Tag Archives: parents

The Joy and Sorrow of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a day that has been set aside to honor mothers around the world. It’s a wonderful thought as mothers are the hard working backbones of family and society. Yes, it’s a precious way for children to show appreciation and gratitude for the many sacrifices their mothers have made. It’s a good time to slow down and show Mom that she means something to us. I applaud the reasoning behind this effort, though my Grandpa (Thatha) would say that it’s a day created by Hallmark to boost the economy!

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I approach the day with mixed feelings wrought by fire through my own tumultuous life experiences as well as those of orher dear friends. I would like to give you various facets of this celebration. I see it as a day that we need to remind ourselves that we stand only by the grace of God, giving Him ALL the glory instead of accepting praise and priding ourselves on our parental accomplishments. I see it also as a day to sensitively care for those who may not have this particular grace instead of just reveling in our own happiness.

In many cultures,women are often under-appreciated despite sacrificial hard work. This particularly happens in many developing countries like India where the “Amma” (or “Mummy” or “Mom”) is often treated like a doormat. She is expected to care for the needs of her husband and children, with little to no consideration or respect given to her. Many of these women do not have the means or the time to self-care and enjoy spas or movie nights with their girl friends, sipping wine and eating chocolate to wash away their cares. Many struggle to make ends meet and, might never have had even one small vacation their entire lives. They often do full day jobs, sometimes heavy manual labor, along with caring for their families, yet they go through life with absolutely no appreciation at all from anyone. So, yes, it is a wonderful idea to help husband’s and children learn to appreciate such women, setting aside a special day, to thank them with flowers, cards and gifts. However, it is far more important to weave dignity, freedom, equality and gratitude into the daily mundanes of life, continuously thanking these important women through respect, words, actions and kindness!

Broken situations

How do we deal with such a day if we had bad mothers who have harmed us spiritually, physically or emotionally while growing up or even as adults? What about the selfish ones who cared more for their own lives, careers, friends, hobbies, ministries or (p)interests instead of their kids? What about the mothers who abandoned their children as babies or even as grown ups? What about if we are orphans, foster or adopted children who lost our birth mothers – someone whom we may not even know and either long for or are angry at? What about those of us who feel disconnected and angry at our adoptive, foster or step moms? Maybe they do treat us unfairly especially when compared to their biological children. What about the proverbial mothers-in-law who are known to ill treat their daughters in law? The sinful world we live in constantly dumps pain on us and we may be deeply wounded, even angry by our circumstances or by people.

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When Mother’s Day Hurts……

In these situations, God asks us to surrender all this pain to Jesus who bore all our suffering, sins, injustices and pain on Himself as He was nailed to the cross two thousand years ago. We need to learn to forgive daily as He chose to forgive us. It’s not an easy process but as the Matthew West’s song Forgiveness goes:

Forgiveness will clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

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I would also say this is true for moms who have prodigal children who have deeply wounded them in their rebellion. It’s also for foster or adoptive moms in the trenches caring for children who appear to hate them. It’s for the step-moms who have been given a raw deal by being depicted as evil witches in most fairy-tales and being treated accordingly in real life. It’s also for moms whose children have moved far away and who struggle with loneliness and abandonment.

God gently nudges those of us facing any such painful life situation to choose to forgive and to chose to love like He did. We can ask Him to make this a joyful, Jesus focused day, resting in the truth that whether it’s a hurtful mother or a prodigal child, they are in the hands of the Almighty God who is the only one who can convict them of their sins and pour love into their hearts. So forgiveness is the best gift to give ourselves and them this Mother’s Day.

The grief of empty arms

For those among us whose arms are painfully empty and whose hearts are broken because of singleness, divorce, age, miscarriage, infertility, due to inability to foster or adopt, or due to death of a child – this day is often excruciatingly painful as we watch the rest of the women around us being celebrated and honored. Facebook or Instagram can really throw daggers into our hearts as we see picture perfect coordinated families with serene, smiling moms who sit oblivious to our deep, deep loneliness and pain! We might feel left out of life, having a black hole of hollowness in our hearts, perhaps even feeling like failures and rejects of society (as second class women) ,which can make us curl up into a ball of tears with sorrowful, shattered hearts. It could even make us bitter against God.

My heart goes out to each dear one in the midst of this kind of struggle, and I am praying for you right now. I have been there and I understand the pain. I pray that God would pour His love, comfort and grace on you in a special way, and fill your hearts with His peace and joy. The world does not know about this, but there is a kind of peace and joy that can only come from knowing and resting in Jesus (John 14:27)! Can I encourage you dear ones to continue praying and trusting Jesus to do the very best for your life? He loves you more than you can imagine, and can fill you in ways that will surprise you. May I encourage you to trust that God can redeem your unfulfilled longings and suffering. Your pain and grief can be a beautiful display of Jesus to others? Would you consider today becoming a mentor to someone? Your wisdom and grace through your suffering might be the very magnet to draw a young person towards Jesus! You are loved and needed! God has promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you – can I encourage you to trust in His promises today? I’d also encourage you to step into orphan care – the pain of your losses can help you empathize and really help orphaned and vulnerable children. You can be the very one who can comfort them with the comfort that you have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

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Those separated by distance or physical ailments

And, for those of us who are separated by distance from their mothers or their children, those whose children have gone to serve their country in extremely harsh circumstances, those whose moms or children are serving as missionaries in far away lands, those whose mothers or children are sick, etc. In all these varied situations, you dear one are called to live by faith, entrusting your loved one to the Lord who provides for all their needs. I encourage you to pray for them and release them into His hands knowing His peace and joy can give you rest. Can I encourage you to step out and care for other lonely or sick kids or parents during this season – in giving you will receive? We are blessed as we bear one another’s burdens.

