Sunday, 20 May 2018

Love is not selfish

The third point that was salient to me from A Mother's Heart was that love is not selfish. Jean writes about how her daughter was coughing while in bed. She herself was tired and prayed that her daughter would stop coughing so that she would not need to tend to her. Finally, she did attend to her daughter as she knew her daughter needed her.

I was reminded of my selfishness. It occurred on a few nights. Little An was trying to sleep when her sweet voice announced her thirst and that she would need a drink. I was in a comfortable position each time and would groan at the inconvenience of having to make my way to the kitchen.

My aunt is a great example of love. She tells me to concentrate on my studies while she does the housework for me! She commutes to my place by public transport and that probably takes more than half an hour each trip, yet she comes about thrice a week to offer her unconditional help. May I be as selfless to others!  

Love does not seek its own..... I  Corinthians 13 : 5

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Pray

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

This post is a continuation from the previous. Jean suggests three essential prayers for our children:
1) pray for their salvation
2) pray that they will be an asset to God's kingdom by having godly characters
3) pray that they will promote God's kingdom by serving others.

I have been praying (2) and (3) as J has received salvation, but was encouraged by the examples of praying mothers in the book. Hudson Taylor's mum was praying fervently for Hudson's salvation when he went home announcing that he had received salvation. Hudson went on to be an effective missionary. Sara Parks prayed for her many children and designated her home as a House for Learning. I remember reading previously that John Wesley's mother was also a woman of prayer. May we remember that prayer is essential and to pray for our children in all aspects of their lives.



Pray without ceasing.




Friday, 18 May 2018

Study, Do, Teach

I was packing some books to give away and decided to re-read one of them. I was ministered by its content and think it may be profitable to share some points on this blog. The book is A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming.

There were three points which stood out to me and I will share them in three separate posts. The first was a verse from Ezra 7:10: "This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel."

Jean interpreted the verse to mean that we need to first study the Word, then do the Word before teaching it to others. She cited the example of a pastor who had taught his son to be honest, yet when the son was not accepted into a course he had applied for, his parents told him not to tell others about the rejection. They advised him to say he was accepted into another course instead. His parents taught him the Word but failed to perform the Word themselves. 

I am aware that my children are watching what I say and do more than what I nag at them to do and sometimes, I hear my speech patterns come out from their mouths. I am reminded to be a good role model in word and in deed. 

Also, I tell J to read his Bible every day, yet I give my devotional a cursory glance in the morning and by the end of the day, I can hardly remember what I have read. May I be like Ezra, who studied and obeyed before he taught. The preceding verse said that the gracious hand of God was upon Ezra. Ezra's dedication to the Word had won him God's approval. May we all be pleasing to Him too. :)

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Mother's Day


J woke up early today and summoned his sister to his room. She immediately followed him and I heard them whispering to each other. Soon, J approached me and said, "Mama, Happy Mother's Day! This is for you." He presented me with a shield. Later, he gave me another shield with a message written on its back. When I asked him why he gave me shields, he said that was the only thing he knew how to make in the craft book. I was touched nonetheless, as he had made the gift without anyone telling him to. His little sister followed suit and gave me a paper bracelet. :)

I thank God for the gift of motherhood. God has entrusted me to be the ambassador of two very dear ones and no other role I have undertaken has entailed this much responsibility. Thank God though for easing the job as these two have been generally good-natured and positive.

I thank God that we have the same interests. Recently, we started jamming together. Last night, J and I agreed to play Ode to Joy and Canon in D. Little An tried to join in too. She basically played two notes according to the rhythms of the songs and they blended! It was a fun time.

I also love it when J takes on the role of his sister's teacher. He has patiently taught her how to play some tunes on the piano. He also teaches her mathematics and marks work which he has assigned her. She adores him to bits except when he gets irritated with her occasionally.

As every parent would experience, some days are not as positive. For about one and a half weeks, the littler one has been crying in school. She claimed she was tired and would close her eyes in the car to prove her point. She truly had been having difficulty sleeping at night and would toss and turn for more than an hour before finally giving in to exhaustion. However, on a day when I felt she did have enough sleep, she still cried upon arriving at school. No one knew what was wrong and I began to wonder what I should do. She was disturbing her teachers and classmates with her crying. Lyndon feels that we can only pray as there is nothing else we can do. She is happy at home and well-loved by every family member. She has been sociable, bubbly and enthusiastic. Her teachers say she has friends to play with at school. In situations like this, all I can do is to pray and recognise that God loves her much more than I do.

