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Relationships

Will you be my #BFF?

by | 2 August 2017, 6:04 PM

I was scrolling through Instagram when pictures of best friends began to flood my feed.

You’ve seen those pictures. They’re mostly fun snapshots of girls laughing and having fun, complete with cute hashtags in the comments – #overlyattached, #girlsquad and #friendshipgoals.

It seems like everyone has a best friend forever – a BFF  – except me.

I’ll admit it: I was envious of those girls. I wish I had close friends like that too! Someone I would have amazing chemistry with, someone who would go on random cafe dates with me. Someone to take silly photos with.

I asked God to bring me someone I could trust – someone to relate to. I prayed about it. I intentionally opened myself to people. I waited. And yet the person never came.

I felt confused and frustrated for what seemed like an eternity.

Isn’t God a giver of all good gifts? I seriously wondered why He would withhold this person from me since He was the one who declared it beneficial to have friends who encourage you in life (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)? It wasn’t as if I wasn’t trying.

In time, when the bitterness had passed – when I came to Him quietly – God revealed this to me: It wasn’t that He hadn’t sent friends my way.

I had simply dismissed the ones that didn’t fit my picture-perfect vision of friendship.

FRIENDSHIP UNFILTERED

Most of us have an idea of we want our friendships to look like. Mine came from the picture-perfect moments I saw on my Instagram feed. They were so candid and happy. So I based my definition of friendship on what social media portrayed it to be: Candid. Happy. Easy.

I only wanted to invest in people who could make me laugh. People who I felt I had an immediate connection with. I carried this mental list of criteria for potential friends – and I struck off many from the list simply because I didn’t click with them from the get-go.

I had prayed for a trusted friend, but in reality I was scouring my world for quick and easy friendships.

We want immediate connection. We want unconditional love – we want to belong. We want that idealised, final product of what we see on social media.

But social media doesn’t capture the life of a person in its entirety. It captures moments of a person’s life. And that’s just what they are. Moments. What we get at the end is a filtered TL;DR of the thousand things which have transpired unseen.

Friendships aren’t instantaneous and easy. They’re often awkward, especially when two people are just beginning to get to know each other. They’re often a little strange at first, as we shed cordialities – a little bumpy as we figure each other’s sensitive spots. Trust is built … slowly.

In this digital age, we often only see the mountain-top moments. The arduous struggles in the valleys aren’t quite there as much for the world to see. In truth, building a friendship requires effort.

What I’m seeing now is that no matter how high-res a picture-perfect photograph is – it can’t quite capture the rigour behind the friendship.

SWIPING LEFT AND RIGHT

In my search for friendship, I realised that while there necessarily aren’t a lot of people on my exact wavelength – I’ve found many other wonderful individuals.

These people are willing to avail themselves to hear me out. They send me occasional texts to encourage me. They may not be the funniest or the most charismatic, but they really care.

In their love and support for me, I realised this: so what if they don’t fit my 1080px by 1080px frame of what friendship looks like? Maybe I’m glad they don’t – the friendship we have is so much bigger than that. These people are truly worth investing in.

I’m so thankful for these friends whom God has already placed in my life. It’s not true that I don’t have good friends. I had enslaved myself to expectations of friendship based on social media, and ended up missing out on all I already had.

In this digital age, we often only see the mountain-top moments. The arduous struggles in the valleys aren’t quite there as much for the world to see.

I also realised that one of the reasons I felt like I didn’t have a true friend in my low moments was because I rarely took the initiative to be a friend to others.

God encourages us to carry each other’s burdens in difficult times (Galatians 6:2). Was I there for people when they needed me? Was I simply concerned with my own feelings and circumstances this entire time?

I pray we aren’t caught up in choosing best-fit friends, that the friendships of our life aren’t self-centred endeavours.

What if instead of praying to God, “please bring me a friend”, we prayed: “God, help me be a better friend to this person” (Luke 6:31)? What would the world look like if we gave before thinking to receive? I want to imitate how He loves.

I want to love people – even before they’ve loved me.

/ siqi@thir.st

Siqi loves to eat. Except for peas, egg yolk, cucumbers, livers, intestines. Among others. She also happens to be a writer.

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When dad cheated on mum

by Charlotte Sim | 17 August 2017, 1:36 PM

I first discovered my dad was cheating on my mum when I was 20.

