Much had changed this year, from moving back home to Indonesia after having lived overseas for the past 7 years; learning to live under my parents’ roof again but as an adult child now; starting full-time work at a corporate job; beginning my Masters of Education journey; and not serving in any particular church. Surely the past year required a lot of adjusting, to the many changes and discomforts, the unmet longings and towering responsibilities. But one thing I can be sure of, is that the Faithful One remains to be my only Guide and Comfort—and His good hand shall hand me what He deems as good.
Dear future Jessica,
As the year 2018 comes to a close, may I first beckon you to pause and ponder upon how faithful the Lord had been? Setting foot back home in Indonesia after seven years of living abroad, and finally stepping into the workplace—life surely had changed for you. But the Lord’s constance had kept you sane and anchored.
Many have wondered how you’ve juggled those responsibilities. How you hold major roles at work at such a young age, yet still manage to study for your classes in your Masters of Education program, and make time for family and friends. People seem to gawk at and applaud your “achievements.”
But if you are honest with yourself, there had been countless days where you just did not feel like getting out of bed. You are not as put together as others may think you are. And that’s okay. (In reality, no one is). When you encounter those times again (which I am sure you will), close your eyes for a moment and remember how your comfort most nights had been to finally rest your head on your pillow, and sigh—knowing that Grace had been just enough for that very day. And enough, shall it always be.
Let me not entertain these thoughts of You not being enough. But likewise keep me harbored knowing that You are a good God who, above all, gives me the gift of Yourself. O Lord, let me live my life everyday knowing this truth–that You never leave nor forsake me. The longings of my heart are deep. But You O Lord, go deeper than what I can know. (Journal, February 27, 2018)
There also had been times when you’d pray if it was okay to give up, drop out of the course, and let go of the responsibilities. Whether it was okay to be ruthless, be selfish. When you would come across those seasons yet again, remember why you even began in the first place—even when there are days where you have to drag your feet. For strong had your convictions been to trod wherever the Lord is leading you. And, lead you—He shall, even if it be against your wishes.
Here I stand, with many resolutions. Many desires, many things I am pursuing. But Lord teach me to abide in You in it all, because it is scary. But this is the work You are calling me to. And I cannot not trust and obey. I cannot sit in silence when injustice brews around me. (Journal, January 15, 2018)
Sometimes you would feel less than capable at work, because everyone else has had so much more experience than you: a fresh-out-of-grad-school 24-year-old, amidst middle-aged peers who had been in the industry for longer than you’ve lived. Well perhaps there may come a time when the tables would turn and you’d be among the more experienced. But even so, remember those early days of feeling incompetent and undeserving of the roles given—for those had been sure reminders of how unmerited the gift (of responsibility and trust) that the Lord had bestowed upon you. And so steward them well.
A day hasn’t gone by since I came home, that I don’t dread the attention that I am given. I am given a position at work that surpasses my ability. And everyday I feel incapable. (Journal, November 8, 2018)
This year, there were also many instances when you’d scroll through friends’ Instagram feeds (as shallow as it may sound) and would enviously murmur in your heart at how others seemed to be living the life you secretly desire. They would be entering seasons where you actually had envision yourself to be at this stage of life. But even if it be not so—that is okay. Always remember that the Lord sets out all our paths differently—and that this is your lot.
It is easy Lord these days to fall into the temptation of self-pity. I often look to the lives that my friends are living and think, they can do whatever they please and they get to make a choice. But why does it seem that all the lavishness of this life that I’ve been given makes me a slave? The roles I’ve been given at work have far outweigh what I can carry, Lord. And everyday, I long for the day that I get to do “full-time” church ministry. (Journal, October 19, 2018)
This is your lot: that you were born into this family, whom the Lord has entrusted to your care for you to love. Serve them well. Although living abroad had cultivated in you an individualism that made coming home to live under your parents’ roof again quite difficult—rejoice in this lot that the Lord had apportioned to you. Family conflicts are inevitable, but so essential for us to learn to love unconditionally. No wonder the Lord refers to those He had redeemed as children, as brothers and sisters, as family. And as imperfect as family may be, I pray that you may continue to honor this gift that the Lord has given you at your birth: and that as you love and serve your family, you may grow in the knowledge of Him who had called you into His Household (2 Peter 3:18).
