The Mother I Want to Be
Glynnis Whitwer

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NIV)

I should have responded better. Patience and kindness would have been a more appropriate response than the unjustified annoyance that laced my tone of voice. In a regrettable moment of anger, I spoke words that left my son sad, and me wishing I could press the rewind button and keep my mouth zipped.

Unfortunately, I often respond better to the bigger challenges of parenting than the everyday frustrations. If you were a fly on my kitchen wall for a one day, you would wonder why a minor event sparked an annoyed response on my part. If your house is like mine, the answer is because that minor event actually happens frequently. Hence, I fall into the “If-I’ve-told-you-once-I’ve-told-you-a-thousand-times” trap of thinking, which doesn’t lend itself to much mercy.
When my patience wears thin, I find myself strikingly similar to the person spoken about in Ecclesiastes 7:9: a fool with a lap of anger. Unfortunately, when that lap is full, it only takes the slightest spark for frustration and anger to spill over onto some unsuspecting victims.

I know God is calling me to deal with this anger in a healthy and godly way. When my spirit is provoked, my first response should be to hold my tongue. While that doesn’t deal with the heart issue, it does keep me from speaking hurtful words that can never be withdrawn. But I can’t leave it there. I must address ongoing parental frustration as a spiritual issue and bring my concerns to God in prayer. I find that as I honestly confess my sin, the door is opened for God to bring His healing peace into my heart.

Anger over injustice is good. Anger over childish behavior isn’t. When I don’t confess my inappropriate anger to God, it just starts building up, making me a fool with a full lap. I’m so glad God offers me forgiveness when I mess up, and puts me back on the path of developing a sweet spirit of patience and gentleness within me. That’s the kind of mother I want to be.

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in spite of my weaknesses. Thank You for providing a way for me to deal with anger, and to become the kind and gentle woman we both want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
She’s Gonna Blow: Real Help Dealing with Mom Anger Julie Ann Barnhill

Season of Change: Parenting Your Middleschooler with Passion and Purpose Rebecca Ingram Powell

Visit Glynnis Whitwer’s blog

Application Steps:
Identify a time when you got angry at something that wasn’t really a big deal in hindsight. If you haven’t already, confess that anger and your behavior to God and receive His forgiveness.

Why is it easy to express anger and frustration to those we love?

What are some ways to deal with anger that don’t hurt someone else?

Write down some characteristics of a gentle and kind mother.

Power Verses:
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)

James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (NIV)

Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.


Blogger Becca said...

YES!! I am awesome in a crisis and unfortunately respond with anger on this day-after-day kid behaviors. Like you, I find that as I am honest with God about my anger, he helps me analyze it and behave according to his plan. Thank you for sharing and reminding me other Moms are in a similar boat.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last night both me and my mother blew it! We were both exhausted and my children were with her so I could stay for choir practice. When I came in she was short tempered and it frustrated me. Instead of biting my tongue I lost it! Said hurtful things and quite frankly, only felt vendicated momentarily. Then i felt guilty and broken hearted. This morning my mom started to email me and in the middle of her email this devotion popped up. I know God is watching out for our family. We have both read it and made peace with each other. Thank you so much for todays devotion. Melissa

Blogger Cheryl Barker said...

What a good devotion for all of us, whether our kids are still at home or not. Mine are out of the house not, but plenty of frustrating things still come my way. I loved your prayer -- beautifully expressed!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was sent to me by a friend, and it is perfect for me. i struggle with my reactions everyday. i have a 3 1/2 year old and a 3 month old, and i feel like i have no clue what i'm doing some days. i find myself in tears and frustrated. i want to raise my kids to be kind, loving and compassionate, and yet i forget to show them these characteristics. it's nice to know that i'm not alone.

Blogger Wanted: God's Glue said...

I have rededicated my life just recently to Christ. I have struggled with anger and a bad temper for years...still do but now I am asking and seeking God's help to change me and to take away the angery and short fuse and to replace it with a heart that is slow to anger and with ears qick to listen and lips slow to speak. My 17 month old daughter and husband have unfortunity been the targets and subjects of my wrath when I would get angry. I would feel so guilty that I would cry at night over how poorly I had treated the ones I love most!!
I know it is only with God's help that I will be able to change. I recently read somewhere that one should pray and ask God everyday that the words you speak be his words and to think before speaking by thinking will this bring hurt or will it bring glory. I have started to ask God to help me do just that...that the words I speak be his and may them bring Him honor and glory. I still mess up and am still working on fixing my temper but now I have a new hope in me.
Thank you for this message and letting me share what God is working on in my life.

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