Saturday, January 05, 2013

Would you?

Would you still dance with me if you knew I'd step on your toes?
Would you still hold me if you knew I was covered in thorns?
Would you still dream with me if you knew I could never bring any one to pass?
Would you still look at me if you knew my beauty was only skin deep?
Would you still bear with me if you knew I could not bear with myself?
Would you still love me if you knew I would cause you great pain?
Would you still dance with me, hold me tight, dream with me, look at me, bear with me, love me, and grow old with me... Even if you knew I was never worthy of any of the above? Would you still?

Friday, January 04, 2013

Somebody that I used to know

Growing up I was a people pleaser. I got hurt. Then i grew up and decided to be "assertive", or so I called it. Rationalizing that being assertive is the right way to go. After all, who would respect someone who doesn't respect herself. And by being a doormat I was disrespecting myself.

So I changed. Lost friendships. And when I did get to mend them, they were never the same.

Then I started working, and found new purpose in my life. I was to change the world one student at a time! Oh how noble of me, or so I thought. Selfish. But soon the old surfaced a little, and I opened up and started to care again. Bam... I got hurt again.

So I decided enough is enough. I'm done. I've had enough. The world could go ram themselves on concrete walls for all I cared. And I stopped caring. Stopped opening my heart.
The irony is... When i was the old me, i was happier. I loved but I also got loved back. I gave grace, and in return I got grace back. I embraced those with imperfections, and in return, my imperfections were embraced. Now that I've changed... I stand alone. Alone. I should be happier but I'm not. I don't even know who I am anymore.

To protect myself, I hurt others...

And now I stand alone.

I need someone to tell me it’s ok being flawed… It’s ok making mistakes… It’s ok to have imperfections. It’s ok to be me. I used to have someone like that… who would accept me for everything I was and who could still look me square in the face and tell me I was ok, I was doing ok. But after putting up with me for a number of years, my corrosive imperfections finally got the better of him and now he’s gone. Ever so often now I find myself asking why can’t I be happy… Because all I want is just to be happy… Reality Therapy is right.
Maybe that’s the problem… I have somehow decided that I need some external force to validate my existence, to tell me I’m doing ok, to make me feel loved. But that’s just not how the world works… and seriously… no one is responsible for making me feel loved and happy but me.
I admire all of you who can make yourselves happy. I wish I knew how. Changing this will probably mean a total overhaul of my being.
Someone commented that I’m reaching burnout. And my response, oh really?
I am a mother of two. I work a full time job which is really emotionally and mentally demanding a lot of times. On top of that I bring my two kids to work with me… that means I can neither be fully work mode, or fully mother mode. I have to juggle two at the same time and pray I don’t screw up any. I am constantly on edge, because there is constantly a long list of things to do… children and work related. It will be horrible if I forget any thing on my to-pack-for-baby-and-toddler list, or my to-do-at-work list. And then there are duties at home. Clothes to be washed, hung, folded; floor to be swept and mopped; inventory to be kept – diapers, milk powder, and any other baby and home related things.
Then there’s working on the marriage part… which I have forgot how to. I have forgotten how to be romantic. I forgot how it is to have fun with my husband.
So now I’m here throwing a pity party. Am I happy? No. So in Reality Therapy methodology… what now? What should I do now? I don’t know… I think I should go buy myself some flowers.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

What's beyond feeling Drained?

Really, what's beyond feeling drained? A feeling and state of being that's spelled "Numb". If emotions like anger, fatigue, loneliness, hopefulness, and determination exists, you have not reached rock bottom. You have not been totally drained.

Being a mother for 27 months now, minusing 37 weeks spent in pregnancy with my first born, I sometimes marvel at whatever got me through. First there was the whole adrenaline and high of being a first time parent, then there was the struggle to find new balance fueled by the knowledge that I could not stop doing what I needed to do. Because now there's a life that is totally dependent on me, (well, 2 lives if I counted the husband, but he'll never admit that he is dependent on me, nor need me). And this is a big thing. This knowledge/belief is enough to push me through 3 months of waking every 2 hours at night, or going for months without sound sleep (by that I mean 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep), then there's totally kissing all night life/social life away. And growing an extra layer of thick-skin to tell people, I can't make it for this and that, or we have to leave early because we can't afford to miss naptime/sleep time. And walk away knowing full well the amount of juicy gossip topics I've just given them.

