I've had many tears and sorrows,
I've had questions for tomorrow,
there's been times I didn't know right from wrong.
But in every situation,
God gave me blessed consolation,
that my trials come only to make me strong.
I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I'd never had a problem,
I wouldn't know God could solve them,
I'd never know what faith in God could do.
This is a very good song, Through It All, click the link to listen to the song, and his testimony, too. I first heard this song on one Sunday morning at church and I felt that this song is so me (and I believe it applies to you as well). I love its simple-yet-so-true lyric and also peaceful melody. This was exactly what I felt at that time when I was in work and holiday visa, how through all the problems and sorrows He let me learn to trust Him and depend on Him alone.
Apparently when I was about to go back to my country, my godmother posted this song to Facebook and wrote:
"Sending this beautiful song for my goddaughter on her last day of full time work in Perth. Thanking God for the privilege of being the witness of how God has been carrying her through all her journey so far, especially this last miraculous eleven months. Praying and exciting for the next level of her journey in faith to be a blessed strong woman in God who would be inspiring and blessing many others. Love you & proud of you sweet bunny. This song came across my mind when thinking & praying for you and I can see that this song is just exactly like your journey through this year."
Hahaha. It's amazing, while I never told her how I felt about this song. So yeah, she gave this song to me also as a reminder for my next journey, which I'm going to share here. If last year I was walking my journey of patience, now I am walking my journey of faith.
So, yeah. It all started when I was still in my work and holiday visa last year. Discussing about the future, my godmother suggested me to come back and study and bring my mom with me. Sounds tempting, and I always dreamed to pursue my education to Master Degree. It's a silly dream actually for someone like me, who managed to graduate from my Bachelor Degree only by miraculous grace of God. But I really wanted to study more and I thought I would need scholarship to make it come true.
If I had to pay everything by myself, I wouldn't afford it for sure! And as a Chinese descendant, I never thought spending money on education is better investment than business. Yes, I do have that chance to earn money in Australia before, but why would I spend my earned-with-sweat-tears-and-blood-money for studying? Wasn't it wiser to start a business and see how money grows on the tree?
I also didn't know what I wanted to learn. I was always interested in humanity, but selfishly I was also attracted to art, fashion, and travelling thingy.
I also questioned God why I failed in three scholarship programs that I applied and thought maybe I am not qualified enough for the scholarship. Or does God have another plan for me?
When my godmother mentioned about Bible College, hmm.. I didn't think I had that divine calling. I always imagined when someone decides to become a preacher he will be called directly like how God called Moses or Paul. "Hey Martina, come and study Theology, I want you to preach the gospel bla bla bla." So I was not sure. Since high school I always say I want to serve Him, but I also always believe that serving God doesn't require someone to study Theology (even until now).
These were some reasons (or excuses) why I was not sure to go to Bible College:
These were some reasons (or excuses) why I was not sure to go to Bible College:
- I want to serve God but I don't want to preach verbally. I prefer writing, drawing, or sharing my testimony. I just don't feel I have talent in public speaking.
- I'm afraid of what people think. I don't want to face that question; Why do you go to Bible College? Do you want to become a pastor? I'm afraid they will think I am crazy, illogical. I'm afraid they will think I am not good enough to go there. Or later after I start studying and I still sin, people will think, "She goes to Bible College but she's still like that."
- I don't know what kind of job I will do later after graduation.
- I don't have enough money. Actually I don't have enough money to study whatever the major is. Hahaha.
- How if it's not God's calling?
And yeah, I was also not sure to come back here and part of my mind just wanted to stay in Indonesia, my comfort zone. I wanted to stay with mommy. I didn't want to live separated from mommy again because it's torturing me and her as well. In addition, if I wanted to study here, it means that I have to work hard again! Oh no! My beautiful nails!
But... I also had that strong desire to come back and live here. I always wanted to live abroad.
I struggled with this for approximately seven months, and started thinking and annoying my godmom four months before going back. I had that moment when I said "Okay, I'm going to study," then, "Okay, I've decided I'm going back to my country!" like several times. I know my godmom was ready to kill me. Haha. So, I presented all those excuses to her.
