“We need women in the workforce!” “Women are necessary to the growth of the economy.” “Women have equal opportunities as men in the working world.” We hear the call of the world. Childcare subsidies, income tax reliefs, and many government schemes are attractively laid out to entice mothers to return to work or continue in their jobs. And closer to our hearts, as parents who think we know what is best for our children, we heed the voice which murmurs, “How can we survive on a single income with Singapore’s exorbitant standards of living? How can we provide the best for our children with just the salary that Dad brings in?” And the even tinier and more subtle voice that whispers to the mother, “Is that all you want to be – ONLY a mother?”
Being content in my calling
“Isn’t it quite a waste to get a degree and stay home? What do you do anyway – change diapers, cook, shower the kids, spend endless hours trying to get your kid to nap…?” and “Did you hear that so and so is working in this company and doing so well… I bet you would have done as well if you hadn’t given up your job.”
The life of a working lady does seem appealing at times – hour-long lunch breaks, the quiet work space, and financial power. The grass on the other side does look greener when you have lunch burning on the stove, an unreasonable toddler, a wailing baby, sick kids, and vomit on the floor – all happening at the same time. Twenty-four hours never seem enough. Everyone wants a part of you. Where is the ‘ME’ time? I become discontent and complain about the calling God has placed me in. I forget that each vocation has its difficult times as well as its joys. I look around me instead of UP to the ONE who has my entire day and life in His hands.
Being content involves praying, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), and meaning it. In all our lives, the question we ought to be asking is, “How does God want me to serve Him?” We must submit to His will for us by His grace alone . Staying at home to mind the home and the children is not ultimately for us or even so our kids will turn out good; for we are just a little sliver of thread in God’s huge tapestry of history which culminates in the redemption of His Church. Being “keepers at home” must serve His purpose for the furtherance of His kingdom directly or indirectly.
It is a fact that my husband and children did interrupt my plans and dreams for further studies and a career. However, a sovereign power moved all of these into place. His plans for me were not interrupted. In fact, I must humbly acknowledge that wherever He places me now, in whatever point of my life, it is perfect for me with respect to His eternal counsel in history. And I must be and will be content, for it most certainly is good.
Leaving a legacy for our covenant children
At 6, I wanted to be a teacher because I had wonderful teachers. At 9, I dreamed of being a detective largely due to the fiction I was reading. At 13, I wanted to be a psychologist or social worker, influenced by the news and the reality of poverty and calamity surrounding me. At 16, I wanted to be a child psychologist / therapist, due to the studies I was pursuing. However, throughout my childhood and youth, being a “mother in Israel” was always the constant. The other vocations I dreamed about were secondary, which might materialise if God did not give children. That was probably because I had a mother who was entirely devoted to her calling, a father whose life revolved mostly around the church, not on his career, and ministers who delivered many sermons on the high calling of motherhood.
What messages are we sending to our children as parents and as a church? “If you don’t study hard…your future will be ruined.” “Doctors, lawyers, and engineers are the way to go.” These are probably remarks many of us have heard from well-meaning adults. Does a low education equate a ruined future?
Our children and young people consciously or unconsciously gain direction for their vocations from our instruction and the preaching, but more importantly through our daily walk. What we hold to as important in our lives, how we respond to their successes and failures, how we submit to God’s will for us in our own callings in life – all contribute to the building up of their dreams and aspirations. What are we instructing our children about their chief end in life? Are they clear that, “…whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”? (1 Cor. 10:31). This admonition comes to us regardless of whether we like our callings or not. We are ambassadors of the kingdom above and represent our King in this temporal abode. We must do our best, not to gain earthly credit, the praise of men, and good grades for a promising future, but our driving force must be God’s glory. Our chief end: His glory alone!
Saved in Childbearing
As a young person, I had always wondered at this verse: “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing” (1 Tim. 2:15). How in the world are women saved when they bring forth children? A minister explained that the text refers to mothers being sanctified through the raising and nurturing of their children. Well, that made things clearer. However, the verse only hit home when I had children of my own.
Indeed, I can see now how the sleepless nights, the dirty diapers, the tantrums, and the weariness all contribute to my sanctification. Many lessons I have learnt in this short journey of motherhood, but the greatest one would definitely be:“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). I can do all things ONLY because Christ gives me strength to do them. The apostle Paul wrote this epistle in bonds, awaiting certain death, and in the verses preceding this verse he says, “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). When we are content with God’s lot for our lives, we will know His unwavering, victorious, and resolute strength to face each day and its battles in our respective callings in life.
Our vocations, whatever they may be, are part of our sanctification, to make us ready to be fitted as lively stones in His kingdom above. And God in His wisdom ordained that mothers be sanctified through the raising and nurturing of His precious lambs in the sphere of the covenant home. Hence, He will certainly grant us sufficient grace to fulfil our callings as covenant mothers for His glory alone.
Written by: Dorcas Lee | Issue 52