Papa has Parkinson’s disease.

When I first heard this statement, I didn’t think much of it.

Because I was young when it happened, I assumed this was just another illness that would pass.

However, that strange and unfamiliar diagnosis gradually evolved into a lifetime of events that would change the way my family lived.

Indeed, I witnessed my mother wrestle and struggle as my father’s condition deteriorated over time.

Watching her example taught me more about God than any sermon and has shown me many lessons for life.

Life won’t be perfect

The first thing I realised is how I frequently overlook the fact that, despite her calling to motherhood, my mother is still a normal human being.

Growing up, I never knew her as anything more than my mother.

Now that I’m older, being able to have vulnerable moments with her, like conversations about her fears and troubles, helped me to know her better.

While she was open about her personal struggles, she never failed to point me from the “imperfections of life” to the perfect Gospel.  

It’s no secret that we will all have troubles. My mother was young when her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson disease.

Nonetheless, God’s hope was embedded in her life, and she found hope to endure through the encouragement of the Scriptures.

God’s grace was visible in her life, and I experienced it!

She didn’t have the social media mindset of only presenting the positive things. I saw her in anguish, but I also saw the joy she had found in the Lord.

I used to be very critical of my mother’s mistakes in raising me until I decided to extend the same level of grace that I hope will someday be extended to myself!

Marriage is for life

Most traditional marriage vows include the phrase “in sickness and in health”. But what if the illness is worse than you had foreseen?

Friends and family all promise prayers and support in the first few hours or days after a condition is unearthed.

However, as the days turn into weeks, most people become engrossed in their own lives.

The couple’s agony seemingly fades to the back of others’ minds.

“Love Your Spouse as You Love Yourself” is a lesson I learned from my mother that I hope to put into practice in my life.

This principle became more pertinent than ever when she took on the role of primary caregiver for my father.

My mother has always stressed that marriage is about the journey and the end result, not the grandeur of the ceremony itself.

Through my parents’ marriage, I saw how companionship and tender loving care can transform into a beautiful painting of love.

Over the years, my mother’s delicate care for my father as his Parkinson’s disease got worse spoke volumes about her love for him.

Every marriage, in my opinion, reaches a point where the fairy-tale wedding and honeymoon are no longer feasible.

After all, two selfish and sinful human beings have shifted into the same house.

The hope-giving, soul-sustaining, superior satisfaction found in God must provide the strength and desire to persevere in the self-denial and daily dying to self required in loving an imperfect spouse

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. When we can say that about marriage, we can say that is a union centred around the glory of God.

God is near in our troubles

I used to presume God had cursed rather than blessed my family because He did not respond to my fervent prayers.

As I was only concerned with finding solace, verses like these would perplex me:

  • When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)
  • Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;” (Romans 5:3) 

But though my mother’s life has been riddled with adversity, I’ve witnessed how God has guided her into the most intimate, sacred encounters with Him. 

In my times of illness and grief, she was not troubled by God’s mysterious providences.

She emphasised that suffering here, no matter how severe, teaches us to be reliant on God’s mercy on a moment-by-moment basis. 

After witnessing my mother’s reaction to illness and suffering, I became less attached to the temporal and more anchored in the eternal.

I’m more understanding and compassionate, and I’m more aware of my own flaws and weaknesses under pressure.

Nothing else has shaped me more powerfully — my theology, my character, my love for God and my love for others.

I used to be ashamed of my family’s story, but seeing my mother’s faithfulness has knitted it into a beautiful story of God’s providence.

She is a living testimony of someone who treasures the glory of God as her supreme joy. She is an embodiment of a Proverbs 31 woman. 

I want to have that attitude toward my own life and suffering — to see everything that happens to me through the lens of advancing the Gospel!

To my mother, motherhood is a high calling.

Thank you for teaching me the Word of God and about the Christian faith from the beginning of my life. You started me off on the way I should go, and I know not to turn from it.

God’s Word will be my guide for the rest of my life. 

Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

That is one of the most convicting, beautiful and life-changing texts in the Bible — and you have lived it out.

You have placed others, such as your children and husband, as more important to you than yourself.

You do not sit on a throne of comfort. Rather — like Jesus — you descend to our point of need and serve.

As the years pass, I come to value your patience, kindness and grace.

I’ll be eternally grateful to God for providing me with such a wonderful mother!

  1. What about this article touched or inspired you?
  2. What are some lessons you learned from your mother?
  3. This week, what is one way you can honour your mum or a mother figure in your life?