Embracing the Life of Discipleship as Mothers

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Embracing the Life of Discipleship as Mothers

Posted on 29 Apr 2024



How did you come to know Christ?



Astrid

I come from a country where each individual is required to declare a religion. Wanting to send me to a better school, my parents declared my religion as Christianity. I grew up with my identity as a Christian and readily accepted the school’s teachings about Jesus.

However, I did not have a genuine personal relationship with Him as what I knew of Him was mere head knowledge. My interaction with Jesus revolved only around me asking Him for what I desired and I would be disappointed when He did not give it to me.

The turning point in my relationship with Jesus happened during my time in Junior College. Back then, I was at the lowest point of my life and came to realise how sinful I was because of the wrong decisions I had made. But it was in my sinfulness that God allowed me to experience His great kindness in forgiving the entirety of my sins. The Gospel became clearer to me as I came to understand the meaning of His death on the cross and how He had washed my sins away. 

As I experienced His deep love and restoring grace, the desire to commit myself to Him grew. As an expression of my thankfulness, I wanted to be faithful to Him.



Ai Hong


I came from a Taoist family and had not heard much about Jesus or Christianity before entering polytechnic. When I encountered The Navigators in my first year at the polytechnic, I was struck by their warmth and friendliness. From there on, I was followed up by The Navigators.

Through the presentation of “The Bridge to Life”, I discovered that the God who created man is a holy and loving God who desires a personal relationship with each individual. I could not deny my sinfulness even though I may have appeared outwardly good in the eyes of others. Jesus is the “bridge” who paid for my sins, so that I may receive God’s forgiveness and be restored to this relationship with God.

John 3:16 was what truly convicted me to receive Jesus Christ:


“For God so loved the world that he gave us His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”


At that point, I found myself agreeing with all that was being shared and responded with simple faith. I prayed to acknowledge Jesus as my Saviour and allowed Him to be the Lord of my life.

That was the start of my faith journey in Christ.



How has The Navigators impacted your and your family's lives today?

Astrid

The fellowship in The Navigators community taught me how to develop my daily devotional life through His Word. Through relating with one another and hearing deep personal lessons from God’s Word, I realized that His Word is indeed very rich and speaks intimately to each individual.


This grew my desire to seek Him increasingly. The consistent reading and meditating of His Word became a delight which drew me closer to God and resulted in a radically transformed life that followed Christ’s.

They also played a significant role in imparting the Great Commission vision and equipping me to carry it out. Back then, Matthew 28:19-20 was something far-fetched as I thought an ordinary person like me couldn't participate in it. However, my mentors faithfully invested their time to teach and train me - beginning with sharing the Gospel, helping others know Christ and eventually helping them to also grow and reproduce.


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to do everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


— Matthew 28:19-20


I am thankful to God for using faithful individuals to lay the foundations of my walk with God and to impart biblical convictions and visions that shaped my life which continue to spur me on.


Growing together in the community with fellow believers


Ai Hong 

One thing my husband and I have learnt through The Navigators is to acknowledge the value of the Word taught and emphasised for growth in our spiritual lives. Along with our daughter, we have started the rhythm of sharing our Quiet Time meditations during our family meals.


We hope that spending time alone with God and hearing God’s word from us at home will help our daughter see and understand life from God’s perspective instead of being led by her own human thoughts in response to daily life situations.


Another area in which we have been impacted is in learning to share God’s heart for people —learning to value each individual that God brings into our lives for personal follow-up and attention.

As I coordinate with my husband to take care of our daughter so that I can meet these individuals for personal follow-up and invite them to our home for dinner fellowships, our daughter can learn not to be self-centred but to grow in her awareness of others’ needs as we invest in others’ lives, more than just focusing all our energy on our own family and child.


Learning to share God's heart for the individual through family dinner



What are your challenges and encouragements in your journey of discipleship as a mother? 


