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Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Flowers of comfort

Baby's Breaths & Sweet Williams

Recently, my stress level has increased significantly.

Joash is entering primary school while Jayna is going to a new kindergarten, with Jaide joining her at nursery level. Preparing for a new school year is already pretty daunting. Adding on the worry over my father-in-law's ailing health and the struggle to strike a balance between making sure he is taken care of and respecting his wishes, my emotional reserves are being drained beyond empty. I lose sleep mulling over logistical and financial concerns that come with moving in with the in-laws should the need arise.

All these have to coincide with Joshua's peak work period so I have to hold the fort without his help. It also happens to be the time of toilet training for Jaide and Jayna's progress toward being diaper-less at night. It doesn’t help at all that our strong-willed 2 year old is still not speaking properly enough to communicate her needs and wants, resulting in numerous exhausting tantrums to deal with daily. The wrestling with her regarding water drinking is especially tiring. She barely finishes a bottle in three days! I’m far busier now because Joram is getting dangerously mobile and I wonder how long more before his reflux will be outgrown or cured. Not to mention that I am responsible for many things with regards to a Christmas outreach next month.

Even though I really love flowers and I used to buy them for myself whenever I felt distressed before marriage, I have been consciously refraining from indulging in them due to our tight budgeting constrains. I only allowed myself the occasional admiring glances whenever I pass by the flower shop on my way to buy the groceries.

This morning, I felt that it was time to bring out the big guns. Yet, I could not rid myself of the guilt over the frivolous expense, I agonized over what to get, much to the amusement of the shop attendant. In the end, I settled on small flowers without all the trimmings at $7.80. They will last a few days at best so it’s not worth splurging so much.

I am so glad to have made the purchase. I took my vase of flowers everywhere I went in the house, from the bedroom table while I played with the kids to the kitchen where I did the laundry. It reminded me of the God’s beautiful creation and that He would take care of me the way He takes such great care to design insignificant flowers which will be here today and gone tomorrow. I can indeed trust in my loving and almighty God.

Or course, ideally, it would have been wonderful to have a garden or even simply a pot of flowers, which can last much longer. However, those take plenty of work and money. I’m hard-pressed finding the time to rest and take care of myself, let alone sparing any effort for gardening. For now, I take immense pleasure in the simple arrangement of white and purple on my table.

For most part of my life, I’ve lived from hand to mouth. I had very few toys as a child and could only afford 4 sets of new clothes each year. I put myself through tertiary education and did not take money from my family since Junior college. I’ve worked almost every conceivable part-time job there existed for an undergrad and whatever money I saved during the years as a teacher went into repaying my tuition fee loan. I survived on support-raising as a Christian worker. Then, I got married on a shoe-string budget, because my fiancĂ© did not have any savings of his own, and bought a 3-roomed flat which required minimal renovations using CPF. After marriage, whatever we saved went into helping my husband repay his leftover tuition fee loan and our wedding debt. Now, I manage a household of 6 on a single income and we’re hardly getting by.

It would really be nice to have savings for a change sometime in the future and stop living the hand to mouth existence. It would be nice not to constantly worry about whether we have enough money for necessities. However, I have been greatly blessed by the Maker of these gorgeous flowers I so adore. No matter how hard life is, I have never starved and been homeless before. I have learnt to be grateful for what I have: the insurmountable riches in Christ Jesus.

Bought the flowers
while getting grocery

While playing with the kids

While feeding the children

While doing laundry

Matt. 6:28-34

  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

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