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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: Fixing Mom First: Anger

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fixing Mom First: Anger

Play is not the only area I need to work on. Not by a long shot.

My own anger is one of the biggest I know. I am easily frustrated and easily angry. Both turn quickly into a "woe is me" attitude that only spirals down into mommy depression.

I've been battling this for a long long time. The mommy part has been going on 3-4 years, but the frustration and anger are lifelong. Struggles like that are hard to shake. Very hard. Wasn't it just last month that I was praying for patience... encouraged. Where did that go? Consistency with myself. That's what I need. To cling to the vine!

But it's this struggle with anger that, I fear, is adding to my struggles with the children lately. And why not? Why would my littles care to please me if all they feel (at least some days) is fear. I am convicted of this time and time again when I approach them calmly, without frustration or anger, and can almost see them wince. Expecting the coming wrath. The yelling. Harsh words. Even as I sit at this keyboard, I can hear Tornado's soft, whiny words, "I don't like it when you yell at me."

My heart breaks.

Hopelessness crowds around my heart as my teeth grit and my words come out more like a growl.

Where is the joy? Where is the love? And how is it that other parents effectively discipline and train their children without the need of threats and anger? How did I get here? I don't like the mommy I become when I am dealing with my children. And if I don't like her, how can I expect my littles to yearn for a relationship with her? To care? To want to please me?

I put the kids to bed tonight and sat down in the quiet of my little house. Something has to change. There has to be something I can do.

There is. And as I read through the testimony of a woman whose life all those years ago sounds like mine today, I soaked in her words. And read them again. And again.
"Finally, I changed my perspective. I decided to view my irritability as an extremely serious sin, not just an unfortunate personality flaw. I decided to view losing my temper as totally unacceptable and completely forbidden. Instead of seeking to 'improve', I determined to 'quit'. I changed to viewing anger as poison, not just as a small bothersome bad habit. Big difference....I determined that anger or irritation was NOT AN OPTION, period. My resolve was to be alert and ready, not passively doing nothing until sin was knocking at the door." (Elizabeth Krueger, Raising Godly Tomatoes)
This is the decision I want to make today. Because my anger is "an extremely serious sin"! In the moment of my anger, not only am I hurting my relationship with my babies, but I am doing so with my heavenly Father as well. Thank God for grace, but still I am grieving the Holy Spirit with my own spirit of anger. Impatience. Sin.

Starting today, anger is NOT AN OPTION!

Lord, help me to be vigilant. Looking for opportunities to become angry, so that I am ready for them. Help me to be aware of this poison, lurking behind every corner. Give me the presence of mind to put away my anger and to put on self control. The enemy is prowling around, waiting to pounce on me at any moment. Make my heart always ready, always alert to the danger!

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At December 1, 2010 at 10:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honest post about anger. I could have written the first part. When my children shrink from me, it is awful. I appreciate you writing this. I learned from this and I shall see it as NOT AN OPTION!!!!

At December 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM , Blogger ~Babychaser~ said...

Glad to hear it Piperparadise!! I hope to hear how it goes for you!!


At December 1, 2010 at 1:19 PM , Blogger Kristin said...

Praying with you, Friend.

At December 1, 2010 at 4:58 PM , Blogger kristen said...

I was reading psalms today, and came across this, and thought of your post;

Psalms 119: 133, "Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me"

At December 3, 2010 at 11:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I used to do when I was angry with our sons (yes, I am ashamed to say I yelled at them in anger at times, spanked them in anger at times, and was convicted of my sin when I did so) was to not only pray and ask our heavenly Father's forgiveness, but I also went to my son and humbly told him how sorry I was for what I had done and how badly I felt that I had acted that way towards him and that I loved him deeply, and asked him if he would forgive me please. Asking forgiveness when we sin against someone brings healing. It also helped to keep it present in my mind to not fall back into that sin again. A side benefit is that it also teaches them how to ask for forgiveness when they observe Mommy/Daddy admitting they failed and asking for forgiveness.

Be on guard to not punish in anger. That is a lesson I had to learn - to this day it breaks my heart to remember that I acted that way towards my sons that I love deeply.

Proverbs 4:23 "Guard your heart..."

Another thought - once our Father has forgiven you, be sure to forgive yourself. If you don't forgive yourself, you are setting your standards for forgiveness higher than His! (not something we want to do :-)

The problem of anger when parenting is probably more common than you imagine and shared by more people than you know.

The good news is that our Father will forgive, will offer his grace, and will give you victory over this sin just like other sins. If you fail (as we all do when we are struggling with overcoming sin) go back to ask for forgiveness from Him and from the one you sinned against. Each time will equip you that much more to resist the sin the next time the enemy attacks.


P.S. I am keeping you in my prayers that He will give you victory over this and will encourage you. I am certain that He will too! :-)

At December 9, 2010 at 6:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also must thank you for this post - even though we don't yet have children, it's a sin with which I struggle in relation to my husband. Anger is no longer an option. It is a nasty SIN and God my Father will strengthen me to please him in this area!


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