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Archive for the ‘Thank God Friday’ Category

I’ve been taking the very slow boat in initiating catch-ups with friends these past few months. Instead, I’ve been slipping into many stretches of quiet time after dealing with matters of life and death this year.

The past week has somehow been an interesting confluence of friendship gatherings on my calendar.

  1. Finding Life after Death

Karen and I sprang a surprise on our old pal Desmond when we showed up at the launch of his latest book at the Singapore Writer’s Festival. We relived memories of our years past, shared our current updates and perspectives of life, for those of us who recently walked through the valley of the shadow of death. It could not have been more literal and literary for Dez, who wrote his quasi-memoir about his near-death experience.

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At the launch of Desmond’s The Good Day I Died at the Singapore Writer’s Festival

 

  1. Being Parented

Today, I caught up with book-loving friends Hwee and Suzanne over brunch where we commiserated over books and parenting. And we came away with the reminder that God parents us through our kids as much as we think we parent them.

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Hwee & I wearing our infinity scarves – gifts from Suzanne – which are specially printed with  the manuscripts from the books that we authored

  1. Good Grief & the (W)rite Stuff

After Mum passed away early this year, my regular morning walks at Botanic Gardens have been either with Dad or by myself.

But in the past two weeks, I had a nagging thought to schedule a walk and breakfast with a friend whom I had walked with a few times last year. I had fallen off the radar with her after Mum’s relapse.

As I discovered, it was a divine appointment.

Ee Lin said something which squarely addressed a grief issue that I have been struggling with for months.

I have also been grappling with a question of a writing endeavor – I wondered if it was too lofty. Was I just reaching for the moon? I didn’t mention any of this.

In our conversation, thought, I mused about how I seemed to be “hearing” God through symbolism and parallels quite a bit lately. And that I saw the humour in some of it (ie. God’s wit).

As we ended breakfast, Ee Lin gave me a gift – it was a necklace that she had bought for me last year. She had held onto it for close to a year until this faithful appointment.

“A bird!” I exclaimed when I saw the beaded necklace with a bird motif. It reminded me of my latest book, which has a bird for a main character. She had bought the necklace last year, before Little Godwit was published this year.

When I got home, I decide to take a look at my Little Godwit book. As I lay the necklace side by side with the page spread, I saw the amazing parallel.

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I wonder if I can reach the moon, Little Godwit mused.

Yes, I wonder that too. On my own strength, I won’t get anywhere far with lofty, far-fetched ideas.

But I was reminded that, with God’s wit, the godwit can fly as far as the moon.

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

                                                                  Ecclesiastes 3:1-7

 

Related Links:

Thank God Friday: One Nation, One People, One Family, One Life leh

God Knows Leh #32 – Is Mum the Word in Finding Good Grief after Death?

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I’m one day late for Friday but never too late to thank God and be grateful for:

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Thank God for Singapore

As we celebrated Singapore’s 54th birthday yesterday, I’m reminded of how blessed we are as Singaporeans. As a tiny nation amidst choppy waters, we truly have so much to be grateful for.

 

Thank God for Family

Having witnessed my mum live out her final three weeks in hospital earlier this year, I came away with many life lessons. One key takeaway is that it is priceless to live and die with loved ones around you till your last breath.

 

Thank God for Friends

A new but very dear friend recently reminded me of what I wrote in my book Finding My Voice. On page 40, I had written about the many fears that came over me when I was going through my darkest period with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a crippling voice disorder. One big fear was that I would never form any new friendships because people had so much difficulty making out what I was trying to say.

In the past 10 years since I started my new life as an author, I have been amazed by so many new and deep friendships. I thank God for precious old friends and new friends who have left indelible fingerprints in my life.

 

And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace.

– Jeremiah 29:7

 

Related Links:

God Knows Leh #29- Black Friday met Good through the shadow of Death

God Knows Leh #9- Strong Bugs, Choppy Waters & Friendship Packages

 

 

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22 February 2019 was Black Friday. That was the day that all hope was lost on any further treatment for Mum.

I was having breakfast at the Yakun outlet in Gleneagles Hospital at 8.30 am and having some quiet time before heading up to Mum’s hospital room. That morning, the Our Daily Bread e-devotion I was reading had jumped out at me.

