August 21, 2008
The Mother I Want to Be
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.”
Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NIV)
I should have responded better. Patience and kindness would have been a more appropriate response than the unjustified annoyance that laced my tone of voice. In a regrettable moment of anger, I spoke words that left my son sad, and me wishing I could press the rewind button and keep my mouth zipped.
Unfortunately, I often respond better to the bigger challenges of parenting than the everyday frustrations. If you were a fly on my kitchen wall for a one day, you would wonder why a minor event sparked an annoyed response on my part. If your house is like mine, the answer is because that minor event actually happens frequently. Hence, I fall into the “If-I’ve-told-you-once-I’ve-told-you-a-thousand-times” trap of thinking, which doesn’t lend itself to much mercy.
When my patience wears thin, I find myself strikingly similar to the person spoken about in Ecclesiastes 7:9: a fool with a lap of anger. Unfortunately, when that lap is full, it only takes the slightest spark for frustration and anger to spill over onto some unsuspecting victims.
I know God is calling me to deal with this anger in a healthy and godly way. When my spirit is provoked, my first response should be to hold my tongue. While that doesn’t deal with the heart issue, it does keep me from speaking hurtful words that can never be withdrawn. But I can’t leave it there. I must address ongoing parental frustration as a spiritual issue and bring my concerns to God in prayer. I find that as I honestly confess my sin, the door is opened for God to bring His healing peace into my heart.
Anger over injustice is good. Anger over childish behavior isn’t. When I don’t confess my inappropriate anger to God, it just starts building up, making me a fool with a full lap. I’m so glad God offers me forgiveness when I mess up, and puts me back on the path of developing a sweet spirit of patience and gentleness within me. That’s the kind of mother I want to be.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in spite of my weaknesses. Thank You for providing a way for me to deal with anger, and to become the kind and gentle woman we both want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
She’s Gonna Blow: Real Help Dealing with Mom Anger Julie Ann Barnhill
Season of Change: Parenting Your Middleschooler with Passion and Purpose Rebecca Ingram Powell
Visit Glynnis Whitwer’s blog
Identify a time when you got angry at something that wasn’t really a big deal in hindsight. If you haven’t already, confess that anger and your behavior to God and receive His forgiveness.
Reflections: Why is it easy to express anger and frustration to those we love?
What are some ways to deal with anger that don’t hurt someone else?
Write down some characteristics of a gentle and kind mother.
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (NIV)
Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 21 August 2008.