a beauty worth searching for.

a beauty worth searching for.jpg

Have you ever been in a place where you are on the brink of believing that your current situation is just fully and solely wrecked? That there is absolutely no way for any beauty to emerge from it? Have you ever been in a place where you begin to doubt those who say there are always two sides of a coin? That in fact, both sides are only filled with pain and sorrows?

If you have, I’d ask you to read on and give me the benefit of the doubt that maybe (just maybe) what I am about to say might be true. Or at least, gives you a tad bit of encouragement and strength for you to keep pushing forward in the midst of whatever you are going through. I’d say it was something significant I was reminded of during my trip as we sail through the Flores Sea to the beautiful islands of Indonesia in the East Nusa Tenggara.

Just to bring you guys up to speed, I was on a 3D2N live-on-board sailing trip the past weekend, where we extended a night each before and after the trip at Labuan Bajo. We went as a group of seven and were guided by a tour guide and a boat crew of five. If there is one word to describe the trip, it would be jaw-dropping. I was literally awestruck by the beauty and the grand vastness of the place I can proudly call home, Indonesia. The trip involves some sort of strenuous and demanding activities, such as hiking up the rocky and sometimes slippery mountains, swimming in the open sea against the current for an hour or so, taking shower with a filtered salt water straight from the sea, and of course being sunburnt after hours and hours under the scorching heat. Though I’ve realized this kind of vacation can be draining and absolutely unsustainable, especially for me and those whose pet peeve is wet and dirty toilets, I did not have the slightest regret that I experienced what I experience as it really gives me a whole new perspective of the beauty of Indonesia.

Up to date, it has been just a short of three weeks since I’ve gone back to Indonesia. Aside from the company of friends and family back here, it is quite challenging to boldly say that this place is beautiful (at least physically). Coming from the civil engineering viewpoint (yes, I just graduated! haha), most streets of Indonesia, or Jakarta in particular, bear a level of service grade of D or worse, there are not enough properly-built sidewalks to encourage people to travel on foot and many other things you can grumble about. Pollution. No blue skies in sight. Congestion. Haze. You name it. And so, for now I have reached to a point where I can say that this place ain’t pretty.

This thought was challenged when I was on this sailing trip – that I myself do not have the ability to see the bigger picture. Yes, though I have seen the unpleasing side of Indonesia, it just recently revealed to me its magnificent beauty too lost for words as I spent three days out in the ocean. I realized that this world was made by a great God who sees the bigger picture, and too many times when we are placed in a corner of what we call ‘the ugly’, we tend to dwell in what’s broken and what’s not working. I realized that it takes hard work to actually get to an elevation high enough up on the mountains that allow us to have a better view of the horizon. Of course, I can instead just stay on the boat, miss the opportunity to peek at ‘the beautiful’ corner of Indonesia and keep on grumbling about how aesthetically unappealing my country is. But which of the two options are you going to choose?

Are you facing the dark corner of your life right now? Are you in a place of hopelessness as you go through the season of ‘ugliness’ in your life? Are you feeling helpless as you are struck by ash after ash? Are you starting to doubt the saying suggesting that there will always be beauty that comes out of ashes? Friends, let us mourn for the brokenness in our lives, and yet not dwell in them for too long. Let us put on our gears and explore God’s goodness and the beauty He has already prepared for us. It takes effort and perseverance to reach such place where we can get a clear vision of His sovereignty. The beauty is already there – He has made it all – we just have to open our eyes and search for them. It won’t be an easy-peasy journey, in fact, it will be a tough one. But trust me, it is a beauty worth striving for. A beauty worth searching for.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”
Psalms 37:3

Tons of love,
Kimberly Subianto

PS. Let me show you the beauty of my home country, Indonesia! Here are some snapshots from my trip to Labuan Bajo. Hope you loved them as much as I do!
(Photo credits to Arley, Cavin and the crew)

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unchanging hope in the everchanging world.

unchanging hope in the new year.jpg

Is it just me, or is time flying by faster and faster each year?! This is crazy. Can’t believe another year has passed. Anyways, HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017! Hope you all had a terrific first few days of the new year with family and friends. Let me tell you a little bit about mine, and I’ll let you describe how the first few days of 2017 made me feel.

