Written By Betsy Gwartney Catrett
Celebrating the Joys,
Minimizing the Pain,
Maximizing the Gain.
Here we go!
As next to the last of 7, I missed out on Mothering 101. I flunked babysitting, too. I didn’t know what to do. So, when I married and babies came up, I felt, ummm STRESS. What was I to do?
I prayed and turned to God’s word for help. I read Psalm 127:3 (NLT) “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” So how did that scripture truth jive with my feelings about motherhood? NOT AT ALL.
So, I kept coming back to the Lord each night until my heart was at peace. I told the Lord I trusted Him to guide our family size and my fears and concerns of ineptness as a mother! By this time, I had already miscarried our first baby who was named Levi Joseph. Then, in barely seven short years, the gifts of Larry Paul (Lars), Lynden Dale (Len), Lance David, Lark Daniel, and then Luke Stephen were given to us. Whaaat? Don’t worry, it’s ok.
Despite a wonderful life of exciting travel, amazing people, and treasured life experiences I couldn’t have imagined the one area that tops them all is being a mother! Seeing the joy on each sweet child’s face when he entered into the light and life of spiritual birth and growing in that walk is ecstasy. 3 John 1:4 (NLT) “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.”
So, what do we do with the sorrows? And I don’t mean just the sorrows, but also the
SORROWS. Thankfully not all of you, but many of you KNOW exactly what I mean. I had SORROWS that ended up lasting for decades. Little by little I believe the Holy Scriptures washed my mind and gave me a heavenly perspective that eased my pain.
Family life can be a lot like the “no pain no gain” aspect in the gym. We can reframe the pain, frustration, sorrow, embarrassment, shame into a positive purpose that maximizes hope, energy and honor despite what one is going through.
Let’s give it a try by looking at 4 important foundational beliefs.
1. First things first: Salvation is about becoming spiritually ALIVE; born again into a realm for which we were designed, but by the human choices of Adam and Eve the entire human race died spiritually. Focus on being ALIVE, not saved. (Salvation is a wonderful by-product, but tends to result in us trying and trying to be “good.”)
2. Next, create a family atmosphere of LIFE-LONG LEARNING, with an emphasis on MATURING in our understanding of intimacy with God and the activity of spiritual warfare. We LEARN by listening for God and acknowledging when we hear Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). We LEARN from mistakes if we take the time to debrief, process and look for the truths in the experience. A post I read recently on Facebook went something like this: “Boy did I mess up; Dad’s gonna KILL me!” Or is it, “Boy did I mess up, I’ve GOT to call DAD!” What kind of response does your belief system produce?
3. Rather than life being about perfect performance of whichever Christian list you choose to follow, understand that life is about LEARNING TO LOVE and LIVE IN UNITY and HARMONY. (John 17:15-23, John 13:35) How in this world do we authentically love people whose choices affect us negatively and their styles of relating are so irritating and frustrating? Try this, realize that we reap what we sow. When we experience what we earlier “dished out” we have motivation for growth and change. The irritating person does, so do we! Give the amount of love and understanding that you want others to give you (Luke 8:31). Another helpful tool is to “Get wisdom, but with all your getting GET UNDERSTANDING!” (Proverbs 4:7) Understand that our Creator’s plan is for us to defeat evil together, thus He uniquely designed us and placed us in family systems. No mistakes on His part! As we understand one another’s strengths, gaps and growth areas we can mature together resulting in a powerful synergy that dispels darkness and produces intimacy, peace, and provision in every way.
4. Thus (and lastly), every family has a spiritual ASSIGNMENT given by God. (Exodus 34:7) Beliefs produce behaviors in every family. Identify the behaviors that rob of life and love and the beliefs behind them, then ask God for the Truth with which to replace them. You will be delighted with the new fruit your TRANSITION GENERATION created!
You see, your children don’t need a perfect mother. They need a mother who will show them where to turn when searching for answers, how to humbly receive God’s heavenly perspective and the life-learning of others, and how to ask God for power to apply what they know. You can relax and know that Elohim, our Creator, has a Master Plan for bringing us to spiritual life and maturing us in intimacy and spiritual warfare that results in a victorious harmony that will thrill our souls and delight His heart! By focusing on spiritual life, being a life-long learner, growing in one’s ability to authentically love and unify, and accepting ones family assignment you position yourself to celebrate the joys, minimize the pain and maximize the gain.