Why doesn’t anyone warn you that motherhood is very much like martyrdom? This unyielding conviction to raise children with values and morals will kill you. You will learn to die to self with tears and prayers or you will give up entirely. Motherhood is not for the weak. The tears you cry on your pillow, in the shower, while you are cooking dinner – they aren’t a sign of weakness. Let them flow, silent and hot prayers to your Father who knows what it is like to have ungrateful children that constantly expect more and treat the effort put forth with utter disregard. He sees. He knows. And He holds every tear in His hand.
In those moments, because they most certainly will come, say nothing. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. When you are in pain, you speak pain. Therefore, keep your lips sealed and rip your heart open to your Father. Tell him. Tell him all of the angry, vengeful, bitter things that you would prefer to say to your children. He can handle it and your words will not damage Him, unlike your children and ultimately yourself. He already knows anyway. So let Him have it. Go outside, take a walk, or hang out in the garage – wherever your children won’t hear. Put them in time out in their room so you can hit your knees in prayer in your living room. Whatever you need to do to express that emotion, do it so that you take your wrath out on the one who can take it. The better we get at managing our emotions and exercising control over ourselves, the less likely we are to blow up at our kids.
Oh, so you’re like me and you have already blown a fuse? Already said things you regret? Already spewed forth ugliness and unkindness? One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn was how to repent, not to my Father, but to my children. After all, I am their mother and I am supposed to have all the answers. Mothers don’t make mistakes, right? Wrong. Understand that, despite all of the popular articles circulated by those never-ever-not-in-a-million-years-would-I-ever-be-THAT-screaming-mom-and-I-couldn’t-fathom-losing-it-with-my-kids-and-you-are-a-terrible-mom-if-you-do type of mothers, it happens. It is what we do going forward that matters the most because we cannot change what has already happened. Sometimes, you have to let your kids hate you for a little while so that you can cool down and regain your composure. Sometimes it is 10 minutes and sometimes it is two hours. Only you and God know when you are able and willing to address your kids with a calm and repentant heart. And please, please, please, don’t tell them “I am sorry I did (blah blah), BUT…” They see right through it just like you do, and they know that the “but” cancels what precedes it. And do remember that repent means you turn the other direction, not merely that you enter a blow-up, apologize, blow-up again cycle. We must always be working to improve.
So how do you calm yourself down to repent for your explosion? Let’s head back to that idea of taking it out on the Father. Once you have ripped your heart open canyon-wide, let the healing balm of His love wash over you. He understands. He has children who ignore him, disrespect him, disown him, and rebel against him. And it grieves His heart just the same. But He never stops loving them; He never stops loving you.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:8-9
When you have finished emptying yourself of all of the tears and pain and frustration, allow your heart to be filled with gratitude. Gratitude? Yes, because you have also been a disrespectful, disobedient child to the Father, and yet His mercy is new each morning. Thank Him for not being wrathful with you the way you long to be with your kids. (Don’t lie, we’ve all been there.) Thank Him for His forgiveness and allow that forgiveness to well up within you. Thank Him for His grace and allow that grace to grow in your heart for your kids.
Take your time. Don’t move on to the next step until you have fully completed the step prior. Listen, your kids will survive, and there’s nothing in the world that can’t wait while you run to Christ. A mother who runs to Jesus will be one her children can run to.
So talk to me. I still struggle with this area of my life and trust me when I say that I am preaching to myself here. What are some ways you combat frustration and anger with your kids? Have you struggled with maintaining control? What would you say to the mom that is at her wit’s end with her kids?
Abide in His Grace,
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7