Written by: Rina Miller, SEA Cooperative
Sometimes people perceive a mother's role as overly simplistically: always at home, taking care of the kids, doing house chores - being a housewife. In the Philippines, our society often labels mothers as “less than” because they don’t often have employment. Since becoming a mother myself, I’ve come to understand the role much differently. From bearing children to teaching and disciplining them, motherhood is hard work, and I share that experience with other women around the world, but also in our neighborhood.
When I was younger, I worked with youth a lot because I could easily relate to them. We were similarly situated. Now that I have my own family, I can see how it’s important for a wife and mother to have a group of friends to fellowship with. This kind of gathering can provide a relaxing environment to learn from one another’s experiences, challenge one another’s faith, and encourage one another with God’s Word. Such is the purpose of our Tahanan Mothers’ Bible Study.
Participants in this Bible study consist of mothers of our Tahanan interns, some relatives, and others who were recently released from jail. Our time is beneficial because it is an opportunity for them to focus on learning the Word of God, even while their children are cared for by our Tahanan interns. We also share a meal, do group activities or watch a movie together.
One of our faithful attendees and Tahanan neighbors, Ate Ella, commented, “It is such a blessing for us to have a quality time just to be with other mothers who can relate with each other's daily routine, experiences and struggles. This is a place where we can enjoy each other and relax our minds from the craziness of the week. It’s a place where we can renew our energy, learn, and be encouraged by God’s word”.
Our group recently studied the story of Maria and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. We discussed how the women invited Jesus into their home, but there was a difference in how they treated him: Maria chose to sit down and listen to Jesus’ teaching, while Martha was busy (and distracted) with all the preparations and house chores. I connected this story to our lives as mothers and how we can be busy with all the tasks we need to do for the family and forget to sit down, relax and listen to God’s word. That no matter how busy a woman’s life can be, even with good things such as raising our children and making a healthy home, we must remember that our time with the Lord will be our source of energy.
At the end of next month, I will be hosting a retreat for our mothers’ Bible study group, sponsored by a generous women's Bible study group in the US! I pray for these women whom I’ve grown to love and care for deeply. I’m prayerful that this opportunity will be refreshing and rejuvenating, encouraging them in their role as ‘mother’ in their homes. There are women of many different ages, backgrounds, and life experiences who attend our group, but the one thing that connects us all is our love for the Lord and our desire to see our children grow into that as well.