**Thank y'all for your kind words & comments on my one year blogoversary post. The winner of the autographed copy of "One Thousand Gifts" is Kandace from www.hisidahorose.wordpress.com. Congratulations Kandace!**
I had help with the boys for two weeks straight! Amazing. Yet, as crazy as it sounds, I was looking forward to it being just me & the boys. The week started off well. My two weeks of 'rest" carried me through the first few days. Then the exhaustion and frustration starting creeping back in. By Friday I wasn't responding to the boys like I wanted to.
They weren't being any different from Monday. I knew I was being unreasonable and overreacting. With one more mess to clean up I screamed, "Stop it! Go to your room. Seriously!"
Fortunately this time I realized the issue was my own. After barking out my order I stopped and said, "I'm sorry guys, mommy actually needs to go take a break."
I headed straight for my leather chair. Buried my head in my hands and started praying. "Lord, I don't want to speak harshly with the boys. He only spilled water on the floor. Please give me strength and patience. Allow me to give them grace. Help me to see them as you see them."
Then I picked up my Bible and flipped it open. Furiously reading the first page my eyes fell on. James 1...
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Yes. Even in my failings. Pure joy. Reaching my limits. Discovering I am not "super mom" leads to spiritual maturity. Relying on God for my strength. I read on...more from James 1...
"When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed."
I was tempted by my evil desire to use anger to control a situation (a symptom of my pride). I long for calm, convenience, and comfort. However, God does not call us to those things. He definitely doesn't want me to sin in order to receive them. James continues...
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."
Woah. There it is. Bringing me back to truth. Anger is not going to bring about the kind of godly life I desire for myself or our family. when I stood up from my chair the boys greeted me with apologies. Thanking them for saying sorry, I told them how mommy reacted poorly. How spilling water is not a big deal. How I overreacted. How much I love them.
Susanna Wesley, a God-centered mom of John & Charles Wesley, birthed 19 children, 10 of who lived to adulthood. When she needed a moment to "center" herself in the midst of mothering, it's rumored she threw an apron over her head for a time of prayer. She used an apron. I ran to my leather chair. What is your action plan when you aren't being the mommy you want to be?
Creating an Over-Reaction Action Plan:
1. Look for a trigger
- Is there a theme for when you get the most frustrated?
- Time of day? Activity (trying to get out the door on time)? Child?
2. Where will you go?
- If you have young children, you may not be able to leave them unattended. Perhaps you sit on the floor with your head bowed.
- Maybe sit on the couch. Do you have a rocking chair or chair your children can associate as "the place you meet with God?"
- Perhaps you can step into the bathroom. Maybe even lock the door (luxury!). Keep some verses handy in the medicine cabinet or a pretty looking basket.
- Your bedroom may be a safe place to retreat.
3. What will you do?
- Does prayer come easily for you? Then spend a few moments telling God why you are frustrated and asking Him to give you what you need.
- List 3 things you are grateful for in that moment.
- If you struggle with a consistent trigger, spend time finding Scripture related to your struggle. Keep them written on notecards stuck in a dollar store photo album...easy access and review.
- Simply open the Bible and allow the Spirit to speak to you through His Word.
We can't expect a few moments reading the Bible in the morning to carry us through the entire day. Particularly if your mothering instinct is opposite of the mother you want to be. We have to have a plan.
Where will you go & what will you do when you find yourself over-reacting to your children?