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Jenny, Genesis and a mother’s love


Published: 8 October 2008(GMT+10)

Marian is one of CMI’s most prolific translators and has translated much of the material published on our website in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. In Marian’s culture, wives generally retain their original surname.

Photo by Marian Lin

Jenny Wang

Jenny Wang at home in Taichung, Taiwan.

Jenny (Zhi Fan) is our dear daughter, our only one. When she was one year old, just as she was about to learn to walk, she became weaker in strength. We took her to the hospital for a check-up, and found out that she has the rare disease of spinal muscular atrophy (or SMA for short). The symptom of this disease is a lack of strength, and this lack of strength becomes more and more pronounced as one grows in age. Jenny is now in Grade 5, and at school she needs help in carrying textbooks, flipping pages, holding a pen or pencil, eating, brushing her teeth, and going to the bathroom; and if it so happens that her body becomes tilted to one side, someone will have to help her get back upright. At home, she needs help in taking a bath, getting dressed, and turning over in sleep (about 6–10 times every night). As her mother, I have been at her side since kindergarten age, giving her any help that she needs.

Every mother, throughout her life, lives in fear to some extent.

Jenny is a happy, optimistic child. At school, she gets praise from her teachers, and her schoolmates love her and are willing to help her, be with her, and play with her. At home, she is a good child and close to us. Compared to the average child, she certainly needs more help; yet, we also get a certain sense of satisfaction in giving her our love.

In this fallen world, everyone can perceive the fruits of sin: weakness, danger, calamity, disease, and death. Almost everyone who is a mother has experienced the suffering of bearing a child, and the difficulty and agony of raising one. Every mother, throughout her life, lives in fear to some extent: fear that her child might have birth defects, fear that her child might get injured and that the injury might be permanent, fear that her child might contract a terminal illness, fear that her child might become a criminal due to bad influences, fear of her child’s safety while he or she is away from home, … .

The Wang family

The Wang family—Marian, David and Jenny.

Besides her relationship with her child, her relationship with her husband will often give her still more pain; indeed, the fact that women will experience anguish from both of these sources has long been written in Genesis 3:16. The purpose of such agony is none other than to serve as a reminder for us of the sin committed by Eve in the Garden of Eden. For the pursuit of personal enjoyment and satisfaction, she gave in to the belief that God had withheld something good from her, and so she ate the fruit that God had forbidden her from eating; not only that, she also led Adam to sin. God’s punishment for her was increased pain, increased agony during childbirth, and (according to the meaning of the original Hebrew text) her husband’s control of her despite her urge to control him.

What can a woman do to lessen the Curse from God? One answer can be found in 1 Timothy 2:15: ‘She shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.’ God gave women agony in bearing and raising children, but He also provided an illuminated path, that is, a measure of salvation from the pain of the Curse. This verse does not mean that women should have more children, but that if a woman is God-fearing and ‘continue[s] in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety’ she will be likely to raise a generation that is God-fearing, so that her children will become a blessing and gift from God, and an inheritance for Him.

Photo by David Wang

Jenny and Mum

Even though the mother may still worry, she will have even more and continued joy and satisfaction. In the event that a tragedy should happen to her child, the mother, though grief-stricken, need not fear, because her child would have returned to God, the source of joy.

But what can a woman do to lessen the second part of the Curse? The answer is in Ephesians 5:22–23. Wives should resist the urge to control their husband and ‘submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church’. According to God’s design, wives should submit in love to their husbands, but husbands should love their wives in the same way that Jesus loves the Church.

When I was newly married, I had frequent quarrels with David…

When I was newly married, I had frequent quarrels with David—more so after Jenny’s birth. Yet I learnt to accommodate, to trust my husband, to respect my husband’s decisions, and to submit to his will; I found that he became more and more caring and loving to us, and he thought more and more about our wellbeing. In our life as a family, he is our leader, our protector, and our provider. Even though his love for us is somewhat imperfect, Jenny and I feel warm and satisfied.

As for Jenny’s illness, we had prayed about it, yet God did not heal her—not because our faith was not strong enough, but because God wants to show His glory through her illness. We cannot completely understand God’s will, but, through this journey, I have experienced the truth that His grace is enough for us. Although God did not heal Jenny, we nevertheless have experienced several instances of His miraculous protection.

Despite the onset of Jenny’s illness, David and my marriage grew deeper. Because I needed to study with her, I got more chance to study the truth in the Bible, and I grew in maturity and steadfastness in my spiritual life. Throughout my journey of caring for Jenny, I have found a lot of irrefutable signs of God walking with us, so I never felt alone, but rather secure and happy while I carried out my responsibility of caring for her.

Photo by Marian Lin

Jenny and dolphin

We genuinely regard Jenny as a gift that God has given us, and we sincerely and dearly love her. Jenny has a very visible defect, yet the intrinsic goodness of life still shines forth from her—she is lovely, pure in heart, content, caring, happy, and understanding. I teach her about God, and she believes in Him and loves Him as I do. Sometimes, I feel drained caring for her, even to the point of becoming agitated; but God is the source of my strength, and God’s protection makes Jenny value her life even more.

‘All things work together for good to them that love God’ (Romans 8:28). To the Christian who loves God, good can be found in all things—whether good or bad. God has the power to derive good from bad. I do not know why God has allowed Jenny to contract this disease, but I know that God has given (and will give) her—and us—much grace, so that we can endure. We need to always remember God’s love, and believe in His promises. Bad things might happen to us; indeed, suffering in this life is a result of that Genesis Curse on a once-perfect creation. But God’s will is beyond our thoughts; His power has not become weak, and He is still the true God who has created everything in the universe. We only need to trust in Him, love Him, and follow His commands; and our lives will be filled with peace and joy.

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