Thursday, May 29, 2014

a letter to an angry child

Dearest Angry Child,

I hear you.

I hear your loud words, your cries of distress, your accusations, and your frustration with your circumstances.

I also see you. 

I see your eyes rolling, your fists clenched, your foot stomping, and your red face of ire.

I have been in your place, and I know what it's like. I do, really. I have had words that exploded from my mouth before I was able to catch them. I have lost self-control, had my pride offended, and wanted to make someone pay for the offenses that have wounded me.

Sometimes I am surprised by your outbursts, but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I suppose. All God's children have to walk this road of anger to learn what to do with it, and who we want to be when the tempest of our own soul is stirred into a frenzy of fierce emotion.

So let's get down to business, sweet child of mine. I cannot walk this path for you. All I can do is decide who I will be when you engage me with your own rage.

I will not yell back at you. I will calmly ask you to lower your voice, or instruct you to go calm down somewhere else before addressing me again.

I will not take the blame. You are mad things didn't work out, people won't do as you please, or that you can't have exactly what you want. As the parent I am often the bearer of bad news for you. Even so, I can't change the rules of life for you, make people do what you want them to do, or stop the world from ruining your plans today.

I will point you to repentance. If you lashed out at people, you need to make amends. The people you hurt are God's children, and therefore worthy of love. You were not loving when you yelled, threw things, and fought with words and fists. Apologize to them and God, and ask Him to help you. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and your life can be changed by the discipline of repentance and prayer.

I will help you find a solution. When you find the self-control to have a rational discussion, I would love to talk about your options. Every problem has a solution, although the consequences of your choice may not be as appealing as you would like. Welcome to life, dear child. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

I will love you no matter what. Should you choose to let anger win the battle, I will still love you. If you continue to point your finger at me or someone else, I will still love you. If you won't repent, I will still love you. But know now, anger is an unwise and lonely way to live your life. When you decide you want my help to be set free, I will be here for you.

In the end, dear child, you must learn to discern which are the battles you have been created to fight. You will learn to fight for God's goodness and His glory. Humility will regulate your prideful tendencies. You are God's warrior, created to stand firm in His righteousness, and He doesn't want you to lose your mighty calling to do that.

I am grateful and proud to be your mom. It is an honor to walk along with you as you learn to love and make peace in the midst of battle. In many ways, mothering you well has been a battle ground of my own soul, and I would not know God as I do were it not for you. When the day comes that you strike out on your own, I will raise a banner of praise to God for all He has done in both of us both along the way.

I know you are still angry, but I also know that this too shall pass. When it does, the love will remain, and all the drama will have been a worthwhile adventure in learning grace and mercy. So hang in there, kiddo.

I love you,

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." -Ephesians 3:14-19 

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