Everything that we go through in life is always shaping us to become better in the future.
One key verse that I’ve held on to since high school was Proverbs 22:4 which says “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.”
To be blunt: I was not a humble person before the Lord transformed my life. Growing up I was so prideful, arrogant, rebellious, a know it all, independent woman who never wants to get along with my family or other people.
My mind was so messed up thinking that I was always right, and if you disagree with what I have to say, oh I will throw a tantrum and attitude towards you. I would ignore you. So much for growing up in America without the supervision and attention of my parents.
Then 2014 happened. As I was about to graduate from high school, I already made plans to go to this specific school and to be in this specific major...then all of the sudden found out that my green card application got rejected. My aunt told me that we had to resubmit my application and hope that it will get approved.
I was so devastated, crushed, and I became depressed. I had no choice but to WAIT on the Lord. After graduation, I spent all of my free time helping out at my uncle’s company and started to study more about God’s word. I would discipline myself in seeking God’s presence through prayer and worship.
I still remember the time when I would cry endlessly to God about my future if there is even a future for me and if He wanted me to stay here in America or just return to Indonesia.
I would be on the phone with my mom saying “Mom, Sharon pulang aja ya ke Indo? Koq rasanya nggak ada masa depan bagi Sharon di Amerika. Kapan green card nya ini di approve? Kalau di rejek lagi gimana? Semua temen” Sharon ke college and here I am not being to go to college.”
I was so embarrassed because I felt like a failure, not being able to do anything about it.
Little did I know that I was currently enrolled in the University of the Holy Spirit. My mom would encourage me to continue to trust in God’s perfect timing. And if God allowed me to not be in school at that time, then He must have a greater plan for me.
Back then my future seemed so dim. I felt like I was stuck not being able to move forward. However, I learned to obey God’s instruction in that very season by being helpful at my uncle’s packaging company and by studying the word of God daily.
Then in 2016, I received a notice that my green card application was approved. Hallelujah!!! I cried because of God’s goodness & faithfulness.
Nggak akan dipermalukan anak-anak Tuhan yang hidup bersandar kepadaNya.
In the Fall of 2016, I was enrolled at Chaffey Community College in Chino & Rancho to complete my GE classes. By God’s grace, I didn’t have to spend even a penny for my school, instead, I was actually being paid to go to school. Talk about God’s providence and provision; He is indeed our Jehovah Jireh!
Then in 2017, I decided to look for a job because I was in debt (due to my corruptible habit of spending more than I currently have hahaha). I was so young, I didn’t know how to handle or manage money well. Aka I was the free spirit spender, always spending and shopping whenever I wanted to.
The word “Saving for your future” was totally foreign to me; because I thought why would I save when I can spend it all today? How instant gratification made me poor in staying more and more in debt.
Thankfully things have changed, I LOVE saving more than spending now. Plus a minimalist lifestyle has really helped me to save because I don’t go shopping too often for clothes, shoes, or bags anymore.
So as I was job hunting, I finally got hired at Panda Express as counter help. It was a pretty good first job during my college years because I learned so much about how to deal with customers.
Oh yes, those nasty, hangry, negative customers hahaha. I mean I still love people (P.S. I majored in Hospitality for a reason right?). Truly working at a fast-food restaurant has shaped my character and increased my level of patience towards other human beings.
I learned to see why they are upset about their orders and how I can find a solution to their problem. I became more aware of my surroundings and learned to serve others with a remarkable attitude and a spirit of excellence. Always going above and beyond what is required.
I learned how a simple smile and compliment can bless others and make their day when it’s given genuinely. How empathy and compassion play a major role in how we treat one another. Yes, we may argue/disagree on some things (like how their food is cold or is of little proportion, or if their order is wrong or missing that 5 packs of soy sauce, chili, or an orange chicken box), but through my time there I’ve learned how to be kind and respectful to everyone that I meet.
Putting our Valued Guests before ourselves and maintaining a high standard of service to everyone who comes into our restaurant was the reason which made them return.
I admit that it was not easy working at a fast-food restaurant. It was both draining mentally and physically. Even as I was sweeping and mopping the restaurant's floor during closing hours, I kept telling myself, “Be grateful that you still have a job, do not complain.” As much as I wanted to complain, I knew that my complaining was not going to do me any good. It will just make me feel worse and more miserable.
Instead, I learned how to give thanks and be grateful for my current situation. I knew my time at Panda was temporary and God will promote me to a better position in the future.
I will never forget the day I was in charge of the drive-thru in the morning-afternoon shift. I remember feeling so exhausted mentally and physically. Then I said to myself verbally so my two ears could hear it, “Nggak selamanya kamu disini Sharon, Tuhan pasti angkat kamu and will give you a better position. Your part is just to give thanks ALWAYS. Do not let your current feelings and emotions make you start complaining.”
Now I understand why the majority of the Israelites never enter into the Promised Land. Their complaints and bad attitude in the desert was the thing which hindered them from receiving God’s best. Instead of focusing on God's loving hands and the miracle works, He did throughout their journey out of Egypt, they decided to focus on their feelings and started to complain.
As of lately, I’ve decided to not live based on my feelings. Why? Because there are times when I don’t feel like praying when I don’t feel like giving thanks, or feel like I should be kind and loving towards other people.
So rather than allowing my feelings to be the main driver of my actions, I want to simply and entirely be led by the Holy Spirit.
Whatever season God is allowing you to go through right now, I encourage you to continue to abide in Him. Jesus will never give you more than what you can handle.
If you are in a season of waiting, correction, or discipline, then it just shows how much Jesus loves you.
“For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of His faithful love. And when He draws you to Himself, it proves you are His delightful child. Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for He is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected? We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured His correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:6-8)
“My son, do not reject or take lightly the discipline of the Lord [learn from your mistakes and the testing that comes from His correction through discipline]; Nor despise His rebuke, For those whom the Lord loves He corrects; even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
So do not harden your heart, because it will only lengthen the process before you attain His promises.
Remember that every promise comes with a process. It’s in those times of waiting where you learn about the Father’s heart, character and plan for your life.
Never despise humble beginnings. They are the foundation that will sustain you in receiving and carrying God’s glory in the days to come.
Pray this prayer with me: “Lord, teach me to have a heart of a servant, if there is still anything in me that does not reflect Your character, then please bring it up and bring it out. I want you to correct and mold me to be all that You’ve called me to be. Let my life be a living vessel where others can see and encounter Your love.” #MyStoryYourGlory