We were about six weeks into the 2020 “Covid Lockdown” when I lost my temper with our kids, screaming at them that all I had done was cook, clean and referee fights for the past few weeks. I could feel the rage pouring out of me like a geyser of emotions that had erupted and could not be contained, and worse, I wasn’t sorry. I wasn’t sorry for my anger or frustration. I wasn’t sorry for the volume of my voice. The only thing I was sorry for was me; for having to do all the things and be all the things without any reprieve.
Honestly, I felt justified in my anger. I knew how I sounded. I knew what I was saying but I did not care enough to stop. Of course that’s how anger works, in the midst of it and even after the emotion passes, we try to justify it; not the feeling, but the actions that caused it.
As I cleaned up the shattered glass from vases I had swiped off the counter as an exclamation point to my tantrum, I couldn’t stop shaking, I had never felt that out of control in my life. As the heat of hostility seeped out of my body, the flood waters of guilt begin to pour in through the cracks of my soul. Sobbs escaped my chest and tears stung my eyes as I picked up shards of glass, wiped up water, cleaned up pieces of candy and flowers that had been so savagely flung from their breakable containers.
Sitting in the midst of the wreckage, I immediately thought of the damage I had done to the kids. I never thought I could be the mom that let “herself lose it to this point”. But then again, what mother ever does? When we are expecting we aren’t thinking of how we will respond in the midst of a crisis or unprecedented situations. We aren’t figuring out coping mechanisms for ourselves or thinking self care. We are planning for days full of blissful motherhood moments, and when those days become few and far between the underlying turmoil begins to roll and before we know it the storms clouds have moved in and we are in a hurricane of emotions.
“Home needs to be the safest place for our kids. Mother’s aren’t supposed be the cause of fear.” Those words pounded in my head. How do you recover from such a scene? I don’t have a three step healing process, the only thing I can tell you is what we did. I called the kids back after the mess was cleaned up. I admitted my fault without justifying it and I apologized without belittling the actions. Then we opened the floor to very real and honest conversations. It is hard hearing your children tell you how they felt in a moment like that, but they needed to say it and they needed to say it without fear of repercussion or excuses.
As I reflect back on that day in 2020 I am reminded of the scripture Ephesians 4:26 “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry”. When I was very young, this scripture was intrepretted as “Don’t be angry it’s a sin” but you can very clearly see that is NOT what it says. God never tells us to not be angry or feel anger. Anger is an emotion, just like sadness and happiness. God made us emotional beings, He created to us have a soul: mind, will, AND emotions.
The anger is not the issue, the sin that happens in the midst of anger is the true issue. When we are told to be angry, we have been given permission to fully feel the wide range of emoitns that our heavenly Father has given us. When we are told not sin becasue of the anger, we are being told to not let the anger have authroity over our lives.The beautiful thing about anger is recognizing it, feeling it, and allowing the Lord to help you deal with it.
Notice I didn’t say help you forget it? Anger is not bad, it can push us to start revolutions, to seek justice and change, to fight on someone’s behalf, or in most cases, point out OUR weaknesses so we can work on them. Anger that is recognized and released in righteousnous is the godly way to acknowledge this God given emotion. The second part of that scripture says “Don’t the let the sun go down while you are still angry” which just means, “don’t hold onto the anger. Acknowldege it, then release it.” In the same way we need to release our anger, we should not hang on to the guilt that follows it if we find ourselves being less than “Christ like” in our emoitons.
Next time you feel yourself expereincing anger or the fallout from it, pray this prayer “Lord, I feel this anger, I acknowldege it. This is what I am angry about ___________________. I release this person/circumstance to you. I do not give this anger authority over my life. Now that it is released, I leave it in your hands. Forgive me if I have allowed it to ensare me and cause me to sin. Holy spirit give me the strength to move on and to not pick this anger back up or try to carry it again. In Jesus Name, Amen”