I stumbled across this old religion class assignment I did seven years ago when I was in my sophomore year of high school. Kind of strange to see what I thought back then, but also so encouraging to see how much I’ve grown since then:
"I have been through many different stages through understanding Jesus over the years that I had become Catholic. I think this is because everyone needs time to mature and learn, so one cannot expect to experience an understanding of Jesus right away. Jesus can be viewed upon in many different ways since He is always there for us, and He loves the whole world. However, other people may think of Jesus as simply a figure of the Catholic Church, and nothing more.
My first stage in understanding Jesus was when I was only in kindergarten at the time of Christmas, when my teacher had told me the story of how Jesus was born. At that time, I had no idea who Jesus was, whether He had really existed, or why my teacher would tell me about such person. After finding out how He was born, and knowing that Christmas was celebrated because it was His birthday, I had believed that Jesus was a character similar to Santa Claus, someone who was just a symbolic figure for a holiday. However, I had known that without Jesus, there would be no presents or Christmas, so I was thankful.
My second stage in understanding Jesus was when I was in the fourth grade, taking classes to become baptized. I did not know why having a religion was important, so I had simply taken the classes to please my parents. At this point, I had known Jesus to be God’s beloved son, who was righteous and kind. I had not yet learnt to pray to Jesus though, so I did not have any communication with Him. My understanding of Jesus over the course had grown to be that He was definitely someone to look up to. He was someone that billions of people knew of, and loved, and I had soon started to see why they did.
My third stage in understanding Jesus was when I had started high school in the ninth grade and met a friend who was deeply religious. He had taught me the wonders of Jesus and why it was important to worship Him, and try to be a good person just as He was. Jesus had become a companion to me, someone that I prayed to in times of need, or even just because I wanted to talk to Him. Jesus had become someone who provided me with love, hope, help, and care.
My current relationship with Jesus is not as deep as I would want it to be, but I feel it slowly progressing. Jesus is like a brother, friend, idol, and a lot more to me because I have come to know many things about Jesus and God. I am thankful that God has sent Jesus to earth because without Him, the world would be more destructive than it is today.”
I’ve been home for a week now after project ended, and one emotion have been dominating my mind since then - anger. I’ve found myself short-tempered, impatient, and irritated in the past week, specifically at my family. It wasn’t until today until I realized what might be the cause of this.
I spent six weeks surrounded by loving, kind, and Christ-loving people who had the same passion as I do - spreading the word of Christ. For 42 days, I had people to talk to that understood what I value and accepted me for who I am. Of course it was easy to be less tempted and submissive to sin in such an environment where Christ was on my mind and at the center of my actions the majority of my days.
But now I’m back here, where I don’t have that community that comforts and loves me in a Christ-like manner, and where I’m surrounded by the same four people on a daily basis - my family. My family that does not know Jesus, values money before all things, and treats each other with impatience and contempt. It is that lack of a solid Christian community that made me realize what I am called to do.
I could choose to work in a church ministry where there are less temptations and where I could surround myself with Christians on a daily basis. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I did. And then I think about what would happen if all Christians chose to do that - there needs to be Christians out there in the mix of the darkness. Somehow, the Lord has placed me in this family, amongst these friends, in this professional world where Jesus is nothing but a name, where the cross is used as a fashion accessory, and where the gospel is nearly unheard of. I’m placed here for a reason.
Perhaps it is better to feel anger than apathy - to know that I am still adamant about pursuing the Great Commission. I know this path will be difficult, but I know He will be with me along the way. Project was an amazing learning experience that I will never forget, but now it’s time to face the reality of my life and be a warrior as I embark on this new chapter.
This pretty much sums up my personality :)
One childhood memory that is remains clear in my mind is when I told my best friend at the time, Alex, that I was moving away from Chatham in the second grade. I’d already moved twice before that, but it was the first time I was old enough to comprehend what exactly it meant. I’ll never forget how she responded that day at recess: “Let’s not play together today so I can get used to not being with you.” For some reason, that memory pops up in my mind from time to time - especially now that I’m mentally preparing myself for yet another move. Strangely, I have felt myself unconsciously distanced from my friends lately, and perhaps I have applied that same logic Alex had. Saying goodbye to friends is never easy, even after having had to do it so many times already. Sure, technologies today allow us to keep in touch with others despite long distances, but the ease of seeing that other person will never be the same, hence transforming the whole dynamic of the relationship. After a goodbye, there is always that moment where I think to myself whether that would be the last time I would get to see that person. I never saw Alex again, and even if I have talked to her once or twice since, my second grade best friend was lost forever. This realization is bittersweet and yet also is so commonplace that best friends are seemingly easily replaced. So before you move on immersed in the exciting future ahead of you, step back and cherish what you are leaving behind.
