I have a couple of big milestones happening in 2014. In early January I turned 40 and in August I will be married 20 years. If there is one thing looking back on my parenting and marriage that I regret the most, it has been my anger issues. Several years ago I was listening to a speaker talk about dealing with a difficult child and how he (the father) was angry all the time. He lost his temper easily, said hurtful words, and had become very controlling. He talked about the damage that had done to his family and as I walked out of the room, uncontrollable sobs took over my body. The Holy Spirit was convicting me and through this man’s testimony I saw ME!
I came from a home of yellers, when I got married I couldn’t believe how passive my husband was in this department. He was NOT a yeller but I was and I did it often. There was always guilt after a big blow out, but it didn’t seem to make me not do it again.
It wasn’t long after hearing the man’s testimony that I heard a radio broadcast about a survey given to school children. They were asked if they could change one thing about their mom what would they change?
Guess what the majority said?
That she wouldn’t yell so much. Ouch! Once again, God was convicting my spirit and I pulled over the car and repented.
But I still struggled!
A few years later my husband told me he was struggling in our marriage. Divorce has never been an option for us but I knew the anger issues had taken its toll, and I knew it had to change. Many times my anger was over what I thought were “big issues” but I will admit many times it was for very small ones. I was more determined than EVER to change it. I vowed after a very painful talk that I would never be the same.
The saddest thing to me was no one else ever saw my anger. They saw only the good parts. I started to realize everyone else thought so highly of me. They saw my love of the Lord Jesus, my church work, my commitment and an encouraging spirit, however my own family was living with an angry woman too much of the time.
So I began to change. I made a decision that day that I would do everything in my power to not be angry anymore and what wasn’t in my power I would give to Jesus!
I am happy to say that I am not an angry woman anymore. There has been a huge transformation in my life, my marriage and in my home! My whole family has seen it and I have a more peaceful and joyful spirit. It is not always easy and it takes real work to overcome it but I am living proof it can be done!
Steps you can take if you have anger issues:
Prayer-God has to change your heart. Go to HIM daily over your anger issues. HE is the healer of your heart. It doesn’t matter if you just repented yesterday, and you mess up again. Go to HIM anyway. He loves you so much and his GRACE never runs out!
Seek Forgiveness from the ones you have hurt-I went to each child after begging my husband for forgiveness (which he graciously gave). I spoke to each of them about my anger issue and how I was going to change it. Children are so loving and so forgiving.
Time Out-Don’t hesitate to take a time out. I now will go in my room (I announce I’m taking a break) and lock the door. Take this time to pray, cry, and just take deep breaths. This is a wonderful example to your children (they see you are taking steps to control your struggles)
Talk to someone- See a counselor (there is no shame in that) or get an accountability partner. Find someone you can call when you think you might go over the line with your anger! Ask them to pray for you! Sometimes there is deep hurt from a painful past or something else that causes anger.
Remember the Bible said "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." Ephesians 4:26: ESV I held on to this verse many times. If I use my tongue to say mean or hurtful things, that is indeed sinning!
Don't Let Anger Destroy Your Family!
Anger really can destroy the ones you love the most, but you can overcome it. It will take true commitment, prayer, and determination but you can do it. Your family is depending on it!
Would you like a little guidance in understanding your anger triggers and helping you take steps to better controlling your emotions?
We invite you to enter into the stories, encouragement, and help of the Better Mom contributors.
With practical ideas and heart responses, we want to come alongside moms who may be struggling with some of the same things.
Grab your copy of the From Grouchy to Great devotional here.