The Good Work

Today, I hit my one-year mark of working full-time at the Nebraska Department of Education. I am finally off probation. Yay!

I am thankful for a great many things related to my work. Beyond just the income, I am also thankful for these other things it brings me: joy, friendships, food conversations, a nifty standing desk, opportunities for growth, the example of a good boss, and the occasional treat in the break room. Teehee.

I am also thankful for all that God has taught me, and perhaps is still teaching me, through my work this past year: to welcome interruptions, to be generous with my reputation, to give my best in the littlest tasks to the biggest projects, to be fearless at admitting wrong, to find interest in people, and to hold all good things with open hands.

Truly, God has been faithful in every way. I am often overwhelmed by God's goodness during my morning walk to work each day...and then I just become overwhelmed by the work throughout the day. Oy.

Also, as an update to my previous post in March, I discovered a week ago that I got the work visa; good for three years, and maybe more. God could not have been more clear to me that He is not finished with my Lincoln chapter just yet. While work has been on one of the sunnier sides of my life, other areas seem to be permanently residing on the non-sunny side.

I am deeply in need of His fresh grace and mercies as I learn and re-learn how to walk humbly with Him and to love those around me. It has been t-u-p-h, but God still remains good.

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:
“Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
-2 Samuel 7:18

Honored to form a right-skewed distribution with these cool kids, one of whom is also my boss.


A Surrendered Will

The past few weeks have gone by rather slowly, and rather painfully. I have struggled to find the words to speak with God, to be a part of the church, to remain true before others, and to let endurance grow. Just recently finding out that the possibility of staying in Lincoln is now much higher for me than I previously thought, I am once again gripped with fear, frustration, and rage. I know that my God is faithful and good, and only the best will come from following Him. But sometimes, my messy emotions and auto-repeated thoughts can drown this promise out. While every fiber of my being desires to flee, all my soul can do is say, "Yet I want Your will above mine."

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." -James 1:2-3


Mr. and Mrs. Ng

So, my best friend is now wedded to her best friend.

What a great privilege it was to celebrate with them, and to walk with them. God is indeed so very good, and I praise Him for such a stunning display of His love and grace from the bride and groom themselves, and for the perfect weather, and for each person going all out to make this wedding day one for the books. Of course, there were far too many highlights of the day, but one thing I will remember and cherish for a long time to come is the delicious nasi lemak breakfast. And the chicken rice lunch.

Just kidding.

What I will truly remember and cherish for a long time to come is watching the groom's face as they exchanged their marital vows before God and His body, the church. His face was giddy with delight, much like a child who has just received the best Christmas present ever. Indeed, she is one of the best gifts.

Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Ng.
December 17, 2016


Homebound and Not In a Hurry

I have now lost track of the number of flights I have taken back to Malaysia, but here I am again, waiting to catch my first flight out of Omaha for my long haul back home.

2016 has already been quite the year, yet there is still so much more to celebrate these next two weeks with my best friend's wedding and Christmas with the family. Year after year, God has overflown my cup with His goodness and faithfulness.

Just last night, each of us were sharing at our last Candlewood International Fellowship gathering of the year how God has grown us these past few months. While I always feel like God is teaching me 10 lessons at a time, the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart to share one thing, and that is the lesson of not being in a hurry.

With my level of joy being highly correlated with my level of productivity far too many times, God has been training me to receive delays, interruptions, and fruitlessness with humility and joy. These things, as most perfectionists can attest, are nearly impossible to endure, much less with gladness. And yet, it is not, for all things are possible with Christ. I am still at a distance from where I need to be, but much further from where I used to be. I praise Him.

"You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." -James 5:8


Giving Thanks

'Tis the night before Thanksgiving, and with a bottle of beer by me, and the Christmas tree all decked out downstairs, I am suddenly reminded of this dusty blog that I own.

Reading the last post I had written back in 2014 when I first came back to Lincoln to begin my graduate career, I am simply amazed by all that God has done and brought me through. A lot can happen in two months, so imagine how much more took place these past two years.

Words escape me as I try to describe the many seasons God has carried me into and out of. Still, I must try.

My first year of graduate school was filled with many dramatic moments, as far as I can recall. I was quickly placed in a role of spiritual leadership and stepped down just as quickly when the weight of my life became too heavy to carry. I made an urgent trip back home when, in just one week, my grandmother had heart failure, my uncle got diagnosed with cancer, and my dad was scheduled for a heart surgery. I started developing a desire for marriage and at the same time struggled to collect my messy feelings for a friend and brother. I moved into a rented house and shared a room with another person for the first time in my life. I started baking scones.

