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New year, new hope

February 11, 2014

The new year has arrived. It’s nothing old, nothing new, really; happens every year. But as some take it as a tradition, I’m writing of what have passed in the last season and what to expect in the coming one.

2013 was a year of confusion for me. I encountered “a series of unfortunate events”. My overall memory of it is dark and depressing. However, one should always count her blessings, shouldn’t she? And when I can’t find any good things in myself, I look at those in the people around me and count it a blessing that God sent them to me. I was reminded about the story of The Thorns, which I read a while ago. In all circumstances, God wants us to be thankful and be strong, knowing that even though we do not see what our situation is for, God is sovereign and plans the best for us.

I did however, manage to start last year with wonderful memories. January 2013 was my last month with Starfish, and I was truly blessed with good friends who still called on to me months after I left. Some friendships need not daily texts, not even monthly phone calls, yet the friend’s presence is strongly felt. As my friends often tell me, “I will pray for you, Elian,” so shall I do the same for them. Love you, from my deepest heart and I’m sorry I can’t be there for you as I did.

My short yet phenomenal time with Life Impact was also memorable. Stephen and Abel, my buddies there, welcomed me and literally showed me what a wonderful life we have with Jesus as our Lord. We’re never too incapable, too late, too poor, or too young for God. Just Be Willing. I hate to leave there early, earlier than planned. There were many, many more souls to meet, souls to feed, souls to change, including my own.
At the same time, I met Ree, this amazing young lady who dared to ride with me on a motorbike when I just learned riding it for a couple of weeks :D. No, that’s not why she was special. She is the real life image of what I imagine I want to be like for God. She was a single lady (yes, now not anymore ;)) who put service to God and people first. Influential, shining, and down to earth. Unbelievable. If God is willing, may He brings us together again.

Then the dengue fever struck. I had to leave Thailand early. Then I left my faithful job at ThoughtWorks–for a good reason, to go back to school, but alas, my father didn’t give me his blessing. It’s not a wedding indeed, where I need my parents’ blessings, but Chinese parents will do and say anything–true or false, positive or negative, really, anything–to keep their girls from doing something they don’t like. I have too soft a heart, so I stay. Not a week went by without me feeling disappointed. This series of unfortunate events had started to go south.

Soon I learned that I started to lose friends, for one reason or another. I was struggling, losing hope, and lonely. It is really not easy. One can easily choose to go away so as not to be influenced by negativity, or for the harder part, choose to stay and “walk with me in the fire”. Actually, my true friends stay; they really do, amazingly. But new people are hard to keep; mostly people who are new to my situation. I even have Christian friends who pulled back. It’s ok though, I understand.

In this dark place, I often think to myself, “What is God thinking? Why does He put me here? Does He think I can survive here? What’s His task for me? Will I ever be of use again?” Faith slowly fades away.

Not everything was negative though. My sister has received Christ; how amazing a news. She’s now one of my faithful guiding stars. Ree has been engaged, and now married to a Godly man; girl, you so deserve it. Abel has graduated from music school; Stephen will get his support again. My own family’s dramas haven’t been happening as often. So I have cried less often. Those are positive, right?

This was where I ended 2013 and where I started 2014. Disappointed, stressed, embarrassed, and unable to see a better day; at the same time, eager to try new things, hopeful for what may be on the other side of the open door. I believe this is the time when I need to lean not on my own strength, but on God’s; when I see that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” I will overcome my trials, because Jesus is my Lord.

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