Then after almost 2 years when I've more or less found balance and some consistent sleep, my childbearing instincts kick in and the yearning for a second child awakens. Soon comes the whole pregnancy process again. Only this time it's much harder because there's a toddler who's ever growing and constantly needing attention as she grows and goes through different stages of development. It's a scary time for her and she begins to feel and see her momma acting different now. That's a whole lot for her to take in. And this round the husband may also be more well prepared, which could go both ends: either being prepared enough to know what demands pregnancy and welcoming a new child would entail then picking up the load that the wife can no longer take... Or..... Realizing how little time he has left to do things he wanted to do, thereby proceeding to do all of them and leaving the load lying there... Or attempting to do both and realizing at the end that he's just kidding himself. Wait I just realized that's three not two ends.

So initially I thought I've hit rock bottom, then I realized I still had some fight left, so I fought to get things right, to find balance, and to be able to be happy and relaxed as I sail through this stage in life. Then more storms came, and then they'd settle and there'll be little waves here and ther, and then they'll settle, and then another storm. Suffice to say, I think I've finally reached rock bottom. I now feel numb. Like I couldn't really care less if the house looks like pigs live here, if my behavior would invite criticism, if I live up to my husband and child's expectations, if I live up to my own expectations, if I even am half of what the standard for a good I've and mother is, or if anything goes according to what I want, or even if I don't make it home from delivering my baby.

You know you've hit rock bottom when you feel numb and there's just no more fight left. I would usually hear myself saying you need a break, just take one then you'll feel better. To that m current answer is, break? How?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's been a while since I've had the time and mood to reflect, let alone blog. Tonight something seems different.

I am currently at 38 weeks and 4 days. Had a few false alarms, biggest one being yesterday when contractions were so strong and I really thought we were going to welcome our son in a matter of days. But today's checkup showed a cervix that was tightly closed. The verdict = not anytime soon. In fact, he may just be overdue. My heart sank. I had anticipated and expected him to arrive last week in fact.

But as I spent tonight putting my first born - Alyssa to sleep. I felt something I hadn't felt for a while. As though I was able to focus totally on her and give her my fullest attention. Ever since finding out about this pregnancy on January 2nd, this whole time has just been filled with so many things that needed to be sorted out, experienced, fought etc. that somewhere along the line I stopped being a devoted mommy to Alyssa. She feels it.

Tonight as I stroked her head and twirled her hair while lulling her to sleep, I remembered seeing her for the first time, holding her for the first time, all those moments discovering parenthood with her. Learning life through the life of my first born. Those moments made me tear. This whole 38 weeks had zoomed pass and I've neglected her. She had grown so much under my nose. And she still in her cutest way tries to get my attention by calling out for me, needing me, wanting me, constantly trying to dig up new tricks to impress me. Just this evening she got hold of a birthday horn cum noise maker, blew into it and managed to make sound. She then looked at me with glee, "MOMMY! I DID IT!" Mommy clap!!!" Somewhere along the way I forgot to stop and marvel at how my precious one was developing. She is a superbly intelligent girl. Her grammar is really impeccable for one her age. She knows when to use her plurals, and her tenses are amazing! Don't even get me started on her logical and reasoning side - she got her amazing talents from her father. And just recently, she's started playing mommy. Her baby - Elmo, who now wears a diaper, romper, and is fed milk by an Avent bottle with a hanky around his neck. He also gets burped after every feeding. =)

She makes me so proud. She makes me so happy. But many times I'm just too engrossed with getting my checklists ticked off. I have tonnes of things to do everyday, and even her nap time has to be tailored to my lunch break so I can hurry off to attend to my students. Then in the holidays I'm so tired with life and pregnancy that all I want to do is to lay couch potato style.

