There is nothing like motherhood to take you down a notch and to reveal to you the sins and selfishness that so pervasively reside in your heart.
Prior to motherhood, it was relatively easy for me to think of myself as a pretty good person. I wouldn’t have said as much in so many words – after all, I know all the theology about my sinful nature, how I could never live up to the holiness of God and His standards, and that I needed Christ. I even knew and understood what we are taught in Jeremiah 17:9 about the heart being desperately wicked. In my pre-mama days, however, I was not regularly thrown into situations that supremely tried my patience or pushed my buttons. Therefore, I must be a relatively patient, easy-going, selfless person, right?
So very, very wrong. It wasn’t that I had been, by nature, a patient person. It was that my patience had not yet been tried to a very large degree on a daily, sometimes moment-to-moment basis.
Confession Time: I am an Angry Mom
As I’ve mentioned on my Facebook page before, I was completely unprepared for the shocking depths of my temper and selfishness that were revealed when my firstborn crossed over into the challenging toddler years and – on top of that- I also had a newborn son who refused to sleep alone at night. It turns out that, when I don’t get my way, I can easily turn into a raging, frustrated, temper-tantrum throwing toddler myself!
How’s that for a pride check? There’s nothing quite like that moment when you find yourself throwing a temper tantrum over your toddler throwing a temper tantrum, to humble you and knock yourself off the pedestal you had (perhaps unknowingly) placed yourself upon! Talk about convicting!
So, what is a mama like me to do? How do we deal with the anger and frustration that can so easily bubble up within us in those hard moments when our selfishness is attacked, when our plan for the day is thwarted, or when we feel like we will undoubtedly pull out every last hair from our heads if we hear “Mama!!!!!” screamed one more time?
We go to the Lord.
When it comes to dealing with mommy anger, I could sit here and give you a man-made 10 step program for dealing with the problem, a program replete with ideas such as “put yourself in your child’s shoes and see the situation through their eyes”, “have a 5 minute mommy timeout so you don’t lash out”, or “count to 10 before you speak”.
The problem with this approach, however, is that, while all of these practical ideas may indeed prove helpful in the moment, they will not result in lasting change. If it is lasting heart-change that we are after, then we are going to have to come up with a better solution to our mommy-anger problem.
Our tendency is usually to rush first to the latest self-help book or blog post giving us that quick and easy 10 step program, in the hopes that this method or that method will finally address the issue once and for all. The problem with this practice is that, while we can certainly gain wisdom and practical insight from the ideas of man, we need to remember that the true power to change our hearts and lives is found solely in the Word of God, not in the ideas of man. Consider, for a moment, Hebrews 4:12:
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The same thing can not be said for the writings of our fellow man. If we want true, lasting change in our hearts and if we want to battle the mommy anger problem with strength and victory, we are going to have to begin turning first to the Word of God, again and again, allowing it to speak into our lives. We all say we believe this verse from Hebrews to be true, and yet live as though we don’t, choosing instead to chase after the latest interesting, popular self-help book, hoping it will fix our issues. Let’s not make that mistake any longer, friends.
Now, does this mean we can never read or benefit from the writings of man ever again? Certainly not! But it does mean that we need to turn first and primarily to God’s Word for the wisdom, help, and insight needed for our heart problems. I love the promise found in Psalm 121,
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.” (vs. 1-2)
How the Word Helps Our Mommy Anger Problem
So, how, practically speaking, does being in the Word help us address our struggle with mommy anger?
Well, for one thing, it actually reveals to us the dire depth of the problem. We all know that we shouldn’t be angry mommies and yet, when we read passages such as the following ones from Proverbs, we quickly discover that this is, in reality, a very serious problem that must be dealt with:
“Make no friendship with an angry man,
And with a furious man do not go,” ~Proverbs 22:24
“An angry man stirs up strife,
And a furious man abounds in transgression.” ~Proverbs 29:22
“A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,” ~Proverbs 14:17a
Did you catch that sobering first passage? “Make no friendship with an angry man.” Wow! If we are angry moms, then we are the very type of people ourselves which the Bible warns us and our children to stay away from! If that doesn’t reveal to us the depth of the issue, I don’t know what will!
Secondly, being in the Word aids us in tackling our mommy anger because it alone provides us with the tools needed for lasting change. Consider with me the following passages,
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~2 Timothy 3:16-17
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.” ~Psalm 19:7-11
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” ~Romans 15:4
You see, sweet Mama, it is there – in the pages of God’s Word – that you will find help for battling your mama anger and hope for being victorious in the fight. You are equipped already, right at this moment, with everything you could ever need for growing in grace and doing away with your mommy anger. You don’t need the latest how-to article; you don’t need the most recently published book. You have it all in the pages of God’s Word.
Go forth in hope today, Mamas, knowing that you are fully equipped for the battle you are facing and that your victory is before you, sure as anything. For, you have the Lord as your help and hope!
Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, which exists to “edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood.”