Monday, December 28, 2009

Being a Christian parent

As my ex-preacher (now a missionary) shared her struggles with bringing up her adopted baby in China, I am again tugged in my heartstrings for parents with similar challenges. Below is my reply to her capturing some of the recent thoughts on this issue.

Hi LK...

Last week I tried something you wrote in your last letter. I bought a Christmas cake so that I could bring some cheer to my Joanna and Joshua. Like what you wrote, I shared the Christmas story again before we sang the Happy Birthday song to J.ith the kids. That said, that night was good as the kids were attentive. Sadly, I was not able to move on... to the growth and development of J. Several reasons really- I was away the second night to continue the story, third night kids were 'sick' of the cake and perhaps the story part II and III. sigh. But thanks to you, I am glad it was a start that I could take the opportunity to keep talking more about J. with my two precious little j-s. HOwever, I think the kids got it that Christmas is not about only presents and party, cos at least for my Joshua, he was quite 'in-tune' during the church's Christmas celebration.

Your two recent letters spoke to me as well cos little joanna was quite ill last weekend and it always strikes the heart of any parent with such instances. Didn't help that I was praying for a friend's son who was born on 12 Dec but had to be hospitalised since then. I am thankful God answered prayers cos baby Aden finally went home on the 28 Dec! Reason I am sharing this is that I am thankful God brought you on this journey of parenthood. Its never easy and when you shared about how you felt like the Israelites unhappiness in the wilderness, that really spoke volumes of our humanity and how often I personally struggled to hold onto our heavenly Father's hands. As Wenwen continue to grow, I know that the many surprises and joy will fill your heart just as it does sparkle that love for Vanessa.  Right now, she is undergoing the phase of the kids' "stickiness" to her.... (makes me wonder too how not impt the role of papa is). I think thats where the test of motherhood is while the kids are still young. Am happy too to read of your alibi's fellowship.  Maybe its an age thing but this sort of company and just knowing that there are close friends whom you can bond with in terms of exchange of parenting tips sure helps. Be grateful for them just as I am always grateful to the 'mother club' in our service. At least it keeps my wife sane for a few precious hours!  You know, its a bit hard to remain 'Christian-ly' in our fits of fury and frustrations (and now I know why God kept giving us chance after chance). I completely (and helplessly) empathize with Van on the moments when she just needs to let 'steam'.

On Christmas morning, my cell group planned for a get-together. I was both looking forward to the event not only for the fellowship but also to draw near to our Father that morning. In fact, on the way there, I even told Joshua in the car that God spoke to me to encourage Josh to seek him as J said to do unto those who need help. Alas, on the way, I knocked into a motorbike and the instant of being caught with my car plate noted by an on-looker left me frightfully running away after shifting the bike back in position.  So much for getting ready to worship God and leading the rest into a time of fellowship. While strumming the guitar, I felt so 'unreal' and the topsy turvy feeling was very distracting. On the way back, after praying with Van, we decided to do the right thing and go back to put a notice on the bike to ask the driver to call me. We prayed for a 'kind' driver and true enough, God again answered our prayer and the driver returned call and was kind enough to settle with some repayment.  We were glad we did the 'right' thing.

Anyway, welcome to the parenting club and don't despair in your parenting journey ok. Fact that you are doing all these in PRC is already something deeply admirable and highly respectable.  Praying for you and your family!