Love never fails

Vera surprised me one evening with this drawing of the hubby and I. It had a bold caption: Love never fails.

There were flowers in a vase on a table. A big cross stood out in the middle of the table.

It reminded me of this verse in 1 Corinthians.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

I asked Vera why she chose to draw the cross. She said it means that Jesus is in the house.

I then asked why she chose to write the words “Love never fails.” She said it was papa who gave her the idea. She originally had in mind some other words to write, but she thought daddy’s idea sounded better.

I was glad for this gentle reminder to keep God in the heart of all things, including our humble home.

As for everything else, Love never fails. His love, that is. Our human love may wane or fade or grow cold over time and trials. But His love never does.

Love_never_fails

 

 

Accepting my child for who he is

2015 has gotten off to a rocky start.

Javier had some behavioural issues at the turn of the new year, and we’ve started seeing an OT to find out how to help him. The basic issue seems to be that he has low muscle tone and correspondingly higher levels of anxiety. He is also frequently temperamental.

What does muscles have to do with behaviour? I was told that he compensates for the lack of control by being more controlling over others and over himself (by engaging in some repetitive behaviour like strapping and unstrapping his Velcro shoes.)

Since we received that piece of information, it was like a missing piece to a jigsaw puzzle. A lamp was finally lit in this dark room. With that, we’ve also grown more aware as to how to help ease him through his daily routine tasks. Mainly, we’ve stopped getting frustrated and/or yelling at him to hurry up. As tiresome as it may be, we try to give him greater allowance and breathing space to finish his tasks the way he wants to. (According to the OT, if we rush him or try to intervene in his tasks, we may exacerbate the problem and his mind never leaves the task because he didn’t finish it properly.)

I was taught simple mat exercises to help him with spinal alignment and strengthening. I was also encouraged not to keep to a strict schedule, and to give ourselves greater time allowance to get out of the door. This has helped to minimise the stress for everyone.

I can’t help but ask myself if we’ve done something in the past to have contributed to his challenging behaviour right now. Perhaps I’ve been too controlling over time. Perhaps I haven’t let loose enough, or let him play enough. Perhaps we have placed too much pressure on him to perform. Perhaps we have been too strict in our discipline.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. I confess, the doubts and guilt are hard to shake off.

But I try to shift my focus from myself to helping him. It is an uphill climb, both emotionally and mentally, so we will need all the energy and grace to see us through. I’m reminded that when things seem out of control, He is in control. He has a purpose for this season. And I pray He will let us see the light of day.

So…I am learning to accept my little boy for who he is, God-created and God-designed. Not for who I hope he will be someday.

Whatever difficulties you may be having with your child, I pray that you will also find strength and encouragement in God, and be able to love and enjoy your child for the special little person that he is.

God has a story to unfold in his life, and a good plan for him. And we as mums and dads are privileged to be a part of this learning journey.

acceptance_child

On what Advent really means

What is the significance of Advent?

To be honest, even after some 15-odd years of Christian-hood, I’ve never thought much about the season of Advent. Until we moved to an Anglican church, we barely knew about its existence! (The Anglicans are known to hold some traditions dearly, and Advent is one such big tradition.)

According to Google, Advent is:

  1. the arrival of a notable person or thing.
  2. the first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.

A notable person – that would be Jesus…

My church bulletin reads, “Advent has been observed for centuries as a time to contemplate the birth of Jesus. Kicking off the Christian year, it is a time for us to go back and enter again into that point in history before the first Christmas, to reflect on the first coming of the Messiah, Saviour, and King.”

Reflect. Contemplate. Prepare.

I don’t know about you, but amidst the humdrum of activities, shopping, parties, and general feasting, I often forget. I prepare the house, the tree, the food, the presents. But somewhere along the way, Jesus gets left behind. My heart gets left behind.

So…

nativityIn order to help myself remember Jesus and the message of love and hope He brings, I’ve thought of some simple things we can do as a family:

  1. Ask God for a fresh vision and appreciation of the nativity story
  2. Think about ways to respond to Him in light of His love
  3. Think about ways to show appreciation to those who have invested in your life
  4. Talk to your kids about why and how you are planning to show gratitude to these special people
  5. Count your blessings
  6. Think about those from whom you may need to seek forgiveness, or a relationship that may need mending. Call that person or write a little note if that’s easier for you.

