Showing posts with label Returning to work (Feb 2008). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Returning to work (Feb 2008). Show all posts

Monday, November 7, 2022

Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness

(First posted on 21 Feb 2008)

This morning, the Lord brought the following verse to my mind:
"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
I am thankful to God for His mercies and faithfulness throughout my life. As I considered afresh how He provided and led me through this part-time job assignment that just ended, I am once again amazed by God's love and mercies to unworthy me.

When I was first diagnosed with proneness to bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), it was a relief to me. I finally understood my confusing past where I have experienced some 10 or 11 episodes of severe depression that usually lasted between 3 months to 6 months or sometimes longer. I struggled to get through each day. I used to wonder what sins have I committed that I have to go through these punishment time and again. Whenever I am well, I do love the Lord, love His people and love to serve Him. It must be a great sin that landed me into severe depression each time, that was what I thought. Yet during such an episode of severe depression, no amount of soul-searching, repentance and cries can bring about deliverance. It was usually 3 to 6 months later that I began to get better and more functional. I thank God for preserving me through those very very difficult times and now finally enabling me to understand why.

My diagnosis helped me to realize that my severe and prolonged depression episodes are due to my proneness to bipolar disorder which is a medical condition that can be treated. No doubt various factors, internal and external, has brought about a relapse in depression. Most of the time could be due to stress and overstraining as I am some kind of a perfectionist in my character and though I have tried hard to change, it is not easy. So unknowingly I sometimes set rather high expectations of myself or goals that are unrealistic and I am doomed to fail in my own eyes when I don't meet up to those high expectations. These often happened unknowingly as I always strive to do my best. I just can't seem to understand my limitations and how much I can really do. This has something to do with the other side of bipolar ie. hypomania. Whenever I am well, I am usually on the hypomania side. Which means I have more energy, more ideas, more creative, more talkative, more friendly and tend to take on more projects than I can handle (without realizing it) and sleep/rest less. I also will be so engrossed or occupied with various things that I neglect exercise, breaks, recreation, hobbies and sometimes regular meals or healthy meals. After weeks or months of such hypomania, a severe depression will surely follow for another 3 to 6 months or so.

My diagnosis helped me to realized that bipolar can happen to anyone. And thank God for preserving me through those very difficult times in the past and delivering me each time. Each experience, confusing though they were, have been used of the Lord for my eternal good. Through every prolonged depressive episodes, I was thrown completely upon the Lord. I have no one else to turn to. No one understood what I was going through. I thank God that through those times, He led me to seek and search His Words and Truths to understand the importance of a right relationship with Him and the great work of sacrifice our Lord Jesus Christ has done when He laid down His life on the cross for us to redeem us from sins and eternal damnation. I thank God that these Truths became very precious to me through my darkest days. I wanted to know what I must do to be saved. During a depressive episode, all my thoughts and feelings became distorted and not functioning properly. I often couldn't feel my love for God, His Word or His people. Actually, I can't feel aright generally, but I didn't realize it. I thought I was surely not a sincere believer and probably even a reprobate. So through each difficult experience, I learn afresh to look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, to seek Him afresh and to know His love and forgiveness. So those very difficult times became great blessings as the Lord sanctified me, drew me closer to Him and enable me to experience His love and faithfulness experientially. God is very real to me because of these difficult experiences. Now I understand why the Psalmist said in Psalm 119:71:
"It is good for me to be afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."
It was through my afflictions that I understand the true meaning of some of God's Words and promises.

But my diagnosis also brings about some difficulties. In the past when I was looking for a new job, I have had difficulties finding one due to my asthma condition. It is a requirement to declare my health condition in the job application form. There were times when I was rejected because they said my asthma condition is very serious as I am on long term medication. They didn't want me to be a liability to them. Actually, my asthma is not very serious. It is mild and persistent, and that is why I have to be on long term medication as I will be in danger of sudden asthmatic attacks that can lead to sudden death otherwise. But as long as I continue with my medication, I am fine most of the time. I only get asthmatic attacks during very very cold weather in December as it rains heavily in Singapore during that time. Or if the office's aircon is too cold, I will feel uncomfortable too. But I have made it a point to wear my sweater and so in the recent years, I have very few attacks. But even then it is so difficult to get a job because of my asthma.

