Thursday, January 24, 2013

i hate being angry.

parenting has been perhaps the most sanctifying thing in my life, besides my marriage. i find myself being more needy than ever for God to show up in big ways. not in my child's behavior but in my own heart.

at first my prayer was, Lord help my kids to change. and then i got a big fat mirror put in my heart and God told me i needed to change. you'll see this with our gratefulness journey through christmas and now you'll get to watch it as we deal with anger in our home.

our family has a problem with anger. every single one of us. our first response when something doesn't go our way is yelling. throwing fits. punishment. i'm not talking like it's just my kids doing that, i'm saying me and my husband do this too. in fact, the best i can gather, our kids learned it from us. 
of course, i'm not saying any issue our kids deal with is solely what they gathered from our parenting, but i'm ok with taking responsibility when it's pretty clear.

what is clear is that this is a new stage of parenting for us as we deal with the older kids--we've moved from a mostly physically demanding stage, to a much more emotionally demanding time where heart issues are more apparent, budding, and needing quite a bit of shepherding. through this, i have seen that i need more help than tips and tricks of parenting.

i remember reading Shepherding a Child's Heart a year ago by tedd tripp and it tore me up. at the time, i didn't believe i had issues with anger, but now that our 6 year old is dealing with his own anger, the mirror is up and i'm standing there saying, me too. that 6 year old is me. 

tripp says, Correction is not displaying your anger at their offenses; it is rather reminding them that their sinful behavior offends God.

and when i thought about when i display correction...it was when my kids were bothering me. when they were in my way. when they made my life harder that day. when they frustrated me because i was tired of working on that same behavior. certainly not because they were offending God... that's laughable.

i wasn't even yelling because i wanted to be heard. it was something deeper in my heart. i was yelling because something was going on in my heart. it is FULL of wrath and anger. don't get me wrong, i do yell to be heard sometimes...like for safety issues or something... choose my voice not the electrical socket! 
but as God was making me more aware of my own anger, he was also taking away all the excuses i had to be angry. no one was making me angry. no child or husband, no matter what they do gives me the right to sin in my response. the anger was in there, waiting for an opportunity to sic itself on a passersby at any moment. what a pleasant word picture. 

tripp again says:
If you allow unholy anger to muddy the correction process, you are wrong.  You need to ask for forgiveness.  Your right to discipline your child is tied to what God has called you to do, not your own agenda.  Unholy anger- anger over the fact that you are not getting what you want form your child- will muddy the waters of discipline.  Sadly, most correction occurs as a by- product of children being an embarrassment or irritation, and the child learns then about the fear of man not the fear of God.   Unholy human anger may teach your children to fear you.  They may even behave better, but it will not bring about biblical righteousness.

my anger in dealing with my family was certainly not holy anger. as christians, we like to use that term to make it ok to be vengeful about things we're wildly passionate about.  
it's important to remember that we are wildly passionate about ourselves most often above every cause.
in fact, there are many verses in the bible telling us that anger does not accomplish much and can be extremely harmful. i'll let you google them because i'm lazy.

the point is, i didn't think my anger was a big deal until i saw that it was. until i felt like i was not just sinning against my kids and husband but that i was sinning against God. 
it also is difficult to see the problem when others encourage our sin. what a shame it is that many of us, even as believers(me included!), pat each other on the back when we tell of how angry we got at our kids/husband/whomever today. oh me too. it's just this stage! instead of saying, did you repent of that?run to God! he's your only hope for change!
(i mean, you don't have to use exclamations like that and you should probably buffer it with I'M MESSED UP TOO...just repeating the above phrase will lose friendships quick! but you get the gist...we're talking heart posture here.)

and so it began. with awareness of how great my sin was.
which lead to sadness over my sin. 
then feeling helpless to my emotions and anger. and i needed some crazy help.
at this point, i repented for sinning against God. saw that Jesus paid for this sin and that He could help me do better by His power.

if you see your sin and try and do better the next day, you will fail at some point and feel an immense amout of guilt and shame for not being able to conquer the issue.
you feel this way because of a deeper issue. because you can not conquer sin! it's an arrow pointing to our need for something bigger. the cross.

i have needed the cross these past weeks more than ever in my parenting as i feel like i'm running on empty. but the truth is, i am empty. i am bankrupt and need his love to come into me so i can give it to others. 

this week has been better. i have noticed i am not as angry, not as spewing when something doesn't go my way. it's been really nice to to have to live under the mean cloud. 
don't get any ideas of sainthood over here... i have still been angry, but am quicker to stop and ask God for forgiveness first, then my kids. i ask God for supernatural change and rely on him to do the real work. i am not in this to behavior modify. i want the real deal. 

source reference: 
Shepherding a Child's Heart
by tedd tripp

67 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Jami Nato. I, too, have deep-rooted anger issues. Thanks for sharing the gospel through this blog of yours. What an encouragement.

    I do need to be a brat about one thing, though: Tedd Tripp wrote Shepherding A Child's Heart. Although I do prefer Paul Tripp. No offense to Tedd.

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    1. freudian slip! i am a little obsessed with paul david. lol. thanks for bringing that to my attention. changed it.

