Putting Meaning and Purpose Into (Hard) Life

The theme for Hannah’s Junior High Dance this year is 90s fashion. I thought that it would be easier to just buy fabric and send it to our dressmaker rather than browsing online or sending the husband and daughter to look for 90s cocktail dress in the malls. I graduated from college at the turn of the 90s decade and wore a very shiny black and silver dress with puffy sleeves. My mother borrowed it from our neighbor whose daughter then worked in Japan as an entertainer. But then, Hannah’s dress requirements excluded dark colors and only allowed pastel ones. Since my daughter is endowed with the Filipino brown skin like a perfectly toasted bread (well, not quite), we had limited choices. We settled for a very light peach satin fabric which Felix bought at our favorite shop, Carolina’s House of Lace.

I used metallic gold and other metallic paints in painting this rose.

I used metallic gold and other metallic paints in painting this rose.

It’s also a good thing that Hannah’s school, although one of the few fine international schools in the country, is a school that doesn’t promote luxury or sexy dresses for its students, two things that we ourselves avoid like the plague, being Christians. Also, in keeping with a modest and simple Christian life, it is already a given that I will not commission an expensive fashion designer, or dressmaker for that matter, to make my daughter’s dress. So, as usual, the fabric was sent to a sister in Christ who also happens to be a humble dressmaker.

When the dress was finished though, it looked too simple and unattractive. It was just plain peach all over, like pale lips. Even Hannah, whose taste is really simple and who doesn’t have a fashionista bone in her body, found it plain and boring. But rather than toss it away and buy one from the mall, I thought of ways of embellishing it. At dawn the next day, I had my solution. Before the day ended, Felix had gone back to Carolina’s to buy a lovely appliqué. And because it was my idea and there was no other who could do it, I took in the task of laborious needlework.

Now you have to understand that my illness makes me constantly dizzy and there are times it’s hard to focus. I also have overall body weakness. My legs, arms, and hands are not strong, so much so that I cannot carry more than a glass of water (and that with both hands) or cannot clip my own nails.

For days I labored with the needlework of Hannah’s dress, sewing the appliqué into the sleeves cascading down beyond the waist. Every leaf and vine and around every petal. One time I got so tired that I went through a suffering bout once again. But when I had recovered, I went back to it again, like a soldier that waxes bold with every wound sustained.

Felix warned me of exhausting myself and suffering in the process, but I told him that I wanted to do it. I needed to do it. With my ailing life, I cannot do things that most mothers normally do. In fact, as a sick person who lives on this earth, there are so many things that I am unable to do. My life is not normal. And because of that, I want that the little things that I could actually do, I would do it with my whole heart, even when it involves sacrifice. Maybe especially so. Then that would be more meaningful.

I told Felix, with a crack in my voice, that I want to perform my role as a wife, a mother, and a Christ follower to the best of my limited ability and strength and lots of God’s grace. It is only through it that my life, no matter how hard and limited and not normal, finds purpose and meaning.

Two posts ago, I wrote about life’s ultimate purpose and meaning, and that is knowing, receiving, and living in God’s love and being one with Him in spirit. But that truth needs to be translated into daily life. How does it look like woven into the individual threads of our ordinary moments and days?

When I was well and strong many years ago, finding purpose and meaning to life was easy. I embarked on a career that was my life’s dream and put up my own company. To the strong, valiant and meaningful pursuits are all possible. But not to the weak. The physically weak. Like me.

I have read many of Ms. Joni Eareckson Tada’s books especially her autobiographies and had frequently visited her website and I have observed that she has accomplished so much, maybe more than a strong and healthy person could ever have. And for me, that’s not too hard to analyze. Although she doesn’t mention it in any of her books, I understand her need to find meaning, purpose, and fulfilment in her life. I understand that very much. When one is an A-1 person, the desire and need to make one’s life meaningful, one that leaves a mark, are great.

Joni is an A-1 person and she is also a quad. But she worked so very hard to put meaning and purpose to her life. Never mind that she’s a famous Christian author, founder and CEO of her organization, Joni and Friends, and an accomplished artist (she paints holding the brush between her teeth). But she also does gardening (I imagine she supervises the gardener) and many other pursuits.

