Can you relate to the young homeschooling mom that I once knew who had five little children and was angry and very discouraged? Although she had a happy childhood, she was not raised in a Christian home. She had given her life to Christ during college and was growing in the Lord, but as a mom, anger was still a regular reaction to her children’s misbehavior.
Discouraged by Anger
In her heart, she knew that anger and yelling were harmful and not the way the Lord would want her to respond to her children. Because of that, she was also continually pulled into discouragement and depression by her inability to do what she knew the Lord would want her to do in those situations.
She spent time in solitude, praying and repenting after she had failed, but she often felt it was hopeless—that anger was simply a part of who she was and always would be. That dragged her even further into gloom and doom.
This young mom had a strong, spiritual husband who was a continual encouragement to her. He prayed for her, offered her suggestions, and helped her with Scripture that would apply to her needs. He was the bright ray of hope that the Lord used to keep her on the homeschooling path even though she felt like she was a miserable failure.
Could She Stop Yelling?
The young mom remembers telling the Lord that her anger was simply not controllable, even though Colossians 3:8 said, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” She had tried putting her anger off, but it just didn’t work.
Then one day she was yelling at her children when the telephone rang. She picked up the receiver and with a very sweet voice said, “Hello,” followed by a brief conversation. Immediately the Holy Spirit convicted her heart that, in order to answer the phone nicely, she had chosen to put off her anger. It was not the impossibility she had convinced herself it was.
You’ve probably realized by now that young, homeschooling mommy was me. This morning I was meditating on this verse: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). My heart was immediately overflowing with gratitude for the Lord’s work in my life regarding anger. I have a multitude of things to give thanks to the Lord for, but today I was filled with thanksgiving that I no longer yell.
No More Yelling
I haven’t yelled for about twenty-four years. I don’t have an exact date that I stopped yelling, but I remember about the time Anna was born thinking, “I can’t recall the last time I yelled.” Then I started watching and listening to myself. It was over. There was no more yelling. Praise God!
You might say that I stopped being angry and yelling because my children grew up, but I would have to tell you that there were still two more children to come after Anna. When Mary, our last child, was born, I had five children ages 7 and under—plenty of fuel for anger and yelling for many more years. It was over, however, and I am so grateful for the freedom the Lord gave from the yelling.
Freedom from Anger
Freedom from anger was a very real spiritual battle that was fought in my life. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13). It wasn’t a one-thing, overnight change. It was a war that was waged in my heart and my mind against my flesh and my selfishness, where the anger rooted itself.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-17).
Prayer for Victory over Anger
How did I walk in the Spirit? I prayed. I prayed several times every hour for victory over the anger and my angry responses. Anger had become so habitual for me that I had to focus on pausing to regroup my thoughts away from where they were inclined to go in my flesh and onto where the Spirit would direct them. My habits had to change from walking in the flesh to walking in the Spirit.
Armor of God and Anger
How did I walk in the Spirit? I put on the armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. For me, these verses were key. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:16-18). Satan used my failures to keep me in discouragement and depression, which only left me emotionally drained and more prone to the anger. A shield of faith, God’s Word, and prayer were my defense and weapons against not only the anger but Satan’s accusations.
Scripture and Anger
How did I walk in the Spirit? I obeyed what God taught me in His Word. I love this verse: “ A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). That was very true for me. When I stopped myself, just like I did on the telephone, and gave a soft answer to the situation the anger was defused. The telephone incident showed me that I could make a choice in that moment of emotion to do something contrary to what the feelings were driving inside me. It was pride that caused me to do that on the phone. It was love that motivated me to do that with my children.
No Longer Controlled by Anger
I am sure there are some of you who feel like that young, homeschooling mommy. That’s why I share my story, because if there was hope for victory for me, there is hope for victory for you! Anger controlled me for 16 years, but it hasn’t for the last 22 years. Praise the Lord!
There were other pieces to the victory over anger that I am rejoicing in today. Here are resources that might help you gain victory over anger: