Humility in Parenthood

Just the other day, we met up with an older, godly couple for lunch. As lunch progressed, we had covered many topics such as our field work, updates on ministry and our life as young parents.

I was rather curious how this couple raised their children, having been missionaries before. Their close relationship with all their children, children’s spouses and grandchildren is something to note and admire. They travel on holidays as a big group, and are very close knitted as a family.

When I asked this dear lady how she did it, whether there were any tips or advice she could share in how she kept the family so close knitted, she simply and graciously remarked that it was by the grace of God.

I kinda sat there a little stunned. I was not really expecting that answer.

Typically, one would be tempted to draw attention to all the sacrifice and wise decisions he/she has made. But this dear aunty didn’t. She simply acknowledged God’s hand in keeping her family together all through these years.

I remember just sitting there, taking in her answer for a few moments.

Wow.

I’m sure a lot of the family’s successes also had to do with her wisdom, godliness and gentleness in parenting, but she simply looked beyond herself and looked to the Source from which she continues to draw forth from.

Wow. To me, it was truly beautiful. To not yakkity yak about what you did or what you know etc. But just to give the full glory to God.

There’s much to learn from those who speak little, but exemplify so much through their lives.

May we be such people.

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Money Matters

We frequently get asked about how we have been able to walk in faith in our service to God as missionaries, and I often get asked how I have managed to adapt from a comfortable lifestyle & upbringing to a much simpler one.

And since money is such a big issue in many marriages and families, I thought it would be interesting to pen a few thoughts here, as well as the lessons I have learnt being a missionary and Nick’s wife. 🙂

I remember the first few months being married to Nick. It was tough on the both of us! I was blessed to be raised in a well-to-do family, and my parents provided the best for us in every way. I never had to worry about paying any bills, and when I worked as a piano teacher for 10 years, the money I earned was the money I got to spend and save. While I believe I was not materialistic and extravagant in my spending, I still enjoyed eating out and buying meals for others, as well as shopping for nice clothes and items. I also loved buying and giving gifts. These were pleasurable ways for me to spend my money. Nick, on the other hand, is my five ringgit guy. Five ringgit on his haircut, five ringgit on his slippers. 😍😂 He does not buy new clothes unless they are really torn and beyond redemption, and ate very simply as a bachelor. He he. He’s been trained in the school of hard knocks, and his nett value really, is in his heart of gold. I love him so much for that.

But all these romantic thoughts aside, practically, it was a challenge for us at first as a married couple. I remember vividly the time we went shopping at a sleepy, old supermarket for some kitchenware. Nick forbade me from buying two bowls. He said one was enough 😂 the bowls cost less than five ringgit each! He reasoned that he was used to having his noodle soups from plates and we just needed one bowl. But in Chinese cooking, we often prepare stews and dishes with gravy. I found this man so absurd and unreasonable! We ended up leaving the store without purchasing anything and having a tiff at home thereafter. 😅

But by God’s grace, we slowly learnt to accommodate one another. As Nick slowly became a little more domesticated because of the presence of a woman in the home, he began to recall again the comfort of having home-cooked meals and then slowly understood the need for different kitchen utensils. 🤭

Living by faith and being married to Nick has taught me to be more frugal and prudent. These words that he said to me at the early stages of our marriage will always stick with me – “Sometimes the people who give to our ministry are really regular people making a living; school teachers, university students and even widows. They are not necessarily rich people. This is their hard earned money and we must be accountable for every cent.”. That was quite a humbling thing for me to hear but truly that’s the honest reality. The people who have supported us thus far are ones who have given out of love and obedience to God. We believe that they have not been compelled or pressured in any way. It takes humility to learn to accept such gifts with a grateful heart, knowing that you will never be able to repay their kindness, but trusting the Lord that He blesses those who give out of obedience unto Him.

As a couple, we have also agreed to have only joint bank accounts and ‘one wallet’. There is no ‘my money’ , or ‘your money’. Each large purchase (above a certain amount, say above rm 100) is made together. I believe this contributes greatly to the oneness and unity we have as a couple. It takes trust and courage, at first. But I believe it is the biblical way of approaching finances in marriage. Two becoming one.

I have learned to live simpler and it is actually so enjoyable and rewarding to save every cent we can. Previously, I would not have cared if items were priced a few ringgit differently, but now every cent counts. We compare prices at every supermarket and know which is cheap where. 🙂 I have also been trained to remember and note how much I’ve spent on groceries, parking, snacks and the like. This helps us keep our spending in check.