It started off with fishy images I saw him receiving on his phone. Then, he started to make morning calls every day after my mom had left for work.

I was sure he was cheating on my mom but I didn’t dare to say anything. How was I supposed to talk to my dad about this?

I was also afraid of the repercussions if the truth came to light. Knowing how emotionally attached my mom was to my dad, I feared she would mentally collapse and plunge into suicidal thoughts if she knew the truth. I was worried about how my younger siblings would take the news too.

For many years, I kept silent. The secret weighed heavily in my heart but I had no one to turn to.

I was the only believer in my family when I first came to know God in 2005. I was 13 then.

Being a Christian in a non-Christian family wasn’t easy. My parents objected to my faith; I wasn’t allowed to go to church for a year, or even leave the house on Saturdays, during service timings. My relationship with my family was strained because of this tension.

Somehow, eventually, my parents softened their stance, and they began to allow me to attend church services. I wasn’t the perfect daughter, but I believe my parents could see the gradual transformation in me as I held fast to the Gospel and continued to walk with God. 

Then, one of my sisters came to know Christ. It didn’t happen overnight; it took time, over our day-to-day conversations, before she decided to put her faith in Jesus. This encouraged me to persevere with my parents’ salvation.

For many years, I kept silent about my dad’s adultery. The secret weighed heavily in my heart but I had no one to turn to.

In December 2014, my mom attended an outreach event at my church. This was unimaginable, to me – someone who had once banned me from going to church actually agreed to step into the House of God. She received Christ that very day.

I wept as she recited the Sinner’s Prayer. The wait for my mom to know Christ had been long and arduous.

But God was far from done.

He told me – convicted me in my heart – that I needed to do something about my father’s adultery, three years after I had first found out about it.

And so, I gathered up all my courage and confronted my dad. Either he tell my mum the truth – or I would.

The entire family was thrown into turmoil when my dad confessed. My mom was livid. She wanted a divorce.

My dad went on his knees, begging for forgiveness from each of us. There was lots of screaming and shouting. Unable to face my dad any longer, my mom walked out of the house.

Thousands of thoughts flittered through my mind. Where would my mom go? Would she do something silly? What about my siblings? How are they taking the news?

Being the eldest child in the family, I had to step right into the situation and take charge even though I was just as lost, and just as afraid.

I eventually managed to find my mom. Part of me was relieved that she was physically safe. Yet the other part of me was filled with trepidation of what the future holds of my family.

She refused to go home and insisted on checking into a hotel. I accompanied her. With every step I took toward the hotel, I made a little prayer to God.

Please God, please.

I spent that night with my mom. We cried. We prayed. We listened to worship songs. This went on all night; neither of us could sleep.

The next morning, I received a text from my dad. He told me he felt the need to go church that very day.

I was surprised. He had been adamant about avoiding anything related to God and Christianity. At the end of the service, he texted me that he accepted Jesus.

I couldn’t see how God was present in the situation; I couldn’t see how He could deliver my family. But God did it.

“I used to avoid church because I felt so unworthy in front of God knowing how sinful my life was and yet not wanting to change,” he said. “But I’m now truly convinced of my sins. I’ve repented.”

My dad humbled himself and showed signs of remorse. He stopped contacting his mistress and became more involved with my family.

It wasn’t easy for my mom but she found it in her to not only forgive my dad, but also reconcile with him. They are now faithfully serving in the same church and cell group together.

I remember the years I interceded for my parents’ salvation. Many nights I fought on my knees, praying for them despite knowing the circumstances.

I only kept going because someone had once persistently done the same for me. Sometimes the harvest comes quick and easy, like with my sister; other times, so much patience is required as the fruit slowly ripens. There are even times when it feels like the tree has withered and there can be no fruit.

But we have to persevere and believe that God can do the impossible.

It took 9 years before my mom crossed the line of faith, and another 2 more before my dad received Christ. The events leading up to their conversion wasn’t easy – I couldn’t see how God was present in the situation; I couldn’t see how He could deliver my family.

But God did it. He did it. Out of adultery, and into a relationship with Him.


*The author’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

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How to create a safer church community for people with same-sex attraction

by Raphael Zhang | 16 August 2017, 4:27 PM

I’ve been a Christian for 24 years – and lived with same-sex desires for nearly 20 of them.