God in His faithfulness, provided a job for me through my good friend, Dr Chin Ming Shu, who is a child psychologist helping children with special needs such as autism, dyslexia, speech delay, etc. Ming Shu is a Christian and a very kind friend. I was with her for the next 4 years plus until I left the job recently when I was severely depressed and could hardly work. At that time, providentially she had to scale down her work to attend to some family matters. I am thankful to God for Ming Shu's kindness to me over the years as she allows me flexibility in terms of my working hours and work. And she lightens my load whenever I went through depressive episodes. Being a child psychologist, she understood depression. So she never condemn me and she sympathized and prayed and encouraged me during such distressing time. I survived a few episodes while working with her and it was because of her kindness that I was able to continue working despite my depression. It was also through her promptings that I finally sought medical help in Dec 2006, and now able to manage my condition better with medical plus other helps. Thank God!

End of last year when I started to look for a new job, I encountered the same difficulties where my health declaration is involved. Now I have to declare not only asthma, but that I am on medication for manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder. Once I declared that, I don't hear from them anymore. Mental illnesses is still very much a stigma in Singapore. But I thank God that through my friend, Grace, that I was offered this part-time job recently. And because it was a part-time assignment, I was not asked to fill up any application forms. So no one know about my medical condition and I was not rejected because of that. Thank God! Truly with Him all things are possible. Great is His mercies and faithfulness.

As I pray, look and await God's provision of another suitable job, I thank God for the assurance in my heart that He will provide for me in His time despite the great difficulties. I pray that He may enable me to once again testify of His goodness and mercies in His next provision of a job, and that I may continue to know Him and serve Him in my new job. Meanwhile, I really appreciate this little break once again :-).

"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him." Psalm 62:5

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A good ending

I am thankful to God for helping me through my first part-time job assignment. My job assignment with this project ended today, much earlier than the expected deadline of this Friday. My superiors are very happy that we have completed our tasks ahead of time.

I thank God that my superiors are satisfied with my work performance and they have indicated that they will inform me if there are other suitable part-time assignments available. I have been very concerned that I may have made many mistakes in my coding and that it will affect the accuracy of the data and inconvenienced my colleagues. I am thankful to God that J assured me that when they checked through some of my codings, so far they have not found any mistake. In fact, they felt that I am very careful in my codings. Thank God for giving me the grace and wisdom to cope!

I am really heartened as I see God's goodness and mercies to me in this part-time assignment. He has answered my prayers in many wonderful ways, assuring me that He cares even for the small details. Truly, He promised even the very hairs of our head are numbered and we are of more value than many sparrows!

I thank God for His goodness in answering my prayers in the following wonderful ways:

I have prayed for a part-time job after Chinese New Year ie. 11 Feb in which I need only to work about 6 hours. The Lord, in His mercies, provided this part-time job through my friend, Grace, which allows me to work for 6 hours daily and to start on 11 Feb.

I have prayed for strength, grace and wisdom daily to cope with my work. I have been feeling very tired daily ever since I started work, possibly because I am still adjusting to returning to working life after having rested for some 4 months. Possibly also because I am out of the house for 10 hours daily from Monday to Friday while I was mostly at home in the last 4 months. I am thankful to Anne who reminded me that I am to do my best for God daily. This morning, I did pray and tell the Lord that I am very tired, and I asked for His grace and strength to do my best and not be slackened in my work due to my tiredness. I prayed for the Lord's strength to continue to cope or if He wills, He will enable the project to end earlier either by today or tomorrow. I thank God for His faithfulness. I am thankful when my immediate superior, J, told my colleagues and I that we are much ahead of our expected deadline and that we can end earlier. I thank God, as a result of that, today is my last day at work. Thank God that He does not allow us to be tested above that we can bear!

I have prayed for grace to relate well with my colleagues. When I first met my colleagues, I did wonder how it will be like as I am obviously much older than them and they are all more highly educated. They are all either University graduates or University students. Thank God that they turned out to be very nice, friendly and helpful. I really enjoyed the time I spent at work with them and during lunch breaks too as we had lunch together almost every day. Today, I was encouraged, when J told me that she is going to miss me now that my assignment has ended. When I was going home, she walked with me to the bus-stop and I thought she was going somewhere too. But she said no, she is going back to the office to continue with her work but she wanted to talk to me, and so she has walked with me to the bus-stop. I am thankful to God that she appreciates my work and friendship. I hope to keep in touch with her and possibly to drop by and visit her and the other colleagues when there is opportunity.

