Dear SAHM, you impact the world…

Children running with the wind.

When I made the decision to be a stay-home mom, I was terrified and clueless. I wondered if my time at home was worthwhile (I still do at times). Most say, leaving your job before 30 is career suicide.

Like many young women, I had dreams of making a difference for God. Going into the marketplace and impact the world for His glory. Isn’t that what we often hear from the pulpit?

Instead of important business meetings and nailing that presentation, my priorities become getting through today’s Chinese lesson and laundry while also buying groceries and Popsicle sticks for my kid’s craft.

I start to feel like my all-consuming tasks aren’t very important…

How can I use my gift to serve Him? How can I be missional as a SAHM?

True, I’m making a difference in my family. However, can I impact MORE than just my family?

Yes, you can.

Almost a year ago, I was chatting with an ex-colleague over WhatsApp. We’ve been keeping in contact now and then. In our conversation, she made a remark: “Zuo Ren Hen Nan” (translates: ‘Making’ a person is very difficult).

Curious, I probed further and found that she and her husband have been trying to have a baby. And yet, each time, they were left disappointed.

Her heartache plucked at my heartstrings. I went through a journey of anticipation as well. I’m fully aware of the emotional roller-coaster it has been for her as a woman and a wife. We shared our woes and fears. I assured her that I’ll be praying for her.

A few months later, I received good news from my friend. She was expecting! We rejoiced  and “hugged” over WhatsApp. Unfortunately, our rejoice turned into mourning as she suffered a miscarriage. I couldn’t help but cry alongside.

There were the “whys”, “hows” and “what if”…we can never understand why it happened. But I know God is sovereign and He holds our future in his hand. It wasn’t easy for me to convey God’s peace amidst the sadness; as we share different faith.

Through the weeks following, I did what I knew was best for them. Giving them time to grieve and reminding them that all is not lost.  Their precious one is in heaven, safe with Abba Father.  Although, we may never comprehend why such tragedy must take place, God has His perfect plan in His perfect time. We put our trust in Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I recalled the snippet from “Heaven is for Real” – a little boy’s astounding trip to heaven and back. He speaks of meeting his unborn sister that died in a miscarriage whom no one had told him about. I hope by sharing this story, the couple will be somewhat comforted.

In one prayer session, I saw a vision of my friend and her husband. She was lying in a hospital bed, carrying a baby swaddled in blue cloth.

Seeing such vision isn’t a common thing for me…I wasn’t sure if it was all in my head or a psychological phenomenon. After much deliberation and prayer, I decided to step out in faith. “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26)

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 

I told my friend of my vision and assured her that in God’s perfect timing, she will have a baby boy.

Months passed…I didn’t hear from my friend. Nevertheless, they were always in my prayers.

Finally, I received a message that she passed the first trimester. Praise God! And the baby’s gender? A boy! Their baby’s name means “God has given”.

Isn’t God amazing?

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Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you.  You’ll never know whom God sends in your way. It could be that cashier whom you meet when you do your weekly grocery…the old lady who lives beside you…the child who plays with your children at the playground.

See how a shy child light up when you tell him God will use him; even when he has a quiet character. God created him just as he is for a purpose. And that it is okay if he needs time to warm up new environment or people.

While being a SAHM means being with your kids 24/7, we still impact the world. Not only through our children but every single soul we meet. God has you right where you are for a reason.  

YOU are important. And YOU can impact the world from where you are.

Read Aloud Books by Karen Kingsbury: Father-Daughter / Mother-Son Bond

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Does your little girl look to her Daddy as if he’s her superhero? Does your little boy make footprints in your heart?

Written by Karen Kingsbury, this set of books make a lovely read for your little boy and girl. I love the fact that there’s one for little boys and their mother, and another for little girls and their father. It is especially useful for us!

“Whatever You Grow Up to Be” documents a mother-son bond from infant to adulthood. Each page shows a life stage in the boy’s life, and his mother is always there to celebrate and encourage him along the way.

