By Natasha Wong, 24
COVID19 certainly has been challenging time for each of us. It is as if life threw a curveball into our plans, a spanner in the works – and to deal with the aftermath of lockdowns and restrictions has been a common experience shared by many. For myself, I am also subject to the uncontrollable circumstances, and have found myself facing one of the biggest challenges which I find increasingly difficult to evade – and that is the first community at home, my family.
Living in a 3-generation household of five meant that the house was always filled with chatter, laughter and noise. With the addition of several pets at home, I was fortunate to find that companionship was always available. However, living in close quarters also meant that I had to face the realities of a crowded home – miscommunication, disparities in mindsets and personalities often resulted in misunderstandings and hurts. Coupled with the need for ‘peace’ as a priority, this meant that much unhappiness was often swept under the carpet.
Being perceptive in nature, I picked up on these small disagreements and witnessed the hurts that began to build and cement themselves in the social fabric of my household. I asked the Lord, “Do you see this too?” and I pondered how I could be a witness of faith and allow God to use me to be His grace and healing to my family.
“Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7). This verse rang so true because shortly after this silent prayer in my heart, the opportunity presented itself in the form of my grandmother’s struggles.
My grandmother was going through a personal period of struggle last November, for reasons still unbeknownst to me. The smallest encounters would trigger a disproportionate reaction, and a seemingly harmless passing comment would result in her ending up crying in her room alone and refusing to speak to my family. I personally found this strange as this had become a common occurrence and her distress was a sign that there was something moving deeper.
During her birthday, we had planned to celebrate this wonderful occasion by bringing her out for a lavish tea time meal, however, minutes before we were set to leave, I found her sitting in her room, not yet changed and in tears. It was at that pivotal moment where I asked the Lord, “Jesus, what do you want me to do?” – and I received a strong prompting of Matthew 25: 35-36:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
It was then that I realized that my grandmother was struggling with an unmet need of love – she was hungering for companionship, she was thirsting for affirmation that she was indeed loved by my family. I recalled the times where I prioritised using my phone and watching Netflix instead of giving her my 100% attention when she was telling me about her day, just to name one out of many other occasions. The Lord gave me the strength to die to my pride and prompted me to kneel down beside her, to hold her hand and tell her (in Teochew) that she was greatly loved. In that moment, I was prompted to also ask for her forgiveness for the times which I have failed to love her and I also invited my family members to embrace her in a warm hug, something which I realized has not been done in many years of living together in close quarters. In that moment, I understood that I did not need to embark on a grand trip overseas to do the mission work of God, but that mission is everywhere – particularly at home.
As we finished our group embrace, and left the room for my grandmother to prepare herself for the teatime celebration, I looked back and saw her smile, one that was so wide which I have not personally seen for a long time. My mother shared with me that as she watched me minister to my grandmother, she saw the face of Christ in mine. The Lord continually calls me to minister to my family, and be a witness of Christ by sharing the truths of God’s love with them.
How is He inviting you to be a witness to your family today? ☺