God Is Near

Busy busy

Coming from a traditional Chinese cultural back ground that placed emphasis on education, family and hard work, I have been non stop most of my life doing exactly that. With a zealous work habit, I studied and work full time while I was in university. Upon graduation I continued this non stop work ethic raising a family while working long hours during the day. There was no personal time, nor was there time for spiritual growth.

Being a supermom (parent), the focus was on my two children. Perhaps the guilt of being a two parent working household, my husband and I loaded our kids with the same busy busy (the paranoia of wasting time). This meant extra curricular activities during the weeknight and weekends. In hindsight, I think we (my husband and I) stressed them out as much as we stressed ourselves out.

See the source image

I look back now, and I have no idea where my energy and adrenaline came from. I can see now why I literally burnt out. Where was God in my life? No where. God was pushed into the background. As a family, we were not regular church goers – except during Christmas and Easter. God was a distant din.

As I look back, my husband and I kept ourselves so busy working long hours during the week, capping it off with extracurricular activities for our children that we literally had no time left for God. The buzz of our busy lives overshadowed God. I regret not providing a consistent Jesus centered focus in our family. However, God is patient. God waits. In the flow of our daily lives, God creates and provides many opportunities for us to reunite with Him.

God is near

God is a loving God. He has a way of guiding us back on track. In my case, God used my isolation during the onset of Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 to bring me back into His embrace. As churched closed their doors during the Covid 19 pandemic and were forced to adapt online, this was a grace for me, as it allowed me to schedule – time for God. Out of a negative situation arose hope. It was through viewing online Catholic platforms that guided me back to God. This journey for me is special as it lead me back to Jesus through the Catholic faith, especial through Mother Mary. What was a negative experience (forced quarantine) was was turned into a blessing. When I think about it, He was always there, waiting to hear from me. Just as God is waiting to hear from you.

I remember calling out to God and asking Him for guidance. A broken me, I made the conscious choice to “return home”. The broken me couldn’t do that alone without the help of the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 43:1-7

43 But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

God personally cares for me and you. He knows each of us by name. He knows each one of us and loves us dearly. His protection extends to not only to me, you, but to our families, and to our circle of friends. In my minds eye, I have this inner vision of God’s energy flowing around me. God’s hand is there.

You are mine, and I am Yours

💖

The Eucharist

The Dispptation of the Holy Sacrement/ La disputa del sacramento (Raphael)

There is indeed something missing in my week if I haven’t received the Blessed Sacrement. Since becoming a Catholic, going to Mass and celebrating the Blessed Sacrement in the Eucharist has become an important part of my spiritual renewal and journey with Jesus Christ.

When I was a Protestant, I always felt there was something missing – the act of Holy Communion is a visible symbol of the last supper of Jesus in the Upper Room. I always felt that looking at it as a symbol to live by was not spiritually enough for me.

Since my journey with Jesus, participating in the Eucharist represents for me His real presence. Following  St. Augustine of Hippo: it is an outward sign of an inward grace, that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. When I close my eyes, I see Jesus before me – His body and blood – given to me for the renewal of my soul and the forgiveness of my sins.

I am His, and, He is mine.

The short film below amplifies what the Holy Sacrement means to me. It is the real presences of Jesus:

💖

I Surrender

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. Galatians 2:19-21 | NRSV

The old me was not a nice person. I was arrogant and self indulgent. Everything revolved and was about – me. Through the grace of God – he called my name when I was at my worse. I was broken. I was busy filling up my well of needs. Filling up empty holes, lead to bigger ones. I was empty. Nothing brought me joy. In fact, when I looked into the mirror, I saw an pretentious me.

Through the grace of God, he lifted me up and embraced me with his divine grace and mercy. He now holds my heart!

Surrendered

Death has no hold on me now. The me today is renewed and has surrendered to the love of Jesus. His death on the cross has refreshed this lump of clay. Through faith and surrendering to Jesus, I am being remade – the me – I am meant to be.

My sin washed away in His blood, my body renewed with His death. I have been crucified with Christ. The life I now lead is a testament to His hand in my life.

