“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
There’s a war inside each of us. Light versus darkness. And I felt it. My kids were being challenging and I felt my flesh react.
Sometimes, I want to warn new moms that they’ll be surprised at the “momster” that lives inside. That they will react or yell in a way they thought they’d never do or were capable of. Too many times I’ve succumbed to my anger.
Has anyone talked about anger in motherhood? If so, it isn’t talked about enough.
Wait, what do you mean anger in motherhood? How could this adorable, little person who you couldn’t wait to hold in your arms drive you to such indescribable anger? I look at my 10-month-old and think, “I could never imagine yelling at you.”
I don’t have the answer. And it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. It depends how you were raised. The type of childhood you had. How were you talked to or disciplined as a child? Do you have unresolved trauma?
Yes, all of that can play a part in the way we react to daily situations. But do you know what else affects our behavior? Our relationship with Jesus. Spending time in the Word and allowing its life-giving words to permeate our lives is what can free us from the chains that bind us and, in my case, the anger I was feeling.
So as my children were rough housing, being loud, not listening (aka being children), this time, my spirit was calm. Instead of trying to do it on my own, I paused, took a breath, and asked the Holy Spirit to meet me where I was. And he did. And I was able to meet my kids where they needed me.
That is how the Holy Spirit works! He is Alive! He lives in us. But it’s a daily battle. A daily surrendering to Jesus.
I am trying my best every day to be a gentle parent. Responding instead of reacting. Inviting Jesus to fill the gaps where I fall short. If you also feel this, don’t be ashamed! Being a parent is hard. By God’s grace I get through the long and hard days. I love my children more than anything and that’s why I am determined to give my best self to them. But I’m realizing I can’t do that if I’m not even being gentle with myself. And as hard as I try, I cannot do it apart from the Holy Spirit’s gentle guidance.
But wait! This doesn’t just apply to parents. Struggles are inevitable in this life and affect everyone at one point or another. Whether it be anger or addiction, the only way out is going through it with the Holy Spirit and inviting him into the messy parts of your life. On the other side of that struggle will be a deeper faith and a better understanding of what Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV) says: “He will not leave you or forsake you.” We can take Jesus everywhere with us and I’m so thankful for that promise because I know I can’t rely on my own strength.
So, whether you are navigating the “growing up” process as a parent, dealing with a challenging job situation or co-worker, or trying to figure out the next phase in life, take heart that your heavenly Father wants to walk these journeys by your side. Take all things to Him! He will give you the strength, patience, courage… whatever you need!
Now, to find my children because it’s too quiet…