Can I Come In?

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish

Devotion: When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

Anger Issues

“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.” James 1:19-20 (NIV)

I love my children more than anything in this world. And I truly want to be the best Christian mother ever. Not that I have to win the “Mother of the Year” award, although that would be nice.
The problem is I have blown it as a mom more times than I can count.
Let me share just one experience with you. I’m not proud of it; I am embarrassed and ashamed.
My son was four years old and the Tasmanian devil the minute he walked – or rather exploded – into a room. His bedroom was the worst. I would be picking up toys and putting them in his toy box and he would be pulling out all the clothes in his dresser behind me. As soon as I started putting his clothes away, he would run to the toy box and toys would fly. Again. And. Again.
One beautiful spring afternoon I went in to his room to see if he wanted to go outside and play. And I flipped out.
Maybe it was because I stepped on the helmet of his Transformer with my bare foot. Or it could have been seeing toys stuffed in his dresser and his clothes stuffed in the toy box or the silly putty imbedded in his sheer white curtains for the millionth time. I’m not sure.
But what I AM sure is that I turned into a yelling maniac. I proceeded to tell him how terrible it was to create so much work for me and how he needed to change his attitude and improve his behavior or else.
The more I yelled, the angrier I became, until I stopped to take a breath – and saw her. My landlady. Trimming the shrubs just outside my son’s bedroom. And yes, the windows were open.
I knew that she heard every syllable of every harsh word I had spoken to my son in anger. And I was instantly so ashamed.
Ashamed that I had spoken to my son in anger. Ashamed that it took me realizing that someone heard me, to make me stop.
There is a reason today’s Key Scripture in James 1:19-20 is so important to each one of us. First, we as parents are to be Godly examples to our children. I am fairly certain that even if Jesus had stepped on a Transformer, he would not have exploded in anger at the child who left it on the floor.
Secondly, we are to be examples of Christ to those around us. My landlady knew I taught the little ones where we went to church. How she must have shaken her head at the thought of me teaching “Jesus Loves Me” to 4 year olds when I treated my own child in such an unlovely, unchristian way.
 Let me be clear: none of us are perfect and there are going to be those times when we completely blow it. But we must always try to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” as today’s Scripture says.
I knelt down, pulled my precious son into my arms and asked him to forgive me for my angry harsh words. He extended mercy to me as only a four year old could and, smiling, said “Okay, Mommy” as he gave me a hug and a kiss.
Mother of the Year? No. But I am determined every day, with God’s help, to be the example that He desires me to be.

Father, I long to be a Christian example to my children and to those around me. Please teach me to be very slow to get angry and to listen and speak with love and mercy. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Have you ever absolutely blown it when talking to your children? Were you quick to become angry and speak words you immediately regretted?

Journal today’s Key Scripture. Put your name in place of “My dear brothers.” Every morning for a week, read James 1:19-20 before you get out of bed. Ask the Lord to help you be a Christian example to your children throughout the day.

James 1:19-20 (NIV) “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.”

Psalm 127:3 (NIV) “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.”

Ephesians 6:4 (NIV) “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

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Copyright 2010  Nancy E. Hughes