Keeping with what I did last year, this is my attempt to briefly summarise 2019 and what 2020 will look like.
I turned 40 this year (and I feel old!) and I also became an Australian citizen (giving up my Indian citizenship has been a bittersweet experience), so it’s been an eventful year.
We welcomed our fourth into this world (our second, affectionately known as gumnut, is in heaven with the LORD) and life has been even more hectic with less sleep and more things to do BUT Amanda and I wouldn’t change anything. Number one and Number three continue to grow and mature every single day, their unique personalities beginning to shine through or causing us to tear our hair out, depending on the time of day. It’s funny except when it’s not. The LORD continues to reveal to us how much work He must do in us and that’s not been pleasant either. We both get angry and annoyed at them far more than we should and while we can use excuses like we are tired or we don’t get enough sleep or work has been hectic or whatever else, reality is that there is no excuse to our poor behaviour. God is gracious and I know that as His Spirit works in us, we will continue to grow and mature into the godly parents He wants us to be and our children deserve.
I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t been as good a husband as I ought to be to Amanda. As a mother, she hasn’t been able to get a decent night’s rest since our first child and often (if not daily), I am inconsiderate of this fact (amongst many other things) and treat Amanda very poorly. Though I would say I am not being selfish, reality is that I behave this way because I am being very selfish, instead of the selfless husband and father the LORD would like me to be. I take offence when I don’t get what I want or I am not treated a certain way while ignoring the fact that Amanda is tired and shattered from looking after the kids and taking care of things at home, all without a moment to herself or any rest to speak of. My prayer is that the LORD will help me be a better husband and practically speaking, my goal is to ensure that Amanda gets time to herself.
Throughout this past year, one thing that has continually come up in our conversations is our desire to spend quality time together as a family. I am talking about a lifestyle change so that quality time as a family is at the heart of who we are. Of course, this doesn’t happen by magic and is something Amanda and I, we as a family, will need to deliberately work towards. It’s no easy task to make this our reality but we know that every aspect of our life needs to be tweaked to meet this life goal, be it the type of work I do, how we school our children, what our priorities are (individually and collectively) but ultimately, we have to trust in the LORD and depend on Him to answer this incredibly important prayer.
We had the privilege of running a home church for a couple of years and no doubt, the LORD worked in and through us during this time. However, with our fourth child making an appearance, running the home church was proving to be quite a task. We had also just been offered an opportunity to meet at the Arcare aged care facility near us, which was a blessing. When I asked the LORD about the future of our home church, He brought about circumstances that made it clear that it was time for us to put a pause on our ministry. It has been an incredible journey and I am grateful for the past few years that He’s allowed me to be a home church pastor.
With this change, it meant that we were back looking for a church to call home and boy has that been difficult (to put it mildly). There is no shortage of churches BUT the problem is that a vast majority of these churches are misguided in their theology and led by the flesh, not the Holy Spirit. I understand that here on earth, there are no perfect churches and we were certainly not looking for one. However, as the spiritual head of our family, I need to make sure that the church we belong to, not only is faithful to the WHOLE Bible, not only is Spirit-led, but also not compromise on essential doctrines that makes us Christian. Despite a few false starts, I am grateful to say that the LORD led us to Grace Bible Church (GBC) in Logan. GBC is not perfect but in nearly every aspect, Amanda and I agree that they are so much better than other churches. In the coming year, my/our prayer is that we will connect with other families at GBC and form long lasting relationships that are a blessing to us and honours Jesus. I don’t want to be a backseat Christian either so I’m praying that the LORD will open opportunities for me/us to serve at GBC.
Personally, I still have a long way to go when it comes to being like Jesus. I still struggle with my anger/attitude, though I must admit that I do see improvements, thanks to God answering my prayers. I have already mentioned how I fall short as a husband and father so that’s another area that the LORD must work within me. I still struggle with sin and this has been a tremendous source of burden, shame and sorrow for me, not to mention how I fail the LORD daily. It’s not all bad news though. By God’s grace, it’s almost become a habit for me to do my daily reading in the morning and to spend time in prayer. I am also grateful that the LORD continues to use me to evangelise through the Internet and it’s very clear to me that He also wants to use me at QUT to touch the lives of those I work with and the students I teach. I am excited about what the LORD will do in and through me in the coming year.
