Pastoral Perspectives

The Best Place To Be A Mother

Recently, the Straits Times (6th May) cited a report by Save the Children, a London-based charity which indicated that Singapore is the best place in Asia to be a mother. But as with any quantitative studies, it is important to understand the context in which Singapore is said to have performed well. In this case, the organisation arrived at the conclusion by comparing 178 countries in terms of maternal health, child mortality, education, levels of women’s income and political status.

We all know that being a mother is no walk in the park even if the abovementioned conditions are present. After all, it is one thing for a woman to be able to enjoy good health and give birth to a healthy baby, it is a different matter whether this same woman will continue to enjoy good health when her child is lagging behind her peers in school or turning out to be an angsty adolescent. Likewise, a mother may be holding on to a high paying job and have her concerns presented at parliamentary debates. But it is a separate issue whether this will help the mother provide comfort for her children during their times of sorrow and enable her to enjoy strong bonds with them.

Furthermore, there are different phases that a mother goes through. From being concerned about whether she has enough breastmilk to whom her child will marry, each phase has its unique share of joys and challenges. For some, they recall their early phase of motherhood to be physically demanding, given the sleep deprivation, endless mundane chores and incessant crying of a needy infant. On the other hand, it never fails to bring a smile whenever a toddler cuddles up to the mother simply because he wants to. For others, they may feel emotionally drained as they deal with their teenager over a discipline issue or when they have to counsel their child about who they should be dating.

I hope that when we think about where the best place to be a mother is, it will be more than just a particular country on the map. Instead, what will come to mind will be the Church, the community of God’s people. I say this because the Bible reminds us that in Christ, believers are graciously blessed with every spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). This would certainly include God’s grace and empowering to enable those who are mothers to fulfill their responsibilities and live a life which glorifies God even as they nurture their children.

Undoubtedly, if the church is a healthy community, it will be a wonderful place to be a mother. This is because a healthy community will firstly be a place where God’s truth is being faithfully taught and lived out. While the world believes that a woman’s number of years in school would help her as a mother, we know that wisdom is from God (Proverbs 2:6). When mothers seek to walk humbly in the fear of God and apply God’s truth in their own lives and in the way they raise up their children, God promises that there is much to be gained (Pr 3:8, 16-18).

In addition, in a healthy church, we will also find believers who are generous and loving in the giving of themselves, their time and their resources. The members will rally around mothers in their times of need, especially those who are widows or have children with special needs and health concerns. We will find practical ways to lighten a stay-home mother’s burden such as offering to babysit so that she can enjoy a night’s out with her husband without any worries.

Moreover, the older woman will teach what is good and mentor the younger woman (Titus 2:3-5). They do so not from a position of superiority or with a legalistic zeal but as fellow recipients of God’s grace. They will be those who offer encouraging words to mothers who struggle with getting their toddlers out of their homes for Sunday worship instead of shaking their heads in disapproval when a child acts up during the service. They will be those who grieve together with the mother and intercede for her child who has grown spiritually cold instead of making snide remarks and thinking that they would have been able to do a better job.

If it takes a whole village to raise a child, then I guess the church is certainly the best place to start with. Besides, where else will God’s presence and favour be found if not in the midst of His Bride whom Christ has redeemed with his precious blood?

Have a Blessed Mother’s Day!

Pastor Edwin

May 11, 2014