It’s the same with me. No, I’m not following Joni’s footsteps (or wheelchair marks). I also want to pour meaning and purpose into my life even if I am homebound. I didn’t plan in writing two books and blogging, or learning to paint with watercolors, or learning to bake. I just followed my heart and ended up there. Then I realized that, yes, maybe that’s the heart of the weak and disabled: they want their life to matter in spite of.

So, they work harder than the strong no matter how hard it is.

When I was in high school, I had a favorite quotation and it somehow guided me through college and beyond.

“The secret of life is not just to live, but to have something worthwhile to live for”.

(I’m sorry but I have forgotten the source).

We live for God. But that is translated into countless, manifold ways. We may do it through our roles as mother, wife, friend, writer/blogger, artist, sister, daughter, neighbor, employer, co-worker, and so on. Whatever role we play, we want it to be meaningful and with purpose. Especially – eternal purpose.

Hannah's dress and the appliqué I sewed onto it.

Hannah’s dress and the appliqué I sewed onto it.

By the time I finished Hannah’s dress, I couldn’t lift my left arm. It was limp and shaking from its socket. Sacrifices. Maybe they bring the best meaning to life.

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A Mother’s Heart

The night before the kids’ trip to Island Cove, sleep eluded me, as is often the case when my unused, atrophied legs ache and my mind is so active, flitting from one thought to another. No, I wasn’t thinking about problems and worries. My brain just wants to think often even during sleeping time :D. Then added to that was the sadness that hovered over my heart and soul, knowing that I wouldn’t still be traveling with them after heaps of faith and prayers. I spent the sleepless hours praying for their safe travels, not wanting to be disturbed anymore once sleep came. And it did at past 4 AM. When the kids each took turns in kissing me goodbye at 6:30, I didn’t even bother to open my eyes.

A Mother's Heart

I wanted to sleep until noon, that way, I wouldn’t spend too long a time thinking about them going out of town without me and wallowing in loneliness. But at 9:35, I was wide awake. I sat up, hauling my heavy heart. And finally, I gave in to tears.

But I didn’t want to linger in that place too long. Futile. Although, admittedly, my mind wanted to speculate on how it would have been pure delight to hold my children’s hands on either side of me as we walk around the resort, or luxuriate in the cheerful chatter around the table as we investigate the menu, or hear the peals of Tim’s laughter as he enjoys my company in an outing for the very first time. Those are all delicious thoughts but could tear my heart and peace apart. So, I shunned them and went another way. I proceeded with my day and shoved sadness aside.

I was finishing up my watercolor painting of blue Himalayan poppies when I received a text message from my boy using his Dad’s cellphone, “Hi, Mom! I like what you chose for vacation!” He attached an elephant emoji which got me thinking, “Did he really see an elephant there?” But that didn’t really matter for my mother’s heart had soared, shedding off all heaviness!

Tim had another message for me: “I purely had fun out here!”

That was all I needed and my heart was full. The faithful Lord had filled me up once again even in the midst of the desert.

I’ve been ill for 13 years now, some years sicker and weaker, other years, partially recovered and stronger. It’s been a long, arduous journey, but I can’t think of a single time that I had totally relinquished hope and chosen to quit. Even when my soul cried out to be released from all the suffering, my mother’s heart and mind held on and resisted the wave of hopelessness and defeat.

I am a warrior (the tears are coming now). These arms and hands had been engaged in battles long and hard. If Jacob wrestled with God and fought for His blessing overnight that he got a broken thigh in the process, I have been wrestling with God, fighting tooth and nail for my own blessing these past 13 years (crying). Bloodied, many times broken, bruised, beaten, left for dead at times, but still, I stay in the ring with Him.

The mercy that I fight so hard for is the same mercy that would lift me up to my feet every now and then even before the referee has counted to 10.

What holds me down on earth when I could wish to be with the Lord where “God shall wipe away all tears from [my] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…” (Rev. 21:4)? It’s my children. I don’t want them to be motherless. I fight for them. I fight for my life. I fight for length of life. I claim God’s promises (He wants us to!). I believe I’m the best person for the job: mothering my own children. Otherwise, why would God give them to me?

So, I hold onto His mercies, to His compassionate heart. He knows the mother’s heart. He understands how it beats. So everyday, I ask boldly, and everyday, I thank Him that I’m still here with my family.