My second year of graduate school was filled with less dramatic moments, but dramatic nonetheless. I graduated and, after three job interviews, received all three job offers. I had the utmost pleasure of having my parents visit Lincoln for the first time since God planted me here in 2010. I ran a red light while vacationing with my parents and got into my first car accident in the US of A. I wrote my first research paper in my role as a statistical research specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education. I had my first work travel to Chicago for a software conference. I started wearing spectacles, jewelry, perfume, and lipstick (gasp!), not necessarily in that order.

There is no life I'd rather live apart from life with my Jesus. I am thankful for a job I thoroughly enjoy, kind co-workers and bosses, the international student ministry God has called me to, my household, my church, my family, my friends who have become like family, my driver's license, the cozy penguin flannel pajamas I am currently donning...but I am most thankful for my Jesus who is infinitely better than all these things. May He give me grace to still declare this long after my youth and strength are gone.

There are many mornings when I wake up and cannot believe that God has given me this portion. And yet, He has. I praise Him with all of my being, and cannot wait to worship Him face-to-face with all of Heaven. It is a day to come soon.

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." -Colossians 2:15


Big Shoes, Small Feet

After a week or so of grocery shopping and lazing around here in Lincoln, the time for actual work finally arrived. On Monday, I went to the Nebraska Department of Education to meet my employer and colleagues in the Data, Research and Evaluation team. Nervous as I was, I thought the meeting went pretty well...until I discovered that the research assistant I was replacing had 6 years of working experience, Bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Engineering, a Master of Business Administration, a second Master of Survey Research and Methodology, and a wealth of knowledge on statistical softwares. Let me tell you that if it wasn't for the extreme cold in the air-conditioned office space, my sweat would have soaked through my black dress and leather sandals.

I left feeling terrified, horrified, and like I could use a tub of ice-cream just then. But God, ever so kind and gracious, quickly reminded me of His faithfulness, and how I can and need to trust Him precisely because I cannot do it on my own. I am also thankful for family and friends around me whom I can share my honest woes with, and who bring my vision back to Jesus who is big enough for any shoe size.

Today marks my second day of work, and I am grateful for lovely superiors, a large cubicle that's located right next to the pantry (oh yeah!), free stationery, the lack of CCTVs, financial provision, an unparalleled hands-on experience in the data science field, the walking distance of the office building from campus, and God's working all things out for my good.

Fear greets me every now and then when I think about my graduate classes which begin next week. Only one thing to do: Pray! And eat well, of course.

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
-Isaiah 41:10


Back to The Good Life

Greetings from Lincoln, Nebraska!

I have been here for a week now, and a terribly busy week it has been. I went to the bank so frequently that the branch manager exclaimed, "Wow, you must really love us!" when she saw me  for the fourth time yesterday. Also, I have one too many Walmart receipts because I kept forgetting to get some items and had to go back for them. Today felt like a vacation because I did not have anything urgent left on my to-do list. So I decided to grab a cup of raspberry mocha, sit by the coffee shop window as it gently poured outside, and spend precious time with my God.

Backtracking to the day I left Malaysia, I was simply and supremely in awe of how God has blessed me in every imaginable way during my season at home. I suppose this joy overflowed because I found the courage to talk to strangers, for the first time, during my flights and transits en route to the U.S. of A. I chatted with a total of four people at length, and these four people turned out to be a brother-in-Christ/music student, a designer/make-up artist, a chef/photographer, and a high school senior returning from a mission trip in Japan. Needless to say, it was one of my most interesting journeys on air thus far.

Despite being too busy for God most days and being so consumed by the things of this world, still His mercies for me were new every morning, His grace was sufficient for me every day, and His love covered me every moment. There are truly no words to describe the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus and walking humbly with Him.

There are ten thousand and more things that I am thankful for this past week, but here are just a handful of them: A job offer for my brother, breakfast made by my apartmentmate on my first morning here, my cousin's willingness to lend me his car for the week, having a lovely lady as my program's coordinator, staying in the very bedroom which once belonged to a dear sister-in-Christ, financial provision to get all that I need (and don't need), familiar places and familiar faces, technology for keeping in touch with people miles away, and three pounds of frozen blueberries.

I say this all the time, and I cannot help but say it again: God is so good!

"One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple."
-Psalm 27:4