I am thankful to God for many friends' prayers and encouragements when they know I have started working recently. In particular, I thank God for Pastor JJ, my elders, deacons and church friends for their continuing prayers and encouragements. Thank God also for Grace, Anne and others for their concerns, reminders and suggestions on how best to cope with my work in view of my health condition. Thank God for my mother's preparing my breakfast every morning and ensuring that I have a good breakfast :-)

I am thankful to God for a good ending to a good first part-time assignment. I will continue to pray, to look and to wait upon God for His provisions of other suitable assignments/work.

Thanks for visiting my blog to know my progress, and for your prayers and encouragements (if any). Take care.

To God be the glory!

"I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart: I will shew forth all thy marvellous works" Psalm 9:1

Monday, February 18, 2008

Checking my thought patterns - Part 1

Thank God for seeing me through another day at work. I have 3 more days with this part-time job as it will end on this Friday, 22 Feb. This Thursday, 21 Feb, I am on leave to go for my follow-up with my psychiatrist, Dr Pauline Sim. I look forward to see Dr Sim as she has been very encouraging and helpful in treating my condition.

Today, I thank God for sending some reminders to me on how to manage my condition, through my friend, Grace. Grace has been very prayerful, encouraging, kind and supportive in many ways. Grace helped me to get this part-time job in her office and sometimes we do get to lunch together and have some fellowship. I thank God for that. Grace shared with me about a book she is reading recently on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which talks about the way our thoughts affect our moods and behaviours. I am reminded through my conversation with Grace that I need to constantly be more aware of my thoughts and how they affects my moods and behaviours.

Last year when I began to try to understand depression and how best to manage it, I read about the 10 most common faulty thinking patterns that can either lead to a depressive episode or aggravate an episode. Dr David P Murray did a very excellent analysis of these 10 faulty thinking patterns in his 3rd lecture "The Condition" from the series "Depression and the Christian".

In his 4th lecture "The Causes", Dr David P Murray, said
In Lecture 3 we looked at 10 false thinking patterns which contribute to depression. It cannot be emphasised enough how vital it is to learn to recognise these unhelpful thoughts by prayerful self examination. It is also important and useful to note that some of these habits of thinking may be involuntarily absorbed or learned in early life and so may be deeply ingrained. When we feel down, or when we are stressed, these latent false thinking patterns tend to occur more frequently and tend to dominate. This can often lead to depression, worsen an existing depression, and, if persisted in, make recovery from depression so much harder. Sometimes, the Church can reinforce or add to false thinking patterns by over-emphasis on the negatives in the Bible and in people’s lives, or by setting standards of commitment which may discourage or depress those who are unable to attain them.
I do recognize that I have some of these faulty or unhelpful thinking patterns and they are more prominent during a relapse of depression. I am not sure whether they are the triggering factors or they are a result of the depression. I am still trying to recognize them and change them so that I can think more logically and biblically. I also realized that I have some character traits that may make me more prone to mood swings.

I read that it is important to be more aware or recognize these character traits or faulty/unhelpful thinking patterns, and then challenge and change them with more logical or biblical thoughts/behaviours.

Some of the character traits or faulty/unhelpful thinking patterns that I am learning to recognize are:

1) Perfectionism or Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Quite a number of people in my life have told me that they think I have very high expectations of myself and that I am some kind of a perfectionist. Actually, personally I do not see myself that way most of the time. I just want to do my level best in whatever I do. But sometimes when I think through it, I think that they have a point. I do not have high expectations of myself all the time and in every area. But in certain things, I tend to push myself rather hard without realizing it. Indirectly, I set unrealistic expectations of myself or goals that more unattainable which resulted in my being very stressed up or more prone to fail in my own eyes.

I suspect this is one reason why I felt very stressed for the first 2 days of work recently, as I was trying too hard to do a perfect job! Thank God for Anne who reminded me that I was being too hard on myself and that I should learn to commit my work to the Lord in prayers daily and just do my best. Thank God too for bro Arthur who told me not to be too discouraged over the fact that I made mistakes at time as that is part and parcel of work. So I am learning now to pray for wisdom and strength from God and just do my best, but not expect perfection of myself.

(Thank God also for bro Yew Hoong who reminded me to pace myself slowly and not over-strain, and for Grace who reminded me that I can take time off if I need to as the department is flexible with the hours. Thank God too for bro Hwee Kwan who reminded me to eat! I have to constantly remind myself to drink and get up to stretch myself sometimes as I can be very engrossed in my work and sit for hours without getting up.)

