on the weekends, church on Sundays and some meeting of friends or recreation on Saturdays. Sometimes even church work adds to my already long to-do list. As such, if life is just doing and not being, life would simply be a responsibility and not life itself. I should take responsibility for my life and not live life as if it were just a responsibility.

11.   How does a tree live its life? Its life is not simply all about photosynthesis. There is respiration and transpiration as well. Likewise for man, we should live a balanced life. But man does not live on bread alone. We need spiritual nourishment from God too.

12.   Like how the rain, water and nutrients are needed for a tree to grow, we need God’s grace to grow. A tree grows and becomes more expansive to provide shelter to more animals and to bear more fruit. I need to re-look at what areas of my life I want growth in, in order to be holistically more “expansive”.

Improving the State of My Health

13.   At present, it is estimated that I fall sick once every quarter, whereby the severity of the sickness is such that I am unable to go to office to work. Although I used to be nocturnal (or more nocturnal), this does not suffice as an excuse for me to persist in sleeping late where unnecessary.

14.   Just like how a tree requires warmth or the correct temperature to function optimally, so do I need sufficient rest to be in a healthy state to function and to work. I need to remember that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and not to think it is some inhuman body that go do inhuman amounts of work with little rest. For someone disciplined at work, I am surely not disciplined in some other aspects of life. This is something to work on.

Follow-Up Actions

15.   In order to set things in motion, I have to take concrete actions to achieve the aims of this review. The fact that the financial year-end peak is coming has been considered (and not made use of as an excuse). These actions are shown in the following table:

Action Time Frame (to be achieved by)
To reduce work hours to 52-57 hours per week 6 Months
Spend more time in personal prayer and to rely more on God in daily work 2 Weeks – 1 Month
Engage in activities other than work and to ensure all church-related activities are not “work” to me 3 Weeks – 1 Month
To sleep at least 6 hours per day and a total of at least 43 hours a week. 1 Weeks – 3 Weeks

 

For God’s Mercy

16.   I have learnt that it is important to target the root cause of any issue in order to resolve it. As such, for my situation, I have identified 3 areas which I would like to seek God’s graces in overcoming. I would like to pray for:

a) Courage to overcome my stubbornness and to learn to rest where needed and to constantly draw Strength from God;
b) Humility to overcome my pride in thinking that I can handle all my work by myself and that in my ambitiousness, want to accomplish as much as I can; and
c) Wisdom to know what is the right thing to do in life, by God’s will.

17.   I also pray that my loved ones, friends, and people all around the world may in time, be open to having what is mentioned in 16a) – 16c) to grow and become more like a disciple of God

For Thanksgiving

18.   Yes, God, I remember to thank You. Sometimes I feel alone (when I do have time to feel for myself) as apart from the usual warnings I receive about pacing myself at work, I may feel that no one seems to truly understand me but You. So thank you God, for just being there. For You make me feel whole, by being God.

19.   Thank you God, for sending me people around me who care, to remind me of what is important in life. It is through them that I am reminded of Your love.

20.   Thank you God, for giving me the Strength so far and for keeping me safe. Without You, I would not be where I am today.

For God’s Understanding

21.   God’s understanding is sought regarding my current situation, the actions I strive to take and for the graces I need to overcome my weaknesses.

22.   For God’s understanding, please.

23.   Thank You.

Best Regards,

||Justin Kong|| Child of God|| Singapore|| Planet Earth||

My Conversion Experience

13 March 15
Dear God,

Somehow I only meet You in my journal at these retreats.

Lord, tonight I surrender to You my false self, my bitterness, my anger and my temptations. Today I am not who I want to be. I am frustrated at where I am, who I am, and that I cannot go beyond myself. I can’t make the transformation. I just know that there is something more in this life for me but it seems unattainable. Why this gap exists I do not know. How to close the distance I do not know. I know that I’m tired and I have lost hope. I wish to be renewed. Jesus, please place in me a new heart, a new spirit; a new life. I am not satisfied with my current life and I want to be made new. But I guess that’s only possible if I lay my old life down.

As I step into grace tonight I ask selfishly of that which I do not deserve: I ask for your love Lord. Conquer me, break me wide open, make me bare and naked where I cannot run and hide anymore. Take my hand and hold me. Strip me of my defenses and leave me weak and wanting of you. Reduce me to a child again Lord and let me cling to you. This is what I want from you Lord. And I ask for the grace to surrender all that holds me back. Show me your everlasting mercies. Fill my cup Lord, fill my jar.


