Having left Singapore for three years, it sometimes hurt my heart just thinking of Grandpa Zhou, the elderly busker with cerebral palsy who walked with a limp, who had left such a deep imprint on our lives.

We had left him while I was pregnant. Now that we had returned, we had had two children.

During our time away, a few precious friends and blog readers who visited him would try to video call so we could say hello.

Now, visiting him with two of our children in tow was surreal. To think what a crucial role he had played in our lives, that contributed to Cliff and I marrying, when I first witnessed Cliff’s authenticity in helping the poor.

Back then when we met, I was a medical student. Now, a big part of my work involves mentoring medical students.

Tears dammed behind my eyes as he shared with us in that old candid way in Chinese, “Shortly after you left, I fell very sick and never left home. I’ve never played my harmonica again outside. Chronic dizziness. Doctors say I’ll never get better.”

Sarah-Faith seemed to understand. In that cramped, dark living room in his home, she never flinched nor complained, as if she understood the reason for our visit- to tell Grandpa Zhou we cared, and to deliver an air purifier amidst the terrible haze.

“GIFT,” she said. “FOR ZHOU YEYE (grandpa).”

My six-month old infant couldn’t stop giggling and smiling at him.

“My right eye is blind, but I can see your little one loves to laugh!”

His old house, once filled from ground to ceiling with trash because of his hoarding, was now clean, neat and decorated with beautiful furniture, donated from his neighbors upstairs- a reflection of the transformation which had taken place in his life over the years.

Some things had changed drastically, his life never the same after the fragrance of Christ touched his once hardened heart.

And some things, never changed. “Did you bring my steamed yam cake and chee cheong fun (a local dish)? Did you get my red medicated oil?”

Today, on our second visit, we brought along some young people with a heart to serve. Young people who had taken notes from me about Grandpa Zhou’s likes and dislikes, who arrived an hour earlier to buy the food he liked to eat.

“I used to never like visitors. But Wai Jia, now I do feel lonely. I like it when people visit- ask them to come okay?”

As we left, how my heart swelled with warmth when our two year old walked right up to Grandpa Zhou, who must have seemed intimidating in some way, and gave him a confident high-five.

“XIE XIE ZHOU YEYE. GAI TIAN JIAN.” Goodbye Grandpa Zhou, she said. See you again.

And as we left that familiar corridor, we saw his wispy frame leaned against his metal door, saying, “Come again, come again.”

* To those of you who have asked about Grandpa Zhou, he is doing all right but always appreciates company. If you would like to visit him regularly to encourage him, take him for a walk outside or to church nearby on a wheelchair or bless him, please let us know.

More about his story on: http://www.kitesong.sg/category/grandpa-zhou

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During our move to Singapore from Canada, several things were misplaced- one of which, was Sarah-Faith’s one and only backpack.

It was a little blue owl backpack, a gift from a lady at church in Canada. I teared receiving it, as even before we had children, I remember seeing the exact same one at a store in Singapore and thinking, “Oh this would be cute if we had kids.”

Then we lost it during our move.

“MAMA,” Sarah-Faith would say, “I WANT OWL BACKPACK.”

Sheepishly, I would tell her I was still looking for it. Deep down, I was resigned that it was lost.

In the initial weeks of us moving back to Singapore, when disorientation hit its hardest as we moved into a new neighborhood, I remember walking in an HDB (public housing) estate when a stranger walked up to me at a playground.

“Are you Wai Jia? Someone shared with me your Facebook testimony some time ago. I feel God wants me to link you up with Mums in the area so we can support you and your family.”

I almost cried. That week, that was heart’s prayer, to be able to make new friends in our new hood.

Shortly after, I was connected to a few mums.

“I will be your pit stop for any baby items you need,” said one. We hardly knew each other.

Several weeks later, I finally plucked up the courage to text her to ask if she might have a baby backpack to pass down. I had drafted the text, deleted it, then redrafted it. For days I looked at the text, afraid to send it out. I hate imposing, I thought. She must think I’m a bother.

