Monday, June 27, 2011

CV 2011

I can't even begin to describe what CV 2011 was like for me. It was the most incredible time I have ever experienced in my life.

Board breaking
One thing which was powerful for me was that I was really honest with my board... Both with the words that a little girl in pinafore 'spoke' on my board, and on the 'negative voices' that I hear... words that I was ashamed to reveal to others, but which I felt I had to write to achieve my full breakthrough. They were words that I was too ashamed to share during perseverance push. It was truly hard to show the words to my team members and to speak them out when I was getting ready to break my board.

I did not really 'see' my board with all the negative words facing up when I was trying to break it... I knew that I would not have the courage to break it if I did. On the first round at my last attempt, I hit my right hand on the part of the board lying on the stone, and I felt a different sensation on my wrist on the impact. After that, my wrist felt 'weak' even though there wasn't really much pain... It was more a feeling of not being able to put weight on the wrist.

After the second round where I used my left hand, I still could not break my board, and Suan asked me if I wanted to speak to Paul. I agreed, because I realised I wasn't going to break my board otherwise. Walking out with Paul, I broke down and cried.... the very first time I had broken down at a CV camp, and probably the first time in a very, very long while, because I hate to cry.

Paul encouraged and motivated and challenged me and he even shared deeply... I appreciated that so much.We went back and I asked to break the board without others around except for Suan and Paul... even though I suspected it would hurt and surprise my team. 

Paul turned the board the other way round so that my dream was facing me, rather than the negative words. But even then, and even with Paul's support on my hand, I could not break the board. Paul asked me to feel with my heart, and I did.... and I knew I was not ready to break the board. Not yet. I hope I break it next year.

What impacted me powerfully was just the care and concern that others in CV showed over my stupid wrist. When Rena bandaged it and lectured me that she was going to check up on me on whether I'd seen the doctor, I couldn't stop the tears. I can't remember the last time I have ever felt so cared for.

Ayu also came over and shared what she had seen in me... things which were true and which I knew deep down but had not faced before.

Trust Fall
Initially, I thought that trust fall would not be a challenge for me. After leading the CV M'sia youths through Skytrex high elements, nothing could possibly be as challenging! I hung back, though, to give the youths a turn first. But when the silence dragged after the first person 'fell' and nobody else volunteered, I decided to go next to show the youths that it is all right and safe.

When I got up there, Suan asked me if I was scared, and I told her if I turned white, she would know why. She told me I was already white! *lols* Okay, so it WAS a bit higher than it looked from the ground on 5 sets of chairs!

I chose a blindfold simply because it would be less scary for me... I was afraid my eyes would spring open and I would panic and start flailing about like a chicken.

Once I got up there, Suan began speaking words... They were words to encourage me to go for my dream, to trust. Because I had shared some things with Suan already, she could speak so personally and directly that I felt myself withdrawing and physically pulling away to draw deeper into myself...

But Suan held on, and I couldn't 'run'. I didn't know before then, I think, on a conscious level, how much I draw into myself. How I protect myself. Twice I instinctively flinched and drew away... twice Suan held on and I couldn't.

Finally, it was time to fall. We had to yell, "Team, are you ready?" and I was so supported and encouraged to hear my team give a very loud "Ready!" But Suan told them, "No, you are not!" and rebuked them to take it seriously as it was a scary thing to be up there and it was dangerous too. I don't know what the team was doing... I guess they were playing around.

I waited a while before I again asked my team if they were ready. Then I had to say "Falling" and my voice squeaked, because honestly, I began to feel fear! My team responded "Fall on" as they were supposed to and I dropped... I could feel myself arch as I got closer because I was so scared!

But you know what? I dropped into safe, strong arms that held me and cradled me. Suan then came down to affirm me as I lay there, to say that I was a powerful woman... That really surprised me! She told me to remember this feeling of being supported, because it didn't happen often.

When I was let down by my team, I was surprised to find myself rather wobbly! *lols* I expected to be my usual strong, cocky self...sort of like, 'That was so easy!', but I wasn't!

Suan asked me to share what it was like... It's really difficult to share with the team things that are private to me, but I've learnt that, with youths, they pick up quickly when you're being 'fake'. So I switch off my brain around them and speak whatever comes into my mouth and heart... often surprising myself with what I say. And this was the same.

The thing which surprised me this time? When Suan asked what I was feeling when I was caught, and I said that I was amazed anyone would want to. I didn't know I felt that way. I felt so grateful to my team that they were willing to 'catch' me and kept thanking them.

Perseverance Push
I felt my tummy tying itself into knots when Perseverance Push time came around. This was the first 'breakthru' activity that I had to face as it was scheduled on the first day and I was nervous. Could I do it and would I break down?

I found myself thinking again, musing once more, if my dream was really what I wanted anymore... or had it changed? I had felt the resolve fade over the past few years and I was no longer as single-minded about it as I had been as a child and youth.

We divided into teams of four/ five and Suan quickly read out the names of who would be in which team. I guess I wasn't surprised that I was in Suan's team :>. I knew she had really gone the extra mile to make this camp impactful for me, and I was so grateful, even whilst I was sometimes nervous and fearful!