Tonight I was reminded that it's a blessing that our son hasn't made his grand entrance yet, that gives me more time to spend with my first born in her last days/weeks of being our only child. After her didi arrives, it's not only my life that will change, hers will to, in ways that are a mega scale to her. People have been telling me to slow down, relax, and enjoy these remaining days. I haven't been able to for the million and one things I needed to get done to prep for our son. Tonight I was reminded that my daughter needs me. And I need her. She calls for me every night, and in the middle of the night. She gets up to check if I'm there, and occasionally climbs onto my bed to lay next to me on my pillow. She really needs me. And I thank God that He has graciously given me a wake up call and a little more time so I could realise just how much I missed this and how much I needed her. And thank God that tomorrow is a HOLIDAY! No work, no students, no checklist - just pure family time. =)

If you read this some day Alyssa, know that mommy loves you with all my heart. I'm sorry it took me this long to set my priorities right.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Desert experience

Ever been through one? I used to think it was just that one off period of being dry and parched until a month or so back. I realised that I've probably been wandering in the desert for a long time now. It slowly crept in, I got used to it, and it grew on me.

Took me a while but I realised "hey, how come I no longer feel relaxed, at ease, fluid, abundant, blessed?" I attributed it to the surge of pregnancy hormones and moodiness. But deep down I knew it was something more... something so much drier. It became clearer to me when I looked myself in the mirror and what looked back at me felt so foreign. I rationalized that it must be motherhood and adulthood growing on me. I'm going on 29 and already I'm a mother of one and one on the way. But yet again I felt it was something much drier.. a desert.

I miss those days where I sang freely, cried freely, laughed freely. Where I could walk and talk with God so freely. Nowadays I have checklists, things to be done, roles to play. It seems like at work and at home, I am needed somewhere, somehow. I have no more alone time. Even when I am physically alone, my thought are not, my emotion are not. I somehow have some issue to deal with, some event to oversee, some thing to worry about, someone to care for. I lost me.

I'm clingy as a mother. I am with my daughter 24/7. Gotten so used to having her by my side that when she's not with me (like when she took a 2 hour trip out for her birthday shopping treat with my parents) I felt out of sorts, like a big part of me was missing and I was not intact. This feeling scares me and I find myself limiting me time just to be with her. And I suffer.

I know it's perfectly ok for mommies to take me time. In fact it's a life and sanity saver. But I'm just not able to do so yet. And I'm very well paying the price of it - lost of individuality, lost of identity perhaps. And then there's also this lost of connection with God. I know He's here, waiting patiently. But with the host of things, I find myself dictating everything that needs to be done to Him whenever we talk. I have no more patience to wait upon Him and to quietly seek His face. I need help.

I don't even know why I'm writing. I think it's so I could vent. So that these don't just remain as inner thoughts and eat me up inside. Oh Lord, please lead me as a shepherd leads a sheep back to still calm waters. I so desperately need a drink of water. I don't think I'll be able to last any longer without.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Being a pastor's kid

I'm born to not one, but two senior pastors. I am the eldest, and grew up as the oldest and only kid in church until more kids were born a few years after me. So I've had my fair share of attention and criticism growing up. I honestly never knew the difference between being a pastor's kid and being a church member's kid until I was much older. For the most part of my childhood, it was all good. Speaking behind the pulpit was something my dad did on Sundays, and on Mondays - Saturdays (with the exception of night prayer meetings/cell groups, and fellowship nights), my dad was a regular dad. Err.. except his office was at home so I grew up with two parents 24/7.

I guess I never really realized what being a pastor's kid meant until I was a ministers' retreat. And the youth pastor decided to have a discussion where everyone was to share how they felt being a pastor's kid. And then it started, it seemed that everyone fell to either side of the fence 1. Ooh I love it, how God has chosen us and we are the chosen family blah blah blah, or 2. I hate it, everyone holds me to a higher standard, I can't make mistakes blah blah blah. I can't remember what I said, but I knew for the first time I realized being a pastor's kid was THIS interesting wan ah??

 Then I grew older and started becoming more aware of the silent games Christians play. First came comments about dressing, then came comments about slang (no dirty words, just jargon), then it graduated into everything else. Long story short, I realized that we have been bombarded by lots of crap for many years,  but my parents always shielded it from us, while being extra strict. Growing up, I wasn't allowed alot of freedom, my parents were strict as strict can be, and I never got off easy when it came to discipline when I've done wrong. But on hindsight, I think the expectations of church members had a role to play in that.