I then confessed I had lost Sarah-Faith’s favorite owl backpack and texted a picture of it to her.

As long as it’s not a Disney princess, I thought, I’d take it. And then try to convince my two-year old that it would be okay.

Imagine the goosebumps we both had when she sent me the exact photo back, saying, “This was donated to me a while ago- I don’t need it.”

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I felt the love of God overwhelm me.

So often, we think we have to experience some grand encounter with a spiritual being to understand who God is. But more often, it is in the little things where He makes Himself known to us, not only as Creator, but as Father.

As I thought about the chain of events that led to this moment (the loss, the serendipitous meeting on the street, the connection to this Mum, my fear and reluctance to reach out, the random donation to that one mother)… I marveled at the sequence of events that culminated in this divine moment.

As I looked at my two-year old proudly posing and showing off her backpack to me, I caught a glimpse of the different perspective that can result when we choose to receive with gratitude and child-like faith. While I saw a very, very well-used backpack, a shirt with stains and shoes which were well-worn, all that Sarah-Faith saw was her favorite bag and special details, “MAMA, LOOK AT MY SHIRT- CATS WITH GLASSES.”

It didn’t matter to her that everything she was wearing and so much of what we own was given or passed down to us.

If you’re a parent, and you feel overwhelmed or stressed by the provisions you need to give to your children, financially or otherwise, know this- that God knows yours and your children’s needs far more than you do. And all the resources, on heaven and on earth, belong to Him.

Most of all, He loves our children far more than we ever dared imagine. For truly, He is a Father, not only to us, but to the little children who dare come to Him in childlike faith and trust.

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It was every parent’s nightmare.

She could have died, and it would have been my fault.

We were in a splash pad, and our little two-year old was giddy with glee playing with the rain spouting out from giant flowers. Seeing how there could be a danger of her falling into a pool nearby, I whizzed around to look for a buoyant swim vest someone had given to us.

“Ah got it! Now where are you Sa -“

Panic. Complete panic.

Within two seconds, she had disappeared.

In my recurrent nightmares, I always lost one or both of my children. Now it was real.

Just before I turned hysterical, she emerged from underwater like a drenched hummingbird, under the giant arms of a stocky, eagle-eyed father who was playing with his older son.

Seeing how much fun the big kids were having, she had taken a first step into the shallow end, not realizing that the next step would be too deep for her.

I knew from that day, that our little braveheart would dread swimming like the plague.

“DANGROUS (Dangerous) MAMA. FOR BIG KIDS,” she told me one day walking past a swimming pool. “TOO DEEP. NOT FOR AH-FEI.” Ah Fei being her own affectionate nickname for herself.

So imagine my internal struggle when my paediatric colleague reminded me of the importance of ensuring our children knew how to swim. I’d casually bring up the topic, and Sarah-Faith would assertively remind me with the conviction of a preacher, “NOT FOR AH-FEI!”

The day arrived. We enrolled her for a swim trial.

As Cliff got into the pool with our little toddler who was wailing like a cat, putting little ring floats round her arms, he said, “See Sarah-Faith, if you wear these, you’ll be safe, okay?”

”No, Papa, tell her that she’s safe because she’s with YOU,” said the swim instructor. “There’s nothing magical about the floats, it’s YOU who is keeping her safe.”

As Sarah-Faith became transfixed on the little water toys tossed around, Cliff pulled out her arm floats without any resistance.

“Papa got you,” Cliff kept saying, “Papa got you.”

Tears welled up behind my eyes. All at once, I felt God speaking to me about our situation.

In a time of several major transitions, with us moving from Canada to Singapore with a toddler and a newborn, into a new neighborhood, I was exhausted. Without my mum-in-law’s help, I was fatigued and overwhelmed. I wanted help but didn’t know who to turn to. I fell ill with a cold that raged into an oozing, yucky sinusitis. Emotionally and physically, I was depleted.