Earlier this year, Amanda and I made a deliberate effort to be more responsible with our finances. With our desire to own a home one day soon, it was imperative that we did. We now have separate bank accounts (incoming, home, entertainment) to better manage how much we spend on various aspects of our life. It did reveal to us that we were a bit too relaxed when it came to entertainment (coffees, eating out etc) so we’ve already made adjustments/changes to gain better control over it. We are still a way off from saving enough for a deposit (to buy a home) but very grateful to the LORD that He has enabled us to build up our savings.
In 2019, I was offered a full-time contract as an Associate Lecturer at QUT, which was a tremendous blessing because unlike my previous years as a Sessional Academic, being a full-time employee meant that I would be getting a fortnightly salary throughout the year, not just during the semesters I was teaching. While this meant that I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time on my business, it also meant that there was a lot less pressure on me financially. Having this opportunity at QUT is much more than a financial blessing though. I am not a career minded person unlike many of my peers, but I recognise that I have room for growth at QUT. I love teaching, engaging with and challenging students and consider it an incredible privilege that I have the opportunity that I do at QUT. I am very grateful to the LORD for my position at QUT. Going forward, switching to a part-time position because of my study plans will impact our finances but rather than be fearful, I want to remain faithful to the LORD and trust Him with everything.
Mustard Seed IT
Working full time at QUT meant that I couldn’t do as much as I would have liked with Mustard Seed IT in 2019. That said, I am grateful to the LORD that all my clients have continued to stay with Mustard Seed IT and remains committed to me, as I am to them. While the business is not making a whole heap of money, it is nevertheless profitable, and my prayer is that it will remain that way and grow even more. To be clear, running Mustard Seed IT has never been about making lots of money. My business allows me to be a consultant and keep on top of technology and use my knowledge, skills and experience to be an asset to my current and future clients. I am grateful for every bit of financial blessing and thank God that He is using Mustard Seed IT to meet our needs.
God or Money
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says:
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
While my time is better spent worshipping God, I often find myself worrying about money. I know this is not how I ought to be and my prayer is that in 2020, the LORD will allow me to focus on the things I should focus on, rather than worry about earning more. I don’t want to make more money so I can live the good life, I just worry that I am not making enough to support my family and meet their needs. I know the LORD has been meeting all our needs and I need to continue believing that He will, so this is more of a test of my faith than anything else. I have also been contemplating about seeking financial support for the ministry work I do (social media posts, videos and articles I write) through a platform like Patreon but I am still praying about whether to proceed or not. To my Christian brothers and sisters who are reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts. Would you be willing to support me on a monthly/regular basis, if I were to go ahead with this idea?
I know that 2020 will be a big year for me personally and for us as a family.
Amanda and I have taken a huge step of faith and decided to home school number one. I must give all the credit to Amanda here because I know she has been reading, researching, planning, preparing and praying about this for a very long time. While I know that Amanda is a capable person, I am even more confident that with Christ on her/our side, this is the start of a challenging yet incredible fulfilling and rewarding journey. We believe that this will also positively contribute to our desire to spend more time as a family.
I have also taken a step of faith and start my Master’s/PhD journey at QUT. I love what I do at QUT (except for marking/grading – just being honest) and it is imperative that I earn a PhD to remain in academia. Working part-time, running a business, pursuing a research degree and spending time with my family – God alone knows how I will achieve all this every week but I am trusting in the LORD to accomplish all this because on my own, I know it’s impossible.
Is 2020 the year we will get to buy our own home? I don’t know for sure, but I/we have been praying about this for a while and God willing, the dream will come true this year. If not, it is because it’s not in His plans for our lives currently. This also depends on our finances but there’s only so much I/we can do to manage that aspect of our lives and leave the rest up to the LORD.
There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless, the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
Our lives are in the LORD’s hands and me personally and us as a family, we entrust ourselves into His hands.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Ultimately, without Jesus, we are nothing and we can do nothing so with Him on our side, we look forward to 2020 with faith, hope and love.