Prayer:

I ask for the grace of God to work freely in me. Amen.

God Bless ❤️

A Stronger Me

Ephesians 2:4-10

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

A stronger me in my own existence

Above drawing is from my series on “a stronger me in my own existence”.

Meditation:

How did I get here?

I got lost in my journey

cold and dark

my deadpan eyes looked for You.

i was lifeless, but

Your hands reached out for mine and held them

my body felt the tingling flow of your warmth

Your love

You pulled me into your embrace.

Just as i am

dirty and soiled

Your healing touch

my soul refreshed

You showed me a glowing orb

Mesmerized, I held it in my hands

lifting it up high

together in the dark

we walk the road ahead

Thoughts:

The beauty of God’s mercy is in His abundant love for us. Where we were once tainted by our brokenness – our sins, by God’s grace, we have been saved by faith. What a wonderful gift He gives us.

Creative Expression

It’s been years since I’ve work on my own themes and images. For the past 30 years, I’ve worked on small and large scale projects for work. Much of these themes were related to children and education.

For the past two weeks, I have been sketching again…building a body of background drawings for larger paintings.

God Is Love
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4 | NRSV

Today, I feel free to express what I want to without constraints. I can be creative and express through my sketches and drawings for myself again. I can laid bare my soul in praise of God and His amazing love.

I have also been working with an art therapist along with a spiritual guide from St. Ignatius Spiritual Centre. Both have helped me deal with all the stress and anxieties that COVID-19 has produced in my workplace and communities.

Officially I am on sick leave, and taking the time to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Praise be to God for looking after all my needs. I can take the time to glorify Him in everything I do.

❤️‍🔥 My heart is on fire for Jesus!

Page with more of my sketches: https://rejoiceandpraise.ca/recent-sketches/

Wake Up Call!

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

For a whole year, I’ve been physically inactive. Aside from short walks with my dog to our neighbourhood park, I have not worked out. I feel my clothes getting tighter, my extra weight gain now visibly obvious. Urgh!

God has a way of revealing to us our shortcomings and imperfections. In my Alpha group this week I was moved by many of the personal testimonies shared. One participant reminded us that as we feed our spiritual body, we can’t neglect our physical one.

God has a way of communicating with us through the Holy Spirit. He often uses those around us, along with what’s within our sphere to guide and lead us. Well, again this week one of my favourite bloggers on Instagram posted:

https://beautybeyondbones.com/

God also moves me through the testimonies of a personal friend and colleague. Her stories gives me encouragement and strength. She inspires me with her kickboxing updates on Instagram. I admire her fortitude when she is also going through personal health challenges. Her faith in Jesus has inspired and deepened my own trust in Him.

Wow, I can’t ignore this, especially as everyday this week I have been waking up at 5:30. Each time, as soon as I realized how early it was, I snuggled back into the warmth of my duvet, “No!” “Please Jesus, it’s too early – 30 more minutes”. Then, “6:30!” “No, too early!”

Yesterday at 5:30 am, and I even felt a light nudge – a gentle caress on my left hand – the light and feathery touch of my guardian angel. I woke up immediately and seeing it was 5:30, I shamefully went back to sleep. “No!”

Finally, today at 5:30, I slowly got up and said to myself, “OK, I’ll listen!” After a coffee to wake myself up along with toast and jam, I prepared myself – in slow mode – to go work out. When I finally stepped onto the elliptical, it was cutting into my morning Rosary time, so I put on my earphones and listened to the Rosary while I silently murmured along with each breathe. It was not easy, but I did it!

Although I’ve been getting my daily spiritual nutrients, I have ignored my physical well being. Although I eat well (ok, I’ll admit a weakness for poutine and potato chips), and take my vitamins, I have neglected keeping my body healthy through exercise. I sit in front of my laptop or devices for the greater part of the day (as I am now, writing). God has been sending me nudges throughout the course of this week – all ignored! I finally stop to listen.

Thank you to all those around me for being God’s conduit.