So, this year, let us remember that we may want to give or receive many types of gifts. However, the very best gift that far surpasses all else is a gift that is available to ALL women, of ALL nationalities, with ALL types of socio-economic or family backgrounds, with ALL types of life situations, and for ALL ages and stages of life – the gift of JESUS!  God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the name above all names, one day, at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11).

So, let us pray for all the women in our lives today and encourage them in their walk with Him! He created them fearfully and wonderfully, and He holds them in the palm of His hands. He wants each of them to be His very own precious, adopted daughter. He wants to wipe away their every tear, and give them the riches and glory of heaven beyond imagination. So, isn’t that the very best gift we can give our biological mothers, adoptive mothers, foster mothers, step mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, godmothers, spiritual mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, friends, acquaintances, bosses, and coworkers?  And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3). And, pray for them that this will be their own heartfelt, lifelong prayer: More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God (Philippians 3:8-9).

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I pray that this year we can all look at Mother’s Day a little differently. May we (like our Savior) not make it a day that is all about us and our happiness, but about caring for others who might be struggling around us. Also, may God give us the wisdom and grace to throw out the temporary weights which often burden us in this life and fix our eyes on Jesus and the eternal weight of glory, rejoicing always in all our circumstances! God be with you! Instead, I choose to wish you something eternally worth celebrating, Joyous Child of God Day!

P.S. This video that I just found exemplifies what I have written – watch it and cry with me: The Beautiful Mess of Mother’s Day

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His Power In My Weakness – Shirley’s Life Story

For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). This is a peculiar verse in the Bible spoken by the Apostle Paul. It clearly did not make sense to me when I was nine, but it is now one of the most precious verses I hold on to, today. I would like to address how this statement began to make sense to me.

I was raised in a Christian family I professed faith in Jesus early in life. However, living out this faith was not so easy! My world came crumbling down when my father had a massive stroke on December 29th, 2002. I saw my hero, my best friend – my Dad, battle for life in the hospital. Tears rolled down my face as I saw him lie there helplessly. The impact of the stroke left him in a coma for almost 21 days, and left him completely paralyzed on the right side. The nurses at the hospital told my mother to be prepared for the worst. What could be the worse, I thought? This was bad enough. As far as I knew, I had been faithful in praying, loving God, going to church and reading the Bible. Why would something like this happen to my Dad? Didn’t God love me? Didn’t he love my Dad? What wrong did he do to suffer this? All these thoughts made me angry with God, left me questioning Him and His authority.

The following year took a toll on the family. My maternal grandparents who always supported us, stepped up to really care for us when they saw the intensity of our difficulties. However, they themselves were so devastated at the news of Dad’s illness, it left them broken. My grandmother had a massive heart attack, and collapsed in my mother’s arms six months later. This devastating loss completely completely broke my grandfather, and he also died forty five days later.

The impact of all these events left me confused, frustrated, bitter and very angry with God. I just could not understand His purpose in all this. Every day became a struggle. It was difficult to carry on. By this time I was only ten years old, yet I was forced to take on some adult responsibilities such as helping to manage relationships, finances, and other needs of our family. Sometimes it was really hard facing judgments, and the world. I remember several days when I didn’t want to wake up and get out of bed. I just wanted to pull the sheets and cry all day. It was difficult to know and believe, that there was a God who love and cared for me the way the Bible claimed He did.

Months turned to years, and I spiraled into a deep sense of hopelessness. My studies were affected, and the only thing I could perceive was how unfair my life was. As this point my mother recognized that I needed something to take my mind off my immediate situation, and my aunt and uncle lovingly invited me to stay with them for a few months in Thailand. They invested many many hours, encouraging me to read the Bible and to pray. This time helped me clear my mind and to look at my circumstances from a different perspective. I went back with renewed hope. My mother continued to teach me to put my hope in God because God was real, and He felt our pain and was always willing to love us even in our sin. The fact that my Mom was telling me these things in the midst of her own struggles, made a deep impact on me. Watching her demonstrating her own faith in her circumstances had a great impact on me, reinforcing the lessons I had been taught –  lessons that are now etched in my mind, for which I am profoundly grateful. So at some point as an early teenager, I decided to trust my own life into Jesus’ hands again. I began to understand that God had a purpose for me in loving and caring for my family.

As God began to open my eyes about His love for me, I slowly began to yield to His power and authority in my life. I wanted Him to take control of every aspect, especially my broken past, and to transform me into the woman He wanted me to be. The Bible sometimes describes God as a Potter, and I wanted to be the kind of clay that He could easily mold into any vessel He wanted to make me to be (Jeremiah 18:6).  I am still a work in progress but I feel secure, because my life is under the care of a God who is deeply concerned with every aspect of my life.

I love the words of the song that my mother shared with me, called “Keep Me In Your Will” by Jessica King:

Remind me Lord, I am just a glove
In which you place Your hand.
Not my will but Yours be done
Though I may not understand.
The best laid plans I've made
Somehow always go astray.
Lord keep me in your will,
So I won't be in your way

Looking back at all those years of pain and hurt, I see God choosing to love me and use me in spite of my anger and brokenness. Now I am beginning to understand the meaning of Paul’s words that I mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Here is a YouTube link to my testimony: