Be faithful in the little things

I asked God to give me a focus for the year, for both family and work.

The phrase “be faithful in the little things” popped into mind and lingered.

Everywhere around us, most people are rushing to achieve the bigger and the better. There’s nothing wrong with having big dreams and ambitions, but don’t overlook the small, daily habits that may help us live a more meaningful life in the long run.

So I thought about the specific ways I want to be faithful in the small.

  • Training the kids to say their please and thank you’s.
  • Teaching them to say grace before meals.
  • Teaching them to show appreciation to those who serve and help us.
  • Giving them opportunities to give to others.
  • Training them to do little chores around the house (they already help out but we need to be more regular and consistent.)
  • Teaching them to consume less and make the most of what we already have.

For myself too…

  • To be thankful for even the smallest projects or jobs I secure, and to do them wholeheartedly.
  • To say “thank you” and “I love you” often to my spouse
  • To start a weekly devotional time with my fast-growing tween
  • To keep the Sabbath a day of rest (and a gadget/social-media-free day)
  • To marvel at God’s tender love and mercies that show up in mundane everyday things, in the coffee I drink, the air I breathe, and the clothes I wear.

be faithful in little things

What are the things you’d like to be faithful in this year?

“Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” – Luke 16:10

What if trials are blessings in disguise

I’ve been feeling the heat lately. Things at home haven’t being going “as planned.” (Since parenthood arrived, what goes as planned really?)

JJ’s been going through potty regression. He used to be pretty regular, but all of a sudden some months back, he decided he would start pooping in his diaper again. He’s also been in whiny mode and just extremely irritable on some days.

My helper decided to leave us (for personal reasons). Thankfully, my mother was able and willing to come back to help us for a couple of days every week, so I don’t have to go through the process of looking for a suitable helper.

It’s hard not to feel hot, harried and bothered. Some nights, I feel like just letting it all go – and having a good cry while at it.

Then I remembered that sometimes things don’t always go as planned. And many times, they don’t for good reason. The important thing is to learn and grow through it all. And to keep the faith.

I remind myself I need to stay well and strong, for the sake of the kids (and hubby too, so I don’t end up taking it out on him). I choose to take it easy on whatever area of life I can – be it a messier home and living room, or one or two less home-cooked dinners a week. I choose to keep my sanity, by selecting my battles. (And fight them one at a time.)

Staying emotionally well means that I know what to let go of.

It means that I don’t take on too much and I learn to say no.

It means keep first things first – and prioritising too.

It also means I stay connected to people I love and whom I know will support me and will keep us in prayer. (I’m ever grateful for my friends who are “on call” via whatsapp / Facebook.)

What does being emotionally well mean to you?

If you are going through a trying period, I pray for God’s peace to guard your heart, and that you’ll find strong support in the presence of family and friends.

what if trials are mercies in disguise

May this song Blessings bless and encourage you…

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

Faith, hope and love

Here are my favourite photos from last weekend. I call them Faith. Hope. Love.

Last weekend, I felt like I needed a gadget that could freeze time. I watched the kids play, throw caution to the wind, let their hair down, and just lose themselves in play. I watched the hubby play alongside, chasing them, being chased by them, piggy-backing them…We played make-believe, re-enacting the scenes of our current favourite storybook, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (chinese version).

We watched as the kids romped about at the playground, lost in their own world of exploration and wonder. I looked at the man and he looked at me, and I said “Wow. So this is what life with kids is like.” “Yeah” he replied,”until they grow up that is.”

Trust him to inject a dose of realism into my reverie.

Still, I tried to focus on the present. The simple, carefree present. I tried not to fast-forward into the ever-important school days and its related stresses. I wanted to freeze time, as it is, right here and now.

It’s funny because not too long ago, I remember feeling rather overwhelmed by my weekends. But recently and rather unexpectedly, our weekends have created pockets of relaxation for us.