What drove Jacob to wrestle with God all night? He was to meet his brother Esau after so many years. Years before, he fled Esau’s wrath because he stole their father’s blessings intended for his brother. Now, he was scared for his life and those of his wives and children. He needed God to bless him and preserve him and all of his.

It’s the same thing with a mother fighting for her life and all of hers.

I maybe weak and unable to walk and travel, but by God’s grace, I do my best to be a strong presence in our family. I hold down my role as a mother and manage my dominion (our home) with God’s love, wisdom, and guidance. I plan. I direct. I act. All from my throne room that is our bedroom :). No one assists the kids with schoolwork but me. I discipline them through heart-to-heart talks, conversations, and letters. I have appointed myself as their life coach, guiding and teaching them the lessons I’ve learned in all of my 48 years of life. I tell them stories of my childhood, simple yet rich, my growing up years, the hard, gruelling years of high school and college – all of them contributing to the development of my character, who and what I am now.

I shop for our clothes online. Oh, thank God for the Internet and online shops! My Hannah has the habit of resisting my choices, but I have also appointed myself as her stylist (whether she likes it or not) and my husband’s :) . Hannah has no fashion sense (yet). We are not worldly fashionable people (no more of that since we are Christ followers), but she doesn’t have a clue as to what goes well together. I don’t want her going out looking like young Cosette in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I want that the Lord Jesus is glorified in and through her: A blessed child of God.

I train them to read good books. And now that Hannah is more mature, I advise her to read the Bible everyday and other Christian devotionals. Video games are out. I encourage them in the arts and hone their talents. They both play the piano. I teach them many things, but most of all, together with my husband, we do our best to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

We teach them gratitude. In this selfish, pampered world of instant gratification, I can see that it’s hard for them to grasp the deep meaning of gratefulness. That kind that emanates from the heart and soul. But we fight for their hearts and souls, too, in prayer. Unceasing prayers, like water that flows interminably on stones, polishing them until smooth and shiny, will do its powerful work on our children overtime.

I cannot count the times that my heart has been wounded by my own people. I had cried in anger, frustration, regret, weariness, disappointment, discouragement, and sheer sadness. But motherhood is a job that you don’t want to quit. And by God’s immense grace, I’m not quitting.

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A Foothold

One Sunday morning, Hannah comes to me. Her hesitance gives me a hint that there’s something weighing her down. She asks me if she can take the day off from church and just stay home to watch the live webcast. She explains that the previous weeks where they had series of assessments in school had stressed her out and triggered her panic attacks. I agree to her request to rest at home for Sabbath but I probe her deeper about this recurring problem.

a_foothold

She had confided this to me many months back, how she had begun to experience a kind of nervousness, and that when she Googled her symptoms, she learned she had panic attacks. I can’t be sure if what she experiences are panic attacks. I haven’t seen her act “nervous” except that she would adamantly refuse to do something she had decided not to do, like participating in piano recital last summer and refusing to go up to Youth Choir in Church. She’s already 14, but she’s still in Children’s Choir.

Hannah grew up painfully shy. Too shy that it crippled her to do even the things she would have loved to do, like joining in games in birthday parties. When we went to birthday parties when she was a little girl, she would just watch teary-eyed as other kids won prizes in games. She wanted to get those prizes, too, but she was too paralyzed by fear to make the few steps to the front. In pre-school, she memorized and practiced speeches for special events, but when the day came, she wouldn’t even dare step on the stage, let alone open her mouth to speak. She would clam up and no one could make her perform. This happened not only once or twice and it really broke my heart.

I believe that she inherited that shyness from me. It was the same for me growing up. But when I began attending school, I bravely faced my fears to be able to compete with other kids. And so, I performed in both academics and extra-curricular activities, and I performed well. But for my Hannah, although she was a good student and performed well in exams, she avoided reciting as much as possible all through grade school.

Years passed and tons of prayers lifted up and we saw our Hannah performing at the Meralco Theater for her piano recital. It was nothing short of a miracle! With the Lord’s love and mercy, my girl was finally able to perform in front of a huge crowd. For three consecutive years, she conquered both her fears and the stage. We were so proud of her triumphs.

Also, now that she is in Junior High, she’s learning to be more active and participative in school activities. She has also developed friendships with a handful of her girl classmates and has learned to become social, going out with them every now and then. (But that is after I have peppered her with the details :). I don’t fail to remind her to let her light shine especially when she’s with her friends).

