Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Continually I am reminded of my sinfulness and how prone my heart is to wander. But I am assured even more of God’s faithfulness, and how abundantly He sheds love and grace upon me.

And my song shall ever be: How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Savior’s love for me.

This term has been truly one of great blessing, and each one in such unexpected ways.

In school, I took CS 343 (Concurrency), CS 466 (Algorithms Design and Analysis), CS 486 (Artificial Intelligence), CS 698 (Machine Learning), MUSIC 226 (piano studio), and MUSIC 115 (chamber ensemble).

The first assignment of our machine learning course broke me. I did not have a strong enough math background, and was unable to complete the assignment well. I handed the assignment in at 12:10am, the latest I’ve stayed up for school, and felt defeated. I was not able to understand course material well, and felt like I had met my limit. Shortly after the first assignment was due, a large portion of our class decided to drop the course. I stayed, partly because of interest, and partly stubbornness. Ensuing assignments were approached with much prayer and supplication. As the term went on, my assignment marks began to rise steadily. When studying for the final, I looked back on the first assignment; it was indeed, as our prof often put it, “very simple”. But as with all things, it’s only simple once you know it.

Piano and ensemble were amazing. My piano teacher is the kindest, most encouraging teacher. Her teaching not only showed her love for music, but even more her genuine care for people. I also had the blessing to play for her mother, who is the most charming lady. I strive towards that gentleness of spirit and heart to serve others. Ensemble was just awesome. It was enjoyment from the very first practice, where I was instructed to “play louder!” when I was already playing with every ounce of energy my body had, to the interim ones where our director danced to emphasize the spirit of the music, to the last concert where we shared the fruits of the term with friends and family. Music is a blessing to the soul, and musical education is a very good I’m thankful for the impetus to practice daily that these courses have given me.

This term I also started working out. Previous conversations about gym were characterized by an unhesitating rejection on my side. I think I mostly feared judgment. However, through a friend’s unwavering persuasion, I learned to lift and quite enjoy it now. The very direct transfer of effort to progress, as well as the measurability of such progress, is something not found in many things.

Threaded within and underlying all these things was prayer. And indeed, prayer was the greatest blessing this term. A deeper realization of my insufficiency, and of God’s being that sufficiency, as well as a movie (War Room) mentioned offhand by my pastor, made me more and more dependent on prayer in my own life and intercession for others. And truly,

And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7, KJV)

Having brothers and sisters who walk together in this life, like Christian and Hopeful in The Pilgrim’s Progress, and examples to follow, like Faithful, is such a blessing. This term I have grown in appreciation for our university fellowship. Previously, because of cultural (and language) barriers, I found it difficult to relate to international students. Through prayer and storms, this has changed. Truly, though culture may differ, but we are united in Christ. I may still be known as ‘the girl with the worst Chinese’, but nevertheless, we continue to spur each other on in this good race. (As a side note, my Chinese has improved quite a bit this term). Indeed, true friendships are founded firstly on our covenant with the Lord. And in loving as we ought, we are in turn blessed immensely.

There is one body, and one Spirit,
even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all,
who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

(Ephesians 4:4-6, KJV)

If you’ve read this far… kudos. One last thought.

I got sick in the last month of the term. The last time I sick before this was in high school (barring a short time of coughing in Fall 2016). That week I had four sets of CS assignments due, and an upcoming paper. I was only able to do work for the first two and a half days of sickness. God is gracious and I was more productive in those first days than ever before. However, the remaining days of that week were painful, and truly a reminder of my frailty and the preciousness of health. It’s times like those where we rejoice in sufferings gets put to the test. Yes, I know that:

all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.

(Romans 8:38, KJV)

but I am currently in pain and it is hard to rejoice, and to be confident that this is life. But even so, as the psalmist sings,

My flesh and my heart faileth:
but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

(Psalm 73:25, KJV)

Further I was reminded of the love of my family, pastors, and brothers and sisters in Christ. Mom made me pear soup when I could not stomach food, Dad took me to the hospital at crazy hours of the night (day?), Matthew helped me get things from upstairs when I had no energy, pastors and friends prayed for me. In these ways and more, I was showered with love, and have all the more incentive to serve those in my life whatever way I can.

Soon after I recovered, final season rolled around. And ever sooner, finals have already passed. I am curious how marks will pan out this term. No matter what, I can confidently say I have learned a lot and have worked diligently.

After the Christmas Break, I will be returning to Mountain View for an internship. This year I decided not to go through WaterlooWorks because I wanted to return. The period of waiting, when all of my classmates were getting and going through interviews, was trying. I guess all periods of waiting can be. But thanks be to God! By His grace, and by the kindness of my previous manager, I was matched to a team that I am greatly under-qualified for, and am excited to learn and explore!

Now there are three weeks to relax, reflect, and prepare.

I am looking forward to the next term. I’m excited to see how the Lord will lead; …I have put my trust in the Lord, that I may declare all His works. (Psalms 73:28) Although many things are uncertain, I know that He who leads is faithful.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand