Tag Archives: Mom’s Anger

The Hopeless Mom

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:

The Case Against Anger – Part 4

To read Parts 1, 2, and 3, please see this link. We have been evaluating the real-life problem of anger in moms. While our hearts’ desire is to be “victorious, joyful mothers of children,” it is not unusual to find a mom struggling instead with angry feelings—perhaps day after day after day.

Let’s return to the situation of Spanish time with my son. Remember that by God’s grace in my life, yelling at the children was overcome ten years ago. I didn’t raise my voice with my son during Spanish. However, he sensed anger in me. I like to call it frustration because it sounds better. When Joseph kindly confronted me with my attitudes, I tried to deny it. After all, I didn’t yell, stomp, or slam a door, so I must not have been angry. He was right, though. I was no longer interacting with him in my normal way.

What about choosing simply to close my mouth and say nothing if I am beginning to feel at all angry, irritated, or frustrated? Proverbs 19:11, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” Consider my Spanish situation with Joseph. In this case, I am not even sure we are looking at a transgression on Joseph’s part. It only would have been a transgression if Joseph wasn’t trying to learn the Spanish phrase as we worked on it, but instead purposing to be uncooperative. Whether it was a transgression or not, the verse still applies in this instance. Had I just continued to repeat the phrase for him without the other comments I was making, we would eventually have moved beyond the problem. How much better to spend the rest of my tutoring session on this one area than to be angry with Joseph simply so we could complete the material at a faster pace!

Another step toward overcoming my anger is awareness of all my angry responses—from the first feelings of anger to irritated tones in my voice to an outwardly evident angry response. My struggle is with wanting to justify that anger, especially when it seems under control and unnoticeable to others. I don’t want to fight a battle with anger, and if I am not angry, I won’t have to do that. It is much like the proverbial ostrich with his head in the sand. However, when I admit that the angry feelings are there, then something can be done about them.

The Lord has also shown me the importance of physical touch and closeness in overcoming anger. When I am feeling angry, I want to distance myself from the other person. I don’t feel close; therefore, I don’t want to be close. Distance between the child and me then fuels the angry feelings. On the other hand, if I choose to put my arm around the child, pull him into my lap, hold a hand, or pat a back, the anger begins to dissipate almost all by itself. It is very hard to be angry with someone you are loving on!

Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” When I am faced with a situation concerning my children where I feel like responding angrily, obviously the Lord’s way would be to handle it instead with love, kindness, and gentleness. Proverbs 25:15, “By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.” Anger seldom knows anything about a “soft tongue.” That does not mean there won’t be consequences for wrong behavior in the children. However, it does mean that I am not contributing more to the problem by being angry.

Sometimes I have been told, or heard it said, that anger is a human emotion, and we must express it, within limits. Consider with me a comparison of two moms, one who believes anger is an acceptable human emotion and another who sees anger as sin, praying and working to overcome it in her life. In which home would you want to grow up? In which home do you think the children will feel more loved? Which home will produce angry children? Which one will produce children who are sometimes angry, but know how to deal with it in a godly manner?

Recently I took three of my children to the public library. There we had the opportunity to watch the interactions between an angry grandfather and his angry grandson. My children were mesmerized by the scene unfolding before them. It was a bit frightening for all of us even though the anger did not go beyond words and raised voices. On the drive home, we discussed what we had observed. The children were very aware that if people will act like that in public, they will be considerably worse in private. We had an opportunity to talk about what happens in lives when anger is not dealt with properly.

Again, recall with me the situation of my boys bickering while cleaning their room. My goal is to encourage them to learn to work diligently and responsibly. I also want them to be young men who will praise each other while seeking to motivate, in a positive manner, the brothers who aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Here were the words I found myself speaking with a tone in my voice that my boys can recognize as irritated—fueled by angry feelings although you might not recognize the tone since you don’t know me well. “Here I have given you time to do your pickup that you should have done before school started, and what are you doing? Being unkind to each other! You should each be working hard, thanking each other for the help, and responding positively if your brother tells you that you need to put something else away.”

I believe the results I desired would have been more quickly achieved had I been quiet longer, listening to the boys’ interactions and really evaluating what was going on. That would have given me time to pray, asking the Lord for the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in my rebuke of the boys and thanking Him for the opportunity to teach them God’s ways. Then my tone could have been sweet and gentle. My words would have pointed out their wrong behavior and consequences given if necessary—all without anger!

Truly, as I evaluate the road I have been walking along toward victory over anger, I realize it has not required much of me. Here is what it has entailed:

  • An awareness of the problem
  • A heart’s desire to change
  • Humility
  • Time (but not all that much compared to the joy to be experienced on all sides)
  • Putting self aside

While there were times I wanted to give up and decide I was an angry person and always would be, God never allowed my heart to be satisfied with those thoughts. I yielded; He is doing the work! He has brought me to where I am in this battle—not having yelled or slammed a door for ten years. He continues to work as He molds and refines me to overcome even the tones in my voice and concealed reactions that stem from anger.

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath . . .” (Psalms 37:8). Dear Sisters, may anger be a feeling that we want replaced in our lives by the fruit of the Spirit. May we be zealous enough in our efforts to give it no place in our hearts that we will spend time in earnest prayer about it and seek forgiveness when we fail. Let’s draw our children close to us with hugs, squeezes, and whispered sweet words, fostering an environment where anger cannot thrive. May we truly allow the Lord to give victory over anger in our lives.