Many of our friends with young children sent their older child to preschool or had a live in domestic helper. We had prayed about this and given the intense transitions and unusual stresses our family might face serving the underprivileged in the field, we felt God’s leading for homeschooling our children this season instead of institutionalizing them so soon.

But with me starting work soon, and already feeling completely depleted with a raging sinusitis infection and struggling with nighttime anxiety from worrying about the things only mums worry about, I felt defeated.

An angel in the form of a homeschooling mama had already reached out to me genuinely to offer her help but I felt guilty accepting it; another grandma we had met through a divine accident graciously offered to accompany Sarah-Faith to her weekly playgroup, even suggesting for us to go on a date while she helped with our children.

Yet, every day I would google private pre-schools, public kindergartens and nanny services online, even when I knew it was not what God wanted for our family.

The first preschool we visited had the words “HUNGRY FOR SUCCESS” plastered over the walls of a junior kindergarten class. Another informed us they had no outdoor time at all because of the possibility of mosquitoes.

The possibility of mosquitoes.

Those options I googled were my floats. My floats made me feel safe. With them, I knew that at least we would survive.

But it was not true. It is God, our Papa, who’s got us.

From time to time, whenever Cliff said, “In Team Tam, we don’t just survive,” Sarah-Faith would belt out with the enthusiasm of a cheerleader, “WE THHHRIVE!!”

As the swim instructor encouraged the parents to hold their children under their armpits and swish them around in the water, Sarah-Faith refused. With her legs wrapped round Papa’s torso like a constricting python, there was no swishing, for sure.

Time passed, and as the other toddlers squealed with delight, she, too, began to let go and loosen up. Within minutes, she had turned from an angry python to a delighted duckling.

By this time, my face was drenched in tears.

So often, we try so hard to maintain our sense of security by securing life floats for ourselves- better finances, better prospects, better options. We strive and busy ourselves endlessly to make our lives more secure, stable. We do everything we can to purge it of worry and uncertainty.

If we can pay for a service with the money we’ve earned, we’ll take that instead of relying on a relationship. It feels more certain, more secure.

Those of us who DO take the God-led path, which may seem more tenuous, suffer humiliation, fear and the pain of uncertainty.

It was there and then, when i saw Sarah-Faith smiling in Cliff’s arms that I felt God saying, “I’ve got you, Wai Jia.”

We may not have a domestic helper. We may not have my mum-in-law here. We may not have a dual-income family. We may have many things set against culture- like the desire to homeschool, to live simply, to live as though we were preparing for someplace else, somewhere in the mission field, or in eternity.

Yet, with God by our side, why did I fear? Did He not provide this homeschooling mama friend to encourage and strengthen us? Did He not send this “random” grandma our way when we were visiting a missions organization to bless us temporarily till we found more regular help? Did He not allow a random Facebook reader to identify me on the street last week, only to offer to connect me with other mums in the neighborhood, when I was feeling isolated and at my lowest? Has He not sent us countless angels and strangers to run backwards to hold elevator buttons, open doors, offer their directions, and offer us their tables when I was struggling with two little ones in public?

And so, if God is by our side and fighting for us, is there more we need to fear?

So many people had warned us against this- saying that this arrangement would unsettle Sarah-Faith, that it lacks the structure and predictability of a nursery, that it would not be good for a child who just underwent a major transition of moving homes and countries.

Yet, in God’s divine way, we now see He handpicked Sarah-Faith’s caregivers- she sees them as part of our extended family. Each of them were moved by God in specific and divine ways to reach out to us, and none were willing to accept any form of payment because “don’t you see Wai Jia? We are one family”.

I now see that God’s way supersedes our own ideas, for where else would I find a 1 to 3 or 1 to 1 ratio from people who intentionally chose to love and dote on her like family? No preschool, however expensive, could provide that.

In reality, sending her to an institution would be much easier and feel more “secure” for us all.

But the truth is, our floats won’t save us. Even if we feel safer with them.

But resting in His arms, neither flailing nor resisting Him, learning to graciously accept the unconventional help He has chosen to provide, will.