Now that I am a mother to a boy, I can fully relate to the story as I too, desire my boy to grow into the man that God has designed him to be.  Life is filled with endless possibilities and God has a special plan for him – whatever he grows up to be.

I’m reminded that these sleepless nights, leg-hugging moments, the whining and banging on your toilet door, the endless piles of food-stained laundry….is only for a season.

I have only but this season to influence my children; the values and lessons we impart last for a lifetime.

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“Always Daddy’s Princess” is the perfect book for little girls and their Daddies.  Hannah enjoys snuggling up with Daddy while reading this whimsical book (filled with lots of purple and pink too!).

Similar to “Whatever You Grow Up to Be”, the girl’s father is always there for her, in every stage of her life.  From tea parties to soccer games to boys and her wedding, she is her Daddy’s princess every moment.

The book provided a meaningful opportunity for Daddy to discuss with Hannah about life’s journey, God, her husband-to-be…and how she will always be important to Mama and Daddy.

Although it’s written in a Christian content, the stories will tug the heartstrings of any parent and child reading them.

Grab your copy at your nearest public library or bookstores. It’s a keeper. 😉

Happy Mother’s Day 2016

Happy Mother's Day 2016

Every year, on Mother’s Day, we thank our mothers for their selflessness and love. Although, we mothers, often question our choices and how we fall short of the idealistic image of a perfect mom.

Just a couple of days ago, a friend and I lamented about the weariness of raising a family.  We wondered why we chose to leave our careers and raise children who drive us insane.  There are times when we are envious of yummy mummies who get to dress up, wear high heels and still have time to head to the gym while we, in sweat-soaked tees, chase after monkeys children in our Mary Janes.

It is an intense period of hard work: physically, mentally and emotionally.  Often sleep deprived, we continue to entertain the little people in chirpy voices, singing the same song every time they say: “Sing again, Mama! We want to hear it.” and reading the same story until we’re able to rattle off every sentence without looking at the page.

On top of that, we handle “Hulk” moments a.k.a. spontaneous meltdowns and skilful negotiations.

Throw in cleaning, washing, cooking and picking up Lego pieces.

All these at an average of 12 hours a day. Every day.

Clearly, this isn’t going to end anytime soon.  So what’s a mother to do?

God reminds me that my children are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139:14)

Look past the “Hulk” moments, the fidgeting as if they had ants in their pants, and past the “you can’t catch me…” even though you specifically told them to stop…

Those little hands and legs….their heart….them.

They are God’s masterpieces.

Fearfully and wonderfully made
Source: Darlene Schacht (Time-warp Wife)

It is extremely difficult to keep thinking the good when faced with a terrible, no good, very bad day.  It’s almost impossible to think that your child is God’s masterpiece when he/she is screaming right in your face.

The good news is, we aren’t to do everything on our own.  God promises us to be the source of help. (Psalms 73:26)  God is faithful. He will never give us more than what we can bear. (1 Cor 10:13)

God is the strength of my heart
Source: be-the-change via model me girl

As for my friend and I, we concluded we would make the very same choices, when given a second chance.

So why bother having such a conversation when the choice remains clear?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps, it’s just one of those things we had to talk it out of our system. 🙂

To you, weary mom who ask yourself the same question and yet raise your children anyway, Happy Mother’s Day!

Not forgetting you, yummy mummy, Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day 2016

 

Unstuck: Looking Outward

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After much blog silence,  I’m back.  From my previous post, “Sitting on a Seesaw with God“, things hasn’t changed drastically but I’ve learned a lot (and still am learning) from this period of waiting.

Look beyond our problems

I’m starting to look outward and beyond the problems at hand.  One day, when I no longer feel the weight of the problem, then perhaps I might come to realise that the problem no longer exists.

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

Norman Vincent Peale

Count our blessings

Rather than focusing on the things that I have no control over, I’ve begun to thank God for the little things.  Like rejoicing the very breath that we hold!