I remember growing my own "voice" as I grew older. Going to college and majoring in Psychology certainly gave me more understanding, insight, and arrogance when it came to dealing with people. So I started fighting back, talking back, and well... you can more or less guess what happened. More criticism.

So then things took a back seat and I grew more, and learned more. And concluded, I never want to be a pastor's wife, cause I never want to see my children suffer like this. Whether or not I get this prayer answered is another story to be told some other day.

Now, I'm pushing 30, I'm seemingly older and wiser. If I were to answer the question again as to what it's like being a pastor's kid, I think I'd say, it's tough. So tough that you'll never understand unless you are one. Pastors can't understand because they chose the road of servitude by answering their call, but their children had no such 'choice'. Pastor's children are 'born' into this hard road. Maybe that's why lots of them rebel? So yes, it's not something that any church member can ever understand. It's different when you're a church leader/deacon's child. It's just tougher. You become an extension of your parents. So when the extension of the "leader" falls, everyone points fingers. Kinda like.. "cheh, you can't even lead your child to the road of glory, why should I believe in you" and then they use this as an excuse to cover up their guilty conscience and leave church. This is a down right immature thought, which I will not debate here.

So yes, it is very tough being a pastor's kid. But with hindsight and after lots of arguing with God, denial, anger etc... I believe it indeed is a blessing to be born into a pastor's family. Putting extra angpow/christmas presents aside,  I've had the privilege to witnessing firsthand how God works so miraculously. I've experienced needs being met and fulfilled in ways that can only be described as supernatural. I've experienced what it truly means to be called and handpicked into ministry by God. I've witnessed what it means to literally take up your cross and die to self. I've experienced the sweetness of following Jesus even when everyone else scoffs, mocks, and wrongfully accuses you. I've watched how my parents have chose to obey God all the way, believe in Him all the way, and finally have Him show up in all His splendor and majesty.

I've experienced this, and have found who God really is to me.

Now I have Aly. She's the first grandchild of 2 senior pastors, a daughter of the worship director, niece of a young pastor, and she is growing up in homeschool where they learn about Jesus everyday. I don't know what life holds for her. And I don't know what kind of scrutiny she may come under. But I sure know who holds her hand.

I don't really know why I'm typing this. I guess it's just to hopefully give you an insight into your own pastor's family. I really started out this post by thinking it's time to share my side of the story. But at the end, I find myself feeling uplifted... like it all doesn't matter. I'm still being criticized. Still being scrutinized. But it doesn't matter. I know I have a mission to do here. This place is not my home. So I'll do what I need to do, do it well, and when it's time to go, I'll go with no regrets. Criticisms, remarks, hurts, victories, vindication, they have one thing in common - they are all temporal.

So after all has been said and done, is being a pastor's kid bad/good - it doesn't really matter. =)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Oh the mystery of Ephesians 5

Wives and Husbands
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansingb her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”c 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
 I've struggled with this portion of scripture since forever. On good days, it's sooo easy to submit, obey, to follow the husband's lead. But on bad days - days when I've been giving until I'm dry and yet there are still demand, days when I'm feeling down, PMS days, days when everyone else comes first and no one remembers me - I find it hard to submit.

Especially when ideas and plans are just berserk! I am in a few areas sharper than the husband. But I've found that I do not have the liberty to say things. And when I do, I have to always pick my words, tone, and mood properly. Failing to execute any of the above properly will result in me bruising some ego.

Ever since becoming a mom, it's been tiring. I've never experienced "dying to self" so much and so hard. And yet, it's still not enough. I am still not enough. 

If I could wish for something, I would wish to just run away for a while. Maybe half a day? Just run away and to do things for me, and most importantly, for mommy/wife guilt to leave me be!

I don't know how to submit when my emotional tank is running on negative numbers. 

Now I remember something I heard many years ago... women are special, they are strong. Because when the whole world ceases to act as it should, mothers and wives can't, and they don't. They just keep moving, keep working, keep loving, keep sheltering. 

I guess it's time for me to grow up. Instead of complaining and crying, I should just suck it in and keep moving, keep working, keep loving, and keep sheltering. Lord, I don't know how to... please help.