The simple truth

The Simple Truth

The simple truth

…is that the truth is simple.

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We’ve overcomplicated faith

By adding theology

Opinions and our own ideas

And it’s not setting us free.

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Caught up in daily life

We’re running the wrong race

And in our search for “something more”

We’re missing out on grace.

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We could learn from the history

Of many generations

We can be curious and travel to many nations

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Only to discover that the truth

Was always lying in plain view,

A Book we might consider “old

Holds the secret to “all things new”.

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If only we would take to heart

This precious Word of God,

We’d have all the answers that we need to know

And all the nourishment we need to grow..

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To be convicted of our sin

Is often when the truth sets in,

That’s the time to swallow pride

And lay all worldly things aside.

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As we are guided on our way to eternity

Knowing there is only One door…

And Jesus is the key!

It's time to be real.JPG

It’s Time to be Real

Dear Friend

A few days ago I stumbled upon these words on my website: “Is Dorette fake?” It was listed underneath the search engine results that lead people to my blog.

The odds are very high that someone was not actually questioning my integrity since there are probably a ‘dorillian’ Dorette’s out there, but somehow I still felt offended.

My immediate reaction when I feel offended is to defend myself. From experience I have learned that it doesn’t even matter if I have a good argument or not – defending myself always leads to a fight that I will never win. If you are right, everything you say might prove you wrong; and if you are wrong, nothing you can say will prove you right.

With some restraint, my second reaction was to question the question. Does anyone have a right to question our integrity on the internet of all places? Is it even possible to be real in this cyber space of networks and social media? How many of our flaws and failures do we have to share in order to be real? And are we even real in the real world? And in the end, it all seems so confusing that it is better to stop pursuing the matter at all.

I feel that we are all trying to live up to the expectations of society, putting on a cheerful façade, while secretly struggling in many areas of our lives.  As Christians, we may unintentionally contribute to the fallacy that we have it ‘all figured out’ and ‘have it all together’ by not sharing our doubts, fears, and frustrations with others. Perhaps we are afraid others may see our weaknesses and judge us badly. Or, perhaps we have simply cried our tears in secret to the Lord, knowing that we can “cast our cares upon Him, for he cares for us.”

I am fully aware that being fake would be the easiest thing in the world for me at this time (except with my husband) because of the distance between me and those who have known me all my life. Separated by time and space from friends and family, I could pretend to be anything I want to be and choose to share only my ‘best moments’ with them.

However, let me get real and share a testimony and revelation that may give you hope and encourage you to likewise get real. My husband and I recently spent five months in Vietnam, and it was a very difficult time for me. I was tempted to blame the combination of pregnancy hormones, home-sickness, and adjustment to another country, language, and culture (the third in 3 years) for being irritable, discontent, and argumentative. The rats living in our roof and mice dancing around the kitchen did not make my disposition any better. Hence, I engaged in a series of silly fights and conflicts with my other half, a reaction to those things around me that I could not control.

I felt like a complete failure as a wife, Christian, and mother-to-be. Every ounce of me wanted to call it quits and board the first plane to ‘go home’. I questioned my motives for being in Asia: Did I genuinely want to make a difference and lead people to Christ? Was I fooling myself? Was I willing to “count it all loss to gain Christ”? I was haunted by the vanity of good intentions with nothing to show for them.

Slowly, but surely, my own brokenness led me to confess and repent of my faults and failures, exposing the ‘real’ Dorette to the Lord who already knew me in all my imperfections. And, as I fell to my knees, I fell into His arms of love. I was reminded that “He loved us while we were yet in sin” and realized that nothing we can do, no matter how good or bad will make Him love us less.

This undeserved grace is not only the essence of the gospel, but also the reason why we are compelled to love others who are yet snared in sin. For if “God so loved the world,” how can we refuse to love our neighbours?

I am not in Asia because I am good, but because of His goodness. If we believe that we are good we might be fooled into thinking that we do not need God. On the other hand, if we believe that we are not good enough, we might question our worth to be used by God. The enemy uses both pride and shame to keep us from doing God’s will.

While going through this difficult time, I decided to share some of my struggles with a few close friends and family members, to swallow my pride and ask them to pray for me. The response was overwhelming. Not only did God use them to encourage me, but my reality somehow created a safe environment for others to be ‘real’ and share the struggles of their hearts as well. By praying for one another and bearing one another’s burdens, we all were strengthened.

Being real is not about being wrong or right, good or bad, a success or a failure; it’s about being honest enough with ourselves to admit that we need God. I pray for the chipping away of our pride and shame so that His glory and goodness can be revealed in us.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

I truly hope that this testimony and revelation will likewise give you hope and encouragement to be real before God who can turn all things into good for you through His love, understanding, and compassion.

Love in Him,

Dorette

Blessing of Obedience

The Blessing of Obedience

There will always be a longing of the soul

For something more, for something whole.

