Written by Deborah Lee, Singapore
“When is Wati’s last day?” I asked my husband, frustrated.
I knew that Wati, the domestic helper my husband had hired in January last year, would not be leaving anytime soon, but I wanted my husband to know that I was annoyed with him for hiring her without my consent.
There were a few reasons why I did not agree with my husband’s decision to hire a helper. Firstly, I felt that I could manage the housework on my own, as we only had one child. But he was used to having a helper around and did not see my point of view on wanting more privacy, which is what I have always preferred.
I also wanted to save money. We used to be a dual income household until last year, when my husband was forced to resign from his job and become a house husband due to a health issue. It frustrated me that he would dip into his savings to pay for the helper’s salary instead of pitching in on our household expenses. Every time we talked about it, we would end up quarrelling.
The truth is, I struggle with being a fulltime working mother. I had always wanted to be able to stay at home more so I could experience the joy of seeing my child growing up. But being the sole breadwinner means I spend most of my time at work.
For a long time, I’ve felt like I’ve been slaving away to provide for my family while the helper would be at home, serving my husband and looking after my child—doing the things I wished I could be doing. Somehow, it felt like she had taken over my role as a wife and mother.
Whenever I’ve talked to my husband about my desire, he’s never bothered to respond. As my unhappiness piled up, I began finding fault with Wati every time I was stressed. I would get upset whenever there were areas of the home that were not properly cleaned.
With these constant struggles at war in my heart and my home, I slowly became spiritually stagnant and dry. My morning devotions did little to change my heart as I was often stressed out with the demands at work and could not focus. Outwardly, I was still faithfully serving in church, but inwardly, my family life was in a mess—I was living a double life and I felt defeated.
Then one Sunday, my church pastor spoke a message about the importance of softening our hearts and being sensitive to God, so that we can live the life God had intended for us, instead of leading a life separated from God (Ephesians 4:17-24)—and this brought me to my senses.
I saw the condition I was in, nearly losing all my sensitivity to Him, and I knew my actions had not been glorifying to Him. I was bothered by flashbacks of how I had verbally abused Wati whenever I was stressed. Instead of turning to God to unload my struggles, I had directed my frustrations and anger at her.
I knew I had to make the choice to draw near to God again, and as I did so, I was prompted to repent and ask God for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). From there, I decided that I needed to seek forgiveness from my husband and my helper as well.
Over the next two days, I mulled over how to present myself to do the right thing and mustered up the courage to ask Wati for her forgiveness. To my surprise, she readily accepted my apology with a smile. We reconciled and I give glory to God for it. Next, I apologised to my husband, who was happy that I had a change of heart and was ready to accept the situation.
Even though life has not gone as planned for me, I have learned that holding on to bitterness and resentment will only lead to endless quarrels at home. But through God who first forgave me, I am learning to daily depend on Him to also forgive others. Even though I may feel differently about what my role at home should be, God has made me realise that wherever He places me is all part of His plan, and He is sovereign over every season of my life.
I still have concerns about our household expenses, though further discussions with my husband have not yet led to any changes. However, looking back, I realise that even though we’ve experienced some financial struggles, we were never in lack. Having Wati around has also meant that she could help with the cooking, which saves us some takeaway costs, and her taking over housework has given me more time to rest and recharge with the family after work. I saw it as God allowing me to rest and not be overworked.
Although we aren’t as financially free as I would like, God is teaching my heart to know that greater freedom is found in knowing Christ alone and in being set free from the fear of lack. Although I may not understand why things have to be this way, I trust that God will continue to take care of my family as I yield to Him. Yielding to Him helps me draw nearer to Him and develop a greater sensitivity to His voice, all of which allows me to experience His peace.
Accepting that these are part of His plans, I take heart that God’s purpose will not lack His provision. His purpose for us is to always to live in dependence on Him and to show love and patience in tough situations, so that others may see us as His disciples and His name may be glorified.