My prayer is for God’s continued blessings for all those around me. I give thanks to all of you – my Christian family. Please continue to keep me in your prayers, as I do for each of you.

God Bless 💕

The Battle of Wills

I pray that You will reign in my will.

Christ the King Novena 2020

This is a seemingly simple statement. In fact, it can be very difficult to do.

What is will? How do I define it?

I needed a day in reflection and pray to understand more deeply what God wanted me to understand in this prayer. I had a challenging time praying this prayer yesterday, and had to make a conscious effort to buckle down and pray it 15 times. I actually felt a glimmer of rebelliousness in me, and I procrastinated until I summited to God’s will and made the time to pray the Christ the King Novena – Day 6 – My will verse God’s will. This is a very real phenomenon in my prayer life. It is when I feel my rebellious nature surface that I inwardly recognize I must submit to God, because there are worldly factors coming into play to create a division between me and Him.

What does the concept of “will’ means to me? I had to reflect upon its meaning in my life. My will – my human ability to make decisions of outward expressions or actions, from what is amplified from within. At the most basic level it is my personal selfishness.

I See, I Want, I Act

At the most basic level – let’s follow the basis understanding that – my will is one based on one characteristic of my humanity. Let’s look at my selfishness. When I think about it, I can define will as the inner action or desire which moves me to act outwardly. Sometimes, my inward desire can lead me to an impulsive bad action, like it did the other night when I saw a plate of Ferrero-Rocher on the counter. I liberally helped myself to 3, and ate it one after the other. What motivated me? Well, I love the taste of milk chocolate. Seeing the half empty plate of Ferrero-Rocher, I didn’t even try to control my impulse. Why eat three in a row? I was greedy to eat it and one was just not enough. Let’s not forget I was being gluttonous, “I better eat them now before they all disappear!”

Wow this also made me think of impulse shopping, but will not mention it here, but my point is we are flawed human beings that act on instinct and sometimes we don’t have the control mechanism to stop.

How often has my own desires lead to actions contrary to the will of God. What is God’s will? What does it mean God’s will mean to me?

Yes, I am ashamed to admit that instead of reining in my inward desires, I let my outward behavior act out.

God’s Will

When I think about God’s will, I think of the Lord’s Prayer which we pray daily.

Pray, then, in this way:

“Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven . . .”

Matthew 6:9-10 (NASB)

Your will for me is for me to abide by Your will, and live it as if your Kingdom is already here. It means for me to take action first by inviting you into my life. First, I confess to my Lord Jesus that I am a sinner. I cannot control my own impulses, and I am flawed through and through. It is only by Your redeeming grace I am saved.

Invitation

As I have freedom of will, and it is my choice to acknowledge my sins, and confess it. It is also based on my freedom to chose that I invite the Holy Spirit to come into my heart (being) and guide me.

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven,” is my clear invitation for Your guidance, and to open my eyes so that I can see clearly the difference between right and wrong. I invite Your grace to give me the strength to abide in the will of God – His will and His alone.

Yes, I will falter, and I am ashamed to admit it. However the next time I am tempted, I will have a better understanding and awareness of my flaws. The next day my husband included in his grocery bag, 4 cans of Pringles. After nagging him to not buy junk food anymore, I refrained from eating any (actually said a silent prayer asking for self control), for if I start, I will eat the whole can in one sitting. I realize this is a very silly example, but it is something that came to mind as I spend the day reflecting upon my will verse God’s will. These two examples are also my way to include a dose of honest humor. After all, in our walk with Jesus there are often funny anecdotes, just as there are deeply moving ones.

I know if we think about it, there are many examples in our lives that can highlight examples when our will and God’s will clashes, just as there are many examples of how when we sincerely ask for God’s Holy Spirit to work in us, there are also many example of His grace at work in our lives. I pray that we continue to pray for “His kingdom come, and His will be done” in our lives.

Sasha Freemind (@sashafreemind) | Unsplash

This Advent is a time for me to really reflect and draw closer to Jesus, and to prepare my life from a proactive standpoint to receive and truly live my life with Him with sincerity and love.

God Bless!