I think due to this perfectionism trait in my character, I am prone to have unhelpful/false "shoulds" thinking pattern which Pastor David P Murray explained as follows:

False “shoulds”

Our lives may be dominated by “shoulds…” or “oughts”, applied to ourselves or others. This heaps pressure on us and others to reach certain unattainable standards and causes frustration and resentment when we or others fail.

Life example: The busy mother who tries to keep as tidy and orderly a house as when there were no children is putting herself under undue pressure to reach unattainable standards.

Spiritual example: The conscientious Christian who feels that despite being responsible for meals and raising children, that she ought to be at every prayer meeting and service of worship, and also reading good books and feeling close to God.

Biblical example: Martha felt deep frustration that Mary was not fulfilling what she felt were her obligations and complained bitterly about it (Luke 10:40-42).

I realized that sometimes I do have a habit of saying "I must", "I have to", "I've got to", "I should"and "I need". Some of these statements may look reasonable as I think of them, but when put into context, they become clearly unreasonable. I read somewhere about the following:
"should" and "must" statements have little practical purpose. They usually remind us of what we are not doing and increase unnecessary guild and disappointment.

Unrealistic expectations occur when you attempt to be perfect and faultless at everything you undertake and in control of all situations.... This thinking style results in you having very little patience and tolerance with your own and other's weaknesses and bad habits. If you make a mistake or hurt someone, you will probably continue to criticise yourself long after everyone else has forgotten about it.
Reversing the habit

It found it helpful when I learn to use "I would prefer" instead of "I must" or "I would like to" instead of "I have to". When I think in terms of preferences instead of vital needs or demands, it remove a lot of pressure. In terms of work, it is helpful when I learn to think of what is reasonable rather than what is ideal. Sometimes the effort to make an 80% job into a 100% job is simply not worth the emotional strain. I need to learn to understand my limitations and to work within it. This way it will be less stressful for me and less disappointments.

This is a lesson that I will probably need to learn and relearn over and over again as the perfectionism trait or faulty "should" thinking pattern is too much a part of me. But I pray that God will enable me to pray and look to Him daily for grace to recognize and overcome these unhelpful thoughts and to learn to depend upon Him and just do my best as He enables me.

To be continued.........

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another thankful day!

Thank God for seeing my through my first one week back at work!

This morning I felt very tired on my way to work as it is my first week at work and I am still adjusting to the timings and travellings. I need to travel 1.5 hours to work and 1.5 hours back, work for 6 hours and lunch break is 1 hour. So in total I was out of the house for 10 hours daily over the last few days.

I am thankful to God for His mercies and faithfulness. Today is also a quiet day for 2 of my colleagues and me. We split the work among the 3 of us. Somehow, by the mercies of God, I was asked to do the easier assignment which another colleagues who is not around used to do so. So I was once again spared from mentally exhausting assignment and able to work through today doing less stressful or demanding mental work!

Today, there were lesser people in my office. My office is doing research work and the staff works on flexible hours. Sometimes they work from home, sometimes on the field and sometimes they attend meeting. Today, being Friday, is exceptionally quiet as most of the staff were not around. Besides being able to concentrate better on my work, I was also able to get to know my 2 other colleagues better as they were more chatty when the place is quieter.

It turned out that they both studied psychology and I was able to relate to them some of my experiences of working for 3 child psychologists who works with special needs children such as those with autism, dyslexia, speech delay, etc etc. They also talked a little about their own experiences in their studies and contact with patients with mental health conditions. I didn't reveal to them that I suffer from mood disorder but I was glad that they were very sympathetic and concerned for people with mental health conditions. I supposed that's why they study psychology :-) One of them hasn't decided what he wants to do, whether eventually to become a clinical psychologist or something else. He is also a part-timer for this project, just like me. The other colleague who studied psychology is a full-time staff in this department. I forgot to ask her why she is working here instead of a health-care environment.

