Thursday, November 6, 2014

How Do We Sound to our Kids?

If you need a mirror to check on how you are doing as a mother, try leading a pre-teens bible study! A few weeks ago, I was scheduled to conduct a bible study for kids aged between 8-12. We were focusing on the book of James - the taming of our tongues. “Therefore, let’s all try to speak positive words to each other?! Joseph, could you try to say positive words to your sister this week?” I asked my son expectantly in the study. Before he could reply, my eldest Clarissa who was also in the study, interjected by spilling our family secrets: From how negative mummy (aka bible study leader) usually is with her words on their school homework, behaviour to other people in the family. If there is a list she could make, I suspect it would be longer than Santa Claus's present list!

I was left red faced, hot from embarrassment. It dawned on me that the study IS for me! As soon as she finished which sounded like forever to my ears, another child also commented on how negative parents generally are! “Gosh! We parents also have a lot to learn about taming our tongue! So kids, we are in this journey together, & as a mother I will try to be more positive in the weeks to come!” I tried to sound as convincingly as I could!

Dear God, forgive me that I was blind to my own negativity. I need to have more faith in You, in order for me to speak word of life to my children.

James 3: When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

My Testimony

At a very young age, I recalled asking myself & people around me, what was the point of life? I didn't understand why people were born, lived, earned a living, raised children and eventually died. The worst part was, when I asked the adults about what happened after death, they would either shun the question by telling me that it was an inauspicious topic to discuss or that we would only know when we died! There was no answer!

Being in a Buddist family did not help. I was told to good works so that I could have a better after life, but when I asked how much good work I needed to do, no one could give me a definite answer. One thing did stand out though, if I did anything wrong, my mum was sure to send me on a guilt trip making me feel lost & frustrated: No one offered me forgiveness or assurance that life was going to be alright, I could always start afresh.

However, God heard my plight and sent a Christian domestic helper to work in our household. When I was seven, Vera brought me to church & my parents were not happy. Church going was prohibited by my family, but that just made me want to go to church more, as I was excited to break house rules! Gradually, I became more rebellious & my mother would clamp down on me even harder through various punishment: I retaliated wherever possible, thinking that I would be happy. The truth was the more I disobeyed my mum, the more guilty & unhappy I grew.

When I was ten, I went to Singapore to study. There, I had all the freedom to do what I wanted but strangely enough, I didn’t do anything that would upset my parents. Eventually when I reached teenage, Vera came to Singapore to study at a missionary college. We were re-united and this time, I went to church for myself. There, I found forgiveness through Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. I could start afresh not just on the day that I accepted Jesus but daily! I felt set free from my years of guilt heaped on unconsciously! The best part didn’t end here. The bible says that Jesus is preparing a room for me in heaven. Therefore, I have no fear of death, as death is only the beginning of my heavenly relationship with God. My life now has a purpose: I felt completed with Jesus in my heart, as now the hole in my heart is filled!

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

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...