Serving One Another in Marriage

This year we swapped our 6 feet Christmas tree for a wall tapestry for a more minimalistic look. Even though it was so simple and plain, I was blown away by Alexis’s ingenuity when he suggested adding back-lit lights. It made a world of difference and transformed our 2D Christmas tree to look like a 3D version.

Putting up the Christmas deco every year is Alexis’s way of showing his love for me beacuse he always feels it’s such a hassle to put them up and take them down.

And yet he does it.

Year after year without fail.


Love is not always just about doing the things we enjoy but doing the things that delight our partner too.

Likewise, I’ve been channeling my inner Marie Kondo to keep the home more organised the way he likes instead of insisting that we can live in organised chaos. This has been an uphill task for me and in our latest attempt to declutter the study room, I ended up in tears as it was just so overwhelming trying to throw things I used to cherish and love.

But love is sacrificial. Even though we’re not out to change or fix each other to be more like the other, taking these small steps forward to a compromise shows that we respect our partners and are willing to do things outside our comfort zones. Marriage is a dance of we, rather than me where we serve each other with Christ-like love.

Serving one another with love and honor

The best marriage is where both are committed to serving each other and the worst marriage is two selfish people who only want what’s best for themselves. We serve because Jesus led by example and washed his disciples’ feet. Jesus didn’t come to be served but he came to serve us and lay down his life for us.  A Godly marriage seeking to honor and glorify Christ must have this kind of attitude.

So today, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How can I delight my partner?
  2. How can I serve my spouse?

Serve our spouse because we love them, not to receive anything in return. And don’t forget to show appreciation at every opportunity.

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Supporting our children even when we’re disappointed

With the year-end exams done and dusted, many parents are now waiting to see how our children will fare in their exams results. I’m surprised that Sophie’s exams concluded a lot earlier than most schools and she came back with her results this week.

Now I’ve been mentally prepared by parents with older children to anticipate a drop in grades from Primary 4 to Primary 5 as the syllabus gets tougher. But nothing could have prepared her for the major disruption in her studies when COVID-19 came into the picture. Students were thrown into HBL where they had to learn to swim on their own.

Even though as parents we tried our best to coach her, we found the curriculum getting more challenging and demanding. In fact, I’m often stumped when she comes to me for help in her Maths and I have to send her to Daddy instead.

With all this information at the back of my mind and a better understanding of the demands and disruptions she faced, I reminded myself that Sophie’s results are what she’s worked hard which cannot be discounted.

Dealing with our disappointment

Even then, I found myself letting out sighs of disappointment and shaking my head when I flipped her through her exam scripts and saw careless mistakes which could have been avoided.

We know that our body language speaks louder than our words hence it wasn’t hard for Sophie to pick up on my displeasure. I couldn’t help myself and questioned if she checked her work thoroughly with a hint of vexation.

“You forgot the concepts you revised just before the exams?”

“I thought you tried doing these kinds of questions before?”

Then came thoughts of “Maybe she needs tuition this school holidays. Were we too relaxed for the year-end exams?

I signed her exam papers grudgingly and asked myself why I felt so let down by her performance.

Once again, I’m reminded that Sophie’s exams should never be about me in the first place.


Our children’s exam is more about them and not us.


I recognised how my heart is so prone to fall back on the world’s standards for our children, measuring my child’s ability by her grades. But we must always remember that they are worth so much more than their achievements and to affirm them for every small victory.

Taking accountability for their results

When it comes to academics, many parents desire for our children to be self-motivated. If we acknowledge that this trait has to come from within them, then we should allow our children to be accountable for their exam results.

Before telling them how we feel, ask them how they feel about their grades. Are they satisfied with their achievement? What areas did they fare well in and which areas can they improve?

By allowing them to process their thoughts and feelings, we are getting to reflect and find solutions for themselves.

What our children do not need is comparing them, shaming them or forcing them.

READ: When expectations turn into exasperation

Supporting our children even when we’re disappointed

3 constructive responses we can give to our children to build their resilience are:

  1. Recognise their progress
  2. Validate their feelings
  3. Affirm their efforts

It’s undeniable that Singapore’s education is like a pressure cooker. As parents, let’s not give our children additional stress of trying to meet our expectations.

Over the years, God is reminding me to open my eyes to pay more careful attention to every effort that Sophie put in and to continually affirm and speak life to her.

As we prayed that night, I listed all the ways she has matured in her learning journey through the years.

From learning to take responsibility for her studies, planning her revision timetable to being more independent to find finding answers from her teachers or friends. We praised God that through this stressful period even hen her eczema flared up, her recovery was swift and less painful.

And most importantly, Sophie learned to turn to God when she was feeling anxious before her exams and she felt the assuring comfort of God’s presence as she took her exams.

Acknowledging every small win. Counting each victory.

Guardians of our child’s mental well-being

There’s been so much spotlight on the growing need to take care of our children’s mental health. As parents,  we are the primary guardians for their mental well-being. In spite of our disappointments, let’s not place labels on our children based on their abilities and guide them to be forward-thinking with a growth mindset.