It grows our spiritual muscles to stay afloat, the very ones that will help us swim, in the very thing that we once felt like we were drowning in.

For whatever He has called you to unconventionally, however tenuous it may seem, is it time, perhaps, for you to put your floats on shore and take to the waters with Him?

Papa’s got you.

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*We are currently praying for a Big Sister or Grandma to help us with Sarah-Faith’s care. If you could pray alongside us, or if you’d like to reach out to us and join us for playdates, we’d love to hear from you <3 

A month has passed since our major move to Singapore.

While we’ve all better coped with the change and healed somewhat from acute homesickness, I’ve always wondered what our little two year old must feel, how bewildering it must all seem without being able to articulate it.

Why and how did EVERYTHING change suddenly?

Ever so often, she still talks about “Our Vista Big Home” (vista being how she refers to our old neighborhood filled with parks and tall trees) and “M’s motorcycle,” M being our neighbor’s red shiny vehicle which enthralled her every time it zoomed off.

I’m not a child therapist of any sort. But since she mentioned “Vista Big Home” a number of times, I asked if she wanted to make a craft of it. As much as I was grieving, I wonder if perhaps, she was, too.

“YES MAMA. BIG VISTA HOME. SARAH-FAITH’s HOUSE. WITH GOLDEN SUN.”

While it appeared to be a lesson on shapes and colors, my prayer deep down is that it helped her in some way to process this unspeakable change where everything familiar to us disappeared overnight.

That it helped her realize that what we left behind has not been forgotten. That what no longer is, still lives in our hearts. That Home still exists, even if it is far away.

With her characteristic big smile at her masterpiece and tears behind my eyes, I thought, perhaps it was helpful not only for her, but for me too.

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We had been apprehensive.

After all, having been away for a few years, we wondered how the Singapore we had left behind had become.

Would it be more crowded, more fast-paced than before? Would it be cold, unfriendly and a pace too fast for a family with two young children.

Over the past three weeks that we’ve been home, our lives have been filled instead with these encounters:

An older middle aged couple offered to help carry our stroller down a flight of stairs in public; a grandmother gestured for us to sit at her table when we had no place to sit for dinner; a passerby asked me if she could push my stroller for me while I carried my tray of food; two complete strangers reached out to our family and took our two kids and me in for an afternoon at short notice so that Cliff could focus on moving our luggage and furniture into our new home; people I had never met gave us a crib, car seats, clothes; a mother asked her little daughter to give us her pack of treats when our toddler had a meltdown.

As we settled in into our new home, a place my own children had never seen or known before, a fear lingered- what if my husband’s and their long-term visa passes (LTVPs) would be denied? What if they all had to return to Canada? It sounded like an absurd fear, yet the possibility was real.

While I was back to fulfill my work contract, Cliff felt convicted to look after our little ones as a hands-on Dad. What if their visas be denied?

Yesterday, on a stressful morning pressed within a maddening throng, we met the nicest macik (aunty) at the immigration office for our appointment, who assisted us with so much grace and love as we struggled to wait in line with an overwhelmed toddler and a nursing baby.

Two more weeks, and you’ll know the outcome of your application, she said.

But with timing that couldnt have been more beautiful, just this morning on National day, we received notice that our whole family would be together, that their visas were all approved. That Papa, and two of you were welcome into Mama’s home.

This is Home, truly, little ones.

You’ll love it here, as much as you have been loved.

Happy Birthday, Singapore.

9 Aug

Lacquered fingernails scraping on a chalkboard.

A sound every parent is familiar with.

After all, that’s the equivalent of what the determined whining of a 2-year old sounds like.

So when we got the airport in a hustle, with six suitcases, three overstuffed carry-on bags, a disoriented toddler and a sleepy baby to catch a 2am flight, imagine the damning self-reproach when I realized I had forgotten to bring that specially prepped, tightly sealed ziplock bag in the fridge which contained five lifesaving items that would spare us and many in-flight passengers mental and acoustic agony.

I wanted to kick myself in the butt.

