Monthly Archives: October 2009

Anger Management 101

Family Fighting

As a young Christian in my early 20’s I was saturated, super soaked, if you will, in Jesus. As a direct result of my new found faith and many hours each day in His Word, I was absolutely filled to the max with joy! I was pretty much happy no matter what. Happy to go to work, happy in my apartment, just plain happy!

If you had known me then, it would have never crossed your mind to wonder if I had any issues with anger because at the time I didn’t. Or so I thought. During my early beginnings as a Christian I was pretty much on a newlywed high in love with Jesus and anger was just not in the picture.

Then my husband and I started having children. It wasn’t immediate, that I had anger problems. It wasn’t even with my first-born. But by the time I had my second child, Noah, I started noticing changes. With two toddlers, my time with Jesus went from hours each day to smaller, more condensed prayers, like: “Oh, Lord, just let me make it through the day,” or “Oh, Lord, just help me to not completely loose it today.” Not only was I ‘Jesus deprived’, but I was also sleep deprived.

Since we were on the two-year plan it was time we had our third child (insert sarcasm here). Emotionally, I was at my lowest and most drained when we had a newborn, a two-year old and a four-year old. We had no family to come over and give me a break. It was just us, me and my husband. He was in full-time ministry and worked six days a week with one day left over to run all his errands and rest.

I found myself losing my temper more and more frequently. My emotions were raw and I actually scared myself at how angry I could become. Why didn’t anyone intervene you ask? I was, after all, in full-time ministry alongside my husband.  Surely we had a large support group, right? I was in leadership at MOPS. Surely I said something to one of those women, right?  Well, unfortunately, I was a great actress, and having it all together was by far my best performance. Look at me, I’m a pastor’s wife, with three lovely kids, running Kids’ Choir and pulling off two performances a year, and we just bought our second home. I couldn’t let anyone see that inside I was a mess. Looking back, I don’t think I knew how to let anyone in. I was ashamed.

I will never forget one of my many wake up calls one night when Hope was in the bathtub. She was about three and a half. Noah was maybe 16 months. I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember Noah was supposed to get in the bathtub and wasn’t cooperating. I lost my temper and yelled at him. There was my little Noah standing naked next to the bathtub, and he peed on the floor because he was so scared. Please understand, I’m not proud of that moment. It’s one that pains my heart every time I think about it.

When we moved from Irving, Texas to Bedford, Texas I continued to try and keep it all together.  I was very independent and would never think of telling anyone my struggles, let alone reaching out for help. I remember getting upset at Hope, who was about 4 at the time, because she wouldn’t stay in bed and go to sleep. As I went back to put her in her bed, she said to me in her sweetest, saddest little voice, “Mommy, I wish we could move back to our other house.” Since our house was much bigger, I was so surprised. “Why?” I asked.  She said, “Because I think this house makes you really mad.” I will never forget her words as they haunt me to this day. I knew I needed help.

It has not been an easy process. It has actually been quite the journey. First and foremost I had to give back control to Jesus. I had been holding on so tightly that my knuckles were turning white. I had to throw religion out the door. I had enough of that, and all ‘religion’ did was make me feel bad for not being good enough.  I had to get on my knees and finally surrender all my control issues to Jesus. And I had to admit that I couldn’t do it anymore on my own, and that I needed help. I did have some sessions with a Christian counselor who really helped me to dig into my past. My entire upbringing until I moved out at the age of sixteen was filled with pain and anger.  My mom was an alcoholic and was sad and angry at different points throughout my whole life. She was known to break things, hit things, and throw things.

I was just surprised that it took having three kids for my own anger to surface its ugly little head. I remember after a session with my Christian counselor, she said to me, “Wow, it’s a miracle you’re not totally messed up right now!” I said, “It’s only by the grace of God.” We then moved to Colorado, where God continued my healing journey through such a healthy church family.

I’ve come to realize that we are all kind of messed up in our own way–that’s why we need a Savior.  What I have discovered through this journey is that though I will never be perfect, I can be whole. But it’s not in my own strength. For in my own strength I can only do and try so much and end up falling flat on my face. I am dependent on Jesus, on His Word, and rely deeply on His grace. His mercies are new every morning and He gives me the peace and strength I need to get through each day. The more I allow Him to love on me, then in turn, the more I am able to freely pour out my love for my kids, my husband, my friends and my family. You see, without Him, I am nothing. I would probably go crazy without my Jesus (true story). He is all that is good within me.