Lastly, I must say that Nick has been very kind to me all these years. He makes a lot of personal sacrifices and does not spend much on himself, but encourages me to get pretty clothes and offers to take me out for a treat every so often. I’m really blessed with a husband who really tries to give his best. Love you darling!

Hope this short sharing can be somewhat an encouragement for couples who are about to get married or whom are newly married. 😊

It Should Not Have Been Me

It should not have been me.

I have all the reasons why:

– a 6.5 month postpartum body isn’t the ideal home for a new seed to grow.

– I’ve just recovered from a Caesarean section, postpartum depression and postpartum weight! 😅

– my now 8 month old son is at a stage where he’s eager to learn, active and isn’t keen on staying still or taking regular or long naps during the day. It’s hard to care for him while having morning sickness, dizziness, nausea and vomitting and oh, those tummy aches! Na-ah!

– we are just at the end of our somewhat furlough and transitional period, and pow-pow, suddenly we are thrown aback by this surprise. We didn’t have this in our equation or plan.

– I’ve been warned by the doctors to not be pregnant for at least 2 years because I have SLE.

All my reasons could go on, and on and on…

You know them all.

And yet You still chose me.

There are so many women wanting to be in my position. They seem to be so much more ready, qualified, and so much more adequate than I. It almost feels like a cruel joke, when one gift is denied to a person who desperately longs for it and instead, lavished on someone else who did not ask for it nor is grateful about it.

And yet…

Deep in my heart…

I know You are weaving a beautiful, sacred gift and You have honoured me to be the vessel to bring forth this precious one into the world.

I can’t imagine the plans the Lord has for you, and how you will be such a wonderful addition to our family of three.

Little One, you are given by God.

You are loved, you are precious, and you are God’s blessing to mummy, daddy and your koko David.

Love you, little one. ❤

I Must Die 

“I am a dead man, and dead men have no rights, no inheritance, no remembrance of him.”

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)

Baby David’s Testimony 

Baby David’s Testimony 

What do you do when things don’t go according to plan? 

There were two things very specifically that I wanted and prayed for in regards to David’s delivery and birth. 

1. I wanted to deliver naturally, and kept the option of an epidural open, depending on my threshold of pain on the day of labour. 

2. I wanted to breastfeed David immediately. Hence, I reminded my husband more than once (3987 times, to be exact), that I wanted immediate skin to skin contact with my son once he was born. I read that having immediate skin to skin contact not only allows mother and child to bond immediately as well as promote a sense of well-being for the baby; it also helps the baby breastfeed quicker and more easily. 

Both did not go according to plan. 

Due to my SLE condition, my doctors (both in the government and private hospital) advised me not to prolong my pregnancy to the 40th week (full term) as it would carry risks to the baby. 

So at week 38 on the 20th of July at 1am, I was induced. Barely an hour after I was given the medication, I started cramping really badly and initially did not realise them as contractions. But 6am the pain had grew intense and by 9am I was already dilated to 7cm. I really wanted an epidural by then because I didn’t want to fight the contraction pains anymore, but it was not possible due to the baby’s weak heartbeat. By then baby D had pooped in my womb which signalled distress. At 11am I was fully dilated but somehow could not push little David out, even with the help of vacuum extraction. I was then wheeled in for an emergency C-section. 

I was fully conscious during the surgery, but had no sensation waist down from the spinal anaesthetic. It was not long after that, when someone came over to me, started cleaning me up and told me that the surgery was over. 

“What do you mean, my surgery is over??”, a warning sign came up in my head right away.  

“Where’s my son?”, I asked the lady. She promptly turned and walked away. 

Again, I turned to the other man on my left and asked if my son was alright. They all ignored me and avoided eye contact. 

It was then, I knew something was wrong. I slowly turned my head to look around the room and saw in a corner, a medical team huddled over my baby. My baby. 

Before I knew it, I was wheeled into the recovery room. I hadn’t the faintest idea if baby D was alright, and neither could I see my husband. I just wanted to be wheeled out pronto! 

Finally when they did wheel me to the corridor, Nick got to come to the hallway and meet me. As he held my hand and kissed me, I could tell that he wasn’t quite alright. With a slight tremble in his voice, he told me that baby David was not doing well and was being attended to immediately. 

Thankfully I had family there to accompany me post-surgery in the ward while Nick waited anxiously outside the NICU. Four excruciating hours passed before he could speak to the doctors in there. David had suffered from meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), where the baby has passed meconium (stool) into the amniotic fluid during labor or delivery. MAS may occur if the baby breathes in (aspirates) this fluid into the lungs.

