6 Years

I first met my husband 10 years ago, on January 9, 2008 to be exact. While I cannot remember the entire conversation we had on that day (mostly trivial exchanges like where we studied and what major we were taking), I remember he asked my name at the end of the conversation; nothing unlike any other exchanges I had with people I newly encountered at church.

A few weeks later however, after one youth session, I got locked in the ladies’ restroom. The door’s knob decided to go out of order just after the last lady had left and there I was, violently turning the knob while imagining the worst and panicking for what if no one even realized I was locked in the restroom. (At this point you might think that my now-husband came to my rescue like a knight in the shining armor, but no he did not.)

Before I started shouting for help, another lady came to use the restroom and upon finding the door locked, she said, “Hello! Why do you lock the door? Open up please!” Thankfully, I replied, “Hello! I got locked in here, please help me out!”

The security guard was called and one of the brothers eventually broke the door open by force and saved me! Nope, that brother was not my now-husband either. In fact, while others went to join the hoohah, he was eating his dinner at the youth-receptionist table, just 10 meters away from said restroom.

Now that I was back to the youth group, everyone was asking whether I was alright, and was saying that it was a glad thing someone found me and got me out. But there was this one guy who, half way into his dinner, asked,

“Didn’t you have your phone with you?”

“I left it in my bag.”

“And where was your bag? You left it on the chair here in this room.”

“You know, it’s inconvenient for girls to bring their phones around with them all the time lah.” Thanks to one of the sisters who came to my defense.

“I know, the problem with girls and their phones.”

The problem with girls and their phones! In my entire life, there had been only two men who had ever talked to me in that manner over my not keeping my phone with me. The first was my father, this guy was the second. Both were known for their unfriendly faces and no-nonsense style of speech.

I was quite dumbfounded that a man could actually talk like that to a girl he barely knew. “Very well,” I thought to myself,  “Tough guy huh? I’d very much like to see what will become of him when he gets smitten with a girl – if a man like he would ever be, that is.

And the rest is history.

Six years into our marriage and I still leave my phone out sometimes, and he is still the man who makes sure I have my phone in my bag AND my bag with me all the time. He doesn’t pull that stunt in the photo anymore though, it’s not friendly to his back. … fine, I do gain some weight, but mainly because it’s just not too good for anyone’s back.

Truly I thank God for the past 10 years of knowing each other, 6 of which as husband and wife. To have a beloved to share those years with is a good gift, and “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

May the gracious Lord grant us many more years together. ❤

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New Year Resolution

It was “Wake Up at 0600 Everyday” for 2016 and “Learn Latin” for 2017. And three weeks ago I purchased a digital piano and was determined to master the instrument in the next 12 months. Yet, as many can testify, most new year resolutions don’t survive long. At the best, they start on the Western New Year and end on the Chinese New Year, hence the name. This is extra-specially true for moms with very young children, it may not even last a month! Because, plans and children don’t mix. (Parents, let me hear Amen!)

The eldest was still wide awake, the alarm was set to go off in 7 hours, and if she didn’t sleep you didn’t sleep, and the baby was going to wake up intermittently throughout the night, and when you did manage to get up at 6 there was a very high chance your preschooler would too, and if she was up everyone was up and woohoo! the party started early with everyone lacking sleep and cranky by midday. “Wake Up at 0600 Everyday”

60 minutes, was how long the kids took their nap, it was also the maximum amount of time you got to do your stuff without interruption. You have heard the anecdote of how people without kids thought it was blatant lie when their friends with (very young) kids said they had no time for virtually anything. Very truly, they live in two different time dimensions. Without kids, daily housechores take 30 minutes, meal preparation takes 1 hour. Add kids into the equation: You say, “I am going to mop the floor” and you spend the next one hour picking up toys from said floor, settling childish squabbles, cleaning the kids because they poop, and two hours later you are done with the floor looking not much different from before you started that you half-suspect if you have not indeed mopped it. So, 12 months later and I was still at page 10. “Learn Latin”

What do you think children do when they see you sitting before the piano? Right, they climb up to your lap and run their little fingers all over it. When they are finally bored of the piano, they climb onto your back. Every. Single. Time.

It may be hilarious to read, we have all laughed sympathetically as parents worldwide shared how their world is turned upside down by their kids. But I can tell you that at the real time, to our own horror, we have secretly wished that these kids were non-existent. We have decided that they are a nuisance, a burden, they get in our ways to success. No, we will not say it out, but we have believed that they are out to ruin our plans, to scrap our resolutions, to hinder us from fulfilling our potentials. We think they are the reasons we cannot be our best. We bark at them as we see their intrusive coming, we blame them for our failure to achieve the previous year’s resolutions and name them the reason to our hesitation for the new year’s ones.

Alas! How could they be deemed with such apprehension when the Bible has esteemed them to be a blessing from the Lord? Oh they say, time has changed too much from when the Bible was written, the society has changed, children are no longer needed to labor for the family’s finance, modern women have the rights to maximize their skills, hence children – or the absence of children, has become the kind of blessing that is subject to individuals’ interpretation.

Has it? Or can it be that I miss the whole point? What if living better is not mainly about waking up earliest and being productive with my time, what if it is not about acquiring new languages, what if it is not about learning new skills, upgrading my resume? What if to be a better person is all about being more patient and kind; about freedom from envying others’ accomplishments and from searching for reasons to boast in pride; about not insisting that my time must not be interrupted at all costs; and not being irritable or resentful when it does get interrupted; about repenting from wrong doings and rejoicing with the truth; about bearing the little ones in constant hope and trust in God? What if to be a better me means being more like the Love Himself?

That must be it! For how else do children bless us but by presenting us, in their sincere and very forgiving nature, numerous opportunities to be more and more loving everyday, every year? For in God’s wisest providence, they have been put in our lives to mold us into our very best – into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” – Romans 8:28-29 ESV