The 32-hour journey ahead on two flights from Canada to Singapore depended on these triangular lifesavers. Now, I knew I was in for an uphill battle.

“Oh no,” I uttered, preparing myself to hear that awful fingernail-on-chalkboard crying. My toddler loved them so much that I’d packed them specially for her for the long flight ahead, and now I had forgotten them.

As we buckled ourselves on the plane that was going to bring us to a time zone twelve hours ahead, I prepared myself for a marathon event of misery, crying, whining, apologizing to other passengers and no sleep.

We flew off. Tears built up behind my eyes as I explained to our bewildered toddler as best as I could, “We are saying goodbye to Canada and going to Singapore, sweetheart. We are on a plane and it’s going to be a long, long way. Mummy is very sorry but I forgot your Laughing Cow Cheese.”

As Cliff, our toddler and baby fell asleep, tears streamed down my cheeks as I thought of the many unknowns ahead.

We did not have a home waiting for us in Singapore; I did not know if our children would adjust well; we were leaving a perfectly beautiful house and a routine we had thrived on to a new place filled with new uncertainties and stresses, because I had to fulfill my work contract of a remaining 16 months in Singapore.

Just as I was grappling with these thoughts, our first meal on the flight arrived. And there on each tray, sat a little triangular ray of hope- Laughing Cow Cheese!

As I watched my toddler’s face light up like a highway billboard with high voltage glee, both my husband and I saved ours for her.

And then, the two passengers sitting behind us gave their triangular packages of joy to her, leaving me in shock.

That made five Laughing Cows. Five, that replaced my forgetfulness, that covered my oversight as a parent.

As ridiculous and melodramatic as it sounds, tears poured out of my eyes as I felt God asking me, “Why do you worry about your transition? Even amidst the chaos, in your shortfall, I am here. And I will always love your children more than you ever can.”

Just as the flight ended, I turned to thank the gracious couple. The older woman replied, “Oh, it’s nothing. I hope she liked it.”

With tears in my eyes, I shared the story of why her gesture meant so much to me. To which the couple replied, “We fly this airline ALL the time, and we have NEVER seen them serve Laughing Cow Cheese before.”

Ah, five. The number of Grace- His unmerited favor in the face of my shortcomings.

When we arrived in Singapore, the brutality of jetlag kicked me in the face. In fact, the word “jetlag” should be completely redefined for parents, since the jetlag of two or more other human beings become your responsibility too.

Crying fits and door-banging. Make-believe picnics on a floormat at ungodly hours of the night. Staying in someone else’s vacant apartment with my toddler continually telling me, “Mummy, GO HOME. Not this home, BIG Home!”

But the next morning as I awoke, I found my toddler’s skin, once covered in red angry welts of severe eczema in cold and dry Canada, now a beautiful pink.

For months, her eczema intensified unforgivingly in spite of our best efforts. In desperation, I prayed that God would just allow her to wear pretty dresses again, since we had to cover her limbs to prevent her from scratching and to avoid the cutting comments from well-intentioned people. Because of the severity of her condition, I had emptied her wardrobe- all she had were a few long sleeved shirts and pants.

Just a few days after we arrived, however, a huge sack of beautiful clothes, passed on to me by a friend I had met only a few times in my life, was delivered to us.

“Cliff,” I said, incredulously, fingering through the huge sack of perfectly ironed dresses with tears in my eyes. As I picked up a pretty dark blue, sleeveless dress with red cherries on them, I whispered, “God answered my prayer- look. Sarah-Faith can wear this now.”

It was then that I felt God say, “Why do you worry about your transition and your children’s transition? Your obedience will always beget my grace.”

Days passed, and things at the place where we were staying at kept breaking down. The air-conditioning units took turns giving up. Our agent friend who told us she would help clarified that she could now no longer do so, due to unexpected family circumstances that had cropped up. As I lay awake at night, wondering where we would find our next home, I felt desperate and cried out in prayer.
Why did God allow this?

Hardly two days had passed when she reverted to us with a host of viewing options, even amidst her challenging and pressurizing circumstances.

