I was travelling overseas alone with my ukulele, attempting to run away from all my problems back in Singapore.

I was disappointed by relationships, disappointed in myself. A lifelong introvert, I thought I needed change. New experiences and new people would do the trick, I thought.

Ironically, I also wanted some time apart from those who knew me. I was tired of the love I’d grown so used to. I wanted to miraculously forget everything, ditch the baggage, heal the wounds, and become better and stronger before coming home.

But while I was overseas, a lady I used to wheel to church every week from her old folks’ home passed away.

I was utterly torn. I’d promised to bring back goodies; she’d told me she’d be waiting. She treated me like her own family, but I wasn’t there when she breathed her last.

It dawned on me that becoming a better person is not a solo act. Love only operates in relationships, the most important being the one we have with God.

Those months away allowed me to experience all that I wanted: Stuck in a sudden snowstorm, I learnt to entrust my life and safety to God.

He opened my eyes to the simple joys of life and the beauty of creation. I made amazing new lifelong friends who welcomed me, a foreigner, into their loving community with open arms – love I never thought I deserved. Through their example, I learnt to do likewise for strangers whom I crossed paths with.

Now I know that merely wishing and waiting for God to change me wasn’t enough. That change would only happen when I learnt to think less of myself and more of others.

Instead of expecting people to love me just the way I was, I had to learn to love others more, seeing beauty in brokenness just as God did for me before I knew Him.

With all this in mind, ukelele in hand, far from home, I wrote this song:

Before I Get Home

I’ve packed up all my bags
It’s time to just relax
You gotta let me go
Be back in a year or so

I’m running off the tracks
Why is life this complex
I’ve been living for myself
I can’t do anything else

Oh no, I’m not really invincible
But I’ll be back before you know
So just let me leave

All I want is
A little time to myself
I’m trying to understand
What is love
I just gotta know
What my life is for
Oh God will you change me
Before I get home

I don’t mind being invisible
As long as I’m truly willing to love
You’ll see a better me

All I need is
To see less of myself
I’m trying to understand
So I can love even more
I gotta be sure
What my life is for
Oh God you’re changing me
Before I get home
All I want is to finally go home

Now I’m home, the struggle continues. Life so easily becomes mundane, and I find the rat race stealing my joy. It’s so, so easy to despair.

But every time I sing this song, I find my eyes turning back to God’s grace. My spirit is lifted as I acknowledge His constant presence and working in my life, in our lives. My soul rests because I know He makes all things beautiful in His time.

We need to be reminded to seek Him daily, to focus our eyes on Him and pray for His word to change our hearts. Then we’ll begin to see that He is the living God who loves and cares for our every need, physical, emotional and spiritual.

If you’re going through a hard time, know you’re not alone – let’s walk this road together. The victorious end is already set out for us.

Though we struggle in this life, our lives are always in His hands. God is honing and moulding us to do His great work before we finally meet Him face to face.