We had to declare our dreams, which I did, and to share the negative voices and positive voices that we 'heard' in our heads. I wasn't wholehearted about sharing the negative voices, and maybe that is why... The positive voice was simple, "Because it's worth it." Again, the rest of the positive voices was too private to share.

I was surprised and a little bit disappointed to hear Suan say that she would not be involved in the activity, as I badly wanted her to be supporter. Instead, I asked a new volunteer, NK, to be my 'supporter' as he had a strong voice, and I wanted a strong voice to support me! This 'push' was going to be challenging enough without strong negative voices! Lee Ling and Jermaine gamely agreed to be my blockers. I was a wee bit doubtful that they would be strong enough, as I was taller than both of them.

We got into positions, Lee Ling and Jermaine preparing to block, and I, with my shoulder between them, ready to push. On the count of 3, I started to push. But, oh damn! guess what? Suan was standing behind Lee Ling and Jermaine loudly shouting as the 'negative voice' instead of Lee Ling and Jermaine! Her voice was so loud and so commanding, I couldn't hear NK's positive voice at all!

I felt so hopeless at her 'negative voice', as if I could never do it, I would always fail and I could never achieve my dream. And it showed, in the way I pushed. I knew inside me, as I was pushing thru, that I was not giving my all.

We stopped, and I was exhausted, more emotionally than physically. In my mind going round and round was the question, "Do I really want this anymore? Is this still my dream?" Lee Ling asked if she could give feedback, and Suan told her to go ahead. Lee Ling said that she felt I was not going 100% as I had barely moved her at all, and she was smaller than me. My head nodded yes before I could even think about it, because I knew in my heart that it was the truth.

Tony asked us to put our hands up if we had gone 100%, and I didn't, of course. He then challenged us to go thru the perseverance push again and to give it our all. This time I pushed harder, but it still wasn't enough. I pushed hard enough to slip and fall earning myself a nasty bruise, but in my head during the activity, still the question, "Do I still want this?"

At the end of this second round, Tony asked us to again put our hands up if we had done better this round. I had... but it wasn't satisfactory to me because there was still a holding back, so I did not.

I had the chance for a second round after the others had done theirs, but because only Lee Ling and NK were with me by that time, Lee Ling pulled in Paul and Kwang Yong. Again, I did not have the courage to share the true negative and positive voices... it was already so embarassing to share my dream, for I wondered what people would think of me when I shared it.

This time, Paul was my supporter. Not only did he yell directly into my ear so that I could hear his supportive voice loud and clear, he also spoke as if he knew just the right words to say, as if he understood the outcome. The words cleared away the fog I had been in with the memory of WHY I wanted this dream in the first place, the feelings and emotions and thoughts that the child I once was had when I first created this dream as a young primary school child, and this time, THIS TIME I could finally give it my all. I gave it 100%.

Everyone acknowledged it when I stopped, especially Lee Ling as she had been part of my first push, and I could finally agree, yes... I had given my all this time. And it pushed the clouds away so that once again, I could clearly see that my heart was connected to my dream. YES, I did want this dream.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Out Of My Hands (City Harvest Church)

I love this song... Truly one thing I can never comprehend... How can someone love me that much?

Friday, June 17, 2011

'I'm so lucky'

One of my kids once was talking to me and telling me their history. This youth had been abandoned as a small child at one of the Homes.

"But I'm so lucky," said my kid, sweetly. "Some of the children in my Home have been abused! By their parents! I always tell myself that I'm lucky when I compare myself to them... at least, I am only abandoned."

I had to keep my face very still to keep from showing any expression... to keep my eyes from dropping the tears in my heart... listening to the words of this precious youth telling me "I'm so lucky".

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Your decision

This morning, I sms'd my friend Jenny, who works with the homeless, to let her know that the little Indian boy that I'd noticed sleeping rough near my office was back again.

He's under-sized and scrawny and every time I see him he'll be asleep, even if it's the middle of the day, with his eyes half-open. We both suspect he's on glue.

Jenny came over herself this time. She tapped him and spoke to him.

"Where's your father?" she asked.

"He's dead." he mumbled in reply.

"Where's your mother?"

"Taking care of my younger siblings."

"Where?"

"In Kuantan." (a city in a neighbouring state).

"Where do you live?"

It turns out he has been put in different Homes/ Shelters, but he has been running away.

Jenny tried again, "Do you want to stay in a Home?"

He shook his head 'no'. He has had enough of them.

"Do you want to eat something?"

A weary sigh and a shake of his head, pulling his long skinny arm over his eyes.

"Do you want a drink?"

Another shake of the head, with his eyes still shaded.

We walked away and talked. At the end of the day, she said, there was nothing we could do for now. GOSM, the organization that Jenny works for, is building a shelter for street children and youths, and soon, they would be able to take in this boy.

"Don't worry." she said. "He will still be here. He has nowhere to go."

"Will he be caught by predators?" I asked point-blank.

She answered thoughtfully, "I don't think so."

And we left.

