Our Perfectly Imperfect Family

Our Perfectly Imperfect

Family

by Natalie Gaspard photo  -  courtesy the Gaspards

“Wait, for real? You have how many siblings? You are the oldest? That’s like one kid every year!” Twelve little humans in one house consists of lots of chalk, bubbles, and rainbow hunts. We indulge in lots of laughter, popsicles, and Chick-fil-a. But we have our downside as well. We are not always “best buddies.” We fight, argue, scrape knees, bust chins, cry, and fail to ever keep a clean house.

What’s it like? I’d say that it’s PERFECTLY IMPERFECT and here are several things I’m thankful to have learned along the way:

Serving equals greatness.

 (Mark 10:43) “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.”  Matthew 20:26 says, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” God’s work is never below his servant and everything from preaching the gospel to late night laundry can be used for His glory. In this era, we seem to focus too much on leadership and too little on servanthood. Being raised in a Christian home has taught me that to be like Jesus is to have the heart of a servant.

Serving equals greatness.

 (Mark 10:43) “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.”  Matthew 20:26 says, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” God’s work is never below his servant and everything from preaching the gospel to late night laundry can be used for His glory. In this era, we seem to focus too much on leadership and too little on servanthood. Being raised in a Christian home has taught me that to be like Jesus is to have the heart of a servant.

When given a choice to be right or kind, choose to be kind.

Be the one God uses to build others up. Choosing to be kind goes a long way and will always be worth the outcome. To be kind is to have compassion. My parents repeat daily, “Be a problem solver and not a problem maker!” instead of refereeing useless arguments. Choose to be kind!

The grass isn’t greener on the other side.

In Philippians 4:11, Paul wrote, “I’ve learned that in whatever situation I am to be content.” Contentment brings blessings and builds our capacity to appreciate and to be thankful for ordinary pleasures. I have learned that in order to increase my contentment, I must focus on the bigger picture in life: eternity.

Life’s not fair.

My siblings and I have learned to steer away from the “that’s not fair” card with our parents. News flash: Life’s not fair! It’s not fair that Jesus had to be killed to save me. It’s not fair that despite my countless sins, I can be God’s child. It’s not fair that God gives me grace upon grace every single day. Life is not fair!

Do hard things.

 “Mom, Dad, please, I can’t do this. I don’t have enough time. What’s the point anyway? It’s just too hard ...” What response can I expect to receive? Certainly not a pity party. “Natalie,” they will say. “Do hard things!” As Christians, we are called to a higher standard. Scripture tells us: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Hard things make us more like Jesus, deepen our relationship with the Living God, show the world how strong our God is, and remind us that He is God and we are not.

Hold on to materialistic things loosely.

Being raised in a Christian home, my parents have taught me the power in
giving. During a ballet performance a couple of years ago, my friend said, “Mrs. Jessica! I love your bracelet so much!” My mom then casually tells the history of the bracelet, which was made by Haitian women to support their families, unclasps it from her wrist and gives the bracelet to her. Rather shocked, my friend stutters, “Oh my gosh, no! I can’t take your bracelet.” My mom then insists that it would be her pleasure to give it to my friend because the same thing once happened to my mom when she complimented a girl on her belt. This inspired me and ever since then, I try to freely give away my material things. The outcome is always worth it.

Your joy is hidden in your gratitude.

My joy easily can fade when I become unthankful. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I have learned that in order to have beautiful joy, I must first become grateful. There is power in gratitude. I choose to find joy in the journey that God has set before me.

So what’s the point of all this anyway, right? To know God and to make Him known! To discover Him daily and to relish in His goodness. To glorify Him in all we do. To perform for an audience of one. That’s the point!

Our family is messy and very loud. We try to leave restaurants before we are asked to leave. But there is beauty in brokenness. Despite all our dysfunctions, our perfectly imperfect family will continue to prioritize what is prime: “This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” (John 17:3)

“But nothing, not even my life, is more important than my completing my mission. This is nothing other than the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify about the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24).

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Natalie Gaspard, 16, is the daughter of BRCLM founding advertiser Scott Gaspard of the Gaspard Team and his wife Jessica. She is the oldest of their 12 children. She is a junior at Sequitur Classical Academy and is a company member of Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre.

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