Burning Red-Hot Anger

I am so grateful to have Jessica Lederer share on here today. Jessica is a gem. She is a beautiful and sincere woman, wife, mother, and friend. So I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to post for Mothers With a Mission. She shares openly what most are afraid to speak of, and I know you’ll appreciate her candidness and transparency.

12363267_10153687550415734_377748452145311748_oI consider myself a blessed mother of 5 amazing children. My oldest will be 8 in a couple short weeks and my youngest celebrated a year of life on the outside on Christmas Eve. Life is chaotic, messy, unpredictable, and a hoot everyday.

BUT there are some days when burning, red-hot anger explodes from inside like a volcano and all I can do is holler at the bystanders to take cover. The kind that makes my kids call me “Hulk Momma”! Can you imagine! THIS has been one of those weeks!

Coincidentally (NOT) I am doing a Beth Moore Bible study called The Patriarchs. Wanna know what we are talking about–BURNING RED-HOT ANGER. Day 1 was Judah and David’s burning anger. It may surprise you to know they were burning with anger at their own sin; they just didn’t know it yet. Conviction? You bet!

The Bible talks of God’s refining fire and how He uses it to purify us and test us. Praise GOD my faith has proved steadfast, but unfortunately sometimes so does what He is trying to purify me of! That leads to the flame burning hotter. Unlike the LORD’s refining fire, my burning is the farthest thing from purifying as possible, no matter what I tell myself in the heat of the moment!

My burning is a rage I didn’t even know was possible! Any others out there know what I mean? It is what only those closest to me get to witness. It is shameful and NEEDS Jesus! Most of the time it comes from a place of a loss of control. It is never necessary but somehow I can’t get myself to CLOSE MY MOUTH.

In sharing my battle with other moms, I’ve found that despite the enemy convincing us we’re the “only ones”, many moms routinely fight their anger.

So what do we do when those situations occur? Well I can tell you what I do.

PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. HUMBLE. HUMBLE. HUG. KISS. LOVE. APOLOGIZE. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY.

  • Pray for the Lord to forgive me. Confess what I’ve done.
  • Pray for the words to speak and that The Father would stand in the gap and cover my loved ones from the repercussions of my sin.
  • Pray for the Lord to convict my spirit and allow correction.
  • Humble myself and go to those I’ve hurt and without rationalizing or explaining, just ask for their forgiveness.
  • HUGS and KISSES and I’m sorrys. LOTS of hugs and kisses.
  • PRAY some more. Ask for a Word, a promise, something to hold onto when life gets me red-hot.
  • Believe the LORD for the forgiveness He has given me, accept His Grace, and His Help.

Sometimes the circumstances may seem like they justify the outburst but believe me there is a better way. One day I will find my way there every time, but for now I’m still on the journey. Oh how I pray to be more tender and gentle! Especially with my little ones. I hope it encourages you in your journey to know that you are not alone if you have ever had “that moment”.

Let’s pray for each other whether this is you or not. Let’s ask the LORD to help us. You may not know the name of the momma you are praying for but the LORD does!

James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

 

10 Do’s and Don’ts When Your Child (Or Teen) Is Angry–Part 2

thumb_IMG_4772_1024One of the most critical tasks we have as parents is to teach our children to handle life’s wounds and injustices (real or perceived) in healthy ways rather than with reactive emotions. By teaching this vital skill, we help ensure healthier relationships as they become better equipped to handle conflict constructively.

Unfortunately, it is far too easy to allow our children’s emotional eruptions to push our buttons, causing us to meet their anger with our own rather than with compassion and love.

In part 1, we talked about 5 things not to do when your child is angry (Click to read part 1). This time let’s look at 5 things we can do that will help our children and us get through a meltdown a little more effectively:

1—Do acknowledge your child’s feelings and be empathetic. Validating your child’s feelings doesn’t mean you are saying he is right. It is simply letting him know you understand and care. It just as easy to say, “I understand how hurt you are and I’m sorry, ” as it is to say, “What’s your problem? You’re making a big deal out of nothing.” The first builds trust while the latter builds defenses.

2—Do establish boundaries for behavior and consequences for ignoring them. Being upset can not be used as an excuse for poor behavior. While we have to set the example of grace and compassion when tensions run high, we cannot allow our children be abusive to things or people. In our family, it is not okay to call names, hit anyone or anything, or break things. Respect for people and property is still a must and ignoring that comes at a cost. Better to learn that in the safe environment of home than the larger context outside of it.

3—Do talk with your child when things have settled and apologize if you mishandled the situation. Take the opportunity to teach that emotions are important and that even as adults we have to work at sharing them in healthy ways. We want to avoid the extremes of either burying them or puking them all over people. The first destroys you, while the latter destroys others.

4—Do spend lots of time enjoying your child. A filled up emotional tank goes a long way toward preventing and diffusing over-the-top emotions. I find that when I’m the busiest and need the most cooperation is when things are most apt to go haywire. That’s because children just need us. Give them plenty of what they need and they will more likely do the same.

5—Do keep the goal in sight and pray for the road to be smooth. Remember that our goal is not to have perfectly behaved children who make us feel like, and look like, good parents. Our goal is to train up healthy, well-adjusted adults who love and serve others. That doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey, but one that lots of love and a good measure of consistency makes considerably more enjoyable.

Mamas, we’re not perfect and we won’t get it right every time, but with a little intentionality and a lot of prayer, we can enjoy the fruits of watching our children manage their emotions in ways that deepen, not destroy, relationships.

You are not alone! I am praying for you, and if you let me know specific needs I will lift each of them personally. Hugs Mamas. You are doing a tough job and it is all worth it!

