Redeemed Motherhood – Angry Mom

I wear my anger on my face, jaw clenched and lips pursed tight, and my throat works hard to swallow the tears that I know will come. I don’t often yell or scream,  my voice gets really low and soft as I hiss the venom of my words through clenched teeth.

I am certain that I spent most of my early mothering years with this reflection shining back on my kids when they turned up their noses at what I cooked for dinner, broke my very special, one and only something or other.  I am certain that they could all but see the torrent of words swirling and bubbling as I prepared to launch my verbal grenade as they bickered and argued and ripped the wall-paper off the downstairs bathroom wall.

I have a temper.  A big one. 
It scares me sometimes, this power that whips up in my anger.  A fury that unleashes with a door slammed off its hinges and the house earthquake-shaking when I take my storm to the out of doors. And just for a moment, a nano-second, this red rage feels good.  The thrum in my blood, the pulse pounding in my head is such a rush, that it actually feels good.  It feels self-righteous good.

In their younger years the words would tumble out with such haste and such vile bitterness that I could see tears flood their tiny eyes behind their fear. I had a clear view in the windows to their little fragile hearts as I tore holes in their souls with mean and ugly.  And I knew it, I knew it even as I was saying things out loud that children shouldn’t hear, I knew I was cutting their hearts to the very quick.  I knew that I was building the walls that later in life would prevent them from trusting me with their most vulnerable and painful stories. I knew and there was something in me that did not know how to stop. 

As I look back and reflect on those times I can see how my fear of anger was a catalyst to losing my temper.  My dad wore the same look on his face when storms would rage in my childhood home.  His words would also cut quick and sure, but he didn’t stop there and often times his anger would leave red marks on my cheeks and broken blood vessels in my eye. 
Fear would paralyze and any anger I felt would need to be buried deep as a means of self-preservation. Growing up I didn’t know how to deal with or express anger. So it’s little wonder that my anger took a front seat in my parenting. It’s the only way I knew how to deal with the lack of patience. 
When you parent you are going to have feelings of frustration, you are going to feel annoyance and there will be days when your temper will get the better of you. 
Believe me I know. 
But I also know, that while you can’t take back words or erase the hurts of days gone by, it is possible to find the grace that covers the wounds with healing. 
My dad and I have found the balm of such grace. The road has been long and the reconciliation some of the hardest work I’ve ever done, but it was so worth it. 
We dance together now, he and I, a dance of peace and one of forgiveness. Each of us moving to the rhythm of grace. 
It was during that healing where I leaned how to embrace those parts of me that came from him. The parts that we’re not so attractive. The ones that I swore I would never embrace. That same anger that barked hurts at my kids is the same that sees injustice and I use it as fuel to make a change. Energy channeled into making a difference, not words that hurt and scrape. 
I have also learned that my kids don’t only remember my ugly moments. They have a far greater capacity to call to mind the moments that I got right. Staying up late when they were sick, holding their hands when they were afraid, praying while snuggled deep under covers and loving them through their own temper tantrums. 
As I look back and count the ways my anger has failed my children, I can see that God is holding me to a different standard. His standard is covered in grace.  For all the moments when my own grace was drowning in my temper, He was painting a different story on the hearts of my children. 

Mothering is brave and it is courageous. It is also scary and daunting.  The work will seem tireless and there will be so much that you get wrong.  Learning to accept my faults, learning to lean in hard on His strength is what got me through some of the most difficult times.  I wish I had done more reaching out, done more connecting with other mothers and letting them know that I was struggling.  But even on those days when I was feeling isolated, He never left me.  He is with me still.

Learning to see how His grace covered is what gets me through this season of regret as I wonder if I’ve done enough to prepare them for this big wide world.  And, that moment when I realize that I will never do enough and that He has done it all is what frees me to love my children fully in this new and exciting time in their lives. 

He covers.  All of it. 

Every Monday we meet here to talk about Redeemed Motherhood.  You can go here to read more about this exciting series and to read the Introduction you can click here

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