A lesson for parents and the church

Posted in Culture

As Mothers Day approaches, Rev Steph Tai (pictured above, with her family) reflects on an important lesson motherhood taught her - one that she believes also applies to the church.

It was five years ago, I had been a mum for all of about a minute and I was feeling pretty out of my depth as you can imagine.

I was tired. Really tired.

My whole routine had changed and been taken over by the whims of this little man. I was somehow supposed to know what he wanted… but rarely felt like I did.

I used to spend my days engaged in practical, spiritual and strategic conversations. Now I spent my time in vomit-covered pyjamas and my greatest achievement for the day was a shower, if I was lucky.

I was driving along in the car, the baby was screaming as usual, and I had a thought land in my mind: “Wow, I am really selfish. I guess God has a lot more work to do in me than I thought.”

This thought wasn’t based in a feeling of guilt – self-care and having a village around you is vital to all people, including mothers.

Instead, the thought came from the sudden realisation that there is something in me that is deeply driven by me and my needs, placing them before anyone else – even my son, whom I love.

Here was this little baby, who really didn’t have a choice about coming into this world, who needed me to survive, and all I could think about was how it was effecting me and my life.

I realised my preferences and the way I lived my life had to change. It wasn’t comfortable, and certainly wasn’t always enjoyable. Sure, my son was cute, which helped, but at 3am it still wasn’t enough for me to forget the comfort of my bed.

Our own preferences, the way we have always done things, or what makes us comfortable can be a very strong factors in our lives. But what if we need to reassess them to allow the next generation to survive?

While I was originally reflected on this from my perspective as a mother, I have since realised that it is something that also applies to the church.

If we – as Christians and church communities – hold too tightly to our preferences, we won’t be giving life and room to grow for the generations that are following.

It may not be easy or enjoyable to think about, but for the kids, young people and new believers to thrive, we are going to need to be uncomfortable. For them to grow, we are going to need to change the way we have always done things.

It will be messy. We may even lose sleep. And they will not always be cute… But it will be worth it.

I guess God has a lot more work to do in all of us. Being a parent, even a spiritual parent, means that you do what it takes to love and provide space for them to grow – not into carbon copies of ourselves, but into who God has created them to be.

Amazing things happen in ourselves and our communities when we choose to put aside our preferences and raise a new generation to thrive.

The Uniting Church SA Intergen team have prepared a number of Mothers Day resources over past years. They are available here.

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Comments (3)

  1. Sue Ellis 10 may 2017, 16:43 Link
    Great story! Thanks for a timely word Steph. «The one who loses their life will gain it»