But apparently, she has never really shed off her timidity completely. And now, has it developed into panic attacks?

Having grown up in Church, Hannah is not your regular teenager. She doesn’t follow the ways of the world unlike most of her secular peers. I can see her doing her best to obey the Bible’s teachings. But mothers can never be complacent. I still probed her what her faults might be, why she was having those panic attacks. I had begun to pray for her incessantly the first time she confided in me. I thought they were gone. I sent her emails, discussing verses from the Bible that I hoped would help her. This time, I pointed out some of her shortcomings that she needed to work on.

I reminded her that we had not received the spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). If she coddles those panic attacks, what kind of spirit is dwelling in her heart? I asked her. But even as I said those things, I was well aware of my own situation. I’m not a stranger to fears, nervousness, anxiety and panic attacks. I know I had accumulated them in my system because of my terrifying illness and suffering. As I had mentioned in a previous post, even if you’re a Christian doing your best to live victorious, prolonged suffering could still be traumatic. And so, I know how excruciatingly hard it is to battle fears.

I grieve both for my daughter and myself as we walk this same path, although I always keep a brave and courageous front. I believe that’s what mothers do. And even though I have my own ailing body to think about and now added to that are my daughter’s issues, I feel comforted by the fact that I can heap everything at my Lord Jesus’ feet in prayer. And more unceasing prayers at that! Even so, I won’t be discouraged, for it cannot be that He won’t listen to them.

But let’s go back to the subject as to why Christians suffer. The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ came to give us abundant life (see John 10:10). But for many of His present-day followers, the opposite is true: they live being robbed of health, strength, courage, peace, joy, and prosperity by the enemy. They are oppressed both by fears and physical suffering. Why, if Apostle Peter has written thus?

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Pet. 3-4 ESV)

Why do many of us tarry long in the wilderness and can’t seem to arrive at our Promised Lands, that place of abundant life the Lord has promised? There is just one way to that place and we know it’s Him. But we already have Him. We can say that we abide in Him and His Word abides in us. We do our best to obey Him, yes. What else must be done? These and more are questions I still wring my heart hard to try to find answers to.

What aren’t we surrendering?

The first time this question popped up in my mind, tears threatened to rise up my throat as I felt the magnitude of God’s requirements it carried. The question is loaded, like a camel saddled with burdens and clouds pregnant with rainstorm. Yet, it’s important to try to answer it for it will determine how we will live our lives on earth.

What aren’t we surrendering? God wants our all.

The fullness of our love?

Unforgiveness?

Anger?

Bitterness?

Doubts?

Pride of life?

Time?

Comfort?

Secret pleasures?

Worldly desires?

Secular pastimes?

Have we made an idol of our careers? Our pursuits? Our possessions? Our selves?

Where are we disobeying?

Maybe that piece of unsurrender in our hearts is the same space the enemy has taken up. His foothold. And that is what hinders our abundant life? That’s why Apostle Paul warns: Do not give the devil a foothold (Eph. 4:27).

God has given us His precious and very great promise — the Holy Spirit. It is through Him that we can partake of the divine nature. It is through Him that we can escape the corruption of the world because of evil desires. It is Him who empowers us to live godly lives. This then should be our daily goal: To ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us prepare our hearts everyday to be His sanctuary.

(Photo credit: Perla Frisberg).

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In the Potter’s Hands

Meditating on Psalm 138.

I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
2 I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
3 In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul. (vv. 1-3)

Just when I felt I was writing about the things of God mechanically, the Holy Spirit spoke in my heart: Don’t just write words, write for other people’s edification, your own growth, and all for my glory. Don’t just write with your heart of your everyday life, write about My truth with renewed zeal. This is how you can appreciate the gift I gave to you. How you use and whet it really matter to Me. 

I am amazed once again at how the Lord speaks to us when we least expect it. When we feel like there’s something paining us or weighing down on us but we just can’t put our finger on it. He then speaks. He shines His light upon us and guides us. Sometimes, we cannot know it as it comes. But later on, it settles in our souls perfectly. That’s when we know it was His voice speaking to us.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me…

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands. (vv. 7, 8)

We should not be troubled then when we feel like we don’t know how to proceed, or when we are not sure if we are even doing things right. He will speak; He will guide. How awesome is His faithfulness!

