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A Mother’s Day Reflection

The other night, I was praying in my bedroom before turning in, when I started to think about what I had been doing for my husband and son lately. I felt ashamed when I realized that I have not even been praying regularly, let alone praying for their needs.

Suddenly, I started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of prayer needs just for my husband and son alone. For Ronald – to have a constant supply of stable and fulfilling work, that he would grow in intimacy with God, that he would continue to be faithful to God’s call upon his life, that his body would be healthy and strong. For Josiah – to grow well, not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually, that he would develop academically and in his interpersonal relationships with family members, friends and teachers, that he would grow to love the Lord, understand the Gospel and come to true faith in Jesus, that he would live a life of obedience to Christ… the more I thought, the more overwhelmed I became. The list of prayer needs for just the two of them alone seemed endless.

After this, swiftly, came thoughts of condemnation – you’ve not even been praying regularly, and when you do, you only pray for yourself. You don’t even pray for your husband and son. You don’t shoulder enough of the caregiving load. You’re a selfish, lazy person, a bad wife and mother.

In the span of a few minutes, the devil saw an opportunity to whisper words of condemnation and self-loathing into my heart. Thank God that in that moment, the Holy Spirit moved in me to counter the condemnation with truth – yes, by my own strength, I fail to be a good wife and mother, as any other human would by their own power. But I am covered and empowered by the grace of Jesus that redeems all the fallen aspects of my humanity, my marriage and my motherhood.

Ephesians 2:4-6 says But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved”. Without Christ, any attempt I make at being a ‘good mother’ would fail miserably, sabotaged by my own inherent self-centredness. But I have hope that even in the midst of my sinfulness, as well as daily interactions and efforts to live in a Christlike manner at home and outside, Jesus redeemed my soul.

I speak to all in Christ, but in particular, to parents and especially mothers. When thoughts of condemnation threaten to discourage our hearts and make us throw up our hands in resignation, when even our very best efforts to parent our children well seem to end up in abject failure, when we feel helpless that we will never be able to change things in our family or our own lives, know this – the life we live while still in this mortal flesh is not by our own ability alone, but by faith in the Son of God who is perfect and is able to turn every one of our failures into a beautiful, redemptive story for His Kingdom (Gal 2:20). Jesus has taken the burden of being our perfect Saviour because He knows we are unable to fulfil that role ourselves. A heart and life yielded to Christ empower us to keep allowing Him to work through us. May we all take heart and have hope in this. Happy Mother’s Day.

By Sister Ethel Yap