I like Tricia Goyer's writing because she's honest. Do you struggle with an angry heart? I can at times and I appreciate what Tricia shares about anger.
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What My Anger Showed Me About My Heart
By Tricia Goyer
I never thought I was an angry person until we adopted kids from the foster care system, and I had to daily deal with kids blowing up in my face time and time again. Soon it wasn't just during their "angry" moments that I found myself angry. The anger seeped into other areas. I was mad because of the chaos and the mess, too.
God, John and I felt like we were doing the right thing here ... why is this so, so hard? Why am I so mad all the time?
What God showed me is that the process of adoption wasn't just about John and I helping kids and transforming their lives. God wanted to show me there was work he wanted to do in my life. My "mad" was a way for me to realize there were changes that need to take place in my heart, too.
These are a few things I learned:
I learned to depend on God more. I'm a highly productive person. I can manage a lot. I write, and I homeschool. I mentor young moms, and I keep a tidy house. Or ... I should say I used to be able to do all these things. When I couldn't do these things as well, I found myself mad about that. So now I was not only not as productive but angry too!
The first few years after our adoptions were hard, and I found myself resenting the time that anger took away from "my" things. Yet as I turned to God I realized how much I'd been doing on my own. Discovering my own weaknesses and shortcomings made me depend on God more. I needed him to give me wisdom for these new challenges. I needed him to help me control my anger. I also needed him even more to do the things I used to find so easy, like work projects. God taught me surrender like I never knew it before, and I became closer to him in the process.
I learned just because God calls us to something doesn't make it easy. Just because God called John and I to adoption didn't mean it would be a piece of cake. I don't know why I thought it should be. God called Moses to lead the Israelites into the wilderness and that wasn't easy. God inspired David to fight a giant with only a few stones. He called Paul to preach the Gentiles who wanted to stone him. (And did!)
Sometimes when things get hard we question if we made the right choice, but if we lean in and become closer to Jesus in the process, it is the right choice. As Philippians 3:10-11 says, "I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself" (The Message). God didn't call me to easy things. He called me to things that would make me a partner with him.
I learned I could control my temper. I didn't have a big anger problem my first twenty years of parenting because my kids didn't test it in big ways. Sure, I'd get annoyed and frustrated, but as I dealt with angry kids I felt my voice rising along with theirs. I found my fist balling up. I found myself slamming doors.
Again, I turned to God. I asked him to be strong where I was weak. I asked for the fruit of his Spirit in me to be present in all my interactions, especially the ones that made me angry. And when I felt the anger coming I'd send up a prayer. I also learned out to use calming techniques on myself and to be a model for my children.
Overall, through the process of parenting challenging, angry kids, I've been able to change and transform with God's help. I'm so thankful that through this process God has showed me things about my heart that needed to change. More importantly, he helped me to change and draw closer to him in the process.
Tricia Goyer writes out of her passion for God and her love for family and others. She is the USA Today Bestselling author of over 70 books, including Calming Angry Kids and Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Following God's Word One Step At a Time. You can connect with Tricia at www.TriciaGoyer.com. Sign up for her free email podcast series on Calming Angry Kids.