INFJS tend to see helping others as their purpose in life (www.16personalities.com/infj)
That’s a pretty accurate description of me and probably why I chose social work as my major in university.
Meeting up with my friends who are still in the field, reading about community initiatives that have been started from the ground and social enterprises making impact in society – I felt encouraged, I felt inspired.
But I also felt left out. Here I am making an impact in just 3 little persons’ life. Most of the time, I’m just too exhausted at the end of the day to do anything else, much less have the energy to help anyone else or serve in any ministry. One thought led to another and then I started to think that what I do has no meaning and no purpose. Looking after kids and having a very administrative part-time job just didn’t seem to make the cut of making a difference in the community, I felt hopeless.
As I was wallowing in these thoughts, I met 3 people in a span of one week:
- She takes care of 3 grandchildren and her husband, who amputated his leg. She has to fetch her grandchildren to and fro school and they all go to different schools. And she’s expecting a 4th grandchild to take care of.
- He told me he quit his job as a bus driver to take care of his 2 grandchildren and wheelchair bound wife. He fetches his grandchildren to and fro school, and also brings his wife for morning walks.
- Every morning, she takes the public bus from Toa Payoh to Ang Mo Kio to fetch her granddaughter from school and supervises her homework. Thereafter she fetches another 2 grandchildren from school and prepares dinner, and then returns to her home in Toa Payoh by bus again.
Obviously God had a message for me:
Do such “work” that these 3 grandparents engage in count for as nothing?
I felt ashamed that I should think of their caregiving duties as not having any meaning or purpose.
So in 2019, with faith in my heart, I believe this path that I’ve chosen has a meaning and a purpose in my life. Jesus cleanse me from all these self-defeating, self-pitying, self-condemning thoughts and I shall have hope that whatever my hands undertake, small or mundane, has an impact in someone’s life.
I still remember very vividly on the day of Noah’s birth, in the labour ward, the midwife checks with me: your 5th pregnancy?
We chose the name, Noah, because he was borne out of rest, by God’s grace. Not by our own striving, hardwork or efforts. After having 2 miscarriages, we decided to not to keep worrying or even pray ‘hard’ for smooth pregnancy. Instead we stayed mindful of God’s grace and His promises for us.
It was not a smooth pregnancy at all: spotting throughout till the third trimester, fibroids, yeast infection, gestational diabetes.
But never once did the word ‘miscarriage’ threatened us.
Noah turned 1 year old in February. Even as third-time parents, there have been so many trials and challenges. But this time around, we listened more to our paternal instincts, the Holy Spirit. We are also very thankful for all our families and friends who had been praying for us throughout the pregnancy and birth. It has truly been a journey of resting in God’s grace.
I’ve been reminiscing about the past. My childhood. The good old days. And at the same time, I’m worrying about the future. My retirement. The coming end days. I think about the house I used to live in, and the house I yearn for. I think about the holidays I enjoyed, and the holidays I dream about. I think about my children when they were babies, and the adults they will grow into. At times, I feel that I’m almost losing my mind, myself, in all these thoughts, in all the busyness and noises around me.
And in one quiet moment, as I push the stroller along a shady path, just me and my sleeping baby, I become mindful of the present, of the living word of God…
“Give us each day our daily bread” – Luke 11: 3
Not the stale bread of yesterday, and not the un-risen bread of tomorrow but the bread for today.
So these days, I’m savouring each moment, I’m being mindful of His presence and I’m living each day for His glory.
Up till 2010, I’ve always made a point to make new year resolutions. Then my firstborn came along in December 2010 and I have stopped since.
With children in my life, the years didn’t seem to have a clear start and a stop for me. The children are growing, developing and changing constantly, continuously. Every new year’s eve, we still get them to bed on time. There is no party, no watching the night, not even a countdown as we will be in bed by 11pm. My identity has been so enmeshed with the children that resolutions made on my end just wouldn’t make any sense.
Perhaps a word to usher in the new year would be more apt. A word to bring hope, inspire, encourage in the days ahead.
My word for this year, is ‘flowing’ – flowing with the spirit, flowing to rest, flowing in the unforced rhythms of grace. What would be your word for the new year?
Dear friends, my previous website (jarfulofplenty.com) is no longer active and I’ve also deleted all my posts there. But I’ve decided to continue writing as a form of practice for myself. Thank you for dropping by here and taking the time to read my posts.