Give and be an encouragement

Charles Dickens’ once said,

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Often, I’m stumped by situations at home: how can I get the children to eat better? What can I do to make Elijah sleep through?  How do I juggle homeschool and housework when I feel so drained?

Now, I try to pay more attention to people around me.  Praying for others and just being there for another really helps put things in perspective.  And well, reminds me that God hears my prayers.

Self-care is important

Most stay-home moms will agree that we tend to put our family first and neglect ourselves.  During this time, I’m reminded that self-care is equally important.

As Elijah continues to wake up at night, I don’t get quality sleep.  To get a good head start in the morning, I’ve started to turn in early.  That means, sacrificing my blogging hours. So I need to accept that there might come a time when no one reads my blog (except for my ever supportive husband!)

Also, I’ve been watching my diet.  I try to practice proper nutrition by snacking healthily (less chocolates!) and exercising whenever possible.

God is always constant

Above all else, I remember that God is always constant.  His love endures forever.  What He says, He will do.

To you, in need of an encouragement, do not be dismayed.

Your entire life is already written out in His master plan.  Take heart!

He hears your cries and saves your tears.  God will never leave you nor forsake you.

Hallelujah!

Sitting on a Seesaw with God

Source: jmettraux via Flickr CC

I’ve been silent for a couple of weeks. I have been contemplating whether to post this; it’s scary to be honest.

There’s an inner struggle within me. I’ve been seeking answers; hoping for solutions and having radio silence from God for a short period feels like forever…

Have you been through a dry period?

It doesn’t help when current reality shoves its ugliness in your face. When you’re feeling drained and weary, and things aren’t looking your way. You try to talk things out but “good advice” often feels like boiling water splashed over your wounded soul.

“Did you pray about it?”, “Oh, I’m just blessed that God heard my prayers…”, “Maybe you should pray like this…”

Of course, I’ve prayed a zillion gazillion times! Am I lacking in faith? Is there really a right prayer?

It gets to a point where I’m afraid to pray. Afraid I’d be upset with God when things seem worse after praying.

Like, I prayed for the baby to sleep a longer period at night. Instead I get woken up every hour or two.

As I rock him to sleep, my mind replays every little detail that happened during the day to figure out what went wrong: “Could it be this…. Or maybe…”

Have you experienced this before?

Source: Debbie via Flickr CC

When everything makes no sense, and I’m tired of gritting my teeth and dealing with things.

Right there, I’m back with God again. Surely there’s got to be some end to all these?

Over the past days, I am reminded:

Amidst the confusion and anxiety, He is God.

Amidst the weariness and mundane, He is God.

Amidst the loneliness and disappointment, He is God.

He has borne it all on the cross.

That is undeniable.

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Isaiah 53:4

I’m still in the process of reconciling my inner struggle.  Your prayers are much appreciated.

Lessons I’ve Learned While Having Insomnia

Ever since the early weeks of pregnancy, I’ve been finding difficulty to stay asleep.  I’d suddenly wake up in the wee hours of the morning, unable to fall back to sleep until around 5 or 6 a.m.  Then, Hannah will wake me up at 7.30 or 8 a.m (on a good day).  Initially, I’ve tried very hard to lull myself to sleep – counting sheep, drinking warm milk, listening to soft music, adjusting the bedroom temperature etc.  Nothing helped.

Tossing and turning in bed was a sure way to get my thoughts run wild.  Many things will run through my mind, and somehow anxiety, fear and worry creeps in.  Doesn’t help at all.

Instead, I’ve learned to get up and spend some quiet time with God.  Praying for the family, friends with prayer petitions, listening to online sermons and reading Bible devotions.  With everyone asleep, it’s very quiet and conducive for a me-and-God time.

Here are two things I’ve learned this week:

Women in O.T were everyday women walking with God

While going through a Bible lesson on the women in the Old Testament (e.g. Sarah, Hannah, Rahab and Ruth), I’ve come to realise that these inspiring women were just like any of us.  They have chores to do, children to raise, responsibilities inside and outside of home.