This article, “The upside of being average as recently shared by friends and this quote is so true. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

With God’s help and grace, I want to keep at my goal of being a supportive parent, always reminding Sophie that at the end of the day, it’s attitude over aptitude. Her eternal value and identity as a precious child of God as well as our beloved daughter will never change and look forward to seeing the promises of God lived out in her life.



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When expectations turn into exasperation

It’s the last quarter of 2020. Like many others, I don’t know what the year-end has in store for us but one thing is for sure – the end-of-year examinations.

While MOE may have scrapped the mid-year exams for Primary 5 in an effort to move away from an overemphasis of academic results, there’s no escaping the year-end examinations that loom closer with each passing day. Yesterday, the Primary 6s celebrated the end of their most important exam in life the PSLE, and next year it will be Sophie’s turn.

I think I’m a far cry from being an Asian Tiger Mum who pushes her child to excel academically at all cost. Yet, like all parents, I want my child to do nothing less than her best.

High Stakes Exams. High Stress. 

After all, the stakes for the year-end exams are high. 65% of the academic year’s grades to be precise.

So yes, I blow my top if I see sloppy work, careless mistakes, laziness and a couldn’t care less attitude from my girl. I would be more forgiving though if she has difficulty grasping a Science concept or when she’s stumped by a Maths problem sum (both subjects were my nemeses back in school) and send her off to Daddy for solutions.

However lately, we find our patience increasingly wearing thin. I would fume when I see unanswered questions in past year papers and questioned if she was even trying hard enough. My husband who was in charge of coaching her Maths and Science also blew his top.

“You should know all these by now.”

“How can you still make such mistakes?”

In exasperation, I shot the question if she was even trying hard enough. She snapped.

You can’t see my efforts but what makes you think I’m not trying my best?” Sophie fired back in frustration.

Regrettably, in hindsight, we should have known better than to assume the worst of her. Months of HBL was hard on her when learning took a drastically different form. It made us feel like lousy parents when hurtful words were exchanged. For not empathising with the stress she was facing and walking in her shoes.

Be anxious about nothing

Upon deeper reflection, I realised that I was transferring my anxieties onto Sophie. My expectations for her to do well turned to exasperation. Both for my daughter and myself.

It was hard to admit that even as a Christian mum who had good intentions for my child, I was caught under the wave of worldly pressure to measure my child by her achievements and grades.

As I looked deep within myself, a part of us pushing her so hard to excel is so that we as parents can look good too. But while my daughter is my pride, she’s not my trophy child to boast about.


READ: The power of life-giving words 

Taking a study break

Taking a study break

I’m not saying that grades do not matter in her academic pursuits but they cannot define her. And I would never want her to think that we love her any less if she came back with less than stellar results. More importantly, our love for her should and must always be unconditional because we are loved unconditionally by our Heavenly Father.

Does that mean we should not hold any expectations for our children at all? There is a saying, “没有期望就没有失望”. Loosely translated as “without expectations, there will be no disappointment”.

But I beg to differ. After all, we as children of God are to do our best in everything we do.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”

Quoting Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord”. That applies to our children, who are charged to study wholeheartedly for God’s glory. That means having a good attitude when they study, planning their time well, and growing their resilience to bounce back from setbacks. Not forgetting to take care of their physical health and emotional well-being.

Recalibrating our expectations

As we enter the height of exams fever, it’s inevitable for parents to be stressed. But we can take a step back to see the big picture.

I felt the nudge of the Lord asking me, “Where is your treasure, where is your heart in all these?”

If we are truly convicted that our children are not measured by their grades, our words and actions must match our intentions.

Do I only praise when she does well but withhold affirmation if she failed to match up to my expectations?

My Study Buddy Resource from Our Daily Bread

My Study Buddy Resource from Our Daily Bread

READ: Failing to be a patient mum, again

As I learn to temper my expectations and ask God to put my pride aside to do what’s best for Sophie, the tense learning atmosphere began to slowly dissipate.

I am more mindful of what I say and use kinder words to support my child’s learning. To encourage her by speaking words of affirmation to show that, “Yes, Mummy believes in you!” As a result, I see her putting in more effort because she’s assured she is simply loved for who she is and not what’s going to be in her report book.

Parents, let’s redirect our exasperations into encouragement instead. Speak positively over our children. Never lose sight that they are our precious gift from our Heavenly Father and trust God with their future.

Resources for Christian parents

These parenting resources have been so useful in helping me to recalibrate my expectations for my child. I pray that you will be encouraged as a parent who is supporting your child for their exams.

  • Race to Praise – Resources to develop stronger parent-child relationships and instill confidence in children


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Forgiveness makes our marriage better, not bitter

Forgiving someone is difficult but humbling yourself to seek forgiveness? That’s a tall order.

When we are confronted with our mistakes, our natural instinct kicks in to flight or fight. We flight when we retreat in silence or build walls to guard our emotions from further pain. Perhaps we don’t fight in the physical sense where blows are exchanged, instead we fight to seek justice, to retaliate, to get even.

Yes, even getting back at our spouse. We get even with character assassination by pointing out their flaws, justifying that they too have their imperfections.

We get triggered. We get angry. We get hurt.