A few years ago, the Lord convicted my heart that it was not part of His will for me to act on my same-sex desires. Since then, He has led me on a journey of deeper healing and pursuit of holiness.

Though I no longer identify myself as “gay”, I still experience attraction to men. There isn’t a day I’m not aware of it. I know in my mind that it is not to be acted upon, and I choose with my will to obey God.

Christians are rightly concerned about how they can show love and truth to same-sex attracted people in their church. Having experienced both sides of the fence, I’d like to share from my experience what you can do to make church a safer community for those with same-sex attraction.

HOW TO CREATE A HEALING CHURCH

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a few helpful pointers to get you started …

1. Show me love that’s real

We’re told to “not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

If you know someone with same-sex attraction, be genuinely interested in them as a friend, and not as a project that needs to have their homosexual desires changed to heterosexual desires. When I told my Christian friends that I experienced same-sex desires, they interacted with me just as they did before – and I deeply appreciated that.

Like anyone else, same-sex attracted people wouldn’t like to be viewed as a “special” case and treated any differently.

Be genuinely interested in someone with same-sex attraction as a friend, and not as a project that needs to have their homosexual desires changed to heterosexual desires.

Another way of demonstrating love: When you see same-sex attracted people being singled out for ridicule, stand up for them. Don’t make or laugh at “gay jokes”. As a Christian with gay desires, I really needed to know who in the church would accept me and be safe for me to be myself.

I’ve heard Christians laugh at such jokes, and even though they weren’t the ones cracking the joke, my perception was that they would also be willing to ridicule people like me. It was hurtful and made me feel that they were unsafe people for me to come out to. So I resolved to hide this part of my life from them, for fear of being rejected. That helps no one.

2. See me as a whole person

People with same-sex attraction, like heterosexual people, are more than just their sexuality. Don’t make it that big of a deal or the only issue whenever you talk to them.

Instead, encourage same-sex attracted people to grow in the strengths and talents that God has given them – just as you would any other brother or sister in Christ.

I was grateful that Christians with whom I confided my sexuality didn’t focus only on this one aspect about me, but viewed me holistically as a person.

3. Offer to walk with me after I’ve shared my story with you

After a same-sex attracted person shares his or her story with you, give your assurance that you’ll honour the confidentiality of what they told you. They came out to you, and not to someone else. Therefore, value and reciprocate the trust they have put in you.

Also, if they have shared any struggles with you, offer to walk with them. Your invitation may be turned down – but at least you offered! If I pluck up the courage and take the risk of sharing my homosexual struggles, I’d hope that someone would reach out to me. If no one does, I would be left wondering if I should not have shared at all.

Don’t make such a big deal out of it, but don’t completely ignore it either. We confided in you for a reason.

4. Leaders, share your struggles, especially in the area of sexuality

If you’re a church leader in any capacity — whether you’re a pastor, zone mentor, ministry leader, cell group leader, and so on — you can help to create a culture in which everyone, heterosexual or homosexual, will feel safer confessing their struggles, and hopefully sharing their testimonies.

Speak on all aspects of sexuality. Affirm the goodness and beauty of God’s design even as you talk about how all deviations from it — heterosexual or homosexual — cause brokenness.

When you take the lead in vulnerably sharing your struggles, especially those in the area of sexuality, it assures me that I can do the same, too. Not only that, when those of us with same-sex attraction hear you share about your journey toward holiness in your sexuality, we’re encouraged that we’re not the only ones who have to work out this journey toward wholeness in Christ.

5. Leaders, have ongoing conversations about all aspects of sexuality

Again, if you’re a leader, don’t single out homosexuality as the only topic of concern in the area of sexuality. If you do that, it makes me and others with same-sex desires feel like only we have an especially heavy cross to bear, and no one else seems to need to carry that heavy a cross.

That would feel rather unnecessarily discouraging and burdensome (Matthew 23:4).

Instead, speak on all aspects of sexuality — on God’s intent for family and marriage, and deviations from it, like pornography, masturbation, pre-marital sex, cohabitation, extra-marital affairs, et cetera, alongside homosexuality. Affirm the goodness and beauty of God’s design even as you talk about how all deviations from it — heterosexual or homosexual — cause brokenness.

When you do that, whether from the pulpit or in Christian education classes or cell group, you show people with same-sex attraction that you’re concerned for everyone’s discipleship in their sexuality.