14 March 15,

Dear God,

I lost my identity as your son. I lost my identity as a boyfriend and a partner and I gave in to the lies and deceit of the devil. So Lord Jesus, today I claim the healing and the forgiveness You have granted me through Your grace. By your wounds I have been restored to wholeness in You. Today, Jesus, I claim my identity that you have given me:

I am a Man of God who will serve You. I believe in chastity and purity. I believe in honesty. I will give myself fully to others. I will always put you first in my relationship. I will entrust the struggles of my relationship to You and You only. I may not understand, but You do, Lord. I will support and care for her because You loved me, Lord. I will bring truth and light into this my relationship, no matter how tough, Lord. This relationship is meant for You Lord. It will complete us and not alienate us.


15 March 15,

Dear God,
You show me again Your faithfulness. You have restored me to fullness with you. Your goodness and kind heart did pursue me! I remember when the Blessed Sacrament was restored to the altar, that I was reminded of You, the Suffering and Crucified Christ, who has already endured all my trials and experienced my desolations. I found comfort in seeing you suffering for me and I am glad that I am healed by your stripes. Thank you for releasing me from the bondage of a false identity.
Jesus, I also pray for a gift of counsel and the ability to journey with others. I want to serve You in Your kingdom by tending your flock. Bless me Lord that I may serve you.
What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him – 1 Corinthians 2:9

(These are unedited from my journal during my time at Treasure (a young adult retreat) and reveal the story of my life over the past month where I had become angry and bitter. I can only say that God has reached down the depths of my darkness and brought me back into His light and restored my identity. I am a fragile, earthen clay pot, but yet I hold an immense treasure within me: my Lord Jesus Christ.)
[joel]

Silver Linings and Golden Threads

Dear God,

 

There is much to say, yet little that can be said.

There is much to do, yet little that has been done.

Time is passing, yet life seems to remain the same.

Change is constant, yet prospects seem to be stale.

The rains come and go, yet the ground remains barren.

The sands shift and scatter, yet the path is unchanging.

From sunrise to sunset, the clouds stay hidden.

Yet from dusk to dawn, the stars shy away.

There are many setbacks, yet the calling persists.

The journey travelled has been too long, yet there is more to come.

Many a traveller chanced upon, yet the paths merely intersect.

Many a vineyard I have entered, yet I have not come for wages.

Of blessings I cannot deny, yet desolation pervades the land.

Of delight there are many, yet true joy remains elusive.

 

Little can be said, yet much needs to be said indeed.

Little has been done, yet today can be different.

Life seems to remain the same, yet time waits for no man.

Prospects seem to be stale, yet it is folly to give up hope.

The ground remains barren, yet dying from hunger I am not.

The path is unchanging, yet remains a journey to undertake.

The clouds stay hidden, yet from trial comes strength.

The stars shy away, yet peace prevails day after day.

The calling persists, yet discipline needs to be cultivated.

There is more to come, yet of design and purpose I am sure.

The paths merely intersect, yet prudence is to press ahead.

I have not come for wages, yet of grandeur and glory I have glimpsed.

Desolation pervades the land, yet flowers bloom from time to time.

True joy remains elusive, yet its desire will never vanish.

 

Ben

Dramas

Dear God

Hello! How are you doing? I am in a bad shape… So many “dramas” now in life… lets recap what has happened…

Firstly, an accident that happened in 2011 came haunting me with a Writ of Summons… Then, my grandmother passed away… Then my dad hospitalised because of heart attack… Then my thesis got marked down terribly… Then I lost my job at the music school… Now my dad is diagnosed with liver stones…

The writ, my insurer is in the midst of solving the issue… My grandma is home with You… My dad is recovering but was just diagnosed with Liver Stones and is refusing to go for surgery… My thesis is in ruins and messed up, with no one to help me… I lost my job and is in the midst of finding a new place to teach… I have too many baggages… Please help me to lift some…

I thank you that I am still alive. That I am still standing here and getting my hopes from you. I lost track of who I am, what I was doing. I am drained, not because I am not strong enough… I am drained because everything is hitting me one by one, and I didn’t get a chance to recover before the next episode hits me. I need a break, from everything and just spend some time alone.

I am really thankful that you have blessed me with a beautiful girlfriend! =) And she really came in at a right time. Just before everything happened. She was constantly there supporting and acknowledging me. It couldn’t have been a better time for her to appear in my life. We have many differences, but I thank you for guiding me to understand her.

I will be strong and walk my path… Please watch over me as I take my steps, please pull me back if you foresee a wrong move. Please help me to find a time, so I can have a huge break from life. I am constantly working so hard, I am going to collapse soon. I might appear strong on the outside, but deep inside, I really wished someone can take these away from me. Please guide me and heal me. I hope 2015 will be a much better year, and I can be a better man. I want to go for RCIA soon… Please give me strength and courage…

Love

Zhane