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The Truth About Mommy Anger

The Truth About Mommy Anger

……..I remember when I had a newborn and a two-year old. I was sleep deprived and my newborn, baby Noah, was colicky for the first 6 months. I didn’t have any family close by to just give me a couple of hours of respite. My husband worked 6 days a week and had many meetings in the evenings. I felt like I was drowning with no life preserver in sight. I found myself losing my temper more and more frequently……..

 

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Mommy Fears

mommy fears

Always do what you are afraid to do ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mommy Fears. We all have them. I wish I could put on some mommy armor that would render these fears ineffective. But they’re real- and they affect me. Most people I meet have something that scares them or there’s something holding them back from being all that God has created them to be. The older I get, the more I realize how much these fears affect everything I do. Fears paralyze you from moving or taking action. Fears make you think you are safe by not acting on what you, deep down, know you should do. One of the enemy’s greatest lies is to make us believe that these fears are truths in our lives. One of my biggest mommy fears was talking to my kids about sex and everything else that goes along with that topic. I’ve had a few victories in this area. I read my daughter a book once (Gods Design for Sex by Stan & Brenna Jones). I bought her the Body Book by Nancy Rue and we went over that when she was around 11. Now she’s 14- I just knew we needed to have a much bigger talk so that we could be comfortable and keep the dialogue open of dating, purity, waiting, etc. Years. It’s been a fear for years. The enemy had me believing I couldn’t go there. I didn’t have any of these talks with my mom growing up and so the enemy told me that somehow I was ill equipped and not enough…What happens when you have a fear and instead of stepping out and doing it anyways, you think about it and think about it and then think about it some more? Our fears become much bigger than the item at hand really is. In our minds, it becomes overwhelming.

Lie– I just don’t know how, so I won’t. I am not equipped and not enough.

 Truth– With every victory, the enemy’s voice grows weaker and weaker.

 My friend let me borrow her Passport2Purity CDs from Focus on the Family. I had them for a few months and put it off like the plague. My friend let me know that she would be moving soon to another state and I knew I needed to return her CDs to her.

So I took the first step. I found an inexpensive room close by (South Padre Island, TX.). Once the wheels were in motion, I knew I had to follow through. Before reading anything or listening to the CDs, I let my daughter know about my fun plans I had for us. Unfortunately, because of my own awkwardness around the topic, my words failed me. “We’re going to have a night away at the Island and I have some curriculum we’re going to go over.” (Don’t ever say that to your teenager). Insert crickets chirping here. “Um…okay… curriculum?” If there were ever a rewind button in life, this is about where I would have pushed it! As I sat there driving with my daughter in the back seat, I tried to redeem my social awkwardness. And the next week we went. I was prayed up and had friends praying for me- that I would be able to relax and not make it too awkward. And what a wonderful couple of days it was! We ate out, swam, drove go-carts, played all of the CD’s and talked after each one while she filled out her journal. I honestly could feel God’s peace over that time together. I know He was with me and blessed our time immensely.

And guess what? It wasn’t as big of a deal as I had set it up to be in my mind for… years. A huge burden was lifted because I silenced the enemy by doing it afraid. As his voice got weaker and weaker, God’s voice got louder and louder.

Do what you fear and fear disappears. ~ David Joseph Schwartz

Recently I read something, and realize it to be true more than ever….

celestepost

Do you believe that?

I’ll let you in on a little secret about my relationship with the phone. I do not like talking on the phone. I have to tell you- for someone who has friends across the US and family far off, this probably makes them think I’m pretty self-absorbed. I’m usually not the one who calls. And I’m not proud of this. In the past, I’ve been so consumed by this that I would rehearse in my mind why I don’t talk on the phone. It would go something like this: I’ve got however many family members to catch up with. Which ones to call first? And mentally I’m preparing because it’s been so long since we’ve last talked, I know I’ll need to update my life from the beginning. It’s the same thing with my friends. Which one to call first? And I will have to update everything I have been up to since the last time we talked. And by this time I’m so emotionally exhausted, guess what? I don’t even make the call. Sad. I know. I realize I am running from something and every single time I choose to just pick up the phone and make the call, I am a little freer. Marilyn Ferguson says, “Ultimately we know deeply that the other side if every fear is freedom.” It really wasn’t as hard as I thought. And I am actually refreshed by talking to someone I care about! And I realize once again…

Everything I’m running away from is in my head.

I have self-preservation issues too. Sometimes I under commit because I don’t want to wear myself out and be too tired. I want to preserve myself… but for what? It’s like a fear of being worn out or tired. So I try to stay in my safe little bubble and in my controlled little world. And I miss out on so many opportunities to be a part of something bigger than myself. I know that truly living and honest, authentic community is found in the deep and sometimes craziness of life.

Everything I’m running away from is in my head.

I wonder what our lives would look like if we looked our fears in the face and did it anyway? The talk, helping out, reaching out, inviting others over, being the first to call, changing things up with our kids when we get in a rut, sharing a struggle with a close friend, inviting that neighbor over for coffee, teaching that Bible Study, mentoring that young girl, asking your kids the hard questions, running that 5k, letting go of trying to control everything, or whatever else has a hold on you and gives you anxiety just thinking about it!

About two years ago we were going through transition and my husband asked me to pray about homeschooling our three kids and I laughed. “You’re a funny man,” I said. It was on a list I made to God called my “I Will Never” list. And for all of my children’s lives I said, “I will never homeschool.” (I can be stubborn at times when I’m afraid of something.) I was terrified to homeschool. This brought my mommy fears to a whole new level! Not only do I not remember much about school but what I do remember was not all that great! And I am supposed to teach my kids? But as I prayed, I felt Gods peace. And even though I had certain fears, like, what if I mess them up, what if I don’t teach them what they need to know, what if I’m not disciplined enough, etc., I can tell you right now that in those areas where anxiety was high, God was faithful and He was and is more than enough. Was it the right move for our family? Absolutely. God was asking me to trust Him and do it in spite of my fears. My part in it was to be obedient. Here it is, the end of another school year, and guess what?

Everything I’m running away from is in my head.

This post is not about health issues, or difficulties, or things or events that have happened or are happening that you’re struggling to walk through. I’m specifically speaking about things that we know we should do, but because of our fears or anxieties, we run from those things.

I believe it was Joyce Meyer that coined the phrase, “Do it afraid.” Well I have come up with my own that fits my season perfectly… Do it awkward! I need stop trying to figure everything out and just do it awkward! Every time I wait until it’s perfectly figured out in my head, I usually wait too long and never actually do what I should have done! Don’t just do it afraid, but if you have to, do it awkward. The key here is to just do it. That is what makes you brave. Listen to the Urban Dictionary’s definition of brave: To be able to look at your biggest fear and face it in the eye.

To fight fear, act. To increase fear- wait, put off, postpone. ~ David Joseph Schwartz

So what about you? Have I touched on anything that you can relate to? Think about some fears/anxieties that hold you back from fully living. Write them down and ask God to give you the strength and courage to do them anyways… He will.

Romans 8:31 (NIV) ~ What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

1 John 4:4 (NLT) ~ But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

 (This post originally appeared on The Mom Initiative)

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