Friday, 30 October 2009

The full armour

I was going through some old photos when I stumbled across this old one of my fiance D. D and I have known each other for more than five years now, and in four of those years, he was deployed to various parts of the world by the US military. I would be lying if I said I wasn't anxious or worried for him. I certainly missed him a lot. Our relationship was rocky in the beginning but God gave us both the same word when we sought Him individually. That He is with us in our relationship, and that He has an awesome purpose for the both of us. All we had to do was seek Him first - and so we did. As the years went by, and he got re-re-re-deployed time and time again, being together with D felt like a losing battle. At the same time, my parents were keen on me pursuing a law degree in the UK, and I wanted to honour their decision. Studying in the US was too expensive for us to afford at that time anyway. So I came to Manchester, completely confused as to why this was the only open door when my boyfriend is American, and my family are in Malaysia and Singapore.

My first year in Manchester was a whirlwind. I didn't know anyone when I arrived, and I didn't know where to begin to establish a network here. I left home when I was 15 to go to boarding school in Singapore - and I made so many firm friends that moving again didn't really make sense.

Then I found a church family here in Manchester with King's Church. In hindsight, I see how God has worked in our lives through our situations. I have been equipped and challenged in King's to mature in God. My testimony is that in King's Church, my relationship with God is closer than ever, and I have got to know amazing brothers and sisters in Christ. We may not always understand why things happen when they happen, but all that matters is that we know God's truth. God's truth is in His word, and it's this truth that we have to stand on:

My God is mighty to save.

My God is the King of King's.

My God loves me with an everlasting and passionate love, regardless of what I have done in my past.

The favour of God is upon me through my faith in Jesus.

My God will never leave me nor forsake me. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Can you say the above about the person / entity / god in whom you place your faith or trust? Jesus loves you as much as he loves me. In the Bible, we are called to put on the armour of God. The belt of truth, the sandals of peace (an inner peace that transcends all understanding), the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation through Christ today and forever. The truth is, we are on the winning side of a battle against loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety, poverty, depression, sickness and violence.

In my personal life, Jesus has been the ultimate comfort and wisdom to me when I was missing D. Indeed, without God, our relationship would have failed with the prolonged distance. We refuse to let the distance get in the way of us serving His kingdom today. I stand on God's promise that D and I will be together soon. As for now, God has provided the both of us with very full lives - full of God's work, service, blessing, power and family. It's such a privilege to serve the highest King!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The most important relationship

One very famous quote from the very brilliant designer Diane von Furstenberg:

"The most important relationship you have in your life is the relationship you have with yourself."

Diane was talking in the context of how we cannot rely on other people, or items, or ideas to make us happy. It follows that the most important relationship to build, first and foremost, is not our relationship with a boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, material possessions or our job. It is instead the bond we have with ourselves. I have to love myself, take control of myself, invest in myself to build me up before I can even think of being "whole" enough to build relationships with the world. It's us in the driving seat of our lives.

As much as I love Diane's quirkiness and genius wrap dresses, I have to disagree with her on this one. As human beings, we are all so flawed. I can disappoint me, and indeed I have, so many times in my past. When I came to terms with that fact, I was halfway through my revelation. People are fallen persons, and yet God loves us so much that He continuously reaches out to us. He never gave up on us. God sent His only Son to die for our sins so we can have The Most Important Relationship with God, freely and limitlessly.

I learnt to love God first instead of loving myself. As I spend time with Jesus my Lord and my Best Friend, he starts to reveal things about me. I start seeing how God sees me. How I am completely and unequivocally loved. How I am His child, and I inherit His kingdom. How I am created beautiful in His image and how He has an amazing plan and purpose for my life. That made me love me a thousand times more!

The truth is, the most important relationship you could ever have is with Jesus. He needs to be in your driving seat. The freedom you will experience from surrendering all to Him is inexplicable. No more chaos, worry, self-loathe, pity, confusion, anger or anxiety. Jesus bore all of these on the cross so that you don't have to experience those things. Instead, we enter into a life of joy and peace that no situation nor person can take away from us when we accept Jesus into our lives.

Jesus died for all, not just me. And regardless of what you think of Him, or the state of your relationship with him, the unchangeable truth is this: He loves you more than you can ever understand or imagine.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Japanese food - always healthy?

There is a common stereotype that Japanese cuisine, in general, is good for you. Life expectancy in Japan is amongst the highest in the world, despite the perceived high-pressure, fast-paced environment in which the Japanese live and work. In fact, as a child, I've always had it in my head that the Japanese diet is hailed to be low cholesterol, low-fat, packed with superfoods and antioxidants etc etc. It's also delicious! You could say I have the best of both worlds, but for the following three Japanese snacks that I absolutely love and are not too good for them hips and thighs...

Inari, sushi rice and mayo

It's a carb bomb and to make matters worse, the inari (beancurd) is soaked in sugary syrup. I don't think it has any nutritional value. Mmmm... did you know that cellulite is the main ingredient of refined white rice? (Yes, I'm a fan of that movie).


Oh boy do I remember when takoyaki first took off in a big way in Singapore and Malaysia. There were takoyaki stalls EVERYWHERE, thanks to the relatively low barriers to entry and set up costs. All you need is a takoyaki mould grilling machine, octopus, grease, batter, that dried shaved fishmeat stuff (katsuobushi), lots of Japanese mayonnaise and condiments and you're good to go. The smell of the batter grilling is just so yummy. There were lots of variations too if you aren't a fan of octopus: ham and cheese, tuna and chicken being a few of them.

And finally, this. I don't actually know what this is called. In fact, I don't know whether this even exists in Japan. I've certainly seen it in lots of sushi bars in Singapore but I have no clue if it is in fact a localisation. It reminds me of the deep fried Mars Bars in Scotland. Most things deep fried are yummy. Mars Bar is yummy. So by logical deduction, a deep fried Mars Bar is double-yummy. Right?

Same concept applies here:
The Deep Fried Sushi

Smothered with mayo and roe, no less. This one was a simple tuna and cucumber maki, dipped in tempura batter and dunked in hot oil. Delish...

Is this one authentic Japanese? Can you find it in Japan?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Back in Manchester

There are a few good reasons why I disappeared over the summer, and they are as follows:

1. I've been on a Langkawi island trip with D on the back of a motorcycle

2. I've been snorkelling

3. I've been spending my time just chilling out and admiring one of my all time favourites of God's creations: the big blue sea

4. And finally, and most importantly - I got engaged!