by Mark Ng
Hi everyone, my name is Mark I am 21 years old this year. My earliest memories of me and my mom were fond ones. I remember eating blackforest cake with her, her coming specifically to my childcare centre to celebrate my birthday, and how I would feel loved and like a king. As I grew older, my relationship with my mother deteriorated. I had always felt that she was unreasonable, overly protective and a typical Asian tiger mom. The rhetoric was: listen to me for I am your mother and I know what is best for you. I hated this, it made me feel that I had no say in the family and was forced to just listen. So two things happened. First, I vowed to be more independent, to rely less on my parents, and to show them that I can think for myself. Second, I closed off my heart to them, I treated my home like a hotel and would answer their questions with only one word replies. I refused to enter into any conversation with them. This also made me close my heart off to God and to others.
Surrendering my family life up to the Lord was such a foreign concept. I had grown so accustomed and numbed to the issues at home. I first felt the pricking of my heart through the testimonies of my fellow SOWers during the school and how they had the courage to work with the spirit to be a sign of salvation to their family through simple gestures like praying for them, and asking their parents out for a meal. These were things that I really wanted to do, but never had the courage to try. I constantly chastised myself for not having the courage to reconcile with my family, especially my mom. During a session on healing, I recalled a memory that I was familiar with: I had had a big fight with my mom, it escalated, and at the end of it she said, “The best thing I can ever do for you, is to give you Jesus”. I did not yet recognise the significance of this message.
During one of the praise and worship sessions in the school, my brother was in pain from his sorrow and his own sufferings. He was wailing out loud and was kneeling right behind me. In that moment when I heard his voice cry out, it really pained me. Though I was afraid, I had to muster up the courage and say a short prayer for strength before going up to him and hugging him. He shared his pain of how unfair it was for him to step up to be the older brother to make conversation with my family because I had chosen to shut myself off, and that was when I realised how selfish I had become. The one person in my family whom I did not want to hurt, I ended up hurting so much. I wept so hard for the first time in many years. What I didn’t know then was how this incident impacted my heart. God was breaking down the walls around my heart that had prevented me from feeling and expressing my emotions. This gave me the courage to approach my mum, give her a hug, and say thank you to her. She asked what for, and I just said for everything. Though it was awkward, and a small gesture, I realised that it meant a lot to her because she was humming while cooking dinner and I could sense the genuine joy that she had experienced.
Recalling how my mom said that the best thing she could ever give me was Jesus, I was enlightened by my sharing partner to see that somehow, my mom recognised in her own human weakness that she had struggled to take care of me and my brother. In her helplessness and desperation, she turned to the only person she knew that could save the family; Jesus. The realisation of how much pain my mother had felt through my actions, her love for me and of how much God has moved in her, finally melted my heart.
To be very honest, although I want to, I have not asked my mother out for a meal, let alone written a letter of affirmation to her. Yet, I am sharing this because I can see the ways in which Jesus is moving in my life in small ways. I now choose to spend more time with my family at home, very little and subtle things like eating more slowly just to sit at the table longer with them, or hugging them just a little bit tighter. I can safely say that the Lord is working in my life, and with His grace, I know that this is the beginning of salvation in my family. The Lord has vindicated my mom’s faith and won victory in my home. And He desires this salvation for you as well if and only if, you allow him to.