Mother’s Day can be difficult for some. For those who long to be a mother, for those who have lost their own mother or have a challenging relationship with them, this day must bring mixed feelings whilst others are celebrating and being celebrated. I am so thankful for the church family who rallies around to be that mother or father figure in our lives, or when aunties and uncles step in to help care for and teach the children in our midst. For us who are believers, one message that keeps coming through God’s Word can be found in Psalm 23:1 – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” In other words, we lack nothing! May this truth be one we can all internalise and truly hold on to.
I believe my own parenting journey has been similar to most. We’ve had the joy of seeing our little one take his first steps, add more words to his vocabulary, and develop a bond with us; we have the pain of seeing him ill or hurting himself. What perhaps is not so similar to other new parents is that I, in my profession as a developmental psychologist, know all the theory behind child development and parenting strategies. Yet as many of my colleagues have shared before, it is totally different when we have our own child! In recent months, it certainly has not been easy dealing with the toddler stage when he cannot fully express what he wants, seems virtually incapable of waiting, and has big emotions that he cannot control. For me, being a parent has tested my patience like nothing before, and I find myself raising my voice, or responding to him in a way that I do not like myself doing.
Initially, the priority was mainly to take care of his physical needs, and to look after his safety and health. As he grows, we turn our attention to his cognitive and social development, and hope that he will develop to his full potential. As Christian parents, how do we cultivate our child’s spiritual development? Being brought up in a Christian household brings many blessings, as children have the opportunity to know the Lord from a young age. However, in order for a child to turn from simply knowing about God to actually knowing God in a personal and intimate way, this is really in the Lord’s hands and in His perfect timing.
Ultimately, in our daily interaction, we as parents want to show our child the love of Christ, yet also not withhold discipline if that will teach him to know the difference between right and wrong. I have no doubt that the next few months and years will have its own set of challenges and issues to deal with. It is in the daily moments of responding to different circumstances that we need God’s grace. The song by Steven Curtis Chapman sums up these sentiments:
“We can only know the power that He holds
when we truly see how deep our weakness goes.
His strength in us begins where ours comes to an end;
He hears our humble cry and proves again:
His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong.
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all who play a mothering role in any way! May we continue to encourage one another in our daily walk as we share our stories, practical tips, and acts of service, as so many have already been doing.
By sister Dorcas Leong