I am deeply grateful to MPCC for their generosity in granting me a three-month sabbatical. I devoted the first fruits of my Sabbatical to the Lord by spending the first month at APTS (Asia Pacific Theological Seminary) Baguio City, Philippines. After that, I visited Japan where two members who used to serve the Filipino ministry are now working. I spent the rest of my time in the Philippines, mostly in Manila visiting the families of our members. There were so many of them and I could not visit them all, but it was wonderful to see and encourage them.
These were the five main highlights of my Sabbatical:
1. Revived Passion to serve according to my calling. God spoke audibly to me, “My child, tell them what I have taught you.” I realized I was so focused on ‘doing’ that I neglected just ‘being’. Recognizing that I am God’s child gives me the confidence not to worry or be afraid. I must first develop in my identity as a child of God – the actions will flow from my being.
2. Renewed Vision to love those whom God loves unconditionally, even the unlovable. My passion to serveGod has been renewed, with my service coming from the overflow of my deeper intimacy with God.
3. Restoration to Surrender, to live under the Lordship of Christ. I am surrendered to His will, to serve however and wherever He pleases. My heart's desire is to honor and glorify Him in all things, acknowledging that it is Christ in me that is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
4. Reformed heart, as Christ has been restored to His rightful place in my heart. My obedience to Christ stems from a grateful heart. It is not for the sake of receiving blessings, but out of gratitude for all the abundant blessings God has already poured out. His forgiveness, cleansing, healing and deliverance are the best gifts God has given me through His Son Jesus Christ.
5. Rest in my spirit. I used to be restless, feeling that I was not doing enough to fulfil my calling. There were times I felt frustrated and incompetent as a pastor, as if I was failing the Lord. But this Sabbatical granted me rest, as God my Father quieted me by His love (Zephaniah 3:17) I experienced what Jesus taught in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Rest is one of the Lord’s promises! Though I may not see His hand at work, I can confidently trust His heart – I am His child, and He is my loving Father. His love towards me will never fail.
Having this rest in my spirit has brought healing and closure from my grief of losing my son. Instead of dwelling on what I lost, I turned it into a thanksgiving because I acknowledge that God in His mercy has allowed me to experience motherhood for 42 years. To me, it is more than enough. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
This spiritual rest has brought me healing and closure from the grief of losing my son. Instead of dwelling on my loss, I give thanks, acknowledging that God in His mercy has allowed me to experience 42 years of motherhood. To me, it is more than enough. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
This verse resonates with me as I rest in the promises of my God and Father. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
And this is the Scripture I keep close to heart as I journey with God in this new season of my life: “I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.” (Psalm 101:6-7)
To God be all the glory and praise! Amen!