“I just felt like God really wants me to help you.”

As we searched for our next home for 20 months, before we head (God-willing) to the mission field again, we discovered one problem after another- grudging landlords, high rentals, remote locations. When we finally found a potential home, we both got cold feet in committing.

Desperate, Cliff held my hand and said, “Let’s pray now. Let’s pray God gives us a sign and peace about our decision.”

And a sign He did. For at the ground floor of the apartment, a group of women waved rainbow colored flags as they sang worship songs. And as the landlord’s agent walked over to take a photo of them, she shared with us her background of having served the underprivileged in China for a decade previously.

And so out of her way did she go to help, assist and negotiate for our tenancy, together with our agent friend.

As I watched them both work together to help our family resettle, going out of their way to minimize charges, waiving their own fees and using their personal time and money to set up the home for us, I marveled at God’s ways as I felt Him say again, “Why do you worry?”

At the playground yesterday, Sarah-Faith held my hand and led me on the merry-go-round.
“Come, Mummy, come.”

As another caregiver spun the merry-go-round faster and faster, I saw our surroundings flash by at a dizzying speed. And as I spun round and round with Sarah-Faith, I noticed one thing- that as long as I fixed my eyes on her face, I never got dizzy.

It was then that I felt God tell me, that as long as we fix our eyes on Him, no matter what the dizzying circumstances around us, He will be our anchor.

Even in the midst of the giddy chaos of packing and leaving, He would provide the lifesavers we needed; even in the midst of uncertainty and transitions, He would honor our obedience and heal us; even in the midst of wavering doubt, He would send angels to help and encourage us.

If your world is spinning out of control, know this- that as long as you fix your eyes on Him, His Grace will be your anchor.

After all, He is the God who provides, who heals and who cares, even when it comes down to just five pieces of Laughing Cow Cheese.

*Thank you to many angels who have been journeying with us in finding our home and for offering us items to help us make our new home, Home.

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“MAMA, GOO HOOOOMEEE!”

Tears streamed down my cheeks as our firstborn toddler, Sarah-Faith, bawled, pouring out her heart’s longing to return to our little cozy shire in the woods in Canada.

A 24-hour almost-sleepless plane journey home later, here we were living temporarily in an apartment belonging to another family, our gratitude for their generosity painfully eroded by an overwhelming sense of homesickness.

Individual jet-lag becomes a tall order to overcome when two little human beings’ jet-lags become your responsibility, your eyes filled with tears when your two-year old hugs you at midnight, crying, unable to express her bewilderment and shock at not being able to “Go Home.”

“We’re in Singapore now, sweetheart. I know it’s a smaller place. We have to look for our new home.”

“NOOOO! Go BIG Home!”

Hardly three days had passed when I watched you grow in years. Your confidence to sleep alone in an adult bed for the first time (and in a foreign place!), your resilience in overcoming jetlag, your determination in finding joy in new things and places, even when we all knew this was a major change for us all. Even more so for you, our toddler who loves her routine circumscribed on her terms.

At the end of a long day of viewing homes, as we asked God where our home for the next 20 months might be, I found a little rundown coffee shop stashed in a corner, a sight I had not seen in years since we were away.

In the humidity and heat of the late afternoon, in the grime and hustle of the heartland, amidst loud chatter of elderly men drinking and people slurping hot noodle soup, we found a spot to sit down to unwind, if only for a moment, “This is one of Mama’s favorite things to do, Sarah-Faith. This is a hawker center. This is Teh-C (tea with evaporated milk). And THIS is Kaya Toast.”

As your eyes lit up, that characteristic courage I know so well of you took over, and you held it in your little hands, like a tiny bunny, ready to try yet another new and foreign thing.

You wiped it all up, saved a little morsel to tuck away in your little Tupperware and said with a grin, “EAT LATERRR.”

A smile that lit up the world for me, even as part of our hearts, left behind in another part of the world, ached.