It had to be his decision, his choice, to go to a place of safety and accept the rules and behavior needed to stay there. There was nothing we could do.

You know, the choices in my life have always appeared to me to be so easy. What is it like for kids like this who have hard, adult decisions to make that will determine their life course when they're so small and scrawny and half-starved?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Where's the fun?

I think I finally realise something... and that will help me understand why I'm so cranky and tired and out-of-sorts lately.

Life has become no fun.

Early in the year, I made resolutions. I solidified goals. I prioritized relationships.

And so I concentrated harder on my volunteer work, I set aside time for friends and family, and I re-arranged and schedulised non-stop.

I'm achieving more than ever, but along the way life has lost its savour. I'm so busy trying to make sure I don't waste a single moment that I don't enjoy any moment at all!

I knew something was wrong when I began dreading the things that I should be looking forward to. I knew something was wrong when meeting up with people became a 'chore' rather than a joyful event. I knew something was wrong when I couldn't dredge up a mediocum of excitement, fervour and zest.

Now that I know, moving forward, I think this is what I want to do - Rest. Have fun. Play. Laugh. Forget schedules. Enjoy life. Sing. Dance. Read. Laze. Relax!!!!!!

I've forgotten the meaning of those words.

"Love keeps her going" The Star 15/6

I think I know this family.

I visited them with a physical therapist on an outreach visit when I was a volunteer at the Spastics Centre. He told me that was going to be the last outreach visit the centre could make since the family was going to be moving out of the vicinity, thanks to the newly donated house.

"But what's going to happen to the children without therapy?" I exclaimed in horror. He shrugged; the decision had been taken out of the centre's hands by well-meaning people.

And if I'm not wrong, I know the children of one of their married daughters... because they were all sent to a children's Home that I visited too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Heal the Broken-hearted

Yesterday's sermon was so special to me.... The service at CHC Singapore was conducted by Pst Mike Connell and he took his message from Judges 11.

Pst Mike spoke about Jepthah, who was a prostitute's son, and how much he was rejected in his life... He really brought the message to life for me as he described scenes for us to picture... How Jepthah's dad's night with his mother was meant to be just a one-night stand, but she got pregnant... and how she must have rejected him in her womb...

What the scene must have been like at Jepthah's father's home when his mother took him and unceremoniously dumped him onto his father's lap and abandoned him... how furious his stepmother must have been and how she would have taken the bitterness of her pain out on the child...

What his childhood and growing up years must have been with stepbrothers who did not love him and who eventually denied him his share of his inheritance...

And how ultimately, God redeemed his life and used it powerfully to save the nation. 

It did not matter where Jepthah had come from. It did not matter what anyone had said about him. Ultimately, nothing could stop God using his life to fulfil a great destiny.

Pst Mike then asked those to whom the message really related to... who had areas of rejection and unforgiveness and bitterness because of unfairness and brokenness in the past to come up to the altar for prayer. And he prayed for individuals and spoke over them.

Because of the ‘movie’ sized screens, we could watch as he prayed over different people; many of those who went up for prayer were just youths. Again and again, Pst Mike spoke against rejection and negative words that had been spoken over a young person’s life... It really broke my heart to see how many had been hurt and wounded by words spoken against them in the past, and from the words spoken I gathered, many of those words that had wounded these youths were from loved ones.

I loved watching God restore and heal the broken areas in their hearts... loved how God knew and could see the wounds that no one else could see and that He cared and took time to speak over each precious child of His.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Keeping track of the good things

Just because it's been a tough 1.5 weeks since the H-G camp, I really need to extra-carefully remember the blessings that have happened too...

... The tears that the RACTAR youths shed as they watched the photos montage of their 2010-2011 journey
... Amy so choked up with emotion she couldn't finish her speech
... Eika telling the next batch "Don't take this opportunity for granted, because a chance like this very rarely comes"
... Suan stepping in to help facilitate the sessions
... Seeing the youth leaders step up and play games and cheer the youths
... M's statement that 'This feels like a family'
... One of the new campers' tears as she indicated that she had never felt love like this before
... Samantha's support thruout
... Serene's encouragement and support
... Laura's cheeriness when things are tough
... Syahidah offering to give part of the proceeds of her exhibit to CV
... Suresh's offer to set up a website for CV
... Claudine's offer to teach dance and drama to CV youths
... Sissy's suggestion for us to work with a group she knows
... Silly phone calls and SMS's with Ayu, one which lasted an hour and fifteen minutes!!
... Rena's invite to go out for after-dinner drinks and dessert

Extra-special 'gifts' that I cherish all the more because it's been such a tough time.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Surrender

This morning, as I sent a message to someone, I thought to myself that I just wanted to be myself. I've come a long way to really being just me... but there is still so much left to remove so that the real me can come forth.

And I told God, once again, "God, I surrender myself to you. Who I am, I give to you. This is me, use me as You will."

For years since I gave my life to God, I've felt that in my heart, there is so much that I'm still holding back. That when I said I gave my life to Jesus, I hadn't yet. Not really.

But becoming myself, being true to who I am inside, I am able to give it as a perfect offering to my Lord.