If not careful, our defensiveness can lead us down a slippery slope where bitterness take roots in our heart.

Love keeps no records of wrong

But love is not selfish. Neither is self-seeking, protecting our self interest and dignity. Instead in 1 Corinthians 13:5, it say that love is “not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.

You know what happens when we keep records of wrongs? The past gets brought up, again and again like a broken record because you’ve not let go of the hurt inflicted on you.

Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.

Without even realising it, you find yourself hardening your heart towards your partner and can’t stand everything they do. Instead, ask God to soften your heart  to prepare you to accept the rebuke in love.

If you’re in the wrong, apologise.

Stop keeping scores

It is never easy to make a apology especially when we feel indignant. Our sinful nature keeps whispering to us that we cannot back down and lose.

This was what played out in my head as I was fuming and asking God why can’t my husband see the plank in his eye when he pointed out my shortcomings. But the Holy Spirit told me that if I humble myself and not get blinded by my anger, I’ll be able to see my husband’s perspective and agree that there is truth in what he said.

As I prayed for God to help me walk in obedience and not keep scores, He told me to take caution that I don’t allow my heart to get hardened. Harden towards my husband or hardened toward God because I wouldn’t be sensitive to hear to hear His voice and prompting.

Get better, not bitter

Eventually, I had to eat humble pie and laid aside my pride to ask for forgiveness. I choose to be better, not bitter as I’m not allowing the devil to have a foothold in my marriage by sowing seeds of discord and disunity between me and my husband.

Post reconciliation, we made a pact to be more thoughtful to each other’s feelings when we speak the truth in love. That he’ll be kinder with his tone and I’ll be less sensitive when I receive his message. Learning to communicate will be a lifelong journey but it can only get better when we learn to listen with our hearts and not listen to defend ourselves.

Maybe you have been hurt or misunderstood and bitterness has come between you and your spouse. Identify the issues, the conflict triggers and work at resolving them one by one. Uproot bitterness in your relationship and work towards reconciliation as you draw close to God for his grace in your marriage.

Remember forgiveness makes our marriage better, not bitter.

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about Marriage and Relationship.

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Raising teens to be independent

Dear mums of teenagers, how do you do it?

How do you have certainty to know you are raising teens to be independent and confident?

To trust that your child who once had their tiny hand gripped to yours, walking shyly beside you is ready to let go and chart their own path. To be sure your child is capable of making good decisions as they enter adolescence – a stage that is wonderful, challenging and confusing all at the same time.

The teenage phase where we ought to slowly loosen our grip, so our youths can take to the skies like a kite without us holding them back.

When our kids are young, instruct them. As they get older, inspire them

I found myself in this place of tension when Sophie turned 11 years old this month. To me, she’ll always be my baby even though she protests to that endearing term because it embarrasses her. Yet, it’s undeniable that she’s evolving to be her own person with each passing birthday.

While there may be a thousand and one things I worry about my daughter, from friendships, academics, untold dangers online and the list goes on, I remind myself to trust she’ll turn out good and fine as she slowly develops independence.

A strong foundation where good seeds of character and faith were sown to root her in good values. I look back at those many life lessons and know that not one of them will be in vain.

  • From the time I taught her to dust off the dirt and stand on her feet when she fell at the playground.
  • The time when she was bullied in Primary 1 and learnt that not everyone will be kind with their words.
  • The time when I trusted her with a mobile phone and taught her the importance of responsible phone usage and consequences if she breaks our trust.

Navigating changes at different stages of our children’s life require new approaches. When our children are younger, they need clear and direct instructions. As they become a teenager, they need us to inspire them.

Raising teens to be independent 

Beyond teaching our children life lessons, as parents, our role according to Proverbs 22:6 is to “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

I often tell Sophie that independence is a mark of maturity. That while she’s taking one step away from us towards independence, she’s taking a step closer to God, as she learns to depend on Him.

But having a rock solid faith in God for our children doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it doesn’t happen just because they tag along for church and go to Sunday School. But it happens when parents are intentional in sowing seeds of faith, and nurturing our children in God’s Word.

Raising teens to be independent from parents but dependent on God

Only when our teens are rooted in God’s Word, can they internalise the promises of God personally and look to Him knowing “my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1).

Our charge from God is to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” and this cannot be outsourced to anyone else.

Make God’s Word a priority for your teen

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalms 119: 9-11

Build up your child’s faith day by day. To live out the truth, they first need to know the truth.

We’ve been using this series of devotions from Our Daily Bread which are written specially for children for our family devotions. The stories are relatable and challenges kids to make God’s Word applicable in their lives with reflection points and actionable ideas. You can get a copy by clicking on the link above.

For parents using the Bible app, there is also a Kids Bible Experience inside the YouVersion App. Sophie enjoys the video segment which makes her daily devotions more engaging. I like that there are practical insight on how to apply God’s Word in her life.

Through discovering God’s Word, I believe Sophie will learns she’s never alone even as she grows in independence from us because God is for her and is always with her.

So parents, don’t be anxious when your child slowly gains their independence. Celebrate their next milestone. Set them on a firm foundation by raising your teens to be independent with a healthy dependence on God.



If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about parenting and motherhood

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