Astrid


There are certainly many challenges in caring for my children (19-month-old daughter and 3-month-old son) while learning to pay the price for discipleship as a mother.

The first challenge was the need for frequent feeding for my daughter when she was young. I had to constantly attend to her needs while spending high travel costs to get to the fellowship. The second challenge I faced was time constraints. As my daughter grew older, I had to return to work and she began to attend infant care. This meant limited time to see her.

I had more control when I had no children whereas now, there are many considerations and arrangements to make. This begins with the needs of the babies; who can care for them when I am away, along with the needs and schedules of different caregivers. There are also times that I feel very limited and distant from my community. Sometimes, I struggle with the thought that I am not good enough as I become less aware of the needs of individuals and am less available to meet their needs. I questioned whether what I do makes any difference in my life and the lives of others.

But God often reminds me of my need to get involved in eternal things and be surrounded by His people. This protects me from becoming inward-looking and living for myself.

Though Samson was gifted with exceedingly great strength and was set apart before his birth, he was concerned only with himself; God could not use him to fulfil His purposes in greater measure for His people. But when Esther, Mordecai and Nehemiah were concerned for God’s people beyond their own lives in the palaces, God used them to testify to His faithfulness and blessing on His people. God encouraged me that I can participate in His wider purposes, beyond my own family.

I am also thankful to God for His grace as He allowed me to experience being refreshed in faith when He directed me to meet a freshman with whom I could follow up.

Furthermore, I have always been uplifted by the support of the generous people in my community in this journey of motherhood despite my limitations. 
For example, different ladies were willing to travel long distances to have one-on-one time together with me while embracing the presence of my 19-month-old daughter. One of the ladies who lives nearby often offers us rides. My mentor who watches over my spiritual condition and growth also continually offers advice and guidance in this journey of motherhood.


Different members of the community came to help care for and spend time with Astrid’s daughter

“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the
needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”


— Isaiah 58:10,12

Isaiah 58:10,12 is a Scripture that I hold close to my heart. It is the same promise that God gave to me many years ago. I hope that I can continue to obey God to become His worker and to invest my life in people.

Ai Hong 


In the early years of my daughter’s growth (before reaching the primary school stage), the challenges I experienced as a young mother were intense and intertwined in the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. I felt limited in terms of giving my energy and time to God and His Kingdom uncompromisingly while adjusting to and keeping up with the responsibilities of a mother to a young child.

As she reaches the tween stage, it is a different season as she is more independent. Yet, it is still a constant challenge to live out God’s calling and purpose for me as a missional disciple—modelling the relationship I have with Jesus in my thoughts, words, attitudes and actions through my mothering role as well as in other relational networks.

Over the years, through Bible studies and godly examples from my disciplemaking community, I have been reminded that discipleship is a journey of following Jesus, the Master in all my life. For those who want to have a deep relationship with Jesus, the journey will bring about challenges and struggles along the way.

Yet, only through these “testings”, can one truly be refined and proven genuine in faith as they persevere in committing themselves to the work of God’s kingdom.


A verse which I often hold to is from 2 Corinthians 12:9:


“But he said to me, ‘My grace is
sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly
about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."


It is humbling to know and be reminded that God’s power is made perfect in weakness. This work of His grace constantly fills up the limitations and weaknesses I see in myself, especially when I was still adjusting through early motherhood while seeking to grow as a disciple and help others in their relationship with God.

I have come to realise that it is not about how much I can do with my human abilities, but how much I am looking to and relying on God's grace to work through my weaknesses as a mother and a disciple.





About Astrid

With experience as a research engineer, Astrid is a mother of 2 young children—a 19-month-old daughter and a 3-month-old son. She has been labouring in the campus ministry since she was a university student.








About Ai Hong


Ai Hong is a mother of an 11-year-old daughter. She has been discipled by The Navigators since her polytechnic days and currently works a full-time job while labouring in the community ministry.









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