Fun fact about me: I have a little brother who is really ‘little’ – he is 17 years younger than me, 20 years younger than my older sister. After gasping at such an age gap with interesting facial expressions, the first thing that most people say once I share this is, “Wow, you must have totally raised him like a mum!”
Well, that’s half-true. Because I had to live apart from my parents since I was young, I didn’t get the opportunity to catch every moment of him growing up. But at every break and holiday I got, I flew over to remind him that he does have a sister.
So yes, I went through most of it – changing endless stinky diapers, making the perfect bottle of milk, singing lullabies, reading the backs of moisturisers to see if it is truly paraben-free, racing with toy cars, becoming the scariest dinosaur, teaching him A for Apple and B for Banana…the whole package.
C for clashes
After graduating from university this year, I made the decision to return home to be reunited with my family. As much as I was excited for my mum’s cooking that I would have every day and the opportunity of a good rest after a series of hectic years of school and part-time work, I was also quite nervous. Except on those few short breaks, I had not lived with my family for a while, which meant that I had to expect some ‘clashes’.
…And ‘clashes’ were exactly what I got. My parents were not used to the grown-up me and I had outgrown my parents’ view. I had become way too ‘Kiwi’, while they were still very Korean. I wanted a break and they wanted me to keep busy. But what surprised me most was not how hard I found my parents to be, but how hard I found my little brother to be.
Jaden the six-year-old school boy
While I became a semi-adult, Jaden had become a school boy. He could now perfectly communicate with me verbally, understand those unspoken vibes between conversations, tell a fib, clean his own room and even feed himself using utensils. He had grown so much!
But he was still six. He still needed me to help him brush his teeth decently. He was still drawing on walls. He still hated too much vegetables, spilling too much soup and needed too much attention. I had just wanted some peace and quiet, but as a lot of you know, six-year-olds simply do not have any to give.
Becoming a sister-mother
I was truly becoming another mother to him, but the much eviler one. Because I was constantly telling him off (I promise I wasn’t always screaming), I could see he was getting more and more scared of me (because I was mostly screaming).
I didn’t want him to hate me, as I just wanted the best for him. I didn’t want him to be sick from only eating the food he wanted to eat or not getting washed. I didn’t want him to be injured from all his reckless plays. I was giving him rules and punishments when he broke them because I wanted him to be healthy, safe and happy at the end.
One day, unlike any other days, I was – guess what – telling him off. I was beginning to get really mad as he was literally doing exactly what I had asked him not to do only ten seconds before. This went on for a good half an hour and I was truly losing my patience. Just when I felt like I couldn’t hold it in, I felt it. God’s presence.
It was quick, instant and vivid. It wasn’t a voice or a vision, but I knew it was His message. Just when my voice was to be raised, God reminded me of myself. All those constant, repetitive sins I had committed despite God’s continuous warnings.
Although I knew God always wanted the best for me, I would take charge. Thinking I could plan my own path, thinking I knew best. Even though I knew what I wasn’t to do, not only for His sake but for mine too, I often ignored Him.
Oh, the shame I felt in that moment! My heart broke, my soul ached. I would pray, repenting and promising Him that I would live for Him, but after a few moment, would sin again – the very sin I had repented about only a day ago, an hour ago.
C for child
I realised what being His child really meant. I was truly a child. Despite becoming twenty-something, despite being 17 years older than my brother, I was still just as reckless and foolish.
Then I was filled with gratitude and grace. I couldn’t imagine how patient God had been for me. I couldn’t believe how He was still there despite it all. I couldn’t fathom how he could love me so much to send His son to die for me knowing I would fail Him so.
His love was truly greater than my sins – my past sins, my current and my future ones combined. Every time I look at my brother, I am now reminded of such great love. He still drives me mad sometimes, but I think to myself, “this is just how I am to God”.
I am so weak, short-tempered and too much of an evil sister-mother. Jaden is so….six. But these days, I pray for His patience to be filled in me, so that I can show the patience my Father shows me, to him. I hope to become a godlier sister-mother for him day by day.
Sunny is a recent graduate, a dreamer, a rider with a steady seatbelt in the rollercoaster of her Christian life. You can easily find her lost in books, writing in her journal, sharing her awes in God and sneaking one too many chocolates in her mouth.
Sunny is as a weak as a broken reed, a flickering candle. But Abba God shows His abundant mercy again and again by incredibly loving this hopeless being. Soli deo Gloria.