A few years ago, one of the boys was having a hard time with his homework. We sat together, him working it through, me explaining as I could. It just so happened on this day that the other boy needed extra help with his math. Dinner needed cooking. And Hubs was out of the country.
I can manage all these things simultaneously . . . as long as everyone works with my plan.
On this particular day, the first boy went to his room for a break before he dug into more homework. I waited the ten minutes I gave him. And then fifteen.
And then my frustration began to bubble. I asked the other boy to go get his brother.
The other boy came to me, a little shaken. “Mom, he says he’s not coming out of his room, and he doesn’t care.”
All I remember is how that boy’s brazen disrespect of my time, my willingness to sit and help him . . .
His disregard of me as his mom . . .
. . . pushed me past my boiling point.
I marched up every stair, making certain my footsteps were heard. I mentally rehearsed exactly what I would say to this disrespectful son. I was ready to blow.
On the second from the top step, the Lord stopped me. He imprinted in my thoughts that, before I spewed my anger all over this boy-man, I needed to ask why he wasn’t coming to complete his homework.
I took a deep breath, and quieted my steps to his room.
I opened the door as God opened my heart. And I asked the question. “Why . . .?”
What followed was forty minutes of tirades, anger, hurt, and then transparency as this boy unburdened his aching heart.
As I listened without interjecting, God gave me a glimpse into his heart, his thoughts. His soul. At first, it was hard to hear the accusations he hurled at me. The harsh words he had for his classmates.
But, as my silence encouraged him to talk, God got to work. He gave me insights into some of the struggles this boy was dealing with. He may not have been seeing everything through an accurate perspective in the moment, but my remaining quiet rather than tossing out my two-cents created a safe place for him.
And, as I listened, God revealed things I needed to see so I could hear His voice and ask questions the boy needed to consider.
At the end of that time, this boy shared something about his adoption that I hadn’t realized he was thinking about. Struggling with. Trying to process through on his own.
Can I just be honest and say I am way too quick to anger with my kids? When other people trigger my anger, I can usually hold my peace. But for some reason, my emotions hiss out through my words and attitude in my interactions with my boys.
Continually, the Lord reminds me that things are often not as they seem. Many times, my boys’ outer reaction is a fissure trying to release the deep emotion they’re holding inside.
When I react with hurt, and then anger, to their words, I shut them down. God reminds us that man’s anger does not produce God’s righteousness.
I need to be willing to look beyond the hurt their words or actions have caused and ask the questions. I need to listen—just listen—to what they say.
When I listen without judging or interjecting—and especially without correcting or seeming to condemn—they will feel safe enough to talk honestly about what’s inside. And many times, this starts them on the path to healing and understanding some of that stuff inside. And, it reminds them that there is a God—a heavenly Father—who loves them, anger and all.
As the boy and I finished talking, God showed me what I could share about his adoption that would give him a more accurate way of viewing things. He gave me words to share so our boy could better see God in the mix of his life. And He brushed peace over the hurts my son was wrestling with.
And yes, he did come downstairs and finish that homework.
What about you? How do you stop yourself from responding in anger to another person? When has God dissipated your anger and how did He do it?
I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup and #TellHisStory