This World Is Not Our Home

On my way home from work last Friday night, I recorded a song in the car, out of the overflow of my heart. Just a few seconds after I said thanks to God for allowing me to finish it, I heard a loud, consistent beat at the right side of my car. A motorcyclist who drove by me then, signaled me to stop and look at my wheel. During the next three minutes, my world slowed down as I went out of the car to inspect the damage.

My jaw dropped as I saw my exploded tire at the side of the passenger’s seat. My mouth blurted out, “Shocks, Lord. Is this really happening? Please help me.” Within a  minute, even before I could call my dad, another motorcyclist stopped by to ask if I needed help. My initial reaction was “I hope this guy isn’t sketchy.” But in my desperation, I said, “Yes, please!” He spent the next 10 minutes, going through my car tools at the back, setting up my emergency signals, and trying to release the spare tire that was hidden under my car.

I remember telling him countless times how much I appreciated his help and how it really was impossible for me to change my tire by myself. After a few minutes, another motorcyclist stopped by to offer assistance. They ended up helping each other as they raised my car, changed my tire, protect me from being scammed by tow people, and even assist me as I drove to the nearest vulcanizing shop. All this happened in 25 minutes which may have caused a 30-minute delay along C5 north bound.

I safely drove home, by God’s grace, and updated my dad, mom, and eldest sister who were inside our house. I couldn’t contain what I was feeling, so I shared to them how the Lord had been so personal and intentional in teaching my heart a lesson AGAIN. With a few sobs, I shared that the Lord revealed one of my blind spots to me this week which crushed my heart and that it led me to composing a song that afternoon.

The song is entitled “This Isn’t My Home” and it talks about how our mistakes and regrets do not define us; how we have already been forgiven and free because of Jesus; how we are never alone; and how this world (with all our problems and pains) isn’t our home. It was such a humbling moment for me to realize that God knew my doubtful heart needed that push, that extra reminder through an exploded tire, for me to understand and absorb my security in Jesus and His unending and unconditional love for me. “This Isn’t My Home” was a timely encouragement too since I was literally on my way home when this happened.

“…live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things that you were redeemed from the empty way of life… but with the precious blood of Christ…” -1 Peter 1:17-19 

My heart broke this week because I sulked at the thought of how my blind spots, mistakes, shortcomings, and regrets affected my relationships with others and God. I wanted to turn back time and re-do some of my choices. I wanted to cringe and hide because of the shame and pain. But, this has always been a constant reminder for me:

GOD’S MERCIES ARE NEW EVERY MORNING. What a comforting reassurance from the Lord — this broken world is not our home! Because of Jesus, we can spend eternity with Him in Heaven, where there’ll be no more crying or pain; where angels will be praising His name.

The day after the incident, my dad accompanied me to buy new tires even if he needed to prepare for a message at church that afternoon. By God’s grace, God provided the two kind strangers (Anthony & June) at the right time who helped me on the road and my dad who guided and lent money to me for my new set of wheels.

There are still moments when I feel the ache in my heart especially when I remember my “What If’s” and other regrets. Sometimes, I still feel that I could make things better if only I had done certain things or made better decisions. But, as the Lord helped me see my frailty without Him, I am reminded to let go of the wheel, slow down, and trust that His ways, thoughts, and wisdom are better and higher than mine. Who am I to tell my Heavenly Father that Plan A is better than Plan B? Who am I to keep worrying about my past and my tomorrow when our God is sovereign and good?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” – 1 Corinthians 1:25

Today is a new day and the Lord has graciously put a new song in my heart. Thank You, Jesus, for Your sovereignty in the midst of my mistakes and regrets.

“One fall, one sin,

One mistake, one regret

Now, my world’s crumbling.

More lies, more heartbreaks.

More discouraging thoughts,

Will they ever go away?

In these times when my faith is shaken,

In these times when I begin to lose hope,

You remind me that You are still with me, Jesus.

You tell me that I’m never alone

And that this isn’t my home.”

-“This Isn’t My Home”

Your Mistakes Do Not Define You

“Aaagghh! No, no, no, no, no, no, nooooooooo! Man!”

I shouted and panicked as I stared at the melted piece of fabric on the hot iron while I was ironing my top this morning. After five years of using and taking good care of my favorite pink top, I accidentally burnt a part of its delicate fabric which created a hole in front of it. I couldn’t believe it! Suddenly, I had flashbacks of the times when I used it and I remembered how much I loved its femininity and beauty.