I also pray that Lyndon and I will be able to guide our children with wisdom. I remember giving advice to my brother on which stream and school he should choose when we were younger and the advice turned out to be suitable for me, but not for him. He told me later that he would have preferred humanities to science subjects and would have probably excelled in a neighbourhood JC more than in the JC I had advised him to go to. Now that J is in Primary 5 and has to choose his secondary school at the end of next year, may I not impose my views on him, but seek the Lord for His will.

This Mother's Day, I pray I will be wise in training up my children in the way they should go. May I be a good role model and abide by His word in all that I do. May I be loving and patient and encouraging in my words. May I have wisdom to deal with difficult situations. May I have strength during tiring times. I pray the same for all other mothers. Happy Mother's Day. :)

Monday, 30 April 2018

SYF 2018

Not too long ago, J took part in the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation with his CCA group. I thank God and his school for giving him a chance to participate. The whole family was very excited and parents, grandparents and sibling all went to the venue to support J and his school.

It was a very positive experience, which demonstrated to the students involved that hard work is necessary to attain a goal. There were practices during the holidays and extra rehearsals now and then, but it was all worth it. I thought their performance was stellar and the music they produced exhibited maturity.

I guess it is inevitable that some schools have more students with musical background, giving them a edge in the grading. However, I was happy to see that there were schools which built their musical groups (band, choir, strings, handbells etc) from scratch and excelled. This shows the success of CCAs. May schools continue to instill the love of arts in their students.

Source: SYF Facebook Page

Friday, 27 April 2018

Everything I Never Told You



I recently read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. It is the kind of book I never would have sought out myself but my curiosity was piqued when I heard it discussed over BBC's World Book Club programme. It was said to have addressed racial discrimination and familial relationships.

I did not like everything about the book - I am uncomfortable that premarital sexual relationships are so comfortably described in various media that they appear correct. However, I am taking the time to write about about the book as it caused me to reflect on parenting.

In the story, teenager Lydia lost her life in a lake and as the family grappled with her death, the thoughts of each family member were revealed. Her father, being of a minority race - Chinese, pressured her to make friends. Even the gifts he gave were about socialising. Her mother was less subtle. From when Lydia was five, she made no secret about her desire for Lydia to become a doctor and would buy too difficult books for her. Lydia was always obliging and when her grades dipped, she did not dare to tell her mother. The parents were well-meaning of course, and in no part of the story did they resort to violence or even reprimanding to achieve their goals. Yet, it was clear that Lydia was not allowed to be who she was.

I also pitied Lydia's siblings. Nath, her brother, was a high achiever who even made it to Harvard. Yet, he was overshadowed by his sister, who was surprisingly not as achieving. His father was gruff towards him and once gave him a slap when he enthusiastically spoke of his love for astronomy. Hannah, the little sister, was a silent and acute observer. She was barely noticed by her parents until Lydia's death.

So why was I affected by the book? I realised that I may also have transferred my parental worries to my children and may have asked too many questions about who they socialise with and so on. Although I will support them regardless of which path they choose, I have hoped they will at least be on par with their peers. I think it is not wrong to ensure that the children put in their best effort in all that they do, but I was reminded not to let my concerns rub onto them such that they get overly stressed. I was recently told about a teenager who suffers from panic attacks because of her father's high expectations of her. I pray that all parents, including me, will be wise and patient as they lead their children in the way they should go.
Finally, I was reminded to cast all my cares upon Him for He cares for me (I Peter 5:7). Indeed, when we trust in the Lord with all our hearts, He will direct our paths.

If you are interested in the books I am reading, please hop over to https://www.instagram.com/bookscurator/. Happy Friday. :)

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

His dreams are greater, His ways are higher

This year has been eventfully heavy. Two people I know lost their husbands to heart attack. One has two children and described her remaining family as a table with three legs. The other is pregnant. A close relative had a major surgery with removal of organs involved. A young couple whose wedding we attended not too long ago are in the midst of settling a divorce. It was heart-shattering to hear of these situations.

It is hard to understand why these things happen. I can only weep with and pray with my friends and offer help whenever necessary. In the midst of such circumstances, I thank the Lord for providing comfort. I experienced overwhelming peace as I led worship last week. The children in the hall belted out Trust in the Lord unreservedly and beautifully and reminded me that in all my ways, I should acknowledge Him. His ways are higher than mine, so I all I need to do is to put my hand in His and follow Him.

These are the lyrics of the song by Hillsong:

Trust, trust in the Lord
Lean not on your own understanding
In all, all of your ways, acknowledge Him
He'll make your path straight

You'll be my guide for life
I'll walk by Your side
With your hand in mine
I know that You'll lead me

My eyes can only see
The ground beneath my feet
Your dreams are greater
Your ways are higher
O Lord please show me

His dreams are greater