Keeping It Quiet
by Barbara Rainey
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup. PSALM 16:5, NIV
Barely a year after my mother and father married, her parents decided to divorce. My mother traveled to Chicago and spent an entire week pleading with her parents to restore their relationship. Unsuccessful, she returned emotionally exhausted, needing more than ever a warm, accepting relationship with her mother-in-law, who lived nearby. But for reasons still unknown to us, she was never embraced by my father's mother.
You'd think, then, that my childhood would be one of growing up with a mother embittered by her loss of parental affection and support. You'd think my relationship with my grandparents would be distant and suspicious. Yet quite the opposite was true. That's because my childhood was protected by a mother who quietly accepted the circumstances God had ordered for her life and refused to pass along her pain to the next generation.
My mother could have poisoned my brothers and me against both sets of grandparents, spewing angry tirades about the hurt and rejection their failures had caused her. She could have criticized my father, making him the scapegoat for his mother's attitude toward her.
But she didn't. She never once said any negative words about these important people in our lives. As a result, we grew up confident of our parents' love for us, secure in their commitment to each other and free to enjoy our extended family relationships.
Each of us enters marriage with our own share of pain and baggage. But you don't have to pass it on and load down your children with it. You can stop the cycle in your generation by refusing to become embittered and by speaking well of your family.
If you've been guilty of this kind of complaining about family, now is the time to admit it and ask for forgiveness. Commit to handling your pain God's way. Discuss how you can help one another process pain.
Ask the Lord for the grace and maturity to protect your children from living with pain they didn't cause. Consider giving thanks to God for the imperfect circumstances that created your pain in the first place.