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In the recent years, by God’s grace, I challenged myself to shop less and less. Because of this, I rarely buy clothes and shoes so I could save a bit more. So, I really, really do my best to maintain what I have in the closet. However, what happened this morning gave me a mini heartbreak. I felt so annoyed with myself for being so careless. I looked at the hole in my top and thought to myself “I can’t take back time. I can’t undo what I’ve done. And I don’t even know if it’s still possible to repair my top. Ughh!! This is so, so sad.”

After taking a bath, I sat in front of the fan and I silently poured my dampened heart out to God. I felt that the pretty top with a hole in front of it wasn’t usable anymore. I couldn’t even imagine stitching a patch with a similar fabric on it because it would look weird. I just felt like I ruined its beauty and I could never bring it back to its original, lovely state.

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But, as I was trying to cool myself down in front of the fan, my mom (who was near our room), noticed and mentioned that the hole wasn’t exactly in the middle of the top. By God’s grace, it was located at the side part, which wasn’t too obvious. True enough, when I tried to wear it again, it didn’t look that bad – unless, of course, I raise my arms to the side. Haha. Somehow, in spite of my carelessness, God still showed His grace to me by allowing me to burn a hole only at the side part of my favorite pink top. I wish that it didn’t have to happen, but it did and I know that God used it to get my attention and teach me something important.

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While I was on my way to work, I still thought about my burnt top and I asked God why He allowed it to happen. He then reminded me of one of City Harbor’s songs where it says: “I am not my failure. I am not my flaws. I am not defined by my mistakes, only by Your love. It’s a constant battle to believe what’s true, that Your love is unconditional no matter what I do.” As I started to sing the lyrics of the song in my head, my heart began to melt because I knew that He was encouraging me to focus on His goodness, love, and grace in spite of my carelessness and regrets this morning.

“I constantly trust in the LORD; because he is at my right hand, I will not be moved.” -Psalm 16:8

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Yes, my favorite pink top will never be as good as its original state, but I can still thank God because at least, the iron didn’t burn the whole garment… nor my hands/our place.

Yes, I loved the pretty, flawless piece of clothing because I felt good, girly, breezy, and comfortable whenever I wore it. But, I am also reminded that it is still just a piece of clothing and it will not define my beauty or value.

And yes, I made a mistake today and I will obviously make more in the future. But, I am encouraged to constantly put my trust and security in the One who never will. :)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Making Fresh Pasta at Home

“This is so cool!” I remember saying this to my eldest sister while I was rolling the pasta dough through the machine. Making pasta from scratch has always been a fun and interesting experience for me even though it requires more effort compared to boiling raw, store-bought noodles. So, when I recently craved for pasta, I decided to hang out with my pasta machine again.

homemade fresh pasta
homemade fresh pasta
fresh pasta
fresh pasta
fresh pasta
fresh pasta

While I was combining the flour and eggs, I already imagined the long streaks of pasta dough smoothly making their way out of the machine. However, after cutting the first two pieces of dough, my sister and I noticed that parts of the dough got stuck in the machine. It created a mess because they were stuck in between the rollers and we had to poke and push them out using a pointed knife/chopstick. Also, it was very crucial for us to thoroughly clean the pasta machine because if we left parts of the pasta dough on it and they dried up overnight, the hardened dough may eventually cause damage to the machine when we try to use it again.

fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta
fresh pasta
fresh pasta

 

During that time, I was already starting to change my mind about cooking homemade pasta because I was afraid that I would end up wasting ingredients, my time, and effort. But somehow, with the help of my sister, we continued to remove the bits that got stuck, sprinkled more flour on the rollers and dough, and proceeded with the next pieces of pasta dough. After rolling each piece of dough, I made sure to sprinkle enough flour on the machine to help roll the dough more smoothly and it worked! By God’s grace, I was able to finish rolling and cutting the pasta dough and I boiled the noodles in time for dinner.

fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough

Making pasta from scratch reminded me of a struggle that I face every now and then. I noticed how I was easily discouraged when things didn’t go the way I expected them to. When I made a mistake of not putting enough flour on the roller, it became such a hassle for me to clean up my mess and to start over again. In the same way, I realized that whenever I focus on my weaknesses, my past failures, and the things that I’ve done wrong, I allow these things to rob me of the joy and hope that I have in God.

fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough

Lamentations 3:21-23 says “I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

As mentioned in the verse above, we have hope in God knowing that his mercies are new every morning. Even if we fall or lose sight of Him every now and then, He is able to strengthen us and help us get back up again.

“We lose our way, we get back up again. It’s never too late to get back up again.
You may be knocked down but not out forever.”

-TobyMac

fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil
fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil
fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil
fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil

 

Pasta Dough = 2 cups of flour and 3 eggs.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)