It might be because of JJ’s newfound freedom of legs and the resultant loss of clinginess. It might be that the brother and sister have found some formula to entertain themselves, without getting into too much trouble. Whatever the cause, I think we’re having a lot more fun now as a family than I can remember in a long while. The baby has also been sleeping better too, which is a big plus and a cause for celebration with some oomphatic chocolate cake.

So the pictures were named Faith. Hope. Love.

Partly to remind myself not to sweat the small things. Partly to remind myself that God gives grace to parents, to cope with the concerns of the here and now, and that we need not worry unduly about the future.

It’s a blessing for parents to find pockets of respite amidst our parenting duties. Pockets of joy and wonder. Pockets of delight.

When that happens, I can’t help but feel like I want to freeze time.

It’s the weekend. I’m looking forward to some swimming, and some dancing with the kids. Here’s to more Faith. Hope. Love.

For you too.

What do you enjoy most about weekends?

Faith for the modern mum

What fills the life of modern mothers? What takes up our time?

Facebook, Twitter and mobile gadgets have enabled us to get connected with ‘the world’, while Google, parenting websites and blogs have helped us to find answers and gain insights into everyday parenting issues.

But what gives us answers for our souls, and what truly comforts when we are falling apart?

Maybe the question should be ‘who’ and not ‘what’.

I don’t mean to sound cliched but there IS a hole in our hearts that only God can fill – I know because I once tried to plug that hole with all the wrong things.

Whenever I’m down and directionless, or losing my passion for my kids (I don’t mean I stop loving them, but there are times when I find it extra hard to love), I know that I’ve lost sight of God.

It is ironic that in our increasingly connected world, and the busy pace of life we lead, we’ve stopped plugging into the Source of life himself. We’ve lost the intimate connection with Him.

Why is it important?

Each time we give a status update on Facebook, or share a link, we hope to have as many of our friends view it as possible, and we enjoy reading their responses.

Well, connecting with God is a bit like that. Except that He already knows what it’s on our minds and what we want to update Him about. The wonderful thing about prayer is that it’s two-way; God ‘comments’ on our updates too. And more often than not, his comments are life-sustaining, through bibles verses, or even words that come through other people.

Since becoming a parent, it’s been a challenge for me to steal away to a quiet place. Yet it’s never been as essential as now. I know I can keep running on my own strength, and trying to accomplish never-ending tasks, and meet exorbitant demands (from a baby and a three year old) by my own abilities. But I know at the end of the day, God never meant for me to live this way.

He never meant for me to be running this course of parenthood alone. There’s so much I have to navigate, so many obstacles to cross, so many tear-soaked pillows, so much doubt to overcome…I can only get through it with God.

How can we get this connection back up?

I remember some weeks ago I was trying to migrate this blog from one platform to another. I was having some difficulty because what was meant to be accomplished in one click…well, let’s just say it didn’t happen that way. I sat through one harrowing hour staring at my empty blog space, wondering what had gone wrong. And friends were sending me text messages like ‘hey what happened to your blog?’ (which I really appreciated by the way.)

It was close to midnight and I was desperate because I didn’t know where to get help. Thankfully a dear friend I made through blogging was online at that time and she helped me to re-try the one-click (so-called) installation at her end. I was so grateful.

Within minutes of her trying, the blog (as in all my past blog posts) came back up.

I don’t think I’ve felt so relieved / revived in years.

Now, that story just goes to show the amount of importance we place on being connected to the world. So much so that we feel uncomfortable when our online selves are ‘missing’ or when our internet connection is down.

But do we feel that same sense of discomfort when our connection with God is down? It’s sad but true; I’ve been surviving on a high-speed connection with the world, but a minimally low connection with God. I spend 1-2 hours online every day, and only 5-10 minutes ‘online’ with God. And I trick myself by saying ‘that’s okay, I’m still connected right?’

So, over the next few weeks, I’m intentionally unplugging from the world, little by little each day, and plugging more into God. I’m going to make myself less busy online, so I can create more space for God in my life.

And more space to enjoy my family and the kids too.

I invite you to join me…

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