But their trust and hope in God kept them going. Their walk made a difference.

The women in the Old Testament were everyday women, just like us.  But their trust and hope in God kept them going. Their walk made a difference.

Nothing from God is ordinary

During bible-study group, when my church leader asked the group if there’s something good to share for the week or if there’s anything to give thanks for, I’m usually quiet. I’d gathered that the things to share were usually things that made people go “WOW!”.  I have no earth-shaking testimonies to share.  So it’s better to remain silent.

But I was wrong.  There’s nothing ordinary about what God has done for you.  That throbbing pain in your head that God healed, the kind encouragement you needed for the week, the small voice that reminded you to do something wasn’t all by chance.

There is nothing from God that is ordinary

I’d like to share with you a testimony that I’ve only shared with my husband thus far.   In January, I missed my period.  I did a test and the result was negative.  By end January, I still wasn’t having my period.  I did a test again and it was negative.

On the first week of February, my stomach felt bloated.  I thought it’s likely due to my missed period (similar to past experiences).  I decided to make a trip to the doctor to regulate my menstrual cycle.  Usually, he’d give me medication that I’d take for about a week, and then my period would come.

On that morning before, at around 3am, I was awoken by my inner voice nudged me to do a pregnancy test.  I didn’t want to since I just did two tests and both came out negative.  But I couldn’t get back to sleep, and the nudging persisted.  Since I couldn’t fall back to sleep, I did the test.

As expected, the line under “Control” appeared almost immediately.  I was very sure that the result was negative, and was about to throw the stick away.  Then I saw a change.  A faint line under “Test” started to appear.  The line became bolder.  I was speechless.

Pregnancy test results are out!

Skeptics may say it’s all in the head.  Others may say, “Your doctor would have checked before giving you the medication anyway.”  I’m not sure about that.  I wouldn’t know.  All I know was I heard the reminder, and I’m glad I did checked.

What I’m trying to say is, many a times, our days may seem ordinary and nothing’s a biggie.  But take those moments to reflect, you might find the hand of God in those ordinary times.  And say a little “thank you” to our ever-faithful Father.

Live a good life for Christ!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Psalm 34:8

 

Week 20: Jesus takes care of me (Psalm 23)

We have passed the halfway mark of the 36-week ABC Jesus Loves Me Curriculum! Hooray! It has been about half a year since we started “school”. Looking back on our early days, I recall feeling the pressure of keeping pace with every activity listed on the weekly plan. Barely a month into the curriculum, I felt like giving up. I was behind schedule, my house was in a terrible mess, and Hannah did not seem to be interested in doing any of the activities. One night, I got up and asked God to show me what went wrong and if I was on the right track. Would I be better off letting Hannah be in a child care centre? Are we suitable for homeschooling? Tons of questions to be answered.

God has been faithful. He is indeed our good Shepherd. I learned to stop seeing the lesson plans as tasks (striking off each completed activity). Instead, I followed Hannah’s lead while bearing in mind the weekly lesson objectives. I slowly learned what she enjoyed doing, and stop forcing her to complete an activity.

Then things began to fall in place. Hannah wanted to play more games, read more books and do more crafts. We started to enjoy learning together (instead of always directing her what to do). Of course, there are days when she just didn’t want to do anything, but to play with her blocks or lay on my lap daydreaming. I have learned to enjoy that.

As we begin this month’s theme, “Jesus is my shepherd”. I am reminded of our journey thus far. The road is long, we have merely just begun. To all homeschoolers out there, I am glad to share this journey with you.

Our activities for the week

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I found this mini book of Psalm 23 over the Internet and made it into flashcards instead. We will be memorizing one bible verse (one card) each week.

Over the past few days, we have been reading the parable of the Good Shepherd and watched a video of the story, which I had found on YouTube. It was funny to see Hannah re-enacting the scene where the shepherd carried the lost sheep over his shoulders 🙂

Finally, we end our bible activity by listening to Psalm 23 by God’s Kids Worship. More Psalm 23 activities coming up!

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