"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
God called me a bully. Let me explain...
Being a mom is so much harder than I anticipated. It's exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. But it's hard. And it's hard to admit that I'm not the kind of mom I thought I would be.
Don't get me wrong...I love being a mom. I love having the opportunity to pour my love into these precious gifts from God...these beautiful beings that God has trusted me with. I love spending time with them. I love seeing their smiles. I love making them happy. I love watching them learn and grow. I love having family time and watching movies together and playing football together and going hiking together. I love every aspect of being a mom...well, almost every aspect.
Growing up, my mom very rarely yelled, and she somehow always kept her cool even in very tense family situations. The TV moms I watched seemed to do motherhood with ease like Carol Brady. Even with six kids, she maintained her home and her patience.
Clair Huxtable was a working mom of 5 kids, and she always seemed to have her act together.
And my favorite mom was from "It's a Wonderful Life", Mary Bailey. She was a mother of 4 kids, and even when her husband was falling apart right before her eyes, she still managed to listen to her daughter playing the same song over and over on the piano, tell her son how to spell something, excuse her younger son after he burped, take care of her sick daughter in bed, talk politely to a teacher who called to find out how her sick daughter in bed was feeling, all while making dinner and decorating her house for Christmas. She was even beautifully dressed with her make up on and hair done too.
But now I wonder...did Carol, Clair or Mary ever just lose it?
Because I do. I lose it a lot. And that's the aspect of being a mom I wasn't prepared for...that's the aspect of being a mom I don't love...how much my kids could get under my skin and irritate the crud out of me. But that just goes along with motherhood, right?
God knows I have a heart for others...that I genuinely love all of His people, and He also knows that I can't stand the thought of hurting someone. I've lived my life treating people with love and respect. The thought of anyone being mean or cruel to another human being makes me mad. It brings me great fear and anxiety at the thought that I might cause someone any kind of pain whatsoever.
So, I was surprised when one day, seemingly out of no where, God called attention to the way I treated my kids when I was angry. He very clearly told me that I was being a bully.
Now, I admit, I have a temper, but a bully? I was shocked. I immediately went on the defensive. I hated bullies. I hated the word bully. Hearing stories in the news about kids torturing and tormenting another human being always made me sick to my stomach. Those people were definitely bullies. I was not a bully! I would just hate it if I ever hurt anyone...especially my own children!
I went to the dictionary and looked up the definition of a bully. It said that a bully was "someone who uses their power or strength to harm or intimidate."
And then, I saw it. I saw what God was talking about. When things are good in the Leeb house, I was a Carol or a Clair or a Mary. I was patient, loving, and affectionate. But when things were bad, I was a bully. When my kids throw fits, I lose it. When my kids are defiant, I lose it. When my kids don't listen the first time, second time, or third time, I lose it. I yell too loudly. I threaten. I intimidate. I spank a little too hard. I'm impatient, sarcastic, bossy, disrespectful, short-tempered, and as you can tell, very, very quick to anger.
He was right. Of course He was right...He's God.
Wow. That was painful to face.
He reminded me that I set the tone for our home. My voice has the power to speak life and love. My behavior has the power to show forgiveness and grace. Or not...it was up to me.
God asked me, "Do you want everyone in your home to behave like you do when they're angry?"
My immediate answer was "NO!"
I knew I needed to pray. I knew I needed to change. I knew I needed the Lord to help me break free from these chains of anger. I would never want to hurt anyone...especially not my children. They are such a blessing to me.
I don't want them to fear me. I don't want them to remember me as a hurtful mom. I don't want them to learn to be quick to anger from me.
I want them to learn to love unconditionally. I want them to learn to have patience even when others make mistakes. I want them to set an example of Christ's love for others.
I don't want to be a bully mom. Help me, Lord!
"...Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." James 1: 19-20
"Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3
Do you worry or fear that you're hurting someone? Do you struggle with anger or with being a bully to others?
PRAY WITH ME:
Father, today, I give my fear of hurting someone to You. I hate the thought of hurting others...especially my own children. Father, I know You have grace for me every day when I make mistakes. Help me to be slow to anger. Fill me with Your love, peace, and self-control. Guard my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not allow anything hurtful to come out. Lord, shine Your precious light into my actions that hurt others and fill me with faith to know that I am a work in progress. You are never done with me. In Jesus' name. Amen.