Sorry I’ve not posted any blog entries in ages! My head’s been buzzing & my heart’s been bursting with ideas & revelations to write about, but I’ve been struggling to find time to express it in writing. This will probably continue for the foreseeable future, since I’ve now come into the final year of my PhD, so I’m likely to be manically busy for the whole year. But I’m sure I will keep blogging as & when I am able.
So those who know me will know that I’ve just spent a year in Singapore as part of my PhD, which was such an amazing experience for me :D. It is well known that having experience of living abroad often broadens your mind & develops your transferable skills, such as adaptability. But living in Singapore has changed me beyond what I expected. I’ve learned that God loves to work in ways that surpass our expectations :D.
Last year I had been feeling depressed about my PhD for a long while, & I didn’t know how much more I could take. The main thing that stopped me from quitting was knowing that I would soon be coming to Singapore. I was excited about going but very nervous too, as I was worried that I’d be pressured into working ridiculous hours, as this is normal in Singapore. But when I got there, I found that my new supervisor was really nice & approachable, & I’ve been so blessed to have such a great boss :D. The lab was also quite friendly, & it was a great place to work :).
My first few weeks in Singapore were not easy, as I didn’t know many people. I really missed my family & friends at this time, & with the time difference & distance, I felt that my life was out of sync with the people who I cared most about. But being in this new, unsettling environment was very good for me, as it forced me out of my comfort zone & I made an effort to make new friends. I also had a sense of urgency to make the most of the year, as time was short. I was desperate to start settling in quickly, so I was very keen to find a church to commit to. I tried a few churches that weren’t quite right for me, but it only took 2 weeks to discover the church that I would soon call my own. When I first arrived, I felt intimidated by how many people there were, as I’m used to small churches. I never imagined myself feeling at home in a big church, but God knew better! I could sense God’s presence there during the service, which brought peace to me in the midst of feeling unsettled in Singapore. & then after the service, a few people in front of me turned around, introduced themselves & invited me out for dinner :D. They took me to a lovely Peranakan restaurant, & later we hung out at Gardens by the Bay. I had so much fun with them, & what struck me is that I not only felt welcomed, but I also felt included, like I was already one of them. I wanted to be sure this was the right church for me, & confirmation of this came during one church service, where I felt God say to me ‘this is your family’. This was significant for me, as I had a prophecy before going to Singapore that I would feel part of a family there, & experience acceptance like never before. & in case I needed more confirmation, the sermon turned out to be about ‘church as a family’!
Since I first came to Hope Church, I started to feel much more settled into Singapore, & it quickly felt like my second home. The friends in my church ‘life group’ became like family to me, & I experienced a sense of belonging there that I had never experienced before. Their love for me inspired me to look for ways to bless & invest in them, just as they had done for me. We loved to spend time together, & we’d spend many hours together eating, going out, karaokeing, watching movies or musicals, going to parks, laughing, bantering, sharing our hearts, & just generally having a blast together. Finding this sense of belonging brought healing from the pain of loneliness & rejection that had plagued me for so long. I eventually realised that my desperation for a man had gone, & that what I was really looking for was somewhere to belong. I would still very much love to have a boyfriend, but I’m in no rush now- I’ve finally found contentment as a single. I’ve realised that I’m not missing out while I’m single, & can still really live life fully. God knew what my real need was, so though He hasn’t given me a lover yet, He’s given me something better- a family. Family is what I actually needed, but God had to spend years opening up my heart, so that I am now able to receive the love of a family.
It was very difficult for me to leave Singapore. I was so happy there, & I didn’t want to leave that behind. But God assured me that I am different now, & that His blessings will follow me as I stay faithful to Him. It was also hard because I’ve invested myself & poured out my heart into the people I’ve known here. So it felt like my heart was being torn apart, & pieces of my heart were left here in Singapore, & in the hearts of many people. God’s purpose is for His heart to become my own, & I believe His will is for me to impart pieces of His heart into the hearts of many. My experience is that a piece of His heart has transformed my life, & this piece keeps expanding & growing & spilling over into the lives of others. This love compels me to spread this love as far as I can; into as many hearts as I can; to show the world what love truly is & the power it has.
The power of love is so contrary to what the world considers power. The power of love is an inward power; a power that perseveres against all odds, empowers us to do the impossible, & that chooses to be outwardly weak so that others can find inward strength. True love is vulnerable; true love is sacrificial; true love breaks you, but also re-makes you. So though my heart is broken now, God will make it whole again. Though my heart is scattered in pieces across the world, God will ensure that not one piece is missing, no matter where I am. Geographical distances are nothing to Him, so wherever He sends me, no matter what my circumstances are, my heart is complete in Him <3.