I was inspired to reflect on how I have been living my life based on a series of questions in this blog post. Upon reflecting, I realised that I have put a lot of effort in parenting and have read shelves full of parenting books and even children's books.
A few days ago, a sermon by John Ortberg challenged me to reconsider my priorities. In Luke 11:27,28, someone commended Jesus' mother for giving birth to him and for nursing him. Instead of acknowledging the praise heaped on Mary his mother, Jesus exhorted those who obeyed the word of God.
I have never given much thought to these verses, despite having read the book of Luke a number of times. In fact, I may even have dismissed the woman in the crowd as ludicrous for making such an irrelevant statement while Jesus was speaking. John Ortberg's insight was that Jesus deemed one's personal walk with God more important than his / her parenting responsibilities and it does appear to be so now that he has mentioned.
Thus, in the new year, my priority will be to renew my relationship with God and read His word more. I will also encourage my children to do the same. As I am writing, I am reminded of an incident: One day, when I was asking Little An to read the Bible, she said, "Have you read your Bible? I didn't see you reading your Bible today!" Modelling is really important!
I will also continue to read books by the Clarksons as I have been so positively influenced by their family's ideals. Previously, I have enjoyed Francine Rivers' books and remember being inspired in my walk with God even though her books are mainly fiction ones. Since I have forgotten most of the stories, I will try to reread them this year. CS Lewis and John Ortberg are other authors whose books are on my to-read list.
Speaking of John Ortberg, I was hugely influenced by his "All the Places to Go" and have stepped out of my comfort zone to enrol myself as a part-time student this year. I pray that my research will be beneficial to many and that my children will not be short changed in terms of my time with them as I embark on this journey.
I won't be sharing all my reflections in this post as some thoughts are private. I will end this post with a prayer instead:
I commit 2017 into Your hands. Use my family and me to fulfil Your purpose. May we bring joy and words of hope and peace to others. Help us to be patient and kind in all our words and actions even when it is difficult. May we be a beacon of light in a fallen world.
I pray that anyone who reads this post be challenged to know You more. Bless him / her richly.
In Jesus' name,
Blessed 2017. :)