It also helps me and others like me to understand that every one of us has a different cross to carry, and that in our journeying toward holiness, we can support and love one another by “bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

I hope these pointers are useful to you in navigating how to show the grace and truth of Jesus Christ to those who are same-sex attracted in your church. If you need wisdom, know that you can always “ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach” (James 1:5), and He will enable you to be and to build a safe and loving community to them.


Did you find the read helpful? If you would like to receive regular news and encouragement for your faith + family, subscribe here! This article was first published on Whole Life and republished with permission. Held on August 23 and 24, Whole Life Symposium: Sexuality reValued will examine the space where sexuality intersects biblical worldviews. Get a group discount when 4 or more people register together.

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We need to rethink how we talk about sex

by Ben KC Lee | 14 August 2017, 11:51 AM

What if I told you that you would have to wait longer than any other generation to get married? That’s not the only news. What if I said your generation would need to wait longer than any other generation to have sex?

And then there’s the fact that Christians are taught to abstain from sex till marriage. So what do we do? We become technical virgins. Courting couples kiss all over but claim virgin status. Some consider mutual masturbation as not breaching virginity.

Technical virgins – to the letter of the law, if not the spirit.

So while Christian singles desire to reconcile their faith and sexual desires, many have conflicted feelings – understandably. But there’s often a gap in what they’re hearing from their church leaders. Abstinence messages in church are geared towards teenagers. Once you leave your 20s, it’s all about married life.

Even before marriage, a lot of the talk is about getting married: BGR seminars. What to look for in a spouse. Just wait for marriage.

But what if I don’t get married? Am I expected to wait forever?

Abstinence is an incredibly difficult decision, and one that we have to make every day.

Hollywood may not have you believe it, but scientific evidence shows that sex within a marriage is more satisfying than that outside of marriage. But try explaining that to our raging hormones.

That just makes more of a case for a nuanced and holistic discussion on sexuality.

Asking questions like “How far can we go without sinning?” is like asking “How much poison can we take without dying?”

We know in our heads to live a life of purity. But do we know in our hearts and in our lives what it looks like in real life?

We need to have conversations about sexuality in our churches and homes – because we aren’t having them.

People need more than arguments; people need a way of life.

One mistake I feel we’ve made as the church is perhaps placing too much emphasis on virginity itself. This shouldn’t be about focusing on what is not okay; this is about honouring God in all things.

Asking questions like “How far can we go without sinning?” is like asking “How much poison can we take without dying?” We need to have the correct understanding. Otherwise, we’re at risk of breaching healthy boundaries thinking that only intercourse is sex – or the idea that only premarital sex is sin.

The goal is not to avoid sin but to live a life of worship.

Guidance must go beyond “What can I get away with and still be a virgin?” Instead, we must ask, “What must I do to become who I am intended to be?”

There needs to be a discussion of how the God of grace – and the grace of God – is there for those who have sinned in the past (that’s all of us!), but particularly in the area of sexual sin.

While there will be consequences to deal with from our past actions, it is important to remember: While the past will catch up with us, it does not define us. Instead, because of the grace of God, we can start over again, living a life of holiness together with accountability partners.

This may sound strange, but we need to live out gender and sexuality in non-genital ways. We often confuse sexuality with sex, but sexuality is ultimately about the innate desire we have for deep connection with another.

The experience of sexual desire is often triggered by subconscious needs such as identity, self-acceptance and intimacy. We can live without sex, but we cannot live without intimacy.

We need to learn to differentiate between genital desire and emotional needs.

The church needs to take the lead. The message up to now seems to be that marriage is strongly preferred over singleness. Many have also embraced the family – almost to the extent of idolatry over the Christian community.

The goal is not simply to avoid sin but to live a life of worship.

Over time, people have come to perceive that being married should be the norm, and therefore many reject singlehood. But is this biblical?

If it was bad to be single, why was Jesus single, and why did Paul commend life as a single? If earthly marriage were eternally important, it would exist in heaven – except it doesn’t. Not to say that marriage isn’t of value – it is, immeasurably. Just that singleness matters too, and it barely gets the recognition it deserves.

Congregations and families must affirm singlehood and singles.

We should encourage multi-generational small groups and mentoring. Families should include singles in their world – it is much harder for a single to invite an entire family over for dinner! When that interaction happens, both the single and the family will be blessed.

No matter how many of us stay single or not, all of us start out single. Some, including same-sex attracted Christians, might remain single even for life. But an authentic Christian community means Christian singles can indeed live strong in a sexualised world.


How can we engage a culture that is oversexualised? Want to stand for truth and yet communicate in grace? Join in an authentic discussion about sexuality and worldview at the Whole Life Symposium on August 25 & 26. This article was first published on Whole Life and republished with permission. 

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God knows we’re better together

by Jeffrey Chong, Senior Pastor, Hope Church Singapore | 11 August 2017, 4:31 PM

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The book of Hebrews is a letter written to a group of early believers who were experiencing mounting persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. In those times, being a follower of Jesus wasn’t as easy as it is today in Singapore. The easy way out for them was to revert to their old beliefs.

But the author of Hebrews exhorts believers to hold fast to their faith in the light of who Christ is. He encourages the people to stand strong together in the midst of the challenges by remembering God’s direction for their gathering.

To stay faithful and thrive, not just survive through the difficult times.

He also gives them handles on how to run the Christian race well together – handles that are equally useful today as we gather in our congregations and smaller groups. In our church, we call these smaller groups “Life Groups”, because the Christian life simply cannot be done alone. Here are 3 ways to “do life” well with fellow believers.

3 WAYS TO LIVE THE ABUNDANT LIFE AS A LIFE GROUP

1. Stay mutually accountable

The author in Hebrews urges us to consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. “To consider” means to pay attention and focus.

This is an instruction to everyone. Instead of only focusing on ourselves, everyone has the same responsibility for the community around us.

So while we have a personal responsibility to seek our own growth in Christ – but the Bible also urges us to look at how we can grow in Christ together.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

A lack of accountability means you avoid dealing with and confronting difficult issues. A Life Group will never be able to function in the fullness of the life of Christ if we fail to have the hard conversations – if we avoid speaking the truth in difficult situations and issues.

When there is conflict, you will find that it is very easy to talk to everyone else except the actual person involved. But mutual accountability means we must approach the person. Not to accuse, but to clarify.

Look to God for a good dosage of courage and love to confront the parties involved. More often than not, you will realise that the conflict arose from miscommunication or misunderstanding.

2. Persist in gathering

As much as we are able to, we should gather together. Availability is important. Without availability, it is very difficult to do life together.

“I am just so disappointed and discouraged. I don’t want to meet anymore,” you may say.

I’ll say that precisely because you are discouraged, all the more you should gather with your Life Group and encourage one another towards love and good deeds.

“But pastor, you don’t understand, I’m too busy to meet up.”

If you are too busy to gather for Christ, you are too busy for your own good. When you meet God, will you be able to tell Him that you have lived your life fully for Him? Or did you give your life away to pursue the world?

Life Group is more than just a 2-hour weekly meeting. It is a place where people come together to do life together.

“The meetings are all the same, it gets very mundane.”

Life Group is more than just a 2-hour weekly meeting. It is a place where people come together to do life together. A place where we love and are loved, know and are known, celebrate and are celebrated.

Jesus is the centre of the community. With Jesus as the centre, we do life together in the pursuit of bringing glory to Him.

3. Position for the finishing line

God has placed us in communities so that we can add courage to one another when we face difficulties and challenges. The Bible says to encourage one another – and all the more as the Day approaches.

This Day refers to the second coming of Christ, which will be the day of Judgement and Deliverance. Leading up to that day, it will get tougher to live a life that glorifies God; persecution will come. In such times, we will need to encourage one another.

As the end draws near, we need to persist in spreading the Gospel to all those who are far from God. When Jesus returns, all who do not know Him will march towards a Christ-less eternity.

I was once outside the community, but someone loved me enough to invite me in. They loved me, spoke my language. I finally understood what Life Group was really about.

We are better together when we live not for ourselves, but for the world out there that has yet to know Jesus.


This article was adapted from a sermon first preached on May 7, 2017, by Senior Pastor Jeffrey Chong of Hope Church Singapore

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Singapore, the place I’ve learnt to call home

by Mark Lee | 8 August 2017, 4:48 PM

What does home mean to you?

It’s a question I’ve often asked myself. I was born in Singapore, but my family moved overseas when I was 5, so I spent many of my growing years abroad, where home at various times took the form of a taste, a familiar smell or a brand new place.