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The key verses Isaiah 41:10 and Isaiah 41:13 included ‘hand references’:

Isaiah 41:10 “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 was a significant verse that saw me through breast cancer surgery without fear in the same hospital two years back.

The “two hand references” caught my attention because the image of “Two Hands” had impressed upon my mind at the Littworld Global Christian Publishing conference a few months back in November 2018. Now, I was to find another layer of meaning to the ‘Two Hands’ image.

A few minutes after I had read the e-devotional, I found out why I needed God’s strength and two hands to steady me. Our doctor called me out of Yakun and informed me that Mum had thrown up stale blood that morning. It was the beginning of the end. 

In the two weeks leading up to that day, we had harboured hope that Mum would be able to start another round of chemotherapy and with this, see her life extended. 

Black Friday changed that. Mum’s remaining few months dropped to remaining few days. She could no longer undergo any more treatment as her internal system was collapsing. 

As timing would have it, three days earlier, our pastor had scheduled to visit Mum that day. Pastor Wendy came and prayed for Mum that afternoon and also requested some alone-time with her. When Pastor Wendy came out, she shared with us that Mum had expressed a deep desire to return home to God.

Five minutes after Pastor Wendy left, Mum threw up much more stale blood. She spilled over two litres of blood in all. I pressed the nurse call button several times in desperation. Dad and I were otherwise at a complete loss on what to do. We both sat there with Mum and wept in utter despair and anguish.

The e-devotional that popped up in my Inbox a few minutes after this episode was titled:

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“Jesus weeps with you. Jesus weeps for you. He weeps so we will know: Mourning is not disbelieving… Grief does not mean you don’t trust… so grieve, but don’t grieve like those who don’t know the rest of this story.”

I texted Pastor Wendy and found that she was still downstairs. My brother and Ben were on the way to hospital as we had earlier fixed a 5pm family conference with our palliative doctor to discuss how to make Mum’s last days comfortable. I asked Pastor Wendy to lead us in a short family memorial service first and we took turns to express our gratitude and say the unspoken to Mum before it was too late. 

 

Five days later, on Wednesday 27 February morning, just before Mum passed away, the e-devotional from Faithgateway that popped up in my Inbox was titled: ‘Be You, Bravely’.

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The e-devotional ended with 3 bible verses:

The first 2 verses, Isaiah 41:10 and Isaiah 41:13 were a repeat of the devotional verses from Our Daily Bread’s e-devotional on Black Friday. I had goosebumps from the coincidence, or more, God-incidence. It was God’s Word reminding me and strengthening me for the final hour.

The third verse of the devotional was Psalms 23:4 – I had repeatedly received Psalms 23 in a series of not-coincidences through various people randomly over the past week.

The end was very near. 

And in case I missed the point, as I often do, God had spoken to me in this one e-devotional that summed it up. This D-day devotional was about cancer, fear and being brave. It ended with the 2 verses that jumped out at me on Black Friday and the repeated Psalms 23 assurance through that week. And this devotional ended with the final line:  “The point from God… Daughter, I know you are afraid; let Me help.”

Mum passed away that very afternoon. This time, I did not weep. I knew that God was holding her hand and ours. Two hands.

And I knew how her story continued on.

Double Crosses

In the face of walking alongside Mum so closely through the valley of shadow of death, I experienced the deep truth of John 11:25 for the first time in my life:

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.”   -John 11:25

Good Friday was Jesus’ blackest Friday on earth. The Son of God was found ‘not guilty’ by the government of that day. But he was still put to death with one of the most cruel forms of Roman executions of that time. He was crucified on a cross till death. He spilled his blood in death. All hope appeared lost.

Mum’s Black Friday would have remained Black Friday if not for Good Friday. Because Jesus died on the cross, conquered Death and resurrected back to Life again, we know Mum’s life didn’t end in death. Her new chapter is in Heaven, where there are no more tears, no more pain and no more sorrow. God’s Word gives us that blessed assurance.