Slowly, God answered all my excuses, which become the reasons why I finally decided to go to Bible College:
Yes, I can serve God in many ways, but through these several years after graduated from my Bachelor Degree I just found out and realized that I have a heart in mission. I do love travelling and going to new places. I love languages and cultures. I feel most alive when helping people and sharing their joy and sadness. I feel that they are rich, their experiences and what they have faced in this life also make me really rich. I know that doing mission trips needs money, too, haha, but I'm just not that type of person who likes working in the office from nine to five.
My cousin said I should have a map for my life. What I want to do and how I am going to do that. At least, if you want to hike and you have the map, there's still a possibility to reach the top, but if I don't have the map, how am I going to ever arrive? That makes sense, hey?
So, during those months of struggling and praying, I tried to see where God is leading me and draw my map, with what He has put into my heart. I want to learn more about God and Bible, be involved in many mission trips around the world, and write Christian books. Somehow when my church played a video about Amy Carmichael I felt like being reassured. But I will still surrender everything into God's hand.
So, yeah, I do face all the questions I was afraid of. Many, many people asked why did I choose Bible College? Do I want to be a preacher? I tried to answer as honest as I could, but you know my verbal explanation is never as good as the written one haha.
The good news was I didn't feel afraid anymore. I had known what I wanted to do in my life, and witnessing how faithful God is has made me come to this decision. At first, I was afraid of becoming a stumbling stone, because I was sure I would still sin and make mistakes and hurt people even if I have Master of Theology degree. But, that's the point, isn't it? If I am good enough then I don't need Christ. The fact that I need Christ's salvation and continuous grace shows that I am a sinner, and no matter how many times I read my Bible I can't avoid the fact that I might still displease someone with my sinful flesh. Why should it become a barrier to learn deeper about God's words?
I also didn't know what I would do after studying English Literature before, yet God gave me the best job and experience at FremantleMedia. One thing for sure, I want to work in His field (Oh, but how about my nails? Haha).
So this is my condition. The money I saved up from working 11 months here is only enough to pay my one year tuition fee, not including living cost. Which logically, if I work part time here during my study, it will be only enough to support my living (plus my mom). I only can work 20 hours per week. Then how am I going to pay for my second and third year? Even to survive my first year I have to work hard. Honestly, I already calculated it months ago, and I knew, based on my calculation it wouldn't be enough. But I also knew, that my calculation is human's calculation, which is limited, and God calculates better than me. And one thing for sure, if I used my human calculation before, I would never graduate from my Bachelor Degree, as I shared my testimony here: Mommy, I've Graduated for He is Faithful.
Oh yeah, and my godmom always said that God will provide. If it's God's will, it's God's bill. If I do something that's after God's heart, why should I worry? Nah, the problem was I didn't know whether this was God's will or not, which leads to the next reason.
As I have said before, I didn't feel like having that divine calling. I just thought I was interested in learning God's words further, because they are so beautiful, and I am into literature, right? Haha. So I am not sure if this is what God really wants. How if I cluelessly sign up for Bible College and in the middle of the road I don't have money to pay because it's just simply a mistake?
Then I got the answer from my godmom, "If you have good desire in your heart, do you think it comes from you? No, it's God who puts the desire. Even if you don't believe in God, any good intention never comes from human. If you want to study at Bible College and serve God, do you think it's because you are kind? No, it's because God is kind."
Soooo yeah, after all these things I came to the point where I decided to come back as a student and study at PBC. The weird thing was, one month before going back to my country, I was designing a flyer for our church's mission trip and I searched for an email from my godmom. Actually the email she sent to me was just a week away, so I could just scroll down. But I don't know why I typed her name in search column, which actually took longer. Then, as a result few emails appeared, including an email from me to her, written four years ago. It was in 2010, even I haven't graduated from my Bachelor Degree. And I didn't know why but I was really curious and I clicked to read it. Apparently I said this:
"Mam, there's one thing I want to ask you. I want to be a fashion designer, but I also want to serve God. But I don't know how, where, in what field, etc. I also want to go to Bible College. So now I don't know what should I pursue?"
Hahaha. I was so shocked. I completely forgot that I had that desire to go to Bible College four years ago. I thought after graduated I was so overwhelmed with worldly thingy (scapegoating again!) so the desire was buried deep down at the very bottom of my heart hahaha. I took this as another confirmation then.
to be continued...
Click this link to read.
Click this link to read.