 January 1, 2017. Woke up early and feeling quite sleepy from the new year’s eve countdown. Ate nothing but porridge the whole day. Plain porridge, FYI. Why? Read on, read on. The hardest part of the day is during lunch time for sure, when the whole fambam was gathered for lunch and everyone was just eating so much good food that I have missed so badly! And there I was, sitting at the end of the table, eating a bowl of plain porridge. Yum. Not. Well, I get through lunch and dinner was a breeze. In the evening, my mom and I went to the hospital and I got admitted for the night – yup, the first night of 2017! I cried a little bit inside :’)

January 2, 2017. Woke up wayyy too early at around 3:30 AM because my tummy is just screaming for the toilet. Oh, did I mention I took some kind of laxatives the night before so I can drain everything down the toilet? Okay, okay. Let me now tell you why I am in the hospital to begin with. So I my tummy has been so bloated and so gassy quite often for the past year or so. This started to concern me and my mom, and so we decided to consult with the doctor and conduct a colonoscopy upon his recommendation. Since my time in Indonesia is a crunch, there is no other perfect time to deal with all of this aside from the new year. Now with colonoscopy, the procedure itself is so quick and painless (they use anesthetics), but the preparation is not so fun. It involves countless visits to the bathroom and fasting, which means no food (and drink!), which means Kim is not happy. The worst thing about all of it is the colon hydrotherapy – no, I refrain myself from describing the whole process as it brings bad memories to mind (Google it if you are curious about it). At around 5 pm, I was brought in to the room and given anesthetics. I slept through everything and woke up an hour after. I was already pretty excited about going home that night and eating real food, but was told that I need to stay another night for some antibiotics. I cried a little bit more in the inside. But on the bright side, the result was nothing serious. I have a colon inspection due to some bacteria in the food I ate. I also found out that I have a relatively long colon that makes up quite a maze for the ‘substances’ to travel through – and this has been causing the gassy tummy. At the end of the day, I can be thankful that everything is alright.

January 3, 2017. Woke up numerous times in the middle of the night as the nurses need to check on the intravenous infusion and prepare for my medication. But that is okay. I am going home today, and that’s what matter. The doctor did his rounds in the morning and told me I am ready to go – I was elated. Not long after, my mom arrived and we waited for the whole administration process to complete. By noon, I was out of the hospital and there was a huge smile on my face.

Quite a start to the new year, eh? Well, you know what, as much as I sound all grumpy and annoyed and what not, I am glad my year started with this experience. I did tell you briefly what happened these past three days, but what I did not tell you is what happened inside of me.

Honestly, I was scared. I am not a big fan of hospitals and medical check-ups, especially when it was my own physical body that is up for the check. I was worried about my condition. What if they found something unusual in my colon? What if the blood test showed a positive somewhere in the report? Those are the thoughts that ran through my mind as I was lying on the bed waiting for the nurse to call me up for colonoscopy. I started praying and asked God for peace. Yes, I did ask for great results. But more than anything, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace knowing that in all circumstances, God is still God and He is still in control. I left the room that day wanting to hold fast to that hope I have in God and His sovereignty.

It’s funny how right on the next day I was reassured of that truth through a book I am currently reading, How’s Your Soul. It’s talking about how Jesus is the anchor of our soul, and that nothing else this world can offer will be able to take His place. It also talks about how an anchor doesn’t give a quick escape route. Instead, it keeps us still and unshakeable right there and then, in the midst of the storm and raging waves. It becomes our unchanging foundation when our surrounding is forever changing. Wow, that is just reassuring and gives so much hope as I start the new year. It’s true. Most of us wants an instant way out when faced with unwanted circumstances. As Judah puts it, we expect God to be the ‘helicopter Jesus’ – picking us up from whatever trouble we are in and out to the calmness. But no. He holds us tight and stays there with us, keeping us still and whispering in our eat that at the end of every storm, the tranquility will come.

This year, let us all come into the new years holding on to the never-changing hope that is an anchor to our soul. Let us be forever in His grip even when all that surrounds us is drowning, because we know that in Him is the safest place to be. Let us fix our gaze on Him who is all-knowing and sovereign over all. Let us place our trust in Him time and time again, knowing that what surprises us never surprises Him, and what is mystery to us is never a mystery to Him. Let us find ourselves anchored to a firm and secure foundation we have in Christ. Happy new year 2017!

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19

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the sinkhole.

the sinkhole

It’s about time that I write another post – apologies for being MIA people. Not that I am busy or anything, I have been saying “later” to writing for the past several months and look at how long this has put me to! But anyway, I’m back, and hopefully will be back to the blogger world for a while!

