Anger, Mothering, surrender

I Surrender (The Anger Series)

I’ve been thinking a whole lot about anger….not just my own, but collectively, why so many of us struggle in this area.  I’ve honestly put off writing because, well, I’m not perfect.  But, I have had some victory in this area.  At least, I’m not where I once was.  I’m not at square one, but I still need to work on a few things.

This morning my black, Miniature Schnauzer puppy, Russell, woke me up bright and early to go outside.  Exactly 4:50 a.m.  Sigh.  I like sleep so much.  But, I’ve been waking up at 5:30 a.m for about 6 months now (most of the time) and I absolutely love waking up that early (well, most of the time).  This morning, it was too close to 5:30 for me to warrant going back to bed. I’ve lived long enough now to know that if I’m woken up during my beauty sleep, for whatever reason, (other than children puking), maybe God has something to say.

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As I grabbed my cup of water (trying to give up coffee folks…I know, it’s sad) and settled down to a song I had in my head “You Can Have It All Lord“, I knew God was saying a few things to me about this whole issue of anger.  And, seriously, whatever God is saying is so much better than anything I could say on my own, so I’m going to share it with you all this morning….

It’s not so much about anger, as it is about surrender.  

That’s right.  Let it sink in.  Let all that condemnation about you being so angry fall off.  Really, what are we supposed to feel when our three year old dumps melty peanut butter all over the floor, then toothpaste the next day, then ranch dressing a few days later, than another tube of toothpaste and finally (hopefully) a whole bag of sugar on the floor…all within two weeks.  Are we supposed to be all sugar and sweet and everything neat? NO.

How about when your children are fighting, again, over pretty much nothing.  Am I supposed to suppress anger and ignore them?  Maybe sometimes I do.

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What about when your kids are being snails getting ready for school in the morning, when they delay in what they are supposed to be doing, when they refuse to be helpful, give you super powered attitude, or when they themselves react in anger toward a sibling.  Are my feelings supposed to be soft?  I don’t think God wants me to fake it with my children.  No.  I know what God wants.

What God wants is all of me.   He wants surrender.  Surrender so we can receive the ability to possess self-control.  

I feel God say, it’s not so much about feeling angry on the inside as much as it is about controlling that angry response.  It’s about self-control.  However, there is no self-control without surrender first. 

Friends, let the condemnation for feeling angry come off.  There is no condemnation in Christ.  None.  He is not upset with us.  But, he does want to work with us.  He wants to strengthen our self-control through surrendering to the greater work of the Holy Spirit.

The very definition of surrender is “an agreement to stop fighting, hiding or resisting, etc., because you know you will not win or succeed.”  

Honestly, take it from me.  Angry reactions are not working in this home.  They are only making angry children follow after their parents.  We cannot win with angry responses.  We can win with Christ though.  

I believe surrender is something that is cultivated in private and then flows over into daily life, as we continue to trust in God.  We CAN trust God with the outcome.  We can trust God that He is working in our children’s lives.  He loves our kids more than we do.  When we surrender to his ways, instead of trying to control our children and everything that might go wrong, we become parents who model peace, even in the midst of the storm.

And friends, I long for peace to be the forceful substance of my home.  It doesn’t matter how nicely my home is decorated, how wonderful it smells or the food on my plate.  Peace makes all of it pleasant.  Even the stink and dirt can be more pleasant with a spoonful of peace.

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I’m going to work less on anger and more on surrender.  Self-control is a fruit of surrendering to someone greater than I.  That someone is Jesus, who never condemns, never is critical or judgemental, but instead lovingly shows us how it is done when he surrendered to the cross.  The cross is covering us on our journey to experience true freedom from angry, outward responses.  The cross is key to our victory.  Whenever I want to yell, roll my eyes, get that mad duck face on (yes, I do that sometimes), cross my arms or lecture, I’m first going to remind myself to go to the cross of surrender.  It’s power is unlimited, unmatched and unceasing for those who surrender to it.  

Then, we can boldly and with confidence enter the throne of Grace, where there is mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).  These places are real, folks.  It’s not a fairy tale.  They are more real than the chair I’m sitting on.  Let us go there, together, sweet friends, and find all the help and victory we need.  For our children, for our grandchildren, for our legacy, for our Lord.  Amen.

 

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Love,

Kelly

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Anger, Five Minute Friday

Neighbour (Five Minute Friday)

I’m part of a group called Five Minute Friday , where they give a word prompt and you write on that word for five minutes.  Today’s word prompt was “neighbour”.  Enjoy and leave a comment! 

I stomped up the stairs to my neighbours house when I was four months pregnant with my first.  I was so angry.  Those 18 year old “rig pigs” were driving Ferrari cars, carrying big screen T.Vs into their house, bringing home girls, having parties and all of the judgements I was making towards them now had a firm hold when they did something unthinkable.  They smoked.  It was a non smoking home and we were renting the basement suite, they were in the upper level.  The smoke came to my apartment and I was already so sick, I could barely function. I was overcome with nausea and anger that they would even dare.  So, I marched up there and confronted my neighbours.  I was not nice.

They denied it even happened.  I KNEW it did.  I could smell it, it was making me feel more sick.

Fast forward 11 years….my next door neighbours have done the unthinkable.  They have been unreasonable with my kids.  They yelled at my son for driving his scooter in their driveway, and then told me I needed to try harder.  Yes, because when you’re feeding a baby, cooking supper, and making sure your toddler doesn’t have a temper tantrum while he’s waiting for supper and your three older kids are outside playing, I should be trying harder to be a good mom.   Oh, and when your three year old touches the tip of his foot on their sprinkler, from the sidewalk, while you’re at the door talking to another neighbour, and they yell, loudly and angrily, from their house to have a conversation about boundaries with the said three year old, you recognize that maybe, just maybe these type of people are going to be a bit more of a challenge.

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The difference in these 11 years has nothing to do with a change in environment but instead, I can live with my neighbours because I can live with myself.  I’ve grown to love myself a whole lot more and judge myself a whole lot less.

Was I impressed with my neighbours?  No.  I was upset for them yelling at my kids about something so ridiculous.  I was upset for them accusing me of not trying hard.  BUT, this time, although there has been one conversation, it was not unkind and did not end in yelling.  I’m not sure how they think of me, how they’ve been judging since the said conversation or the other sprinkler incident, but it doesn’t matter anymore.  I can let these incidence’s go quickly now.  I can surrender them to Jesus and move on.  I can know that the opinions of others have no reflection on me, but instead reflect the one who is holding the opinion.

To love your neighbour well, you must first love yourself.  Love who you are, who God made you to be, and where you are.  Then, you’ll really love your neighbour, instead of just practicing kindness and performing for them.  

Go ahead, love who you are. The world needs you too. 

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Love,

Kelly