One night last week as I waited for sleep to come, the Holy Spirit spoke in my heart. It was regarding my daughter Hannah. The Lord reminded me to talk to her about her spiritual growth or lack of it. He let me know that she has not been communing with Him as she ought. As I fully succumbed to sleep, I purposed to talk to her the next morning.

After my morning devotion, I called for her. I talked to her heart-to-heart as usual. I told her about the Lord’s reminder. I also told her the truth that God longs for the love of His children just as much as we long and hunger for Him. We hunger for His love, healing, and His answers to our earnest prayers, but He also longs for us to spend time in His presence. I told Hannah about the Lord’s words on the cross. I thirst. He doesn’t thirst for water. He thirsts for our faithful love.

With intensity in my words and tears welling in my eyes, I reminded her that the Lord knows us by name and He calls us by them. I then proceeded to tell the story of Mary Magdalene, how that the Lord called her name when she was fussing about the body of her Lord being taken away. He simply said, “Mary.” When He wants to call our attention or stop us from doing the things we ought not, He calls out —“Hannah.”

Hannah was intently listening the whole time. We felt the love and presence of the Lord. “The Lord will perfect that which concerns [us].” He will not forsake the work of His hands. Are you a mother needing counselling on how to handle problems in the home? A harried wife and mother perhaps who feels she falls short of the Lord’s expectations of her? Rest in the Lord, dear one. We are surely handled by the deft hands of the Potter. He is the One who expertly moves and molds us as we yield ourselves to Him.

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For His Mercy Endures Forever!

Meditating on Psalm 136.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His mercy endures forever. (vv. 1, 4)

Psalm 136’s theme is giving praise to God for His enduring mercy. In every line of praise and remembrance of His works, from top to bottom, is the recurring phrase “For His mercy endures forever!” Beginning from the Creation, to the Israelites’ Exodus, and their arrival in the Promised Land, to God’s faithful providence – God is praised and His mercy remembered. This makes us to stop and consider –  however trying our lives might have been, His mercies are interspersed in all the hard places.

The other night, I was listening to Avalon’s Everything to Me over and over. I had been feeling melancholy, but as I listened to the song, the Lord brought me back towards the end of 2004. I was in my cot at the corner of the chapel in Pampanga Fasting House. We had been there for weeks. Every morning, I was wheeled to that spot in the chapel so I could listen to the morning and evening praise and worship. One afternoon during a lull in praise, when the workers and brethren who were fasting retired to their quarters, I found myself alone in the very quiet chapel. I only heard the birds chirping and the gentle whisperings of the December breeze.

Suddenly, almost 3-year old Hannah came running to my cot, crying. She said she had been hit by a playmate. With all the strength I could muster, I slowly sat up in bed, embraced my wailing baby, raised one arm, and prayed agonizingly. I prayed that the Lord would heal me and lengthen my days so I could take care of my daughter. This was one reason which urged me to go on living despite everything!

Between that scene in the chapel with my daughter and our home now with the addition of my adorable son Tim is God’s ocean of mercy. I, we, had journeyed that far, and all the years in-between, though interwoven with suffering, saw the enduring mercies of God at every turn, every change, every challenge, every hardship. How could have I swam that enormous gulf called life with its constant companions of illness and suffering had it not been the mercy of God that endures?

This brings me to the prophet’s lamentations:

Remember my affliction and roaming,
The wormwood and the gall.
20 My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. (Lam. 3:19-23)

Everyday, I thank God for His compassions that never fail, how that they are new every morning! That He really loves us and cares for us. That He never really leaves our side nor forsakes us. Praise God for His mercy endures forever!

I share to you Avalon’s Everything to Me, a personal favorite. Listen and let the words come to life and grip you, touch you in all your hurting places and heal you!

But I’ll never be the same
Because he changed my life when He became…

Everything to me
He’s more than a story
more than words on a page of history
He’s the air that I breath
The water I thirst for
And the ground beneath my feet
He’s everything, everything to me.

~ Everything to Me

(Beautiful photo courtesy of Sis. Evamarie Fetter). 

