so sweet, encouraging and a creative mind is how i would describe helen. she is one incredibly sweet mama, and i'm so happy to have connected with her.
the way she loves on her little family is so encouraging, and this girl can do party decor in the most charming way.
today i have the pleasure of having her here while she shares her thoughts on motherhood.
helen, tell us a little bit of your story and who you are a mom to?
I'm Helen, a sinner saved by grace since 2005 who attempts, by God's grace, to find her ultimate joy in knowing Him. I met my husband, Alex, at church that same year. I was 17 and he was 18. After becoming friends and serving alongside one another for years, I never fathomed that we'd be anything more. God had other (always better) plans: we began dating in 2010 and got married in 2012. God constantly reveals to me His great love for His church through the covenant of marriage. Life with Alex has been so sweet, which only became sweeter upon the birth of our daughter, Serene Joy, in 2013. Now we're a beyond blessed little family of three, and eight month old Serene has changed our lives in the most joyful way!
motherhood isn't always what we expect, what about motherhood surprised you or has been different than what you expected it to be?
Once Serene entered the world and was put into my arms, the love that I had for her that began when we discovered she was being fearfully and wonderfully formed in my womb, became ever-growing, fiercer, more powerful, and heart-bursting by the day. While I have the privilege of caring for her and loving her imperfectly but constantly, I am humbled by the realization that a parent's love for their child(ren) is but a mere shadow of God's deep and perfect love for Christ. I could not have understood this as tangibly before I became a parent. I am now more in awe of God's great love for us that He would give up His beloved Son for us who are so undeserving, because, let's face it - I can hardly leave Serene with a baby-sitter without stressing!
being a mom is hard work, isn't it? but always rewarding. what do you enjoy most about motherhood?
After graduating from college, I've worked in the entertainment industry, as a classroom teacher, and now in education non-profit. I am convinced for myself that none of these jobs have been as rewarding as motherhood. Trusting in what God says in His Word that being my husband's helper and being my daughter's mother is my highest calling makes motherhood, on the whole, rewarding beyond compare. Since I currently work full-time, I cherish coming home to my sweet daughter most, whose already joyful disposition reaches new heights whenever I do. She grins madly, giggles gleefully, lunges towards me forcefully, and kicks her legs wildly. I cherish moments with her when I'm able to be home, through the sweet and the hard moments. Even though I fail to always rejoice in the hard moments, and instead, give in to impatience, anxiety, and anger, God uses motherhood to refine me in ways that I need. Which is why my aspiration is to be a stay-at-home mama someday (soon, Lord-willing)!
let's talk balance. how do you find balance in tending to your daughter and also caring for yourself emotionally and physically?
I'm a proponent of a consistent bedtime routine, not only for Serene's well-being, but also for Alex's and my emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Serene knows what to expect once 8pm hits, and once she gets bath time, story time, prayer time, and bedtime nursing, she goes down for a good night's rest (most of the time). Then Alex and I get to unwind, which includes spending quality time together, and spending quality time with the Lord individually and together before going to bed ourselves. We also set aside an afternoon or evening during the week reserved for family time. We'll usually go out for a meal or go on a mini adventure, with the aim to spend quality time together as a family. We tend to get so busy and frazzled during the everyday that family time protects and fosters our love and priority for one another.
as moms we strive to teach and show our children lessons shaping them as they grow, however, what is the one thing that you would want your children to grab on to and never forget?
My prayer is for Serene to know Christ and to make Him her ultimate source of unsurpassed joy. To find joy in who He is through His word. To find joy in what He has done for her on the cross. To find joy in how He can use her to make Him known for the joy of all peoples and for His glory.
helen, mothers need encouragement always. what words of wisdom or encouragement would you offer to other moms?
As moms, we feel like we have to do it all and do it well, which is absolutely not true. When these feelings of inadequacy arise, they point us to our need for the Savior, who grants us the strength and grace we need to raise our little one(s). Our adequacy is in Christ, and our child(ren) ought to see that in the way we live our lives and care for them. At the end of the day, God is the ultimate, perfect heavenly Father who has our child(ren)'s lives in His sovereign hands, and we are privileged that He is entrusting them to our care for the time being.
'I am humbled by the realization that a parent's love for their child(ren) is but a mere shadow of God's deep and perfect love for Christ.'
okay, that hit home in the best way. how wonderful to be reminded that God's love for His son, for us and our children will always greatly surpass the way we love.
sooo thankful for that!
you can find helen's writing and her beautiful photos at her blog or through instagram: @mrshelenhong.