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Parents – having and being

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, and Happy Father’s day in advance to all the fathers! Let’s take a little time to pause and think about how we show our appreciation to our parents. Are gifts, food, flowers and cards sufficient and meaningful? If you are a parent, are these what you hope to receive once a year?

Our parents — spiritual, biological or adopted — spent their youth bringing us up. Although we have grown up, they still worry about us. What does it mean for us as children to our parents, and as parents to our children? Love manifests itself in the giving of time and through growing together, pointing one another to God (yes, we need to encourage parents and little ones to lean on God!). We are imperfect, and we all need God to help us fulfil our roles. There is no training school for parents before they are given the gift of children. Though my parents might not have been able to take us to church regularly when we were young, they placed us in a missionary school. God became our personal Saviour in our primary school days. As Proverbs 22:6 says, it is important to train your children up. The best gift is to point them to the way of the Lord. Parents, as you celebrate today, in what areas are you trusting God to help you be a better parent? Are you praying for God’s wisdom and turning to God for help, or are you turning to Google or even ChatGPT for help?

Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

I now live with my ageing parents, and over the years, our roles have changed. Those with aged parents might be able to identify with me: it can be emotionally and physically challenging as they behave more and more like children, with stubbornness in their thoughts and ways, and weakening health causing them to depend more and more on us for their daily needs. Do worries and fear creep in from time to time, even along with the recognition that to have our parents with us is a grace that God has given us? Are you treasuring every day with them, honouring them and telling them how much God loves them and you? For those whose parents have yet to know the Lord, persevere in your prayers! The urgency of time does not permit us to procrastinate in praying for opportunities to bring the Gospel to them, and praying for an open heart.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”Ephesians 6:1-3

Recently, my dad just recovered from COVID-19. He had experienced complications due to his heart condition. His heart was very weak, and at one point in time, the doctors were adjusting our expectations. It was a time of helplessness, but God did not leave us in isolation. We thank God for the sisters and brothers around us who kept us in prayer, and that we saw God’s hand at work. The next day, his condition improved drastically, and he was taken off supplementary oxygen. My mother was so encouraged when her church’s Hokkien pastor called to pray with her that she in turn called my dad to tell him about it and ask him to pray, too. And now, one week later, he has recovered. Every day is a gift of grace for me to have him and my mum. Don’t wait — spend time with your parents when you can, even though at times, we need prayers for patience when they decide to ask about the smallest of things just when we are about to to go bed or leave the house!

While you can, build a legacy for your children that enables them to grow in faith and face the future. Just as children are gifts to parents, so parents are blessings from God. Take time to be with your parents, and take your children along. Listen to them, and laugh with them.

- Deaconess Justina Ng

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