Interviewed by Tan Lay Leng
Has 2020 been a noisy year for you? Have you paused to lean in to ‘listen’ intently to God? At a recent Silent Retreat that is part of the Mentoring Aligning Process (MAP), God invited Annie to sit on a two-seater swing at the Retreat Centre and there, He spoke clearly to her.
Annie has been kept busy on her assignments at home! Besides taking care of her two grandsons, she takes care of nine persons’ meals at home. Upon reflecting, she marvelled at how God provides time for her. Yet, while God provides time for her, He also provides clarity regarding her misalignment in the use of time.
Annie confessed that she “cannot zo-bo” (cannot sit there with no agenda), she would be needing to fill up her time with things to do. At the swing, God challenged her: How to hear God when you are busy? One needs to sit and just enjoy God’s presence. It’s okay not to do anything. Bask in His presence and receive all that He wants to give you.
With three meals provided at the retreat, Annie laughed as she recounted how happy she was, not having to think of what to cook for the family! Happier was she when she received this clarity that new normal or new wine, new vaccinations or new year, she will make adjustments all the way to align with her King! She may plan but she will be flexible and adjust as the King calls her. It is no longer Annie, but through Christ in her (Zechariah 4:6, 1 Corinthians 15:10).
And the King provides opportunities for her to point her relatives to Christ. She shared, “There was no need for me to go out to look for them, God sends them to me.” As He did, He showed Annie how He has already prepared her to reach out to them.
When Annie’s cousin opened her heart to her, she knew she was on assignment. Through Isaiah 42:5-7 (MSG), God revealed to Annie He has set her in “bringing people into the open, into light”. Like Annie, her cousin is the first in the family to receive Christ. Having walked through a lonely spiritual walk before, Annie was able to empathize with her cousin and comfort her with the comfort she had received from Christ. Annie knew that God has set both her cousin and her as the “lighthouse” in the family, pointing their households to God’s goodness. Another testimony of God’s goodness in preparing the way was how He led Annie’s sister-in-law to help with household chores before the domestic helper arrived. This provided an opportunity for Annie to connect with her sister-in-law, easing the way for Annie to invite her to an Alpha session. He is a God who provides, prepares and protects!
When God showed Annie at the retreat how He had protected her, she was in total awe. In 2019, Annie was diagnosed with shingles but she had planned a trip to Greece. Sensing a no from God, Annie obeyed, despite her desire to go. During the period of the trip, Annie’s cough worsened and she was diagnosed with lung infection. Had she refused to obey God and gone for the trip, one could only imagine the consequences. All-knowing God also protected her daughter’s whole family, bringing them back to Singapore before the COVID-19 outbreak.
With a thankful heart, Annie concluded, “Without time set aside to be silent, I cannot make sense of what God is doing. Despite a season for many things in my life, there’s a time to be silent and be conscious of God’s presence, hearing birds chirping and insects calling.”
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Many desire to know their kingdom assignments but have done little to check communication lines with the Lord. We have all been taught to ask boldly, but it is as important to learn to ‘listen’ intently. The noisier our lives are, the more we must lean in to hear the Master. When we incline to His words, we align with His heart and are assigned with the purpose of the kingdom.
In 2021, have you factored in times of silence and solitude to be recharged in His presence?
Annie is married with two grown-up children and two grandsons. She enjoys chilling out with friends over coffee and cake.