So as a mom of 3 under 8, I must say this is a sad reality that I have to face. Annoyance, yes! Hostility, unfortunately! Anger, with deep regret! I hate more than anything that this is one of my attributes. Anger is such an ugly vice that steals my joy and leaves me feeling guilty and hurting the ones I love most. For me, anger often looks like an ugly look, a harsh response, or the choice of a not so friendly censored word (on the worst days). I wish I knew so badly where this came from. Then it hit me. I do. If love comes from God (1 John 4:7) then hate/anger/rage must come from his adversary.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
I think as a Christian women, a mom, I sometimes forget that because I seek to know and love Jesus that I will be targeted and pursued by the one who would love to stop it at all cost. This disturbs me. If I wake up each morning and place my intentions before Him and pray for His guidance, protection and will, why must I then be greeted by an evil that shows its face in frustration, annoyance and anger? As moms I feel like this is one aspect that we must all struggle with in one way or another. That feeling of frustration that bubbles up to the point where we snap at our kids, yell or spit out hurtful words just to make a point. This is always followed by shame, regret and immediate repentance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something leave my mouth and then immediately thought, “I can’t believe I just said that!” I try to turn it into a moment of grace and forgiveness by looking my children in the eye and explaining that mommy is so sorry and I should not have used those words. I ask for their forgiveness, which is always granted and then I hug so intently as if I’m never going to get this chance again. It breaks my heart and robs me of the laughter that could have been. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he instructs us to be more like a child. “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) There love is so pure, not corrupted by the judgement and heartless world that we know is to come.
I sit with my anger and I study it. I try to understand it, make sense of it, even justify it. I was tired, hungry or that was the 5th time they asked the same question, blah, blah, blah. It’s not that these aren’t the facts and that anger is not a justified feeling, but there is no justification for the hurtful actions that we put onto those we love. Yesterday my frustration bubbled up as I sat at the turnout of my neighborhood (which alone can make the calmest soul engulfed in rage due to the lack of traffic control in said area) just to get the call from my darling husband that he forgot my sons water bottle (that I had directly handed to him). This set me into a tailspin of rage! Should it have? Absolutely not, but it was the end of the day and I had been sitting at this turn (waiting for 5 min) just to have to turn around and get something that, in my opinion, should have never been left. In this moment, instead of displaying grace in front of the 2 very impressionable developing littles, I displayed rage. I yelled, a curse word may have popped out and I turned around in complete anger. I listened as my 5 year old even justified my anger for me. Heartbreaking, I know. Then I listened as my 2 year old repeated everything. I had my own little alliance of troops in the back saying daddy was bad and shouldn’t forget things. For maybe a split second I was like, “yes!!! they totally get it!!” until the guilt set in. Dang. What?! No….this is not daddy’s fault. Yes he forgot something (ehheeem…again!) but my anger is the issue here, not his forgetfulness. I mustered up every bit of self control and simply said that mommy was just frustrated. I made the conscious decision to drop off the water bottle but not go sit with my husband at my son’s practice. This was for his benefit, I promise. Instead I took the girls to the playground across the field and just sat. Sat with my thoughts, my emotions and took in the fresh spring air. This was the first wise decision I had made in about 30 minutes. This allowed me to process, focus and take in some wisdom. As I sat on the park bench I pulled out my book, with the sun warming my face and releasing my tension, I read these words, “God may need to chip away some of your rough spots to enable you to see and call out his image in others-I’ll pray you let him.” (John Burke, Unshockable Love) This spoke to my soul as if Jesus himself were sitting next to me. Hugging me and comforting me in my anger. Loving me despite my faults, because of my faults. Love was the answer. Simple, pure, raw love.
I would love to think that I have figured it all out now and my days of anger are officially past me, but we all know this is not true. I did get a decent nights sleep, so I woke up with better intentions for the day, but I would be fooling myself to think I will not be targeted again. Satan is not clever, but extremely persistent. He knows our insecurities, doubts and weakness and he targets them. I believe God only allows this manipulation in our lives because He knows our hearts. He knows our strengths. He knows that overcoming our darkest demons will lead us to the path of peace, freedom and joy. I love that He doesn’t just hand this life to us. He makes us work for it, all of it, because He loves us and has chosen us. Free will and all. I know evil will continue to sneak into my day testing my heart,my actions,my spirit. It is with this knowledge I will hold to the truth that was set before me. Love comes from God, God is love. If I wish to mirror a life that was led by Christ himself, I must not only honor this thought but live it. I know Jesus was tested beyond my understanding but He did not cower to anger, curse words or judgement. He responded with grace, love and usually a parable. He taught when He spoke. He asked questions. He introduced grace to truth and displayed compassion at its finest. He rebuked or corrected when necessary but still without laying harm on a single soul.
So as we wrap up our day, lets take in a deep breath. Lets set OUR intentions for tomorrow. Lets let love win and the temptations of evil be brought to their knees. When your blood starts to boil, walk away. Think of your thoughts before you speak them. He tells us, “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold…” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Lets be intentional and righteous (right with God). Lets take this day and slay it with the armor of grace and truth set before us. We’ve got this. Anger does not make us bad moms, it makes us human. How we display it though teaches our children how to react when those emotions take over them. How are we showing our children to respond to discontent and frustration? To yell or scream? Or are we displaying grace for the feeling and patience for ourselves. I for one need to check myself. I need to place His truth before me to trust that it will hold my hand in the rough, sleep deprived moments. We all know our triggers, mine are most definitely exhaustion and hunger. Lets prepare ourselves to not be triggered when tantrums, sleep deprived kids and bad behavior show their ugly face. Lets get to bed at a decent hour, the emails can wait. Lets pack snacks to fuel our malnourished bodies (yes, I almost always forget to eat breakfast in the mornings as I’m throwing kids in the car). Do we not pack snacks for our kids and force “quiet/nap” time on them? Lets take a lesson from our own parenting and start applying them to ourselves. Taking some quiet time for yourself is healthy and necessary. This will save you in the moments that you feel overwhelmed and overstretched by life.
It is when we can say, “It is well with my soul” that we know we are living on the other side. With Jesus in our hearts, in our soul, in our spirit. This day is ours and I pray we can all take in the deep breath of grace. For ourselves and for others.
I hope these words reach those who need them today, I for one was one of them.