And in an attempt to satisfy

We have to ask the question “why?”

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Why are we here?

Why now?

What are we supposed to do?

And how?

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Will obeying two commandments be enough?

To simply love…

The One true God with all we’ve got

And our neighbours a little bit more than a lot.

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Even if it’s hard

To fight this battle of the heart

Where selfishness wants to reign

And compassion feels like pain.

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Because to truly care

Is to get out there;

To love the lonely and the lost

No matter what the cost!

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Religion in its purest form

Is so far from the norm.

To serve the orphan and the slave

Such a different kind of brave.

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We may be filled with good intentions

However, faith without obedience

Is an unfinished sentence…

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Love without deed

So incomplete!

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And yet it’s worth the sacrifice,

Because God already paid the price

He loved as first and set us free

To shine His light for them to see;

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That there is only one way

And we have a simple choice to make each day

To say ‘yes’ or ‘no’

To stay or go.

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The blessing of obedience

Is a gift in itself

As we become less and He becomes more

And our lives make more sense than ever before.

Today is a page

Today is a Page

All our days may be written in His book, but the only page we get to read is today.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will]go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” [James 4:13-15]

If someone told me four years ago that I would be married, pregnant with my first child, living in Vietnam, and teaching English to five-year-olds, I would have laughed in disbelief.  And yet, the unthinkable has become a reality.

I used to be a dreamer, and dreamers often live with their minds in the future.  My current reality has taught me that dreams are good, but it is far better to let go of re-living the past or waiting  to live in the future in order to embrace and really relish life in the here and now.  Instead of dreaming, I’m learning to trust—-“To trust an unknown future to a known God” as Corrie ten Boom would say.

I’m realizing that knowing all things about tomorrow could steal our joy in the present.  Moreover, like a dark cloud, all the problems and troubles ahead of us would overshadow all the good things – the joys, victories, and glorious moments – waiting for us in the future.  We would not laugh as hard at jokes if we already knew the punch lines.  

Faith is to believe in what we cannot see.  Trust is to allow the unseen God to take care of what we do not know…to take care of tomorrow.  It’s hard, because we want to see and we want to know.  We err in thinking that the present would be more bearable if we could just get a peek into the future.  We ask:  “Who will I marry?”  “How many children will I have?”  “What is God’s plan for my life?”   

So often, we have all been guilty of uttering statements based on our own predictions:  “I’m going to marry this guy.” “I’m going to Canada.” “I’m going to keep this job forever.” Convinced by momentary feelings and wishes, we forget to add “…if it is God’s will.”

And then, everything changes, as happens in the natural course of life.  One morning, you wake up and realize that you were living a false reality, telling the world one thing in an attempt to convince yourself of it.  You shake yourself and admit the truth:  “He was never the right guy for me” or “I don’t even like winter, so why on earth would I want to live in Canada?” or “There’s a better job out there waiting for me.”  You also begin to understand that some friendships are seasonal and death might bring an end to your idea of “being inseparable”.  Everything changes, and that is the natural course of life.

One of the hardest things in life is to look the world in the eye after a false prediction turns to dust, and you have to admit you got it wrong or just don’t understand it all.  It is not easy to explain a returned engagement ring, a divorce, a failed business endeavor, or an obstacle that prevented your plans from coming to fruition.   What do you say to those around you when you return from the hospital with an empty womb and empty arms?  Your loss, disappointment, and grief is shared with the same people with whom you would have otherwise rejoiced.

When I started this blog, I thought I would never run out of new stories of hope to share, never realizing that one day I might get stuck on a page where everyone around me was speaking another language;  and even if they could tell their stories, I would not be able to understand them.  So, I am left to share my own story of hope:  that there is a time, reason, and season for all things, and God’s timing is perfect.  When we wait on the Lord, we can look forward to the “unveiling” of His will for our lives, and His will toward us is always good. 

Believe me, I would love to know what on earth I am doing here, except for the dishes and the washing that seem to pile up (no matter where in the world you live).  However, I trust that there is a reason for being right here, right now, in the story of our lives which is yet being written by the hand of God.  Out of context, one single page in life may not seem to make much sense;  but when the next chapter has been written, everything in the past and present will make perfect sense.

Today is a beautiful page in a story, and hope is often found in the middle of what feels like a very ordinary day, hidden between the dirty laundry and the secret morning prayers.  I know I can always rest in His love and fall into His arms, knowing that He will never let me fall because “love never fails”.  I also know that hope never disappoints us if it is well-placed in His perfect love and will.  Therefore, I will rejoice in today, knowing who holds my tomorrows.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?   Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  [Matthew 6:25-27]

Pregnancy and Faith

Pregnancy & Faith

It is mind-boggling to consider that we all began life as tiny microscopic packages of DNA, invisible to the naked eye.  Such small, seemingly insignificant beginnings have miraculously brought forth some amazing creatures like you and me.  A small seed has tremendous potential to grow into so much more in the same way that faith can bring that which is unseen or non-existent into visible reality. 