The Case Against Anger – Part 3

(To read the previous parts, please see this link.) After realizing my seventh-grade son was not making good progress through his independent study of Spanish, I began taking some of our daily one-on-one school time to review Spanish with him. One day, as I was repeating a phrase we had already gone over many times in that session, Joseph exclaimed, “Mom, you are just getting upset and angry with me!”

“Why, Joseph,” I replied, thinking I was speaking truth, “I am not angry with you at all.”

“Well, then it must be the spirit of anger,” were his next words. He had listened to Dr. Davis’ audio, Freedom from the Spirit of Anger.

Oh, how I would have liked to react and defend myself. I wanted to convince him I had not been angry. However, as I sat silently replaying the situation in my mind, I realized that he was right. I wasn’t yelling at him, but I was irritated, and he could tell it. Irritation is a nicer word than anger, but it is still anger.

So how do we work toward overcoming our anger? Are there practical ways we can be proactive in seeking victory over any anger we experience, or are we stuck with a lifetime of angry responses?

What should I do when those situations arise that I would respond to angrily? PRAY! Does that sound simplistic? It probably does, but do you know what? It doesn’t come naturally for me to pray when I am starting to feel angry. What does come innately is either to allow the anger to fester or to try to stuff it down as if it wasn’t there. I must discipline myself to cry out to the Lord Jesus the moment those feelings are starting!

How much do I hate my anger? Do I have worldly sorrow or godly sorrow over it? 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” This was such a hard lesson for me to learn, and I am still growing in it. I would hate my anger, but only because it represented another of my failures, not because it was sin.

When my sorrow over my anger is godly sorrow, then I will spend daily, earnest prayer time for victory. My ability to have the fruit of the spirit evident in my life is totally dependent on the work of the Lord Jesus. Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” I am foolish or prideful or both to think that I could follow a list of steps to overcoming anger and have victory on my own.

It is easy for me to decidedly state that anger is wrong. Almost in the same breath, I will say I want to have victory over it. However, my prayer effort in that direction won’t match my words! I must truly mean that anger is wrong, from my heart, and then invest time in crying out to the Lord for His help. This has to be in both my daily personal prayer time and throughout the day.

Since I began writing these articles, I have been so excited about the new progress the Lord has been giving me in overcoming anger. However, it has not come without cost. The cost to me has been a constant focus on the problem. Dr. Davis, in his audio, Freedom from the Spirit of Anger, helped me greatly with this. He reminds his listeners that there are some sins that are just too hideous to allow ourselves to consider, let alone actually do. Would I walk in my favorite department store and steal a beautiful outfit I couldn’t afford? Never! What about ramming my car into the vehicle of a person who has treated me wrongly on the highway? Of course not! We simply don’t do those things. We know they are wrong. Somehow, though, we have come to view anger as acceptable to certain degrees rather than hating it as we might hate stealing or violence.

Colossians 3:8, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Seeing anger as a sin, which I do not have the luxury of indulging in, began to make it worth my efforts to truly conquer it. Gentle anger—remember the Lord had given me victory over yelling and door slamming about ten years ago—ruled my life. When I started observing my anger, I became aware that many of the interactions with my children had just a slight undertone of anger in them. I don’t even think the children recognize it in me most of the time, but that doesn’t make it okay.

I began not only crying out to the Lord during my morning prayer time for help with this problem, but I also started praying constantly throughout the day. At first, it was terribly painful, because the Lord showed me I had a much greater problem with anger than I was aware of. I wrote this series because I thought I had something to share with you as far as overcoming anger was concerned. Instead, the Lord showed me that subtle anger was as much a problem as overt anger.

This continual awareness of my thoughts, attitudes, and reactions with an ongoing prayer of having normal, loving responses to what is going on around me has been wonderful. I am greatly enjoying the realization that even though I have truly had a problem, the Lord may give me lasting, sustained, life-changing victory!

In the situation I started this article with, my immediate step after prayer was to ask Joseph’s forgiveness for not being patient and gentle. Sometimes I, as a mommy, don’t want to ask my children’s forgiveness. I think it will make me look bad in their eyes, that it will undermine my authority, or that it will paint an unnecessarily negative picture of me. I believe asking my child’s forgiveness when I have wronged him by using positive words to describe what I failed to do relieves all of those concerns. At the same time, I am doing what is Scripturally commanded of me.

By asking my child’s forgiveness for my lack of patience, love, or kindness, I may be healing hurts that might never be spoken of by my child. By this I mean that each time I respond to a child in anger, my lack of love for him is showing, allowing hurts to be established and then to grow. These hurts can be concealed within the child’s heart and not be expressed. However, when I choose to humble myself by acknowledging that what I did was wrong, then I have the opportunity to reinforce my love for him.

This Mom’s Corner became too long so I needed to break it into two parts. Perhaps that will, in the end, be a good thing. You will have a month to meditate on your own view of anger in your life. You can begin observing your daily interactions and evaluate which ones involve anger. You should have time to start a diligent, vigilant prayer effort with a heart’s desire of overcoming anger. Lastly, you could try becoming accountable to the Lord and others in your family for your anger by asking forgiveness when you have been angry.