A smile that promised me we would find new adventures here and beyond; That change represented pain, but also growth; that this would be the first of many changes we would go through but they would all make us stronger; that someday I would face answering hard questions you’d ask me about the lives we lived, straddled between two, three, four countries… but for now, it would be simpler.

“KAAAA-YAAHH toast,” you said, licking your lips.

Papa and I had left as two and now, returned as four.

Welcome to Singapore and Mama’s new world, Braveheart.

Till our next home,

Love,
Mama.

Kaya toast

“She’s gonna miss it so much.”

Sarah-Faith’s ice cream toy truck. Last Christmas, Cliff’s Mum gave our firstborn a little singing ice cream toy truck that fulfilled all the grand, eternal longings of a little two year old. Yet, the impending move to Singapore meant leaving behind what she loved most.

“Maybe we can bring it with us!” Cliff would say, almost seriously, giving his fatherly tenderness away.

As we commenced packing our lives into five suitcases, a question arose within me: What if it’s bad for them?

Perhaps, that’s the hardest question parents will ever ask, regarding the decisions we make for our children.

In a season of moving again, our 11th big move in the past six years of marriage over four countries, we’ve received our fair share of wagging fingers, not less now with two little ones in tow.

“Have you thought about their future?”
“Aren’t you robbing them of a stable life?”
“Isn’t it unhealthy to live this way?”

Yet, both Cliff and I know, that every move has not been a whim but a decision borne out of prayer.

I did notice, however, that since having children, my worries were amplified.

What about their education, security, development, healthcare?

“What? You don’t even know where you’ll stay when you move to Singapore? You only have a few weeks left!”

My heart sank, as the temporary accommodation options we were presented were either exorbitant or unsuitable. When a place within budget came up, it was a 1-bedroom apartment. For a family of four, it would be a squeeze.

We were desperate. After all, we needed a place to stay for at least the first month while looking for longer term accommodation for the remaining year and a half where I had to serve out my contract as a medical doctor with the government.

One day, a volunteer from Kitesong Global who lives in Australia and whom I’ve never met reached out to me about her family friend from Melbourne, who has a vacant 3-bedroom apartment in Singapore.

“Would you like to stay there for the first month?” came the question.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I felt God ask, “Is there anything your family needs that I can’t provide?”

Later on, I had goosebumps when I discovered the divine “coincidence”- that the owner’s sister, who was staying in the apartment temporarily, had planned to move out the very afternoon we landed in Singapore.

Where we fear to tread, God is already there.

One day, half-jokingly but also earnestly, I told Cliff, “I’m praying for a Singaporean Sarah to love on Sarah-Faith.”

Sarah is a close friend of ours in the States who is a homeschooling mum with two young sons, and who looks after a little girl who goes to their home every day.

With me returning back to Singapore to complete my work contract before we, God-willing, returned to serve in a developing country, I longed for a Mama friend to help Cliff with caring for our exuberant toddler for a few hours each day when I was at work, so he could work on his part time theological studies and get some rest.

But I wanted someone who would love on Sarah-Faith like family, and who loved God deeply.

For months, I kept this prayer deep in my heart, sharing it regularly only with Cliff and with God. It was a ridiculous prayer, especially since homeschooling is uncommon in Singapore.

A month ago, a lady whom I’d met only once at her wedding years ago reached out to me via text and said, “I would very very much like to take Sarah-Faith for homeschooling lessons, if you think it’s a good idea. My husband and I prayed about it and are convicted not to charge you and Cliff for it, because it’s our ministry to you both- SF would be like family to us.”

Like family to us.

Tears welled up in my eyes. In yet another divine “coincidence”, I learnt that she, too, has two little boys.

When no one knew my heart’s desires, God did. He provided our “Singaporean Sarah.” I learned, that truly, could anyone love our children more than God does?

One day, I chanced upon a photo of this Mama’s younger son. In the background, was the exact ice-cream toy truck Sarah-Faith has. It was then I was told, that the ice cream toy truck was bought by none other than the little boy’s Grandma- last Christmas too.

Tears built up behind my eyes.