Day 6 and Day 7 Christ the King Novena 2020 Links:

I will edit my Chinglish a bit later in the day:)

Live Your Best Life

I pray for the grace to place You above the powers of this world in all things.

Christ the King Novena

We live in a world today ridden by not only Covid-19 fears, but this narrative is continuously being supported by governments of all nations, our main stream media, and social media platforms. As soon as we turn on our news, one is confronted by all the negative that arises from this pandemic.

In the same instance, as the anticipated second wave of the Covid-19 hits Canada, in my province, Christmas has been cancelled. Those living in the red zone will not be allowed to gather during this festive season. The exception are those in yellow zones, 10 people can gather for Christmas, and in orange zones, the limit is 6. But nearly all of Quebec is currently red.

This is the new norm in our lives, and as responsible citizens we need to follow these protocols.

The second wave of the Covid – 19 pandemic is now upon us. It continues to separate families, and separate the Church from it’s people, we cannot let this deter us from remembering and celebrating the birth of Christ, nor can we stop ourselves from asking for the Grace to open our eyes so that we see Jesus. I am grateful for zoom. It will be a zoom Christmas with my family across Ontario and Quebec. I will participate with my family and watch the live streaming of Mass.

More so than ever, I think I need to be diligent and help out in any ways I can. This starts with my family, my neighbors, and my community at large. This is a time to reach out to family members. Call one another, and if there are any bad feelings between one another, it is the time to reach out and say, “I am sorry.” “Forgive me!” “I love you!”

This is the time to drop some food off to your local parish or to the organization helping those in need. This is the time to let those around you know you care and are thinking of them.

For the power that be in our world, it is a time for prayer. Asking in a sincere heart that the Hand of God will moved our hearts towards peace and love. It is also the time to ask for the God’s Hand to be in the heart of decision makers, asking specifically they act with calm and wisdom before making rash decisions that can effect the well being of all citizens.

Kyle Glenn (@kylejglenn) | Unsplash

On a more personal level, do I see Jesus offering love and redemption in the middle of all the noise from the powers of this world? During a time when I am bombarded from all sides by the powers that be in our world, from the mainstream media, and from all our social networking platform sending out narratives of doom and gloom, am I asking Jesus to open my eyes?

Live Your Best Life

Let me resound this and ask, are we asking our beloved Savior to open our spiritual eyes to see?

Do we see Christ everywhere in our lives?

Are we asking Him to help us judge wisely of all the things of this earth?

Are we asking Him to give us the strength, courage, and faith to stand firm with God?

Gilles Lambert (@gilleslambert) | Unsplash

Last night after my prayers, I found myself scrolling through my media feeds, and the majority of the news was NEGATIVE. To discern if what I am reading is fake or real, I find myself doing research that often can take me down a rabbit hole with no end in sight. Sometimes, there are news I really don’t want to know about, because it touches on the real evil that exists in our world.

“Ignorance is bliss”, is my husband’s motto. I on the other hand have a natural curiosity. “Curiosity killed the cat” idiom comes to mind. Urgh! Sometimes I have to abandon threads as they really are scary and sacrilegious.

I pray for the grace to place You above the powers of this world in all things.

The above quote came to mind last night and again a glimpse of it in my prayer this morning, which tells me it’s something for me to address, discuss and share. It’s so easy to fall prey to the powers of this world – whether it be reading something that is totally left field from the word of God and deemed so evil, it is better for me to stop. If my heart and head is not able to handle the profane, it is best I mentally stop delving deeper. Why? False teachings is Satan’s way of planting seeds that can bear the fruits of doubt and lead one astray.

During this advent, more than ever before, let me live my best life in Christ Jesus!

I pray for the grace from my Savior to open my spiritual eyes, so that I may discern what is the truth and positive from what is not good for my soul. Most of all, I ask Christ the King for the spiritual eyes to see your grace around me, so that I can judge wisely the things of this earth and stand firm in Godliness.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen

Jocke Wulcan (@wulcan) | Unsplash

(….I’ll edit later for grammar…my Chinglish comes through sometimes….)