7 April 2008
You know, I used to envy an ex-colleague who had been blessed with many good helpers and had even groomed some to be writers. I told God I want to do the same. When we needed a helper, I asked God for one who loves the Lord and is teachable so He can use us to prepare her to be ‘…a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord…’ Isaiah 62:3 (NASB). Chee Meng and I believe that she should be like one of us, eating at the same table, sharing the same food, worshipping with us during family devotion, partaking in communion and having fun together. Naturally, I was thrilled when Irene came!
Irene has been with us for slightly more than one week but I feel as if I’ve known her for a long time. Irene is a Christian. Back in Philippines, she attended a Methodist church. During her stint with her previous employer’s family, who were pre-believers, she could only go to a local church with fellow Filipinos during her off days. Irene first came with us to church last Sunday. At the end of the service, she told me she felt very comfortable – she understood the message and knew all the songs, even the doxology. Praise the Lord for the familiarity! It is my prayer that while she is away from her loved ones, she would find her unshakable home in Christ.
Showing Irene how to use my pots, make bread, juice fruits and vegetables, clean the house and do the laundry is a joy. She is an astute learner and would apply what she has learnt almost immediately lest she forgets. If she didn’t understand, she would ask. Irene also respects me. She keeps me informed and would seek my permission when she’s uncertain. Once, she even asked me if she has to wash her long hair that day. I was astounded but am grateful for the thoughtful gesture. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how we can be good stewards of our resources. I thought of many ideas on how to save energy and/or recycle water, plastic bags, various containers and even ways to cut down our trash. I share my ideas with Irene and you know what? She fine tuned them. Now, at home, I experience a greater level of efficiency and efficacy. I even have uninterrupted time for exercise. WOW!!! Generally, everything functions smoothly and hiccups are resolved quickly. For instance, today, I told her we would cook rice and heat up some food at about 4.30pm. But I dozed off and woke up at 5pm!! I jumped up and scooted to the kitchen, only to find that dear Irene has already washed the rice and was preparing to heat up the rest of the food. And that was after she has read the new devotion I gave her and swept the floor, the latter done at her own initiative.
As Irene and I do things together, we talked and shared about ourselves. It’s incredible how many things we have in common. Both of us are Methodists, joined the band in our secondary school days, appreciate music and arts, enjoy home grown/made food/meals, delight in homemaking, adore children, strive to come up with ways to improve the processes at home (do we get any award for WITS?) and we believe the importance of brushing our teeth and tongues – to remove bad breath.
The children took to Irene right away. They asked her many questions; if she knows this and whether she can do that. When she doesn’t know, she would say, “Teach me.” That humble attitude impressed me. Irene loves the children and plays and reads with them. She encourages them and reminds them to do what is right. Ever since I had John, Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV) has been my earnest plea:
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
I envisage this desire of mine becoming more of a reality with Irene joining us. Having similar beliefs, interests and mindset would significantly enhance my efforts in homeschooling as well. I am excited at the higher level of learning and family togetherness that we will achieve at the end of our homeschooling year.
We learn many things from Irene too. She tells us about all the fruits (including mulberry), vegetables and grains her family cultivates in Philippines and how they plant and harvest the crops. I sense the good work ethic in her family. In spite of problems and difficulties, they did not waver in their faith. I thank God that Irene has parents and older siblings who are good role models.
Does Irene sound too good to be true? Irene is truly a commendable worker – she is very serious when it comes to getting the work done. In fact, she is the one who cannot tolerate the dust on the floor and would sweep often. She also asked me if she could reorganize my store room and closets. Does Irene do everything perfectly? Nope. Of course she makes mistakes. Surprisingly, I find myself very tolerant of her blunders. I would make things right and then tell her how to avoid making the same mistake again. Can I trust her with the home and children? Yes! The Lord affirms my decision with His peace. Would her good work attitude be short-lived, like all the terrifying tales I hear? I do not know and cannot worry about. My prayer is that when I stand to account for my life before the Lord, He will commend me as a faithful servant leader.
As our church embarks on the 40 Days of Community today, I sense the Lord teaching me the meaning of living, learning, growing and serving together as a community within my family. Only with this unity of hearts and minds, will we able to draw others unto the Lord beyond our nuclear family. Yes! We will be BETTER TOGETHER! 🙂
Serving the Lord,