Is God Mad at You?

Family Photo copyI simultaneously felt the heat rise to my face by the implication and the doubt take root in my heart as the question was raised, “Well is God mad at you?” I was smack in the midst of some of the most troubling experiences I’ve ever had. I was broken and beaten up by loss, disappointment, disillusionment, and confusion. I needed hope and I needed compassion. Instead, I received blame.

Despite being a recipient of God’s amazing grace and love for many years, that question echoed in my mind for some time as I weighed the scales of God’s mercy against His judgement and I feared I was more deserving of the judgement. Why shouldn’t God be mad at me? I claim to know Him, but often don’t look like it. I fall far too often and I make so many mistakes. I blow it with my husband, my kids, and my friends all the time. Maybe He was just tired of it. Maybe His mercy had run out and all this heartache was my own doing because God was angry.

If similar questions have found their way into your heart, please let me tell you it has no basis. Mamas, you love your children. They often may make you angry. But let me ask you, do you spend your nights seeking ways to “get back at them” and “make them pay” or do you cry and long for their best no matter what? The word says in Psalm 103:8, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love,” and that He has an everlasting love and unfailing kindness (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV). Does this sound like a God who takes delight in causing you pain?

I know what a good daddy looks like. Perhaps you don’t. Perhaps you believe God is often mad at you because you knew what it was like to have an earthly father who was mad at you, but it is not an accurate perception. My father was not perfect, but he was loving and kind and gave me the ability to understand my Father in Heaven in that light. When I failed (and I failed often and I failed big), my father’s heart broke. He sought ways to restore me, not break me. Though he often had to punish me, it was full of mercy and it was meant to bring me good not harm. That is how God operates.

So what of punishment? While God may let us suffer the consequences of our choices, He does not make bad things happen to us. Your suffering is not a sign that God is angry at you. It is a sign that you can trust the words of Jesus who says in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He wanted us to know why troubles come (because we are in this world, not because God is angry) and that because He had overcome, we could find our hope in Him. All of our hurt in this world offered to God is never wasted. He says, “I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13). Believe it and run to Him in hope and not away from Him in fear. Then, watch what He will do.

I have heard women say they are certain they had a miscarriage (or other traumatic experience) because God was paying them back for past living. This is an absolute myth. My friends, whenever you are tempted to believe your hurt is due to God’s anger, please know that is one of the greatest lies on earth. Our circumstances may be due to our own choices like being in debt because we’ve made poor spending decisions, or being out of favor with someone because we’ve been selfish. They are NOT because of God’s wrath. He is waiting to help us, guide us, and love us through the worst of our mistakes and struggles.

Is God angry with me? Absolutely not! And He is not angry with you either. Please let the truth sink in deep today. No matter what you’ve done in the past or what you struggle with today, He loves you and He is for you. Message me anytime you struggle to believe it.

 

 

 

A Journey to Kindness

Kaila and Kieran, my grace givers

Kaila and Kieran, my grace givers

I remember the moment I spat the ugly words, punctuated with a piercing stare, “You act like children of the devil!” It was directed at my oldest children, who were then around nine and twelve years old. In the angry stillness that followed, Kaila, who has always been a mild-mannered child not given to back talk, looked at me with all her innocence and said slowly as though pondering some great mystery, “Mommy, if we are children of the devil, what does that make you?”

Time stood still and no one breathed as we waited for what would happen next.

The wind left my sails as I considered the answer and the truth in it. An apology followed and we salvaged what we could of the rest of the day, but my heart was pricked by yet another ugly stain on my checkered mothering past. We’ve since laughed about the day (along with others) Mom lost her mind and when they both were sure Kaila would lose her tongue, but secretly I’ve cried many times.

I’ve cried because I know love is kind, and I was not always kind. I was many things, but I was not kind.

I was intentional. I was nurturing. I was self-sacrificing. I was compassionate. I was generous. But I was not kind.

Kindness has been a journey for me, one full of determination and disappointment, but one also full of grace, both from God and from my children. I share it with you in the hopes that if you struggle with kindness, your own journey will be shorter.

My two youngest kindest teachers, Samara and Avielle

My two youngest kindness teachers, Samara and Avielle

Please don’t think I’ve arrived. I’m still broken many times over by my weakness in this area but I’m also reminded that it is my weakness that keeps me dependent upon God’s strength and that my children get to witness a life and a heart that is continually being changed by His strength as I remain teachable. I’m learning to love well as I learn to be kind.

Kindness changes everything. It softens hearts. It mends relationships. Kindness transmits love from head to heart, from knowing to feeling.

The scriptures say in Romans 2:4 that it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance. Doesn’t it make sense then that it is the kindness of a mother that leads to the same in her children? Why then do we often choose harsh words, fierce stares, and cold responses when we love so much? For me, it’s been because I like results and I want them yesterday. Kindness, however, requires patience. It is selfless and humble.

In the day to day, kindness cuddles a toddler when he’s fussy instead of scolds him, realizing we all have bad days too.

Kindness gives a soft answer instead of yelling at children who are yelling at each other AGAIN.

Kindness looks a pre-teen in the eyes and recognizes the doubts and insecurities instead of labeling it rebellion.

Kindness reminds teenagers to be faithful with what they have instead of telling them how ungrateful they are for all they’ve been given.

Each day, it is kindness that compels me to say I’m sorry to my husband even when he’s wrong, and it shows me how to fight fair. I’m good at fighting. I can hurl my endless words and he can’t compete and I can win the argument, but I lose him in those moments. Kindness shows me how to fight for him and for us instead of for my rights so we can both win.

Still the one I learn the most from

Still the one I learn the most from

Love is kind.

And if I want my love to translate to my family, if I want them to not just know with their minds, but feel with their hearts, that I love them dearly, then I must not love without kindness.

Memories of my failures often threaten to bog me down in the quicksand of guilt. The tears well up and spill over even now as I type. Still, I have to choose to let grace, not guilt, cover my yesterdays and carry me into my tomorrows. I hope you will do the same.

When I do, I am sweetly reminded of a good God who will never give up on me and of a husband and children who have always extended more grace than I have deserved. And in such moments, I am grateful that I am the daughter of such a merciful God, wife of such a kind man, and mother of such forgiving children.

And I’m grateful to all of you who visit me here and see my heart through all my flaws.