I grew up in a Christian family with 2 older brothers and would go to church regularly. Being the only girl and the youngest at home, my mum was often strict and had high expectations of me. Whenever I got my exam results back and it wasn’t up to expectations, she would use words such as ‘you are stupid.’ and ‘you will never match up to your brothers’. Mathematics had always been one of my weaker subjects. my mom would always put me down despite trying my best.
This went beyond my grades. I remember once when my mum told me to buy some groceries for her. I ended up buying the wrong item and she went on to condemn. I felt extremely hurt by her words and had alot of negativity on my mind . Whatever truths that I’ve learned previously in church about being fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s eyes seemed so far from the truth.
I bottled up all my feelings and never told anyone in church as I was afraid of how they would see me. What my mom said replayed in my head, and I believed in the lies that I was indeed not good enough.
At the start of this year, my second brother, Samuel Tan, who is in IL invited me to this church. I agreed, with the intention of only checking out the place. When I first came, I remember how welcoming Lighters 3 was. They treated me genuinely like family and this surprised me.
I made the choice to stay on because I wanted to grow and started discipleship with Jing Ting. During one of the discipleship sessions, she asked me if I knew about unforgiveness and how it holds the power to cripple people. She asked if I had anyone to forgive, and the Holy Spirit prompted me to forgive my mum for all the hurts experienced over the years. I struggled with it for awhile. I found it hard to honour my mum and not talk back to her, and at the same time not let her words affect me. But I chose to forgive because I knew my mum was strict out of love and concern.
Something lifted off me there and then, I just knew I no longer felt any anger or hatred towards my mum.
This was not the end, in fact, it was just the start. I was determined to make things right with my mum so that I could have a better relationship with her. Step by step, I did my best to improve our relationship by first choosing to forgive her each time she hurt me with her words. For example, a few months ago, when my mum and I were watching TV, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to speak to my mom. I told her that I forgave her for her insensitive words towards me and I don’t blame her anymore. I also made the effort to respect and honour her. Honestly, I thought that my mom would respond well. But instead, she just told me off. That was when I realised that what changed was not her, but me. By forgiving, I had become better and no longer bitter. That gave me the strength and wisdom to choose not to talk back to her. Over the next few months, I’ve also seen how my relationship with my mum has improved. She stopped saying negative and hurtful words to me and we can now properly communicate with each other.
I will still choose to love and honor her no matter what.
Colossians 3:13 (TPT) says
“Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them.”
This verse made me realise that I need to forgive my mum who is a sinner just like me because Jesus Christ didn't just die for me but also for my mum.
Through the recent relationship goals series, I learned not only to care for my mom, but even those around me! It is important to love, care and honour those placed around me with genuinity. God also revealed to me about how the enemy is constantly trying to wage a war by breaking apart my relationship with my mum and how I need to fight for this relationship. Now, I’m also learning about finding my identity in the Father. I recognise that there is no need for me to fear the expectations of others because I have been set free from the unhealthy measurements of worldly expectations when Jesus Christ died on the cross for me.
All these would not have been possible by my own strength but it is only possible through God who is in control. He is my refuge and strength.