David had to be transferred to the neighbouring hospital, a separate building a few blocks down the road from where I was warded. Because of that, I could not see him until the 3rd day after I was discharged. 

David suffered a few episodes of seizures in his first few days and also had to be assisted by a ventilator in his breathing. He was such a fighter! Despite his frail state, he was feisty enough to pull at all his tubes! 

Day 5, some tubes were removed from his body, and I was able to carry David for the first time. 😭

Each day brought different progress and David recovered remarkably, we give all glory to God for sustaining him, and also us throughout the 10 days he was in the NICU. 

Towards the end of our pregnancy, Nick and I had being doing catechism studies together as a couple. The first question we had learnt was – what is our hope in life and death? And the answer is that we are not our own, but belong, in both body and soul, in life and death, to God and to our saviour Jesus Christ. It is this very promise that we were assured that David’s life was in God’s hands. 

When I had suffered a threatened miscarriage earlier in my pregnancy, I had also come across a verse in Psalm 118 that I saw as a promise for David’s life. “I shall not die, but live, and proclaim the wondrous works of the Lord”. 

All these promises that the Lord gave to us prior to the delivery strengthened us for the uncertain days in the NICU where doctors could not give us answers, we rested in the knowledge of Him who is sovereign and in control. 

Over the 10 days in the NICU, we witnessed God’s faithfulness to us in so many ways. Grateful for loved ones who surrounded us with prayer, love and support and for family members who brought us food as well as provided practical help. We had to ‘camp out’ at the hospital each day, spending 7 to 12 hours there to ensure we could spend as much time with baby David there, as we believe strongly that human contact and our voices were vital in his recovery. 

Through all this, we remember and have been strengthened by the devotion that we read during our prayer together just before we went to be admitted to the hospital on July 19. (Devotion to be attached in the following post). We give thanks for the Lord’s wonderful dealings with us; for His working in all this to reveal our weakness and helplessness, and to show to us and through us, the outshinings of His glory.

A week after his birth, we witnessed many miracles. David was very alert and responsive, and opened his eyes clearly for the first time when I called his name. We then tried skin to skin contact with David, and he started suckling almost immediately. We know that this is a remarkable milestone as David has been fed intravenously all these while, and even with his improved condition, been fed by cup or syringe. 

The Lord seemed to answer all our hearts’ desires, for David also cried (very lustily) for the first time. David also had his MRI done and we were so grateful to know that he has suffered no brain damage despite the fits he went through the previous week. 

We are so glad to have David home now. It is both a sacred and joyful time for us, as we savour this humbling process of learning to be parents as well as enjoying our time together as a family.

We would appreciate your continued prayers for us that we may raise David up to be a man after God’s own heart, wholehearted in His pursuit of Christ. 

Thoughts on Injustice

It will always seem as though the good guy finishes last, and that there is no justice on earth. 

But I know the God who is the avenger of the weak, the meek, and the helpless who cannot speak for themselves… 

It is a far more terrifying thing to mistreat that sort of people, for behind them is the God of wrath and justice, the Father of the fatherless, the refuge to the lowly, the Word that promises this – 

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Romans 12:19 ESV

It may seem like a never ending battle on this side of eternity. Turning the other cheek, not returning evil for evil, and the need for unending patience, hope and perseverance. 

But He is faithful, He will help His remnant endure until the end. 

{especially remembering those who have to live under seeming injustice & unfairness in this lifetime} 

Blessings (Laura Story) 

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. 

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 raindrops

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. 

And 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. 

All the while, You hear each desperate plea

And long that we have faith to believe… 
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops, 

What if Your healing comes through tears, 

What if a thousand sleepless nights

Are what it takes to know You’re near. 

And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise… 
When friends betray us, 

When darkness seems to win, 

We know that pain reminds this heart, 

That this is not, this is not our home. 

It’s not our home… 
What if my greatest disappointments

Or the achings of this life, 

Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy. 

And what if trials of this life, 

The rain, the storms, the hardest nights, 

Are Your mercies in disguise… 

​To say that ‘Jesus is the reason we celebrate’ goes further than ‘Hooray, we wine, dine & celebrate because it’s Jesus’s birthday!’ to 
He is the reason we want many more to come to that joy of knowing and loving Him. 
To truly celebrate {and treasure} Jesus requires more than a metaphorical birthday cake and the blowing of candles.
It is remembering the reason to why He came and aspiring to do as He did.