I feel so blessed for being granted the perseverance and motivation in the past year in reading the Word :)
One of my all-time favorite albums :)
Today was my first time riding the GO Train from Union Station, surprisingly. After living in Toronto for the past four years, I’ve grown so accustomed to thinking of this city as the home of my school that I’ve forgotten the memories I had growing up here. My dad used to take this very same GO Train to and from work everyday. There was a time when my family did not have as much financial means, and my dad drove a used 1987 Toyota Tercel to the GO station everyday. Being at the Royal Bank Plaza today where my dad worked for nine years, I still remember the first time I got to visit during take your kids to work day in the ninth grade. It felt like just yesterday, but it’s already been eight years. Looking in retrospect, my family has come so far, been to so many places, and done so many things together since those days in Markham. I’m so grateful that we are still one happy family even now, and I am so thankful for these moments where I feel a little closer to my roots and family even amidst being the constant busyness of this city.
I had the wonderful opportunity of babysitting my sister last night and in the few short hours I got to spend with her, I felt like I learned more than I have learned in a long while. A four year-old’s soul is ever so innocent and naive, free from the corruption and terrors of this world. She would ask me endles questions, and when I tell her a white lie to appease her curiosity, she would believe me without a doubt. She asks me for help and hugs me when she is scared. And it is then that I realize that this little girl loves me so much and places so much trust in me. It is a wonder how she grew up so fast - five years ago, I would not event think to picture myself having another sibling, and somehow God knew how much of a blessing she would be to our fast family before we even knew it.
Hearing about the elementary school shooting and seeing the names of all those children murdered breaks my heart into pieces. I came across a picture of a teenager in tears looking for her sister during the shooting and I couldn’t help but imagine myself in her shoes. All those children that brought joy and blessing to their families as my sister does to mine were killed by a selfish and irrational act of violence. Five years ago I couldn’t imagine having a baby sister, but now I can’t imagine not having her. I cannot even begin to fathom the pain and heartache the families of those children experiencing. I pray for the families of those children - that they will be able to overcome this struggle with love and acceptance in their hearts. I pray that the innocent hearts of children in America do not have to be tainted and harmed by violence and hate. I pray that my sister will not have to grow up in a world where shootings become mundane.
This week has been the biggest cliffhanger for me. Although I’m not stressed out, I am definitely feeling incredibly antsy and excited for the news I should be receiving this week. The past four years of my education has come down to this very moment. I won’t be too upset if I don’t get into NYU law - I know that a rejection letter will also be exciting news because it’ll mean that I will most likely get to move to California. The suspense is killing me! I guess this is a win-win situation for me at this point, but it will be nice to know where I’ll be winning at :) Praying for the good news!
A home may be wherever your family is, your house is, or the place you hold closest in your heart. Perhaps some like the comfort of having grown up and lived in the same place for their whole lives, though I prefer the contrary. Although it is still ambiguous as to where I consider my home, I’m glad that I have experienced living in so many different places. Each place has held it’s own unique story and lessons learned; each place makes me feel sentimental thinking about all the memories. Visiting this home of mine makes me miss all that has happened here, though at the same time, I’m glad that I have the chance to move on to a new and exciting place next year. The warmth of knowing that I can come back here whenever I want and still feel the same welcome and love from friends is something that I have been so graciously blessed with. I see all that has changed while I’ve been away, and though it seems like I have missed out, it is also nice to know how well everyone has been doing. I’ll always be proud to have been able to call Jersey my home :). Wherever I am led next, I know that I can trust in Him that it will be a place where I can build a home and continue my journey.
Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
2012 is surprisingly almost over, and looking back at the resolutions I wrote on January 1, I think it is safe to say that I have changed drastically in order to maintain these goals. With only a month left in this year, I hope to continue to remind myself daily of these resolutions. Most people give up or forget about New Year resolutions, but I have been incredibly determined and am thankful for the perseverance I’ve had:
1. Pray pray pray.
3. Control emotions and desires.
4. Be more involved with church and fellowship.
5. Read the bible.
6. Exercise 2-3 times a week.
7. Cook and eat healthier.
8. Be diligent and focused on school.
9. Be thankful for everything I have.
10. Always smile :)
I think my planning for my life has been terrible thus far. Nothing has gone how I thought it would. I think about all the plans I had with a person, or where I wanted to settle down after school, or what mistakes I would want to avoid, and yet they have all failed. Though at the same time, the path my life has taken has gone perfectly despite occasional bumps, no matter how big or small. I try not to plan too far ahead; perhaps I won’t go to law school in New York, or maybe I won’t go to law school at all - I won’t know what happens until it happens. The hardest part is letting go of the plans I’ve made in the past. Although I know they aren’t meant to be, somehow it hurts to realize how badly they have gone and how much I regret. Perhaps wishing something could happen means I’m not trusting enough, and this is definitely something I need to work on.