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A Teachable Spirit

Have you a teachable spirit? Are you like an open vessel ready to receive valuable lessons from even the most unexpected sources? Are your heart and mind havens of teachings that can grow you spiritually? Are you receptive to change or do you do your best to resist it fearing to step out of your comfort zone? Does your soul thirst for wisdom like the parched earth thirsts for rain? Do you glean the lessons from life’s storms which have brought you much pain and learn from them? Do you believe that you can find diamonds in the dust of your relationships, yes, in the ugly places of your life, upon which you can flourish thereby?

Do you believe that growth starts with our acknowledgment that we are not perfect? That we are so in need of learning? A humble spirit is a teachable spirit. A prideful heart is a foolish heart.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled. (Mat. 5:6)

I wrote a letter to Hannah in the two pages of a birthday card. She’s turning 13 and I wanted to pour out my heart to my firstborn who has brought me so much joy…and pain. Amongst the words and lines of love, hope, and prayers, I wrote this: For the times that I have hurt your feelings, I’m sorry. I regret them. 

But I couldn’t write and explain why there were times, more than I care to admit, that I had not been the mother I wanted to be or God had intended me to be. The card was just too scant to tell her how it had grieved me to succumb to weakness rather than standing strong in the Lord and exemplifying His teachings. Even, and more so, in the most difficult and perplexing times. How can a mother explain to her daughter that she’s far from perfect and maybe she can learn from her child as well?

I carefully inserted the card into its envelope and sealed it, deep in thought. I believe learning and growth start from acknowledging our mistakes and knowing that we still have a lot to learn. My posture is, I am not a perfect wife and mother and I am ever open to learn. I come before the Lord repenting of my bad choices that have affected my family and praying for wisdom, guidance, and strength. I believe true wisdom is having a humble posture, heart and mind ever receptive to lessons that can change one for the better. I myself cannot gauge my performance as a wife, mother, or a friend. It is only through how I am affecting the people around me that I can truly know how poor or how well I am carrying out my roles. 

Am I a light to them? A guide, an encouragement? If my children are not growing up as they should be, shall I put all the blame on them thinking that they are just plain bad children? Or shall I stop dead in my tracks and examine seriously myself where I am falling short or erring? I believe that the success of my children in life is as much as my responsibility as theirs, most especially in their formative years.

So I learn from my mistakes and from the things that had wrenched my heart painfully and had brought me to my knees, beaten and surrendered. This is the place of blessing.

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Buildings and Arrows

Meditating on Psalm 127.

Psalm 127 looks like a proverb to me divided into two parts. The first is a teaching about God’s will and favor; the second is about children as blessings from Him.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain. (v. 1)

We need to understand that, without God’s blessing (approval), whatever we set out to do will hardly be successful. We will be laboring against all odds. It will seem that no matter how hard we strive, the troubles never end and we only find frustration and weariness. If God is not with us, it will almost be impossible to win our battles. Living outside the will of God will not bring us the results we desire, and even if it will, almost always we encounter difficulties that perplex us and joy is not present.

This is true in building our homes. Without the Lord at the center of them, we encounter all kinds of heartbreaking problems and they persist no matter how much we try to make it work. This is the main reason why homes implode and families break apart. It is the Lord who holds and guides our lives. It is He who holds our homes and families together through thick and thin. The Lord Jesus Christ must be the very foundation of the home for it to stand strong and grow to be a haven for the family and a light to others.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them… (vv. 3-5)

Psalm 127 likens children as arrows in the hand of a warrior. I am blessed to have “two arrows” in my quiver. I realized just these recent years how important is the ministry of motherhood. In the early years of mothering, when I only had Hannah, all I wanted to give were good things in life: beautiful home, pretty clothes, fun toys, good school, wonderful vacations, trips to the shops, making art, and other things that we can enjoy doing together. When I fell ill, it saddened me a lot not to be able to do those things with her.

But there is a more important thing mothers should be doing: teaching their children about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. In this ultra-modern age, it has become crucial to diligently raise our children in the way of the Lord: Praying with them, reading the Bible together and discussing (family devotion), teaching them through life using the Bible as guide, and exemplifying these valuable teachings.

Psalm 127 says that “children are a heritage from the Lord”. Our ministry towards our children is as important as the Lord’s commission to go and make disciples of men. We make disciples of our own children. We must raise strong, healthy, polished “arrows” and prepare them for a life that honors and serves God faithfully and fervently.

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Journey with Jesus,