 That brings us to the heart of this article, namely:

 THE PARALLELS BETWEEN PREGNANCY AND FAITH:

 #1 You cannot see it, but you know it’s there.

 I’ve only been pregnant for about three months and, though I cannot see my unborn child, I am fully persuaded that there is an amazing creation in progress within me.  The signs and symptoms are there that new life is forming.  I anxiously await that which my eyes cannot see at present, while waiting on God to complete His perfect work in me. This is faith…that that which is not visible in the present will ultimately become a visible reality.

 For FAITH is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  This is the essence of faith:  you have to believe and hope that something you cannot see yet will be manifested in the fullness of time.

 # 2 It will change your life.

 Whether it’s giving birth or being reborn in Christ, a new life doesn’t come forth without change: “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Some changes might be externally visible while many others are occurring internally.  You can feel the changes, but you can’t always see what’s happening.  Some changes might be hard to endure when our flesh resists the adjustments to something new within; but the changes will certainly bring forth something good, something better, if we don’t resist them and remember what we will receive at the end of the journey, whether it is a 9-month or 5 –year journey we are facing.  And, with every change that occurs, there is growth.  It is often said that change is a natural part of life; and if there is no change, there is no life.

 #3 And you will grow.

 A woman will grow in ways she cannot even comprehend during pregnancy.  As she looks in the mirror, reality sets in.  Likewise, as we grow up in Christ, we can look into the mirror of the Word of God to see who we are and who we can become through Christ.  Only time will reveal the changes that we allow the Holy Ghost to make in our lives. 

 #4 Growing pains

 Pain is also a part of this package.  “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…” There is pain, discomfort, and tears associated with pregnancy and childbirth. We also endure pain and sorrow resulting from sin in the world we live in. It is part of the curse that made the blessing of our Saviour so much greater and His grace the most undeserved reward. We will experience pain and sorrow, but through the pain and the tears there will always be hope. In time, our wounds will be healed and our scars will only be there to remind us of God’s abiding presence and power to turn ALL things into good for those who love Him and keep His commandments.    

 #5 You will be stretched.

 And you will probably have stretch marks to prove it!  Stretch marks on your body and stretch marks on your soul!  Love can stretch your heart to reach out to those halfway around the world, in the same way that a tiny human being growing within a mother’s womb will stretch her skin to its limits.  Our skin might have its limits, but our faith doesn’t. We serve a limitless God and there will always be room for our faith to grow.     

 #6 It’s not only about you anymore…

 When I learned that I was pregnant, I started to think twice about what I put into my mouth.  If I want my baby to be healthy, it is essential that I take care of myself, too. Now I am constantly reminded of my own selfish desires and ‘cravings’. In the same way we all need to carefully consider what we’re putting into our minds and hearts to nourish and nurture our faith.  As followers of Christ, walking in faith, we need to resist the “junk food” of this world and all of its empty attractions.

 #7 And then we ask ourselves: “What if?”

What if something goes wrong in the pregnancy?  What if I have a miscarriage? What if you lose your faith? And the enemy whispers a million other “what if” questions that can foster doubt and fear to drive you insane …if you allow it.

Doubt and fear will always be the enemy’s 2 most powerful weapons.  If we receive his words, he could steal our joy, then our strength, and he knows very well what he is doing.

What if we allowed perfect love to drive out all fear instead?  What if we decided to trust God above everything else?  What if we could trust that even if something ‘goes wrong’ in the eyes of this world, He still holds everything in the palm of His hand and it will work together for good for those who love Him?

# 8 We will make mistakes; and it’s okay.

Imperfection is part of our progress. You cannot be pregnant and have a perfect figure at the same time. Sometimes you have to learn to let go and admit, and accept, your own imperfections.  In life, it’s hard to forgive yourself for your own mistakes.  Sometimes the only way to breathe again is to first drown in grace.

 #9 It will teach us how to pray.

If you realize you’re not in control anymore, it becomes easier to pray.  And I have a feeling that, more than anything else, being a parent will teach me more about how to pray.  Prayer is the oxygen that our faith needs to grow, and I’m pretty sure that much of the growth in my own life is the result of my own mother’s prayers.    

#10 Because we are not alone…

We often feel like we are going through this alone and it is a lie. Pregnancy connects us with billions of woman through the ages and beyond borders, culture and skin color just like faith connects us with believers all over the world—with other people going through the same struggles, facing the same obstacles, and experiencing the same joys.  We are not alone, and if we feel alone, it’s simply because we are not reaching out to others. 

THEREFORE, today, I would like to reach out my hand in love by sharing this with you.  It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are or what you are going through, you are not alone!

If anyone has a prayer request or would like to encourage others who might be going through similar struggles, please feel free to send me an e-mail or leave a comment below.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU!