Monday, May 30, 2011

Misunderstood to understand

During my maternity leave, I had more time to observe what took place at home. In particular, I noticed that Clarissa was quite often rude to Mary, my Pilipino domestic helper.  Demands spoken in an irritated manner like: “Mary, I want to bath now!” and “Hurry up and come now!” were disturbing me immensely as they reminded me of myself when I was at her age. Despite my repeated requests and explanations that she should speak to others in a polite tone, Clarissa seemed to fail miserably.

Therefore, one day, instead of my usual requests and even threats (!), I decided to adopt a different approach. “Clarissa, why are you rude to Mary? Did she do something that offended you previously?” I triggered my “why” strategy. “Mum, whenever I asked Mary to bath me, she would take at least 10 minutes to respond whereas you would only take 2 minutes. During dinner time its worse, she would take 20 mins just to serve dinner!” I was taken aback by her answer as I realised that she had inherited my gene of “being demanding of others including herself!”

“Clare, you know that Mary is not very smart and she takes more time compared to say, you, to do a task. Therefore, if you are irritated by her, why don’t you try to do the task yourself, for example showering yourself?” I explained carefully. “Its important that you recognize her weakness, so that you won’t be upset by her constantly.” I continued. Much to my pleasant surprise, the next time, she made an effort to be polite to Mary.

In this instance, her poor attitude originated from her expectation of how long a certain task should take. Therefore, if someone failed to meet her expectation, she became disappointed and irritated. As I analysed her underlying character, memories of my childhood came into my view.

Like her, I too was rude to my baby sitter. Understandably, such action was judged severely by my mum. However, it was uncommon during my time for a parent to ask the child, the big “why” question. Hence, misunderstandings such as this occurred quite frequently, leading to much dissatisfaction and tension between my mother and me.  Through this recent episode with Clarissa, God had revealed to me that poor communication had a great part to play in my childhood. Strange as this might sound but I felt healed and set free from an invisible knot that was tugging my heart all these years. Moreover, I felt more understanding towards my own mother compared to before.

Thank you Jesus for helping me see what was the underlying cause of Clarissa’s behaviour and through this process, I experienced healing and restoration of my relationship with my own mother.   

When we involve God in parenting, it becomes an exciting journey of self-discovery, making right what was wrong and through it, one could experience healing and restoration! Praise the Lord for He is indeed the greatest healer in relationships.

"Praise the Lord, oh my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" Psalm 103: 1-5

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pray for Patience to be Patient

After becoming a mother of three, I realized that I would never be able to spend quality time with my older twos (at least for now) unless I multi-task! I was put to the test during my confinement period, which unfortunately also coincides with income tax return due date, Clarissa and Joseph’e mid-year exams, and Ray’s laundry business accounts’ submission.

It was as if God had sent Chia Yiu, my sister-in-law to pre-empt me for this abnormally demanding period, as I could still recall her sharing with me “Fee, when God put you to the test, instead of the usual moaning and sighing, ask God for strength and you will be surprised at your ability to handle your trials. If you are tired, just a nap! Soon, you will realize that you have managed more than what you think you could!” And how true that was!

Initially, I was relying on my own strength to breastfeed Priscilla (which seem to take forever), chair staff meeting from my house, rush out the income tax returns, wrap up Ray’s accounts and revise with the children for their exams.

By the third week, I found myself getting impatient with my older twos as they were constantly forgetting what they had learnt the day before. To top it off, Priscilla had been unusually difficult by refusing to sleep and being fussy for more than 6 hours in a stretch.

One night when I felt that my world was collapsing on me, I found myself crying to Ray that I couldn’t handle the work and motherhood all at one go! In reality, I was looking for sympathy and wishing that he could take over. At that very moment, I was reminded of what Chia Yiu had said “Take a nap when you need to!” Such simple words but that was the solution that I needed. It was then that I remembered to turn to God, pouring out my complaints, struggles, guilt and pains. “I wished that I could be more patient with Clarissa and Joseph! I shouldn’t have over-reacted by shouting at them.” I confessed through my tears. “I couldn’t stop myself from being a demanding mother.”

God took all my tears and pain; and replaced them with peace and rest. The very next day during my quiet time, He reminded me with these words:-

“My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”
Psalm 130:6

“I pray for the patience to endure times of trial, to keep anticipating, keep hoping, keep believing. I pray for patience to be patient” by Philip Yancey

It then dawned on me that I needed patience to adapt to motherhood, patience to learn to be less demanding of others and of myself, patience to learn to be patient. May God grant me patience to learn all of these. If you are wearied and burdened, take a nap and seek God, you will be surprised at the treasures that He has in stored for you!

Meantime, I owe Clarissa and Joseph an apology.

Joseph restoring joy to a friend

We were at a family retreat at Cameron Highlands. Children were having a fun time playing frisbees when one child, Ashton, threw the frisbee...