This is your lot: that you had been given these roles at work. Such is your ministry. So work unto Him who is deserving of all excellency. Although the desire to serve “full-time” within the four walls of the church had never left—rejoice in this lot that the Lord had apportioned to you. The longing to serve at church may never depart from your heart, and you may have to work in the corporate world for the rest of your life, but perhaps that is a good. For this desire keeps your eyes heavenward, and the limp ushers you deeper into the Throne Room. And as difficult as fighting your own wishes may be, I pray that you may continue to honor this gift that the Lord has given you in your life: and so as you work, wherever the field may be, may you grow in courage and conviction to make the sweet name of Jesus known by all (Matthew 28:16-20).
This is your lot: that you were moulded to be so lowly and timid. This is who you are. So boast in this weakness. Although it may not be the “characteristic” that leaders seem to have to possess—rejoice in this lot that the Lord had apportioned to you. You are weak, and have no grounds for confidence. But this speaks voluminously of the Lord who is strong, and in whom you take refuge. Even if it makes you uncomfortable and undermined in the eyes of man, I pray that you may continue to honor this gift that the Lord has given you in your life: and so as you boast all the more in your weaknesses, may the strength of Christ be visible for all to see (2 Corinthians 12:9).
This is your lot: that you are currently called to singleness. Even this season is good, and a gift from God. Although you may be at an age where marriage is expected to come soon—rejoice in this lot that the Lord has apportioned to you. For He is your Lover and Closest Friend. Treasure moments of loneliness and seclusion because they draw you deeper in Communion with Him. Let others tell you that you are wasting your time, but I pray that you may continue to honor both singleness and marriage, as gifts that the Lord has given you in your life: and so even as you wait upon the Lord, may He be your strength, and your exceedingly Great Reward (Genesis 15:1).
Your Sovereign Hand is what had dealt me this card. So teach me submission? Teach me obedience even in this? (Journal, October 19, 2018)
This had been your lot this past year, handed over to you by that Good Hand of the Sovereign One. So the people He places in your life: love them as those He had entrusted you. The work He gives you: toil tirelessly as you know the Master whom you serve. The many fears and weaknesses you have: know that you are who you are by the Grace of God, and so trust in Him, not in yourself. The seasons He brings you to: oh rejoice in them. For He never leads us to bring us destruction, but rather, life abundant in Him who is sufficient.
Yet also soberly and humbly acknowledging those times when it had been difficult to rejoice in your apportioned lot—when you would kneel at the close of the days and cry out as Martha did before Christ. I am sure that they perhaps may surface again in later years. And in those times, remember to fall back on the Truth that the Lord does not delight in your striving, but that He delights in you, His child (Psalm 147:11). Know that He withholds no good thing from you, for God did not even withhold His Dearest for the sake of you (Psalm 84:11) and so whatever that Good Hand gives you, is indeed, good (Spurgeon, A Good Start, p.129).
My prayers are so that whatever season the Lord desires to bring you to in future years—may you rejoice in your lot. For His will is perfect, even if it be against your own wishes. The flesh is weak, but the spirit willing (Matthew 26:40-43), so heed to the Spirit, who blows as He pleases (John 3:8). Let Him be your guide, even when it would seem odd and counterproductive in the eyes of the world.
The secret heart wishes many things, but she knows that her only rest is in the gentle leading of her Lord. (Journal, September 30, 2018)
And as you come to grow in knowledge of this Kind and Gentle Sovereign, may you always fall back on this truth: that resting in His sovereignty is where you shall find your deepest joy.
For Him who is Good is the One who apportions you your lot.
Love, Jessica Tanoesoedibjo (2018)
Click here for my 2017 reflections.