Let me start by telling you a somewhat funny story, or at least in my opinion. So on Monday at around 11 AM, I was out on a City construction project site to do my weekly site visit. As I was walking doing my usual rounds, putting one step after another, one my foot just sunk deep into the fine-looking ground. I landed softly on the ground as one of my foot got stuck in the sinkhole of sand and water. I was able to pull out my foot just fine but my right leg is all soaked up in a think sandy fluid up to knee-high. Some of the construction guys were very nice and approached me with concern – they also offered me a pair of clean socks, etc. (THANKS GUYS!) Long story short, apparently, the water main underneath the ground was broken and so water has been leaking and causing the soil to soften, creating a sinkhole. One of the guys jokingly said that if I hadn’t stepped into it, they wouldn’t have known that the water main was actually broken haha. So it was actually one of those moments when I felt pretty good about making a discovery on site – though going through the hard way. I went home with two things on my mind that I was thankful about: One. Thank God I just got 1 foot on the sinkhole, imagine if it was both of them – cannot imagine how deep I would have sunk in! Two. Thank God it was the water main that was leaking and not the sewers – I absolutely don’t want to find my foot drenched in waste matter.

Why am I telling you this? Because me being me, I was reflecting on what happened on-site and was somewhat reminded of how we tend to live our lives. The ground looked fine at the surface, and yet, it wasn’t a strong foundation because there is something underneath that is broken. And is destructive. And at one point or another, it will sink. Isn’t that how we tend to live our lives? For the most part, we know we are imperfect and have brokenness in every corner of our hearts, but we never really are a big fan of exposing it and dealing with it. So instead, we pile up our brokenness with a load of good deeds that we do, a load of achievements that we worked hard for, a load of a bunch of other things that can wear us out. Just to cover up our imperfect self and seek approval from the outside world, hoping to look okay in the surface.

Don’t get me wrong. There is no doubt we still need to strive for righteousness, or you may want to call it ‘good deeds’, despite our brokenness, but when we do it out of the intention to hide who we really are deep down, it can be pretty dangerous. Just like how the sinkhole can grow even deeper if the broken water main was just left as if for weeks, or months, or years, we too can fall even deeper. So that afternoon got me thinking: wow, I have been doing that in some aspects in my life, trying to prove that I am not as broken as I actually am, trying to come up with all the rationale in the world to make myself believe that I am not doing too bad myself. Then I remembered this verse that serves a ton of encouragement to me:

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

A daunting question came across my mind, then. What is so wrong about being broken anyway?! In a world where everyone seeks perfection, it seems pretty hard not to try to put a mask on what is broken. But I was put in a place of awe, knowing that Someone who has seen all our imperfections, all our failures, all our negative thoughts – yes, Someone who has seen it all, and yet, chose to stick around, to love us still and to even exchange all of our crap with His righteousness. If there is one thing I want all of us to be reminded of from this post, is that it is okay to be broken, and God has called us to come just as we are. No, there’s no pretending. There’s no hiding. There’s no covering up. He wants us as broken as we are.

Today, let us be overwhelmed by the love that He has for us in our brokenness. Let us not be in fear coming to Him with all the scars we may have and enjoy His never-ending grace that see past all our imperfections just to find beauty in us.

Instead of sinking in all the wearisome deeds we do to hide who we really are, let us sink in the mercy of Jesus Christ who loves and accepts broken people like us.

Instead of sinking in all the guilt that we have for not being so perfect, let us sink in the love Jesus Christ has acted upon as He bore our guilt on the cross.

Instead of sinking in the whole lot of list to do that may correspond to ‘acting righteously’, let us sink in the righteousness He has given over to us.

Instead of sinking in the fear of what others may think of us, let us sink in the confidence knowing that He who has seen it all accepted us as if we had never sinned.

Instead of sinking in the despair thinking that there is no hope for people like us, let us sink in His victory knowing He has conquered sin and death.

May these words encourage you in whatever situation you are in right now. There certainly is no place too far, too dark, or too dangerous that is out of reach for Him. There is no reason to hide – He has seen it all, your past, your present, and your future, and yet, He chose to love you still now and forever more.

