Monday, September 28, 2009

Curls Or Straight?

3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

(1 Peter 3:3-4, NIV)

In the 80s there was a song popularized by Cindi Lauper, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. As a teenager, I enjoyed the upbeat song to a certain extent though I wasn’t a big fan of the singer. There is some truth in the title. We all want to have fun irrespective of our age. Perhaps just different ways.

Working with youth over the last decade was a great opportunity and tremendous blessing in staying young – at least in the heart. Girls and young ladies talk with great excitement on the latest fashion, hairdo and whatever seems trendy. It is a built-in instinct. Females desire to look nice and pretty. Talk to the most plain girl and you’ll discover deep down the heart she will like to be beautiful too.

Surrounded by three girls at home is sure fun. Never a dull moment for me! From a little toddler and especially when they were preschoolers in their exploration stage, dress-up was a major play. A trunk of mummy’s old clothes and accessories guaranteed hours of fun. Have you watched little girls drowned in the humongous adult’s clothes and clip-clopping on mummy’s big heels, clutched with a huge handbag? A typical sight, right?

My girls have graduated from dress-up play. They share my wardrobe now (except the youngest). As for the hair, they love the curls. They will twist the hair into a bun and let down the big waves after many hours. Recently, I discovered the ancient way of curling girls’ hair – the chemical free method and kind to the pocket too. No wonder the girls all had curled hair in the 1800s. We plotted our hairdo date – mum and daughters’ fun night. As you would have guessed, mum was the hairdresser and my three clients were excited to have their turn. I was a bit anxious of the outcome, just in case I disappoint them. To our great satisfaction, we had beautiful curls and they looked fabulous with the new hairdo. They almost couldn’t believe their eyes as they looked into the mirrors, and instantly giggled and laughed with sheer delight. Since we were attending a drama in a church, they went with this incredible new look. They definitely made heads turned and we could hear the oohs and aahs and wahs. “Did you just get it permed?” Permed? They proudly announced that mummy curled it the ancient way – much to their disbelief.

The curls lasted longer than we thought and the girls were immensely satisfied. Did they feel beautiful? I am sure they do! Oh, what is it about these curls? Some of you may think. Straightened hair is pretty and neat. Arrh…some may argue short haircut is cool and easy. Bangs, or no bangs. Crimp, big waves, small waves and the list goes on as the trends change all the time. Yes, there is a place for fashion. I love fashion. It is art to me. Creativity is at play. There is a lot of fun in playing with colours and shapes. However, there is a limit to keep up with trends.

The Word of God encourages us that true beauty must shines from inside out. As the daughters of the King, we must clothe ourselves with an unfading beauty – a gentle and quiet spirit which supersedes the outward appearance. Too often we spend more time and money dressing up outwardly and neglect our inner beauty. Step into the chamber of God and capture his beauty and behold his holiness (Psalm 27:4). When you spend quality and quantity time with the Beautiful Lord, you will inherit his beauty which cannot be bought over the cosmetic counters, nor be transformed in the hair saloons, neither is it contained in the perfume bottles nor coloured by pedicures and manicures. You won’t find it in the best boutiques or latest cut. The beauty kit is in Him, the Lover of our Soul. Come and find out what he has in store for you as you sit with him daily.

As he makes us beautiful inside, it must always shines out. The inner beauty is not meant to be kept in the secret. I believe every beautiful girl and woman of God will display him as we carry his radiance and countenance. A good gift needs a great packaging too to be completely beautiful. So do take time to groom yourself and be presentable as the King’s daughter.

Dear Father, I desire to be beautiful from the inside out. Cause your face to shine upon me and let your beauty be displayed outwardly. Help me to be wise as I seek to take care of my outward appearance and be presentable as the King’s daughter. Thank you for making me beautiful. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Death that Brought Us Life

…and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him.

Mark 15:21-24, NIV

The news came. A sad one.
Our cousin in his prime age was called home to be with the Lord after battling for his life the last 40 days in ICU. A more devastating news was the doctors could not find out the problem except to diagnose him as having lung infection. Various tests were negative. A final diagnosis was severe pneumonia.

We made a few calls and rushed down to Kuala Lumpur the next day to pay our last respect and be a support to his parents. It is hard to imagine we will not see him anymore the next family gathering which is normally the annual Chinese New Year season. The funeral was a huge turnout with many relatives and friends. He only has one sister but many cousins as his mum has nine other siblings. It was one of those funerals whereby many attendees were dressed up formally and with a good taste of modern trend. I had thought perhaps that’s the way it is in big city. Then I found out there were local celebrities in the midst whom I only recognized after being made aware of.

A sad occasion as it was but there was a sweet closure for family and friends as we send his body off for cremation and knowing his final destiny was heaven. To a certain extent it was a glamorous funeral with a big gathering of people, soothing music, peaceful sermon, eulogy and lots of flowers and gifts. Although these couldn’t replace the loss of a precious son, brother, or friend yet there were offerings of comfort and peace in the sorrowful event.

My tears dropped and felt such deep grief especially for his parents. It must be horribly painful for the seniors to send off their young. What more their only son! The tiring journey home sent my mind reflecting on many issues. One was the Cross. Upon that Cross was the death that brought us life! It was far from any glamour. He was young and in his prime age too. He died a cruel death.

Death has always been viewed as a dark passage yet we all must walk in it at the end of life’s journey. What a comfort to know there is one extraordinary death which paved the way for us to heaven! His light will shine and greet us and take us to our Father’s House. Jesus was very prepared and ready prior to his death. He talked about it positively and prepared his disciples as they reclined for the Last Supper (Luke 22:7-20).

While many of us fear death, Jesus approached his final day with confidence and certainty in the Father’s will and loving arms. His death gave us victory over sin. We can rejoice because He rose again!

What are we facing today? Remember we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. He paid the price with his life on the Cross so we can enjoy the freedom. So face whatever come our way with confidence and certainty of victory because of this extraordinary death. Do not nullify the power of the Cross.

Our Father in Heaven, thank you for sending Your Son to die for us so that we may live a full life. The world may look at death with fear but we rest assured in You no matter what we face in life including death. Give us strength and fullness for this new day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.