 

** For more ideas on how to make Christmas more meaningful, do read A Juggling Mom’s post on random acts of kindness.

For a DIY Advent Calendar with craft ideas + simple bible verses that you can follow, hop over to Growing with the Tans!

For hand painted Christmas canvases that links the alphabet with Christmas themes, head over to Growing Hearts 123.

I hope you have a good time remembering the reason behind this season with your loved ones!

Grace-liberated parenting

I’m sharing a little video today that reaches deep into the heart of Christian parenting.

I first heard from Paul Tripp when I attended his parenting seminar. I walked away filled with many life-changing principles he shared about the heart of parenting and discipline.

Watching the video, I realise how inadequate I am as a parent, and also how much I need God’s grace. I am also reminded that parenting is a process, one that possibly lasts way beyond our physical life here on earth, since the values we sow are reaped through generations.

Some of my favourite quotables from the video:

“…love does its best work when people aren’t deserving.”

“Meet me by your grace so I can be a tool of your grace in the life of my children.”

“What I want for that child first is to experience the same grace I’m experiencing…That’s just a whole different world of parenting.”

“All of parenting is a gracious rescue.”

“…A parent must embrace his/her inability in order to find the liberation of being an instrument in the hands of God.”

“We’re not requiring the change as an event; we’re allowing it to be a process.”

I hope this blesses you, and renews your strength and determination to raise your little ones by drawing on the grace and unconditional love of God daily.

This is Little Lessons #21, which runs on the blog every Thursday. Do grab our badge and link up your little lessons / learning activities below!

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The silver lining in every cloud

We are in the second week of our maid-less days. The house is a lot messier, dishes keep piling up in the sink, and the laundry basket seems to have taken on a life of its own.

But…no one has lost her sanity, no husband ate half-burnt pork ribs, and no child went to school on an empty stomach. Yet.

Woohoo. Pop the champagne. Bring on the B&J ice-cream.

Honestly… I look around me and I see the many angels God has sent to help us and encourage us along. I just had to pen this thankful post, and count my blessings.

One, my mum and godma have stepped up to help out more with the kids as well as with cooking nutritious meals. We manage to eat homecooked dinners at least 4 days a week, and this is something I just can’t thank God for enough.

Two, my dear friend and fabulous godma to our kids has been delivering healthy and yummy lunches to our house once a week. It’s a double blessing for us because the kids love the food and having her (and their little godsister) around!

Three, Joshie has adjusted back to the cot. (We moved him back from the mattress to the cot as he’s crawling around now and it’s safer for him to be in a confined space as we’re often worried he’ll knock into the cupboards in our bedroom.) After two nights of letting him practise crying a little when he stirs awake after going down for his night-time sleep, he has learnt how to fall back to sleep on his own. Just a few weeks back, he kept waking and crying for help to be soothed back to sleep. Now he only really cries when he needs a feed. He hasn’t managed to go through the night yet, but at least we are a step closer to peaceful nights.

Four, JJ seems to have crossed into another developmental phase where he would be more open to listening and asking for help nicely instead of whining. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that this will last, and that we can focus on enjoying him as a little person in the making.

Five, Vera and Javier can sleep pretty well alone in their room now. Javier used to be wakeful on some nights, but he seems to be less wakeful and a more independent sleeper now.

Six, Vera is starting to get more responsible with chores like folding her and her brothers’ clothes, and packing away her toys before bedtime. She’s happy to help watch her baby brother too, who’s currently into crawling and cruising, and always on the verge of doing something dangerous. (We have a little reward system for her going on, and I hope to share more about that soon.)

Seven, I’m learning to major on the majors and let other things go. For the most part, I’m still keeping a close watch on our diet and health, and learning to let the chores wait a little if there is a sibling fight to mediate, a boo-boo to be kissed, or urgent work to be done.

Because of our limitations, we try to keep our schedule simpler now. Weekends are spent with good friends in a nearby park or shopping mall. Or just letting the kids run around (and expend their energy) in the neighbourhood.

We still have our fair share of crazy days. But I’m starting to see us growing stronger as a family. With everyone learning to chip in, young or old, big or small… And I’m thankful. There is a silver lining in this little cloud.

If you’re going through difficulties too, I hope you keep calm and remember to count your blessings…It may not change the situation, but it’ll certainly change the way you deal with things.

Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

keep calm and count your blessings

Linking up to Grateful Gatherings over at Justina’s.

 

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