40 days and 40 nights

Can you imagine spending 40 days and 40 nights all by yourself? Can you imagine walking 40 days and 40 nights in the desert? What might run through your mind, as you trudge through barren sand, starving? 

Elijah walked though it. Jesus walked through it. 

Personally, I really can’t imagine what a ridiculous and dangerous journey that would be. But have you experienced emotional droughts… all by yourself? Have you ever locked yourself in your room and avoided the outside world? 

If I’m sounding dark, it’s because I intend to. I’m sure at some point, we have all experienced our spiritual rock bottoms, when we can’t fall or sink any deeper. Most of the time, we hide behind smiles because we’re afraid of vulnerability.

I finally had a breakthrough. I won’t go into specifics, but God finally answered my long time prayers!! I can’t say that I finally reached the perfect place where I reached total satisfaction. That is fatal, because there will never be entire satisfaction in the world, no matter how much fame, money, and glory you obtain. 

You will only find satisfaction in Christ alone. *mic drop* ❤

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New Vocabulary Word: Trichotillomania


*trigger warning – sort of* 

So after careful and thorough research, I realized and easily diagnosed for myself: 
I struggle with Trichotillomania (trich for short).

Now, before you laugh and say, “What’s that? That’s sounds fake and made up,” please Google it. 

Trichotillomania is the “compulsive desire to pull out one’s hair.”

I struggled with this for years, on and off. Usually, when my hair grew longer, I would obsess over pulling off split ends… which probably led to more split ends. 

Sometimes, I succeeded going by months without pulling- but then something would cause me to fall back into it. I thought trich was just a gross, disgusting habit… until I researched it online and learned that many people suffer from it. They try so hard to quit, but can’t. 

Some women (and men!) who suffer from trich end up with bald spots and are shamed by their family and peers. Some people pull from their head, eyelashes, eyebrows, and even body hair. Some people may even find it relaxing to do, in midst of their anxiety. People who have trich know how addicting it is. They want to stop, but can’t. They end up feeling so frustrated. 

I, on the other hand, break between my strands of hair. I don’t pull from the root, but sometimes, the entire strand snags from the top. Trich is a menacing thing. I notice that when I recently get haircuts, I momentarily stop… until my hair grows long enough for split ends again. 

I don’t know what to do. There is no point to this post, no solution to trich. Perhaps, I am writing to raise awareness on trich. If you share the same struggle, message me. Maybe we can try to find ways to combat trich, together

I should probably get a haircut soon. 

Comfort for the Depressed Christian

1 Kings 19:1-18 happens to be one of my favorite passages in scriptures. I love the depths of rawness, vulnerability, and honesty portrayed here. Elijah, the prophet was fleeing from Queen Jezebel, who threatened to kill him.

Elijah journeys deep into the wilderness. There, he gives up:

…And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 1 Kings 19:4 

I understand this from a personal, empathetic point of view. Many times, I have been strongly compelled to surrender. I have been struggling with depression for a long time. I lost the meaning of life and asked God so many times, to take away my life too… I asked and prayed [in vain] not to wake up the next morning. So when Elijah said that… it really hit home for me. I can understand the weight of his pain [even though I don’t have an evil Queen chasing after my blood and life].

I really love what happens next:

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
1 Kings 19:5-8

God did not judge or condemn Elijah for wanting to take out his life. He didn’t say, “How dare you want to take out your life? Do you know how hard I worked to get you here? You want just throw your life away just like that?”

No. No judgement. Instead, God allowed him to rest under the broom tree and gave him food to eat and water to drink… in the middle of the wilderness. I find a lot of compassion and gentleness there.

When God finally speaks to Elijah, He didn’t need a grand entrance to make a point. God didn’t need to speak in the winds, the earthquakes, or fire. All God spoke with, was a gentle whisper. He spoke to Elijah as he hid in the cave.

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13

I don’t know where you are in life. I know oftentimes, it’s hard to believe it, but God sees and knows our pain. Just as the gospel shows, Jesus walked through life and death for us (that will be for another post someday). Elijah was extremely weak and fragile in that moment… God let him rest, eat, and drink water. When the time came, God whispered to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God will go extra miles to meet us where we are, because He loves us that much.

I know that depression and wanting to end life are never light discussions. I don’t even have all the answers myself. Every now and then, I still have my struggles and doubts. Tonight, I just wanted to reflect on this famous passage. I haven’t perfectly come to the place where I can say, “I’ve made it, everyone. I’ve 100% overcome depression. I’m living life completely trouble free and I found the answers, secret formula, and cure for it. So here’s how to defeat it…”

I wish I could tell you. I don’t know where you stand right now, whether you are struggling to get through life or if you are actually doing really great. I just want you to know that you are loved and that you are not alone. Especially, if you are suffering from depression, please don’t let yourself go through it alone. You have been strong for a long time. I know that it is scary to open up and reach out, but I implore you to find some trustworthy friends and loved ones who you can confide in. It’s even scarier to fight your demons in darkness all by yourself. Please don’t do that to yourself. You can also reach me via the contact page (on top of this webpage).

You are loved. You are valued. You are worth more than gold. You are God’s creation. You were created for a purpose and meaning. Every breath you breathe and every pump of blood that flows through your heart is a gift. Say this to yourself. Say it out loud, again and again. Declare it. Believe it. Stand firm on it.

Friday Night

It’s a Friday night
On January 20th, 2017
My lola (grandma) turned 70 today
It’s been 13 years since I’ve seen her face

It’s a Friday night
On December 19th, 2003
Let’s drive to New York from New Jersey
Dara pack up your clothes
Spend the weekend at your grandparents’ home

It’s a Friday night
On January 2nd, 2004
Enjoy the weekends and visit some more
Weekdays are for parents and weekends are for grandparents

It’s a Friday night
On Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2004
Let’s celebrate with a feast and sing karaoke
Finally, we have all the family

It’s a Friday night
On some weekend in 2005
I don’t remember the day and place
But you packed your luggages and boarded the plane

It’s a Friday night
On present day
I miss you grandma and your smiling face
I wish you a happy 70th birthday
I can’t wait to see you soon again
Say hi to lolo, all the family, and friends
I love you, take care
The length of your kindness and love
Cannot be compared
To the distance of the Atlantic and Pacific seas
You are always close to my heart and memories