Sinking in His Love,
Kimberly Subianto

PS. Maybe I need to have more moments of stepping on a sinkhole to get a post up on the blog :p But in all seriousness, I promise to try and be more intentional in writing! Hope to see my next post up soon too.

living past the saturdays.

living past the saturdays.jpg

I’m sitting down here on Easter Monday, trying to remember the last time I took the time to put my thoughts on paper (or blog you shall say). All memories are a blur. Yes. It sure has been a while and I’ve missed it. So, here I find myself pulling myself back from the so-called ‘busy’ schedule, reflecting on my life and sharing it with all of you. Hope this can somewhat speak truth in your life one way or another.

First things first, HAPPY EASTER. For us Christians, it definitely is such a huge celebration. it is indeed the greatest day in history. It meant that Jesus rose from the dead. It meant that He has overcome the power of death. It meant that there is literally nothing – no power so great, no bondages so strong, no pain so agonizing, and no darkness so overwhelming – that is able to defeat the resurrecting power of God. It meant that He is who He said He is. And yes, that truth is what I’ve known since I first became a believer. That truth is what I’ve been telling people about when they asked about my faith. That truth has been what I’ve been proclaiming with my mouth, really, without realizing that at some point along the way, doubts and disbelief start creeping into my heart.

The past few days were an eye-opener to me as I reflected back the story of the cross and the resurrection. I was just walking back home from the office and a thought brought me to a place of… unease. Flashback to the year of 2011, when my dad left for home. Suddenly I was reminded of an idea that emerged in a sixteen-year-old me as I was standing by the casket in denial. I remembered at that moment I thought, “If God is so strong, if God is who He said He is, He must be more than able to do this. He must be strong enough to turn things around. He must be powerful enough to grant me my deepest desire at that moment, and that is, to bring back my dad.” That thought lingered in my mind, and I held on to that hope – at least at that time, that was what I called hope for the ‘better’. Clearly, my thought remains as thought, and life moves on… Though some part of it did not. That same thought has somehow got planted in me, and just a few days ago, I realized I have been holding on to that too tightly. One thing led to another, and there’s a heart with disappointments and doubts all over. I was disappointed, and I had doubts on His so-called resurrecting power – He can’t even turn things around when I asked Him to. At that point, I sense an overwhelming unease and was called to turn around and run to Him.

I have been too focused on wanting THE miracle, without realizing that miracles happen all the time and all around – sometimes in ways we don’t expect.
I realized that I have been defining God’s power in my own terms, when in fact, His power has been working so amazingly throughout my life.
I have believed the beautiful love story of the Cross that happened on Friday, yet have doubted the hopeful story of the Resurrection Sunday.
I have fixed my eyes on the ever-so-loving God for sending His son as the perfect sacrifice for me, but not the ever-so-powerful God who can bring new life.

All this time, I have been living the Saturdays.

Yes, I thought that His power will only be shown in ways I thought seem powerful, i.e. bringing the dead back to life. But in fact, He has done it all along. He has brought my dead hope back to life. He has turned my sorrow into an inexpressible joy. He has led me from the dead end to a new path. He has overcome the darkness with His light. He has been so powerful, and He has been so real. So I don’t know what else is there to prove Him otherwise.

As I read back the story of Good Friday leading up to Easter, I wondered what the disciples must’ve felt like on the Saturdays. I mean, they expected Jesus to save them, and yet, He was found so helpless up on the cross and eventually put into the grave. They must really be struggling in wrapping their head around what Jesus said. They must really be starting to doubt on the very words of Jesus. But in their disbelief, God showed up. He never stopped pursuing us.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.” (Luke 24:5-12)

 In the midst of my disbelief, I want to be found like Peter. Rising up and running to search for the truth. To rise up and seek the Living. To rise up and be reminded of the resurrecting power that has been so evident in my life. And to rise up in awe and wonders as I marvel at what had happened.

Friends, let this be an encouragement to you all! In whatever season in your life you’re in right now, maybe some things went in a different way than what you’ve expected, or maybe you felt like your hope is gone and it seems so dark all around you, rise and run. Don’t get stuck on your Fridays or Saturdays. As much as it is amazing to dwell in His love for us demonstrated on the Cross, seek for His powerful truth and live past your Saturdays. Rise up on Sunday and run and seek for the Living. He is ALIVE and His resurrecting power is alive in us too. Truly, He is who He said He is.

Faithful He has been; faithful He will be ♡

In Awe and Wonders of Him,
Kimberly Subianto