Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Day I Stepped Out Of The Fog

Bit, rudder, fire. Bit, rudder fire.

I repeated it over and over to myself for days. In the book of James it says;

"A bit in the mouth of the horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem like no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything- or destroy it!

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that..." (James 3:3-6 MSG)

Out of (seemingly) no where I had remembered hearing a very smart woman speak on controlling your tongue. The context was completely different. She wasn't talking about parenting, but God used her words none the less. 

Bit, rudder, fire. Bit, rudder, fire.

I had been growing increasingly more and more frustrated with Elliott. It seemed like him and I were always fighting, and it seemed as though it was more than just your average toddler-pushing-back-on-everything-mom-says. The more he pushed back, the firm I became. It doesn't take a psychologist to understand how this would create more tantrums, more tears, more anger.

Anger.

The very same smart woman had also spoke at my Mom's group a few months ago. The topic? "Mommy Anger" At the time I remember knowing that I was suffering pretty deep in this department, but as I listened, I felt sad. She described how she struggled with anger towards her son and how one day she snapped out of it- realized what she had been doing, and the damage it could cause to her son and their relationship, and so she stopped. I thought of all the times I had surprised myself with my yelling, mean tone of voice, sharp words and rough hands as I placed him in time out, and I wondered what I hadn't yet snapped out of it. I begged God to help me, to end the overwhelming feelings that day, and then I cried hot salty tears the very next day when I caught myself yelling yet again. It had been relieving to hear that I wasn't alone, and that other moms feel overwhelmed by anger as well, but I just didn't know how to change my behaviour. I felt helpless and hopeless.

Bit, rudder, fire. 

It circled around in my head enough times that I started to process what God might be trying to say to me. I noticed how often Chris came home from work and was met with my run down of the day- and not much of it was positive. Anytime that Elliott would act out while Chris was home I would exclaim something to the effect of "This kid!" or "I don't know what is wrong with him." And the more that I expressed my anger and frustration, the more angry and frustrated I got.



There was a time not too long ago when I felt very connected to God. I spent so much time in the word and in prayer, and felt as though I could feel Jesus leading me in my decisions and journey in life. In the middle of the fog I found it very hard to connect with Him. I knew He was there, but I couldn't see how close. It's easy to doubt God. Period. It's just plain easy to doubt Him. To doubt how much He loves me. How concerned He is with my daily affairs. If He cares at all if I read my bible or not. It's easy to tell myself that it's ok to spend a little time away from Him. We all have ups and downs. Mountains and valleys. So what if I was in the middle of a vast valley with no end in sight? I'd get back to that mountain eventually, right? No rush. And that's the dangerous part right there- when I became indifferent. 

Thankfully we serve a God who is far from indifferent. He pursues us and is constantly fighting for us. He longs for the moment we turn back to Him and welcomes us with open arms. 



Finally one night I used my words for something else. I told Chris how God had been speaking to me about the book of James, and how I needed to try not to speak such negativity over our child and our house. I felt lighter almost instantly. Speaking truth and life over the situation had so much power. The next day was a Saturday, but Chris had to be out of the house for most of the morning. Before he left he asked how my night was the night before. It hadn't been good- Elliott woke up multiple times and I was frustrated and very tired. Instead of "venting", I just brushed it off and said it wasn't too bad. I spent the morning intentionally speaking kindly to and over both kids. I was so amazed at what a peaceful morning we were having that I thought I should message that very smart woman and thank her for how God had used her in my life. 

She responded by sharing a bit more of her journey as of late, and admitted she had recently been feeling some shame towards her early years of anger towards her kids. Then she said "Let's just call that out right now and let Jesus speak truth into it. Shame is NOT from Jesus!" 

At the time of reading her message I was sitting at the kitchen table as Elliott and Audrey were eating breakfast. That one line hit me so deep inside my heart that I didn't just tear up- I choked back a full on sob. I couldn't even read the rest of what she wrote. I stood up from the table and turned away so Elliott couldn't see me and just cried and cried. 

I had been feeling so much shame and hadn't even realized it. It was such a heavy feeling, and I realized that I hadn't even tried taking a step forward, out of the fog. I had been standing there, motionless. Unable to move from the heaviness as though I had weights in my pockets and shoes. The weight lifted in that moment though, and praise God I was able to take a step. And wouldn't you know it? Jesus had been right in front of me the whole time. 



I'll be spending a little more time explaining this journey in my upcoming posts. I hope you'll join me.




3 comments:

  1. Wonderful writing and encouragement. I have little ones too. Kindness & gentleness- I'm learning it's so important.

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  2. Now I am the one in tears! I am in awe that Jesus can take the ugly bits of one women's story , redeem it, and use it- interweaving it into the ugly bits of another woman's story, creating further redemption and beauty. James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective " further, verse 19 says "if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of thier way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins" Every time these kinds of conversation arise, it is just as timely for me as it is for the other person. I need these reminders to keep myself from returning to the fog :) fist bump, mama!!

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  3. I just came out of this fog after reading some works by a lady named L.R Knost I believe. She writes about gentle parenting. I actually told my son (he is 3) that Mommy wants going to do things differently from now on and Jesus is going to help me be a gentle Mommy and he gave me lots of hugs like he really knew what I was talking about. I'm encouraged by this story you've shared, thank you.

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