For Deeper Reflection:

As I said, this was an area of struggle for me. It wasn’t until I began to sow the word of God in my heart that true transformation took place. I hope you don’t mind if I share some of them with you here. Perhaps they’ll do the same for you.

Ephesians 4:26 In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Proverbs 14:29 (NLT) People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Do’s and Don’ts When Your Child (Or Teen) Is Angry–Part 1

thumb_IMG_4772_1024Let’s face it—to parent is to sacrifice. It starts from the beginning. We mamas go through backaches, weight gain, sleepless nights, and intense pain just to bring our children into the world. We pass on job opportunities, social engagements and even hot meals in order to nurture them. And then one day, they have the nerve to yell at us and say we don’t understand, or we don’t care, or that they don’t like us? Really?

There are few things as painful to a parent as hurtful words from our children and it is easy to take them personally and launch an attack of our own.

Let me say publicly that I failed often in this area with my oldest children as I allowed their emotions to pull me into battle. I’m grateful for the growing understanding that God created us as emotional beings and, in and of themselves, emotions are not wrong. However, our emotions are also subject to our fallen nature and therefore can get out of control.

Our job then, as parents, is to help our children be good stewards of their emotions in order to produce God-honoring results. So how do we do that?

First, here are some “Don’ts” I’ve learned along the way:

1—Don’t take it personally. Having your own meltdown will only make you stoop to your child’s level and say hurtful things as well.

Our children, and even teens, need to know that they can count on us to be the calm in the midst of their chaos. They need the security of knowing they can trust us with their emotions without fear of our own.

2—Don’t get in your child’s face. I’m sure you know what I mean. Somehow we think that if we get close enough, point our finger the right way, or put our hands on our hips and speak in that ever-so-stern manner then surely they will get it together. Can we just admit that’s dumb? When someone is headed off the emotional cliff, it’s best to back up and back off, seeking to gain understanding rather than control.

3—Don’t try to reason with your child in the heat of a meltdown. Trying to make an upset child think rationally won’t work and will just frustrate both of you. Decide to just take a break to cool off and revisit the subject later.

4—Don’t send them to their room to cool off. I know this seems like a great tool because it can diffuse the immediate situation, but if used often, it can encourage misguided thoughts and can produce poor problem-solving skills.

Isolation allows children to dwell on their feelings and reach wrong conclusions rather than solutions. Our job is to teach them to stay connected and work on relationships despite painful emotions. We don’t want our children to form the habit of avoiding or disconnecting from difficult situations, but rather staying engaged toward resolution.

5—Don’t give consequences in the middle of a meltdown. Chances are, the consequence is likely not going to match the offense and your child will become more frustrated. When you and your child are calm, consider appropriate consequences. A simple “I’m sorry you were so angry, but I can’t let you get away with screaming and slamming doors, ” is a great way to convey the importance of not allowing our emotions to govern our behavior.

Remember, Mama, you make a difference. What you don’t do is just as powerful as what you do. I hope you’ll come back next week for Part 2 as we continue the conversation with the 5 things To Do when your child is angry.

Do you struggle with how to handle your child’s meltdowns and subsequent hurtful words or behavior? I’d love to hear about what works for you.

 

 

 

 

I Totally Blew It Today

Family Photo copyI’d had it “UP TO HERE”! I was tired. The girls were tired. I could hear the voices being raised in the other room as my frustration rose in the kitchen. My ten-year-old and eight-year-old, who usually are best friends and favorite playmates, had been going at each other for three days and I was weary of playing referee. My ten-year-old burst through the door in tears, but I stopped her before she could present her case.

“I don’t want to hear it.”

“But Mama…”

“I said I don’t want to hear it. Get back in there and get ready for VBS.”

Yep. Vacation Bible School. You know, the week-long event where our children get to learn more about Jesus and how to be a greater witness for Him (Big Sigh).

She hung her head and walked out. Seconds later I heard the shouting resume. Reason seemed to evade my pre-coffee brain and I stormed onto the scene:

“What is going ON in here!… I’m not putting up with this ANY longer!… Don’t talk back to me!…

And my words were hurled like daggers into my children’s spirits. I never took a breath to ask what had caused the uproar. All I knew was that my quiet had been pierced and now they somehow deserved the blasting they got. After all, hadn’t I heard enough of the whining and arguing lately? Hadn’t I been patient long enough? Hadn’t I taught them better? Hadn’t I…?

At that moment, it almost occurred to me that I was looking into the eyes of two little girls who were more confused by my outburst than convicted of their error. It almost occurred to me that I’d missed a teachable moment and instead created an overwhelming one. But I pushed it to the corners of my conscious. After all, it was time to go. The girls gathered their things and plodded to the truck with shoulders slumped and tears brimming.

And then I got it:

How dare I! How dare I pour frustration out on tender hearts? How dare I start their day with my disdain?

I got behind the wheel and I saw their crushed spirits in the rear-view mirror. I tried to salvage what I could of our morning. I told them how much I love them and that I was sorry I didn’t listen, sorry I got angry, so sorry. It sounded hollow. But they smiled and said it was okay.

But it was not okay to me. I can’t make it okay on my own, but I’ve learned through the years who can.

So we prayed.

We bowed our heads and asked God to forgive Mommy for not being more like Him and asked Him to help my sweet girls do the same. He did. And they did.

Today I blew it. Today and everyday, I’m grateful for a God who never runs out of patience with me. Who listens to all my whining and arguing and responds with gentleness. And I’m grateful that He hears my repentant heart every time and redeems what I can not. When placed before Him, he mends what is broken and restores what is lost.

I write this because I want you to know that we are all flawed, but God’s “mercies are new every morning” (Lamentation 3:23) and you need not carry the guilt of this day into the next. He saw it from the cross and carried it for you. I pray you have the courage to believe that His grace not only covers your weakness, but empowers you to better tomorrows.