Monday, September 24, 2012

What's at the Heart of Intense, Distracting, Destructive Anger

She was in a mood from the moment of waking.

One that demands full attention. There is no option for ignoring her explosive screaming, her defiant attitude. I instruct, discipline, discuss, and remain consistent but can not derail this runaway train barreling through every barrier, smashing resilience and home school schedule and peace to bits.

Tantrums and testing and long times of wailing can wear the nerves raw and I am angry.

I'm angry that a two foot tornado with a scowl and a wispy blonde mullet is hijacking my schedule.


I'm angry that I have to continue to discipline her for the umpteenth time when I'd rather be learning, teaching, playing with her.

I'm angry that shrieking, dramatic, emotional manipulation has been the sound track of the morning.

I'm angry that I can't give more than busy work to the seven year old because these offenses can not be ignored.

I'm angry that I can't hold the crying baby while I have to keep physically stopping, disciplining, and re-directing the destructive force that is my second born blessing this morning.

I'm angry that I can't process my own emotions and thoughts that are slamming against my insides as relentless tidal waves that tempt a surge down my own sinful flesh-fingertips to shake this little person who rattles me to the core.

How can a hysterical parent teach a child to not throw fits?

I can think of a few things I'd like to scream. Throw. Slam.

I walk away for a few minutes. For space. For desperate prayer.

I hear a familiar crashing against the wall upstairs followed by the seven year old wailing.

I take the stairs two at a time and I hear it, like times before, Selah begging "Alexaaaaa! PLEASE. Stooooooooooop!"

Another crash. Two. More crying.

I'm at the door.

And I find her just as I knew I would, hand cocked and loaded with her next block-missile aimed at her cowering sister in the far corner.

When a beloved child intentionally hurts another beloved child there is such a collision of intense emotion and only the Father can fully understand, can correctly respond. 

It is to Him I spirit-cry out indecipherable pleas in decibels that I am sure reach His throne room.

It is later, during nap time and quiet when the events of the crashing morning replay and pound hard that a simple thought keeps resurfacing clear and poignant.

She is angry because she is not in control, and is not getting what she wants. 

And the answer to the prayer I've prayed for weeks about my intense anger that grips my throat and drains my energetic drive, my joy... it comes softly, a piercing that is the beginning of the healing.

You are angry for the same reasons, too. 

How can I turn from the voice of Truth? He sees me. I am known.

And there is no condemnation but rather I am flooded with relief to finally, clearly, know the source of the destructive anger that has been suffocating so many moments of praise, of opportunity, of availability.

I am not in control.

I am not getting what I want.

I can respond and discipline and teach and train but I cannot control.

He continues to teach me through her, me this child trying to learn to not throw fits.

What is needed for her to have a HEART response, a real change of attitude, of perspective... to not be internally still throwing a fit?

I can see her face set as cold and hard as stone, and I know the eventual process and WHY of her softening, and I have my answer.

I have to really give up my illusion of control.

I have to conform my wants to His will, His desires, what He says is best.

To stop screaming, and fighting, and internal sulking I have to recognize His desires and plans as better than mine. I have to really believe His thoughts and ways are higher.

What does He desire for me, then? What is this good thing that trumps a day of productive homeschooling and house work and play time? 

To have a heart like His. To be full of love that is willing to suffer long and still be kind. To be humble, slow to speak, slow to become angry, and quick to listen.

It is when I acknowledge that I really do want those things too, that I stop fighting the process, and instead allow myself to be trained, conformed, transformed in the process.

That means if He decides my day is best spent learning through a tantrum-bent toddler to lean not on my own understanding, but to acknowledge Him in every moment of my parenting, trusting Him with all my heart and desires and schedule... that I must remember He lovingly directs my paths.

In this fear-of-the-Lord trust I begin to find Wisdom.

Whose paths are all peace.

But... It is extremely difficult.

It gives me more sympathy for the raging, dramatic wreck of a toddler.

But what I deeply desire for my child, He desires for his. We really want the same thing. And that is a relief.

Though she may continue to struggle against me, I will choose to cooperate with Him.

I am not my own. 

I will heed the Holy Spirit, my Loving God, my patient Father, and by His power, persistence and grace I will learn to not throw fits. He promises me as I return to Him that He will cure me from backsliding.

What a gracious, beautiful, loving way He is teaching me about surrendering my time and this illusion of control. 


Have you struggled with anger? What do you think the source of your anger was/is, and how did you/do you deal with it? 


Melissa said...

Today is SUCH an angry day. I've been reminding myself...somewhere the Bible talks about children as blessings, right? But then again there is a passage that talks about how when your neighbor greets you too loudly in the morning it will be received as a curse, and I'm sure that also applies to toddlers who wake up determined to take apart every bit of mom's carefully ordered world! Today baby was woken from hard-fought sleep MULTIPLE times. Final temper tantrum built and swirled and culminated in me and toddler locked in a seperate wing of the house from baby with strict instructions of: when you are ready to talk with me I will hear you. He took the challenge as though screaming was his super power, mouth opened wider than ever screaming ugliness into my direction and even crawling into my lap when he felt like I wasn't getting it! (at which point complete frustration was overrun with a moment of incredulous laughter). It has just been one of those days. Chocolate didn't do it, naps didn't coordinate and there weren't even words to pray--its just been one of those times when my soul needs to sidle up to the Holy Spirit for intercession. God knows I needed these children, He knew I'd feel like a horrible mom and that He'd give me the wisdom and strength to parent them, and that sometimes I would need to drop toddler in crib and baby in swing and sit for 5 minutes so that I could stumble on your blog to receive his word for today!

~ rooms FOR rent ~ said...

I struggle with anger, and for the last 2months have really been actively searching God and his word for help. Im broken inside because i dont want to be a screaming mother, but feel like a failure the minute i loose control. Im desperately trying to find the root, but until then, i love what you said abouf how "this means if He decides my day is best spent..." Great perspective , and just what i needed! Thank you for sharing such intimate details of your thoughts and emotions, your writing has truly ministered to me more than once, and im so thankful that God is using you this way! -Bre

Elise said...


Thank you SO much. It's easy to feel I struggle alone. Anger is such a hard one for me... and it comes from a place of wanting to do so well!!

I am praying, right now, that God will show you in a clear way what your root source of destructive anger is.

I am so grateful that He showed me that mine is about lack of control, and wanting my own way, what I think is best... because now, even though it's a struggle, at least I know what I need to lay at His feet!!

I am so humbled, grateful, and desperately needy through this journey of motherhood... what would I do without Jesus?? He holds it all together. He holds me together.

Blessings to you, lovely friend!

Elise said...


I just love you so much. I am so grateful you are my sister!!!

Thank you for being such a huge encouragement to me in so many ways.

Praying for you as you raise up a godly man and woman! Jesus is always faithful to complete the work He starts.

Much love!

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