I share this story because moms having issues with anger is one of those taboo topics we like to sweep under the rug.  We are ashamed. And heaven forbid that anyone ever knew of all the times we’ve lost it and screamed at our children out of anger. The only problem is, the more we hide it, the worse it gets. And the more we try to control it on our own, the more out of control our anger seems to get.

The first step to your freedom is to confess it to Jesus and ask Him to bring safe people into your life. Have accountability with a safe friend and allow her to ask you the hard questions. It would be great if you guys could pray together maybe once a week. Also, keep a journal around and every time you lose control, write it down. Write down how it made you feel. If you’re noticing that it’s frequent/daily, please don’t hesitate to get help from a Christian counselor either at your church, or have your church recommend one. Don’t say, “I just can’t afford it.” Some Christian counselors offer a discount based on your family’s income. You can’t afford not to.

And always, always, if you know you’ve disciplined your child out of anger, not out of love and normal discipline, but in anger, ask for your child’s forgiveness. This is powerful! What a lesson for them to see that we can humble ourselves and ask for their forgiveness when we’ve done something wrong.

And when you’re about to break the silence about this and you feel ashamed, remember that Satan is the accuser. Jesus does not condemn. He offers love, acceptance, forgiveness, and grace. Which voice is in your head? Choose to receive His unconditional love for you today. Step out and take a chance to make a change. It’s never too late.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be angry, and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”

Verses 31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Forgive yourself. You’re not alone. And His mercies are new every morning!

Additional Resources:

Be Angry [But Don’t Blow it]: Maintaining your passion without losing your cool by Lisa Bevere

She’s Gonna blow!: Real Help for Moms Dealing with Anger by Julie Ann Barnhill

The Anger Workbook by Les Carter and Frank Minirth M. D

Linking up with: Bad Mom Mondays    Bad Mom Mondays

Jesus Recycles

trash.jpg image by celestebarnard

Jesus really does recycle! He takes our trash and turns it in to something useful.

recycle- verb: to reclaim (packaging or products with a limited useful life) for further use

Have you ever had some junk in your past that you just weren’t too proud of? Well, guess what? We all do. And here’s the good news: Jesus takes our trash and reclaims it for further use! That’s right! Once you have allowed Him to heal you from your garbage, He will turn it around for something useful. And some of you out there think, “God could never use me. If only you knew the stuff I use to do or if only you knew my past”. Guess what? God already knows! And He’s got His recycling truck parked in front of your house just waiting for you to load it up. So today, go ahead, give your trash to God and stand back in amazement at what He can do with it! You just never know how the stuff in your past can be reclaimed for the glory of the Lord! (But you have to give it to him first..and trust Him!) 🙂

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

So You Think You Can Blog?

It’s kind of funny how our mind works. It’s like when I write a new blog for Destiny in Bloom. I pour my heart out. I spend hours trying to edit it, pray over it, critique it. And then, I wait. And wait for a response. The comments trickle in, sometimes slowly. Sometimes, not nearly as many as I had thought would come in. I wait in excited anticipation for what each new comment will bring. Every 20 to 30 minutes checking my comment count. But if they don’t come in after two days of sending the link and begging and pleading with my small Facebook and Twitter audience- I am left comparing myself with my fellow blogging sisters who have received twenty plus comments, compared to my..ten. (And one of those was my own thanking the ladies for their comments!)

“What happened”,  I ask myself. I put myself out there. I left myself vulnerable to hundreds of women in the cyber world! I spilled my guts, if you will, and aired my own personal dirty laundry. And don’t those five people who left me a nice message on my Facebook or sent me an email know the rule of blogging? It doesn’t count unless they leave a comment on the actual DIB site! 🙂

What is it I want? Hmm.. Maybe I want to hear, “Wow, this is powerful” or ” Your such a great writer” or “You should write more”.  This morning as I was having my quiet time, the Lord said to me, “I am your number one fan. My number count on the comment field counts for millions (at least)!” And He said, “Wow, You’re hearing my voice, you’re hearing from Me. You are a great writer. Keep hearing from Me and putting it on paper. Don’t stop. Wow, I love your stuff. I love your heart. ”

Vulnerable. Real. That’s what the world needs. The world is tired of fake and plastic. Your Abba Father is SO proud of you today. And your value and self worth is not based on comments or on the number of. Do not be distracted in a number. Yes, the approval of man feels good, but the approval of God feels even better.