I am glad to be able to get to know my colleagues and work well with them. They are very friendly and helpful. Though I am obviously much older than them, they didn't seem to mind the age gap or generation gap. So today was an enjoyable day for me though I was tired as I was able to enjoy some conversations with them, every now and then, throughout our work. As I am getting more used to the codings now, it is also less stressful. I am also learning to commit all things to God and to look to Him for wisdom, grace and strength to just do my best and not push myself too hard or set unrealistic expectations. Still learning :-)

How I look forward to some rest tomorrow! And yes, to spend more time with my mother. Oops, I think I neglected her recently after I started work. Tomorrow, I must spend more time with her and try to schedule time with her for next week too. My mother has been very supportive. Ever since I returned to work on Monday, she made it a point to make my breakfast every morning. She enjoys doing so :-) and I know she cares. Thank God for a caring mother. I must not neglect her.

I am learning to use a Diary to plan for each day and to mark out important appointments, as a way to handle stress. Thank God that this week, I managed to keep my various appointments and meet the deadlines of some volunteer work for my church too. Thank and praise God! Trust that He will continue to give me strength and grace to seek and serve Him next week too.

Thanks too for your visit to my blog to know my progress and for your prayers (if any). Hope you have a good weekend :-)

"Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: ...." Psalm 143:8, 10a

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My grace is sufficient for you

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I carried this verse with me this morning when I went to work as I sense my own weaknesses and tiredness, and it brought much comfort and encouragement to me to see God's faithfulness in fulfilling it again today.

Today I was very tired as I could not sleep much last night. Yesterday was a very eventful and reflective day for me and long past my sleeping time, I still couldn't sleep. I did the Mandarin Bulletin for the elderly people in my church. As I couldn't sleep, I spent some time to reply some emails and work on my blog. It was almost midnight when I finally was able to sleep. I was up very early this morning and couldn't sleep again after that. So in total, I only managed to get 5 hours of sleep when I usually will have about 8 hours. As this is my fourth day at work, I was also beginning to feel the physical strain. But I am learning to commit each day to God and to cling unto His precious promises.

Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness! Today, 2 of my colleagues were away and so my another colleague and me had a very quiet day where we were able to concentrate and do more work. Usually when the rest are around, there would be a lot of discussion going around and I tend to be much distracted and have to read and read my assignments before I can understand and code it.

My colleague and I also split the work among the 2 of us. Which means instead of just focusing on my most difficult assignment, I was able to do another assignment which is less difficult. So in a way, my work was mentally less demanding today! And so I survive today, by the grace of God! Thank God.

As I am still learning to manage my condition, having to adapt to a new job, new environment, new schedule, etc etc is indeed a great challenge. There is always the uncertainty and the fear that something might happen to trigger my mood swings. I am still learning to be more aware, to recognize early symptoms of mania or depression, and how best to prevent a relapse or worsening symptoms. So I am very thankful to God for His faithfulness in sustaining me daily. I am learning to be more reflective and to recount God's goodness and mercies to me through this blog which is also my Journal. I hope I will always remember God's goodness and mercies to me, no matter what I may go through in future. I hope He will enable me to learn from past mistakes and to know how best I can live for His glory and be useful to the society.

Going through another day without much mood swing, and able to function properly, is such an accomplishment to me. To be able to work again and serve God, and contribute to the society, and to provide for myself and family, is such a joy to me. To many people who go to work daily or who have no problem with mood disorder, it may just be another day for them. But for me, it is another day, to be thankful for.

One more day tomorrow (Friday), and I look forward to some rest and break on Saturday, and to worship and fellowship on Sunday :-)

Give us this day our daily bread

Last evening, I shared about how the Lord taught me to look to Him for grace and strength to set my priority right at work and to honour Him. It helps to take away my fear of losing the part-time job and I was able to concentrate on doing my work more accurately. The Lord, in His mercies and faithfulness, blessed my work yesterday.

Thanks, Anne, for reminding me to pray and commit my work to the Lord before I start work. Anne said in her comment on my last post:

"As you know, I worked in health care for 30 years and before I would start work EVERYDAY, I would add to the end of my prayer, 'Please God don't let me hurt anyone.' Maybe adding something to your prayers before you start work will instill more confidence in yourself. I pray that God guides your hand in all tasks."

I am reminded of Isaiah 40:31
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

This morning God confirmed His instructions to me during my quiet time. I read Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 14 Feb Morning:

"And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life. 2 Kings 25:30

Jehoiachin was not sent away from the king’s palace with a store to last him for months, but his provision was given him as a daily pension. Herein he well pictures the happy position of all the Lord’s people. A daily portion is all that a man really wants. We do not need tomorrow’s supplies; that day has not yet dawned, and its wants are as yet unborn. The thirst which we may suffer in the month of June does not need to be quenched in February, for we do not feel it yet; if we have enough for each day as the days arrive we shall never know want. Sufficient for the day is all that we can enjoy......Here is surely ground for thankfulness.