I didn’t have a singular place or idea of home — and even if there was one, Singapore definitely wasn’t it.

So you can imagine my rancour when my father moved our family back to Singapore in 2007. As I look back, however, I can see God moving in those painful years – helping me exchange my old ways of thinking for a higher mindset.

Having to return “home” to Singapore helped me realise that accepting a place as home requires a posture of investment.

My sister and I found that the first few years of being back in Singapore were extremely difficult, for so many reasons. But one big factor that was in our control, but which we failed to appreciate at the start, was that we simply weren’t looking to invest into Singapore as a place and people of our own.

Having been exposed to a plethora of cultures and perspectives in our international community, we initially wrote Singapore off as small and lame. As far as we were concerned, Singapore was a semester break and an obligation — not a home to build.

I didn’t have a singular place or idea of home — and even if there was one, Singapore definitely wasn’t it.

It took a lot of heart work before I was able to even begin to invest into the lives of those around me in Singapore. I faced regular disappointment and discouragement in my attempts to open up or to get to know the born-and-bred Singaporeans.

I had to deal with assumptions: “Huh, but you stayed in China for 8 years. Your Chinese should be better than ours what?”

Or disbelief and cynicism at my thought process: “What? Who even thinks that way?”

I consistently received a mixed message from others. They somehow knew me so well they felt they could confidently assume this or that about my identity. But at the same time, my thinking and my way of doing things were so foreign that they couldn’t possibly comprehend my side of things.

The irony was biting, and for a long time I was bitter with my “fellow” Singaporeans for failing to understand me. The last thing on my mind was investing myself into this place or its people.

Which left me with two choices:

1. I could give up, and stonewall every Singaporean who crossed paths with me, and think “this one’s just another overassuming, narrow-minded Singaporean”.

2. I could continue trying — putting myself into social situations where I would be readily identified as strange or not-really Singaporean, and keep working at integrating.

I often struggled to choose the second option, but by God’s grace, I persevered. Looking back, it was my church and cell group which really helped me to plug in. With them, though I was still the not-so-Singaporean Singaporean, I could still lay claim to one undeniable commonality:

I’m a Christian, you’re a Christian, I love God, you love God. We’re not that different, are we?

Honestly, there were some days where the awkwardness between my cell members and I was so palpable. We were just so different — at times it really felt that this professed love for God was the last and only thread which bound us together.

All I could do was just cling to this thread and pray unceasingly to God.

That the larger Singaporean society was far from welcoming — this was grudgingly acceptable in some sense. What pained me was that my God-fearing family could not, and would not, understand me.

Frustrated, I would often retreat to cry to God — plonking my tear-stained face into His embrace.

In time, He revealed the basis of my frustration and pain to me: Deep inside, there was a vast need to be understood and loved. I was hungering for identity.

I’d go as far to say I wanted to be completely understood and completely loved.

As He embraced me, I discovered the One who knows and loves me fully. Our Lord God knows us fully — down to the very hair (Luke 12:7). And He loves us fully too — nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).

Deep inside, there was a vast need to be understood and loved. I was hungering for identity.

When my spirit felt close to death, the Word of God came to life. It has continued to be life to me on my path of being Singaporean — indeed for living on earth. I realised that if God fully knows and loves me, I don’t need to feel downcast or pressured when I’m not Singaporean enough. When I’m not understood or loved enough.

In God, I am known and loved more than enough. From this position, as I followed God — knowing my identity in Him — I could then better know and love the people He placed in my life. No longer on my terms, or for my purposes, but His.

We’re not responsible for whether or not others take care of us or understand us — unless we’re deliberately trying to make it hard for them to do so. But we are responsible for our relationship with the One who does those things best: Our Lord and our God.

For me, adapting to Singapore — or indeed any place, people or situation — has to first begin with the question, “What is God doing here? And how can I be a part of it?” 

When I started to ask such questions, God began to reveal His fingerprints in my life.

As I look back on my difficult transition years, I can say with full confidence that God knows what He’s doing. He never forces Himself upon us, but always invites us to recognisereceive, and realise His ways in our lives — and then relay those higher ways to others.

Our part is then to consistently grow in knowing our Father God intimately — that we may be true bearers of His intimacy, no matter the people or place.

This world needs a Home, and we’re bringing it down to them.

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