Matthew 18:12 12“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? I say to you today, even if you touch one life, yes, just one, you have allowed God to use you. And in doing so you have refreshed a weary soul and ministered to some one who really needed to hear what you had to say.

1 Cor. 10:31b Whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of the Lord.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment..haha..that’s a joke… 🙂

The Missing Iphone

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Last night, at about 10pm, my friend Lori came over to get a table for scrapbooking. I opened the garage and had my phone with me- just in case she was lost, she could call me. She pulled up. I set my phone on my bumper and helped her put the table in her truck. I then went on to close the garage and went to bed. The next morning I had to work at the Rec. Center. As always, I was in a hurry, jumped in my car and sped off to work promptly at 8am. As I pulled up into the parking lot, I felt like I was missing something. And then my mind began to race. Oh no, tell me I didn’t leave my Iphone on my bumper last night. Surely not! Not my brand new, only 1 1/2 months old, overpriced, hot pink cover Iphone?! Tell me this wasn’t happening! But it was happening. Could it be smashed on the side of the road somewhere? Or worse yet, what if some not-so-nice person has found it and proceeds to change the code on it and it ends up on Ebay somewhere?!

If only I could go home and search the streets that I have traveled on- but I can’t. I need to open up the childcare for the Rec. Center. Oh dear. What to do, what to do? In my heart I was praying to Jesus- “Please send me an angel, let some nice person find it and figure out a way to return it”. The second I walked in, I began making phone calls (from the work phone..of course!). First, I tried my husband about a zillion times. Unfortunately, we don’t have a home phone and his phone was off and being charged downstairs..as he slept. Ugg! I tried calling information to look up my neighbors numbers to see if they could comb the streets for me, but with no luck. I then tried all of my coworkers who I knew lived in our neighborhood. My friend Keira finally answered. “Keira, this is Celeste. My Iphone is somewhere between my house and the Rec center. Can you look for it for me please?!!” She could hear the panic and despair in my voice. “Sure”, she said. So I waited. With every ring my heart stopped. Was it my Iphone calling?! Could it be?

Nothing. Silence. “Lord” I prayed. “Why is this happening to me?” Has my Iphone become some sort of idol in my life? I mean- I like it. I really like it- a lot. Then, as time kept ticking, I had to surrender my Iphone in my heart. Okay- by now it’s either run over or stolen. I can just use one of our old phones and activate that. Yeah. That’s what I’ll do. Okay, I can check my emails at home like I use to. I’ll get use to it again. And just do my Facebook and Twitter from home. I can give up all my apps and the games on the phone that the kids like to play while we’re waiting in lines. I can do this.

Then I called my boss and proceeded to tell her about my emergency (Funny what we constitute as an ’emergency’). I explained my situation, and she told me I could leave around 9:30 when the next shift came in if I needed to.
Then after over an hour of pacing, frantic phone calls, feeling nauseous-all while trying to watch small children, my friend Keira finally called back. My heart stopped. Well, I said?! I could tell by her momentary silence that the phone was not found. “Sorry”, she said, “but no phone”.
When I was just about to give up, the phone rang. It was my husband. His voice was raspy and I could tell he just woke up. “Hey babe, Nicole has your phone”. Now Nicole is a friend who works at our church. He then proceeded to tell me how she got it.
Some guy almost ran it over on a street near the high school. He pulled over, picked it up and then dialed the last number that called my phone. It was Nicole. He then told her he found the phone in the road and was trying to figure out who it belonged to. She said, “oh, this is my friend Celeste’s phone!” He said he was on his way to work and asked if she lived in the Meadows. She did, so he got her address and went to deliver the phone. He went to her house and she recognized him- he use to work at our church! Wow, it was an angel!

I knew the Lord was watching out for me that day. As He does each day. I’m not sure why I’m always so surprised when the Lord comes through. I know there are times when the lord tests our heart (motives). But there are also times when he just wants us to trust Him. I was reminded of this scripture: Because He cares so deeply for us, we can cast our anxiety upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). Yes, I was anxious! And sometimes you might wonder if your requests are too petty to concern the Lord. I mean, surely He has much more important things to do than take care of my Iphone, right? God cares about YOU! He cares about the day to day things that happen in your life and wants you to trust Him and pray about EVERYTHING!

Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Amen!