Have you ever been in a situation where all the odds are against you? Where things aren’t going the way you wanted them to go? Instead of moving forward, you feel somewhat “stuck” in a time, season, place, or situation?
If you have then, perhaps you can relate to my story.
I graduated from Chino Hills High School in 2014. All of my friends were off on an exciting journey, entering into the prestigious 4-year university: UCLA, UCR, UCI, USC, etc.
Originally, I planned on attending Cal Poly Pomona because of the close proximity from home and because they offer a bachelor's degree in Hospitality management. But unfortunately that time I didn’t have a proper legal status, so then I had no other choice but to halt my education.
One year passed...then two years passed by. What did I do during that time? I started my YouTube channel making music covers with some of my church friends. 😅😂🎤📹 I also spent the majority of my time helping/working at my uncle's packaging company. I listened to a lot of sermons, worship music, played the guitar as a new hobby, and learned how to cook several new recipes every other week.
I still remember the time when I was talking to my mom on the phone saying how I have no future here in America and that I should just go back to Indonesia. Why did my status residence take two years to process? Well, actually the first time we applied it got rejected, so then we had to re-apply the second time.
Not going to lie, those two years were incredibly tough. But in the midst of the waiting, I learned to humble myself before God, surrender, and trust His process in molding my character. Allowing the Holy Spirit to really do a deep work inside my heart, removing any bad habit, negative attitude, complaining, old mindset, and past trauma.
My teenage years were the worst, I was a total mess. 🤯😡💣 Literally, a ticking bomb in any given situation. Talking back and disrespecting my elders was my normal routine. HA. Thank God for transformation. As I look back today, I thank God because I know I needed those two years of disappointment where my pride and ego were crushed to pieces. I learned how to obey and respect my elders because that’s what the bible teaches us to do in Exodus 20:12,
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Plus I knew my family was after my good, it’s just that back then I couldn’t accept their advice because they weren’t my real parents. Lol. It’s amazing how God will use ANYONE to grow us up into becoming more like Him. Anyone as in family members, co-workers, bosses, church members, strangers, partners, etc.
WHO is God using right now in YOUR life to sharpen YOU as a person? 🔪🩸💔 It may hurt a little while, but trust Him, it's all for your own good.
As Proverbs 27:17 teaches us "It takes a grinding wheel to sharpen a blade, (ouch, imagine you're that blade) and so one person sharpens the character of another."
Back then I couldn't see how God was using the people around me to prune me off my selfishness, ego, pride, and negative mindset. The more I overreacted and fight the people that the Lord is using to sharpen me, the more frustrated and stressed I was until I finally learn to just submit my old ways in exchange for His wisdom.
Today, I learn to thank God for the people who offend, hate, or annoy me so that I can learn to become a more loving, patient, and forgiving individual. It is an ongoing process haha so never think that we have arrived. The only time we have "arrived" is when we finally see Jesus face to face and hear Him say "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
If not yet then, strengthen your heart dear friends haha, and embrace the journey! 😂🤣
Likewise, I've been meditating on this specific verse for a couple of weeks now (to keep my sanity and temper in check, oh Lord help us all) in Ephesians 4:2.
"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
He didn't say "sometimes," but "always" which includes the time when we don't feel like it, refuse to communicate or make eye contact with anyone, or when we are currently in a bad mood. Truly, I am beyond amazed by our God...HOW did He do it??? LORD, help us to become more and more like You. 😭
One quick story: I forgot the reason why my uncle and I were arguing hardcore (screaming loudly to each other), but I won’t ever forget when he said “Sharon, kamu itu sombong sekali!!!” Lol google the translation. After hearing him say those hurtful words, I ran to my room, shut my doors, and cried nonstop, “God, can you believe my uncle said that to me? You’ve got to defend me!!! How can he say those mean words?”
What the Holy Spirit said next caught me off guard. “Sharon, WHY do you think your uncle said those words to you?” My teenage stubborn mind quickly said, “I don’t know…” 🤷🏻♀️
I knew why he said those words. He was right. I was too arrogant, selfish, and prideful to acknowledge I was the one at fault. But instead of admitting my mistake, I denied it all together and started a bigger confrontation.
This was an ongoing process for me. Thankfully though, the Holy Spirit continued to help calm my temper and taught me how to develop a healthy relationship with others.
Now going back to my story of either returning to Indonesia or staying here in America: So two years have passed, in the spring of 2016, my aunt texted me saying how my green card application got approved. It was surreal. Is this a dream? The previous waiting time that felt like forever just vanished into thin air. I couldn’t believe it.
That same year I enrolled in Chaffey community college to get my general education classes done before transferring to CPP. A personal tip for my fellow student readers: Do you want to be in debt after college? If not, then learn from your big sis and save your money by attending community college FIRST, THEN transferring to a cal state or university after you complete all your GE classes.
Fellow students don't forget to first pray, do your research carefully, then choose your school wisely, so that you won’t end up living your life regretfully. IT IS possible to graduate college without debt on your shoulder.
For the purpose of sharing my personal story, I wanted to remind you about what Apostle Paul said in Romans 5:3-5,
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance [perseverance]. And endurance [perseverance] develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
Dear friends, whatever problem you are going through today, always remember that you are not alone. There is a God who is great, mighty, all-powerful; and He will fight the battle alongside with you until you receive the victory. Trust and submit to His timing and decision for your life, because after all His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. 💭
Hold on to His promises, set your focus, and hope on Him alone because "this too shall pass...." Your next breakthrough is closer than you think! Believe that you will experience greatness and favor in this year of 2021! #YearOfPraiseAndProvision
Praying for you all, much love & blessings! ❤️✨
Here are some videos to make you smile or laugh! 😂🤪 Stay sweet!