Beloved Christian reader, in matters of grace you need a daily supply. You have no store of strength. Day by day must you seek help from above. It is a very sweet assurance that a daily portion is provided for you. In the word, through the ministry, by meditation, in prayer, and waiting upon God you shall receive renewed strength. In Jesus all needful things are laid up for you. Then enjoy your continual allowance. Never go hungry while the daily bread of grace is on the table of mercy."

I hope that day by day I may learn to seek help from God for without Him, I can do nothing at all. Thank God that He provides for our daily portion! May I learn to ask and wait upon Him for my daily bread, physical and spiritual.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31

Truly how God takes care of the sparrows! Surely, He will take care of me. What a comfort!

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Such an encouragement to remember that God's grace is sufficient for me. Though I am weak, He is strong. I need to remember to ask for grace daily.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A reflective day

I am thankful to God for seeing me through my third day at work. I have a lot to be thankful for.

This morning, I was rather happy to wake up and go to work though I was very tired. I was up very early and somehow could not sleep anymore. So I work on the Mandarin Bulletin that I was helping my church to do for the elderly people that came to my church's evening services.

On my way to work, I prayed for God's grace and strength. I did feel quite stressed regarding my work last 2 days due to the nature of the job as well as the targets to meet daily. I realized that I made quite a number of mistakes while rushing to complete as much work as possible. My 3 younger colleagues are very helpful and kind. But I did feel kind of intimidated by their speed of work while I felt I was so slow compared to them. As we all work in a team, my slowness will be evident and it may in someways affect my colleagues' work.

As I reflected on this, it suddenly down upon me that in my rush to complete as much work as possible, though I have done my best and tried to be as careful as possible, my focus has been more on completing as much work as possible and not on the accuracy of the work. The result of that is detrimental. The accuracy of my job is highly important. I realized that I have got my priority or focus wrong. I did fear that if I didn't do fast enough, I might not be good enough for the job and they might not keep me. But now on hind sight, I realized that as accuracy is more important than speed, the more mistakes I made the higher chances of them not keeping me.

I felt rather down when I thought of this. I felt grieved by my own sins and failures. I think I will most likely get a bad report and they might not want to keep me for long. I also felt bad because my church friend helped me to get the job and I feared I have let her down. I prayed to God to forgive me of my sins. Though the job is important to me and earning money is important, to honour God is more important. I prayed that God may enable me to set my focus right in my job and do a proper job rather than trying to prove that I can do the job or accomplish their targets daily. I felt that I should apologize to my superiors for my wrong working attitudes which might have affected the accuracy of my assignments and indirectly the whole project.I felt prepared to be ask to leave and know that God will somehow take care of me and continue to provide for me.

I thank God for His faithfulness that He did not allow me to be tested above what I could bear. When I shared my fear that I have made many mistakes the past 2 days, my superiors encouraged me that they will check through the codings eventually and they will rectify any errors. They also assured me that my assignments was the hardest among all the assignments of my other colleagues and they think I am very careful at my tasks. Today, 2 of my colleagues also helped to take on part of my assignments. So as I concentrate to do as accurate as possible, somehow my workload did not increase as my colleagues shared my workload! Thank God!

At the end of the day, God has another surprise in store for me. When I was leaving, my superior asked whether I have registered with one of their departments and inform them that I am available for other part-time assignment when this one ends on 22 Feb 2008. I said I didn't. My superior said she can bring me to register! God willing, she will do so tomorrow. Praise God again for His mercies and faithfulness!

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Updates after my first two days back at work

My first day at work on 11 Feb2008:

Thank God that my first day at work went well today! The nature of the job is interesting and not too stressful. But it does require a lot of thinking and analysing. Thank God my colleagues are all very kind and helpful, and as we work in a team, I am able to discuss with my colleagues on any difficulties I encountered. The working environment is very pleasant and the location is away from the noisy and busy town.

Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness. Thanks for friends who prayed with and for me. Feeling rather tired today probably because my first day at work after such a long break. Hope to get a good night rest and praying for strength and wisdom for days ahead


My second day at work on 12 Feb2008:

Thank God that my second day at work was much better. I was less tired but I do still find myself rather slow in processing information. My work requires reading and analysing some data. Praying for much wisdom, grace and strength from God.