Related links:

God Knows Leh #28- Parting with an Old Spice Alabaster Jar Miracle

God Knows Leh #27- A Pain in the Abdomen & 7 Psalms 23 Assurances

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Salt quote p3 edited

Salt & Light recently asked me the question, “What does the finished work of the Cross mean to you?”

This question gave me pause to reflect on my personal response in the lead up to Easter week.

Read the full article here.

 

 

 

 

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On this Good Friday, I want to pause to thank God for:

— the small voice that prompted me to do a breast self-examination two years ago, leading me to discover a pebble in my left breast

— the review with my breast surgeon this Good Friday week where the scan showed that my reconstructed left breast is all clean, my right breast is also now free of cysts and lumps, and I have cleared the 2-year critical window where recurrence is highest

— family and friends who prayed for me through this time

— Jesus, my Saviour and Healer, who died on the Cross for my sins and sickness so I am made right before God

The diseased left breast that clouded my heart has been cut out and made new. A strengthened breastplate of righteousness covers my heart. My right breast has also been wiped clean.

On this Good Friday, I thank God that the old is gone and the new has come. I am a new creation. My Saviour died so that I can live, scrubbed clean, with a clean breast and a lighter heart.

 

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source: techavy.com

 

 

 

 

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Today is TGFFF Friday – Thank God for Family, Friends & Favour Friday!
I’ve cut back on blogging and social media considerably as writing and publishing commitments start to pile up again in recent weeks.

But with so many good things happening, I need to pause to thank God:

1. Ben & I just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary! We picked our wedding date in between both our birthdays so there have been many rounds of celebrations. I thank God for Ben and his support both the eventful and mundane chapters of my life. As the saying goes, it has truly been through thick & thin, sick & sin.

2. Ben, Caleb and I recently went on an amazing vacation – our best vacation with Caleb since he was born (not that we took many vacations with him, to begin with). We spent a few days with another family whom we connected with on a deeper level and another few days on our own. It wasn’t exactly relaxing (How do you relax when you have a 6-year old energizer bunny?!) but it was meaningful for us as a family.

3. Towards the end of chemotherapy last year, my doctor found fluid accumulated around my heart, which may have come about from the drugs. Since then, they have been monitoring me with 6-weekly heart echoes over the last 10 months. Following my latest echo and doctor appointment yesterday, I thank God that my heart is all good and we can discontinue the 6-weekly heart checks. My doctor also stretched my medical appointments even further apart so I see lesser and lesser of him.

4. Over the past few weeks, I have started catching small glimpses of the new season before me – both in my personal life and writing life. I am encouraged and also challenged by some of the new opportunities ahead.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy and with song, I praise Him – Psalms 28:7

 

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Today is Thank God for Family, Friends and Favour Friday!

I disappeared from social media for the entire January and most of February since this year started. It was partly because my eyesight got blurry from staring at my phone too much the past few months….and I now own a pair of reading glasses ie. I’ve joined the Lau Hua Yan club.  And partly that I have resumed my routine of ferrying my 6-year old to Kindergarten and started writing too. 

I began the year with my writing residency at Gardens by the Bay, where I have taken several walks to plot my new manuscript. I’m also doing some writing and publishing work for 2 repeat clients.

In between all that, we celebrated Caleb’s 6th birthday, followed by Chinese New Year where I caught up with friends on top of the family visits.

But when someone emailed to ask if she needed to subscribe to my blog again to receive blogposts, I noted that I should update on where I am at.

I have ongoing 3-weekly antibodies injections (Herceptin and Pertuzameb) till July, which will be the end of this 1 year treatment. I am also on a 3-monthly Lucrin injection to take me to early menopause. And I am on daily Tamoxifen tablets.

I believe I am healed and well. So, to me, these are extra vitamins and supplements to strengthen my body.

It’s 3 months since my final chemotherapy cycle. I’ve grown from Sinead O Connor’s botak head to Annie Lennox’s super short cut. In another 3 months, I should get to Demi Moore’s Ghost hairstyle.

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My Annie Lennox phase – having my antibodies infusion yesterday

Until then, I’ll switch my assemble of K-pop wig, surgeon scrub caps, newsboy caps or commando like when I went for my medical appointment yesterday.

I thank God for family, friends and His seeing me through a rough 2016 and for His continued favour in this new year!

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

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