In yet another uncanny coincidence, I felt God ask me, “Have I ever left you or your family to sink when you obeyed Me to walk on water?”

Truly, God is ready to meet us on the other side, even when we fail to see Him.

Days later, at a farewell visit, a close friend of Cliff gave us a big set of Megablocks for our children. As soon as he gave the gift to us, my heart sank again, knowing there was no way we could bring it back to Singapore for them to enjoy.

Two days later, a friend from Singapore who volunteered to help us collate kid items for our children before we landed, texted me, “I set aside this for you. Would you and your children like to have it?”

It was a box of Megablocks, exactly the same as the ones we had to leave behind.

When no one knew my heart’s desires for our children’s play and growth, God did. He provided an identical set of Megablocks, an identical ice cream toy truck, as if asking me once more: Can you love your children more than I can?

Weeks passed and through the collective love of strangers and friends, we had most of the items we needed to help our children settle back in Singapore, besides housing (which we are still praying for) and one other item.

Interestingly, no one had the co-sleeper (a little basket) I needed for our infant to sleep in.

Just last week, a friend’s friend reached out to me, “Is there anything else you need?”

Half-heartedly I asked if she might have a co-sleeper, knowing the chances were extremely slim. So many mothers I had already connected with did not have this specific item. I texted her a photo of the one our baby was sleeping in, a gift that someone had handed down to us second hand.

“Oh my, I have it, identical to the one in your photo! And I have two! Would you like both?”

Again and again, through this series of uncanny coincidences, I felt God ask, “Is there anything your family needs that I cannot provide?”

Clothes, a stroller, car seats came in, from friends and people I have never met.

Just last night, as Cliff and I started to wonder about long term accommodation, a patient I had met more than ten years ago when I was a medical student, who said I had touched her life then, offered to help us with our housing search as she’s since become a real estate agent.

“I don’t need the commission fee. Could you just cover my petrol cost?”

It made me wonder- What if our stepping out in faith is bad for our children? But, what if it’s not? What if it’s good, even necessary for them?

I am constantly worrying- about whether our children might be negatively impacted by constant change, whether Sarah-Faith’s eczema might worsen with the move, by whether someday, all this might just take its toll on us and bite us in the back.

But more recently, I felt Him ask, “What if, the questions you asked were not ‘What if this jeopardizes our stability? What if the risks are too great? What if we lose what we now have?”, but rather, ‘What if we trust God?” How would our lives be led differently?

I admit, it would be far easier for all of us to stay in Canada, in a home we can finally call ours, with our green backyard overlooking a quiet forest in uneventful surburbia. It would save us the cost of long flights, the inconvenience of packing, the anxiety of having no place to stay when we land, the stresses of constantly moving, the uncertainty of entering yet another unknown future in a rural place with questionable security, healthcare and education when we finally do serve in a developing country again, God-willing.

Yet, few of us consider the danger of staying safe.

Perhaps, too few of us understand the perils of living our lives in comfort and luxury when we fail to realize how much we deprive ourselves and our children of the many miracles, great and small, that God orchestrates on our behalf when we let go of what means so much to us.

Perhaps, too few of us understand the grave crime we commit, of robbing our children of the opportunity to witness the reality of God, when we hold back out of fear.

“What if stepping out is bad for our children?” We ask innocently.

But- what if NOT stepping out was a far worse reality than what we could possibly imagine, for us AND our children?

Surely in the physical, we would be safer, more secure, more stable. The less radical life would certainly be more convenient.

But what if the consequences of NOT walking in faith were graver because we exchanged the spiritual foundations of our children, what could have grown to become a sea of faith, for sinking sand?

If you’re holding back today out of fear for what might happen to you or your children, know this- that God’s already on the other side. For everything you’ve surrendered or left behind or given up, know that He loves you and your children far too much to leave you to sink.

For when you walk on water, there’ll be an ice cream truck waiting for you on the other side.

And there will He be, too.

* if you might know of a 3-4 BR place for rental in the west/north/central of Singapore, please let us know. Thank you.

SF truck