I was able to lunch with my colleagues today and get to know a little better. They are very young and cheerful people. It's nice to be around them as it makes me feel younger :-)

Returning to work (Feb 2008)

Thank God for a spiritually refreshing Lord’s day. Bro Linus Chua preached a very encouraging sermon and I hope to share about it in my future post.

Now I have finally started to work after having rested for about 4 months!

I have been working part-time in the last 4 years+ for one of my good friends who works with children with special needs. I also helped her to run a children’s bookroom and a Christian bookroom. I left that job in September 2007 when she decided to scale down her business. I was going through a relapse of severe depression then since July 2008. My friend and ex-colleagues have been very kind to me when I was working with them. I am not sure if I will ever find another employer and colleagues like them.

Thank God that now I am well and ready to return to work. I have prayed that for a start, God will provide either a part-time/half-day work where I work maybe around 4 to 6 hours. Thank God for His faithfulness in answering my prayers for a part-time job. Through a kind friend in church, I was offered this part-time position for 10 days from 11 Feb to 22 Feb. I am working for 6 hours daily.

I am looking forward to this new beginning and to chart another chapter in my life! Praying that God will give me strength and grace to adapt back to work and that I can contribute well to my assignments.

Jehovah Jireh - God has provided again! (1st February 2008)

Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness! I am thrilled that God has provided another opening for me with regards to job.

I have not been working since Oct 2007 due to the relapse in July 2007 which worsened when I went through some stress and strain in Aug and Sep 2007. Thank God for providing for all my needs over the last few months through the kind love gifts of some friends and church brethren who gave very generously and anonymous as unto our Lord. I am deeply indebted to our Lord and to these kind friends and church brethren for their kindness.

I was particularly moved when an old friend in Canada, Esther Chew together with her sister, Grace (whom I have never met), gave me love gifts from Canada and recently when Esther visited Singapore. I met Esther more than 10 years ago when we were both studying at Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC). After my graduation in May 1998, I lost touched with Esther. By God's merciful providence, Esther found my home telephone number in her things last year and got her niece, Sharon, who is in Singapore to call me. Ever since then, Esther has been keeping in touch with me through email. Thank God for her friendship, encouragements and kindness.

I have been praying that God willing, He will provide a half-day or part-time job for me after Chinese New Year ie after 10 Feb 2008. Or some freelance assignments for me. Thank God for His mercies in providing an opening. One of my church friends, sis Grace Yong, kindly informed me of a part-time job offer at her work place for the month of Feb 2008. I have applied for the position. They have called to inform me that they will be able to employ me from 11 Feb to 22 Feb for 6 hours daily. Thank God for answering my prayers and providing once again for my needs! Praise Him.

I am praying that God willing, He will provide other part-time or freelance assignments for me after that. Some difficulties I have encountered ever since I tried looking for a new job in Sep 2007 are:

1) Mental illness is still a stigma in Singapore. Whenever I fill up application forms to apply for a job, it is mandatory for me to declare my health condition in the application forms. I noted that when I state that I am on medication for asthma, depression or bipolar, I never hear from them again.

2) Some employers seemed to prefer younger and more energetic women, and some even stated clearly they want someone good-looking and outgoing. I am going to be 42 this Oct. I am certainly not young, energetic or good looking :-( Hopefully some employers will value my work experiences as I do have more than 10 years of working experiences in administration work.

3) My mother and I have to go for various medical appointments. My mother's health fluctuates. She has hypertension and diabetes for more than 20 years. She is on a lot of medications (7 types) daily. Sometimes she is better, sometimes she is worse. So I do need the flexibility to take time-off to bring her for her various medical appointments and in time of emergency. I am also still seeing my Doctor regularly and need to be able to take time-off for that as well. Most jobs don't offer that kind of flexibility. Thank God that my previous employer Shu, and my ex-colleagues Louise and Shirley, were very very gracious and understandings and they have accomodated all my needs to take time-off for my mother and my own medical needs. Thank God for them! It's not easy to find such employers and colleagues, but God is Jehovah Jireh - He will provide.

I hope after this assignment in Feb, the L0rd will provide other part-time or freelance assignments for me. I have started a simple blog to advertise my freelance administrative services:

I may try to approach some publishing company to see if they need freelance typist as my strength lies in my typing. I love to type and I am a pretty fast typist. Will pray and continue to wait upon God, trusting that He will continue to provide for my every needs.