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    2. Jami, your words ring so true to my heart. My husband and I do not have children, but your post inspired me to do a quick search for books similar to this related to marriage. I had read your above comment and recognized Paul Tripp's name on this book: What Did You Expect- Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. Have you happened to have read this book, or are there any other resources you would suggest related to marriage... or just to work on fixing my own angry heart?

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    3. Yes! That book is marvelous!

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    4. Thanks for the response, Jami. About to dump it into the Amazon cart right now!

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  2. I loved this. And needed this desperately. You might as well been describing me and my 6 year old. Thank you for preaching the gospel to my heart today!

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  3. Right there with you! I have noticed that my daughters uses the same words and phrases I say when I get angry. Its like god telling me to be more concerned with teaching them how to deal with their anger than what it is I am getting so angry about in the first place. Parenting is hard work

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  4. ummm, wow. i really needed to hear this and i am going to buy that book now. thank you for being honest.

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  5. This is why I read your blog ...because every so often, it hits me right where I need it too and holds a mirror to MY heart. I have been so impatient with my toddler lately and feeling like its justified bc he's in the "terrible twos"... thanks for this post. I'm going to share it! God definitely uses your words in a much bigger way than you think.

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    1. I couldn't have said it better myself, Chelsea. You took the words out of my mouth. Amen!

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  6. Thank you for this! Thank you for being so real. I SO needed this. My husband and I are much more guilty of the anger than our kids, although I can see it starting with our 4 year old and I feel to blame for being a bad example. I feel so out of control and need to just fall at the feet of God.

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  7. Stripping away the anger has been one of the biggest areas of refinement in my own life when it comes to parenting. I so want my kids to inherit a heart like Christ's from me, not an ugly anger filled heart. Through some inner healing prayer God revealed that at a very young age I believed the lie that I could use anger to control people and situations. Whoa. I'm thankful for his healing and mercy.

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  8. I'm right there with you.

    Good reminder.

    Thank you.

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  9. we have this issue too at home. screaming takes over normal conversation lots of times cause i find it quicker and easier. i've found that when i do slow down and speak softer, they do too. it's like, duh. right? i have to remember that i am teaching them this kind of attitude, so i'll need to deal with the consequences of it. i'd rather deal with consequences that will come out from a grace filled mentality. only good can come out from that.

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    1. totally. a gentle answer turns away wrath.

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  10. I feel like anger is one of those emotions that women are more inclined to disregard and justify. I always wrapped up my anger issues with a little bow to make it look prettier by describing myself as sensitive, passionate, dramatic, analytical, blah blah blah. Just yesterday God was like "You have anger issues and they are directed at someone very specific. This is hurtful and you are wrong!" So there I was last night begging Him to forgive me and just remove these thoughts and feelings from my heart. I mean I am at a total loss unless he just does it for me because I have allowed anger into my heart and let it camp out there too long under a different name. Ugh what a mess!

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  11. Wow. You hit on so many points that I needed to hear right now. Had to read and reread in hopes they would all sink in deep. Thanks for sharing and opening my eyes and heart to these truths. Now... to apply... grace upon grace.

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  12. Dude. You seriously have a way of poring out not only what I struggle with...but also exactly how I think and rationalize my sinful behavior! Thank you for this. I struggle with anger in a big way...and so does my oldest. I am a byproduct of a very angry house and yelling was the norm. I hate it though....and wish so much that my stock response was not anger. I adore that book too but had forgotten those quoted passages. I guess it's time for a re-read! Thank you so much friend...you are a blessing!!

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  13. I grew up in a house with a lot of anger issues. I happen to be a spirited person with a few opinions and have struggled with anger at time too. A lot of times i felt like being angry wasn't a choice, that's the way I was made. But a Christian counselor reminded me that that is not true. Each time I react in anger, it is my choice. For whatever reason that was really helpful to me. To feel like I have some control over my reactions was freeing! I don't have to react in anger! I can choose forgiveness and patience and joy. Thank you Lord!

    This past year my family has been facing a terrible trial as my brother has leukemia. That's been terrible sad and at times makes you anger but it also makes you realize how precious life really is. This year I am documenting 1000 things that bring me joy! Taking time to name your blessings each day really helps.

    I'll be praying you guys (and myself) continue to figure out how to display anger in a godly way!

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    1. i think that too...like why do i feel so out of control in this area?! it is good to reminded that God is bigger than my issues and emotions.

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  14. Wow. Dude. I didn't know this boat was occupied. Have a swig from my hip flask (it's just Cheerwine).

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  15. Jami, I have heard of Shepherding A Child's Heart before, but what has kept me from it are the many reviews I've read that state that he advocates corporal punishment. Could you tell me if that's true? If it isn't, then I will make an effort to read it. It sounds like it had a big impact on you. Is it worth reading if I don't believe in physically striking my children? Just trying to get an honest answer from someone who obviously is not a nut. :) Thanks!

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    1. it is such a sensitive issue. i think it's important to note that the bible does advocate corporal punishment. and i'm not saying that to be devisive but for people who have experienced corporal punishment that has been misused, or have been taught that it is wrong in higher education (i'm thinking of love and logic), we tend to shrink back from that.
      i think what tripp advocates is no anger being involved in punishment. so if anger is taken out of the equation, it is much less scary. the abuse is not there. it is done under the umbrella of thought and care, not anger and vengeance.
      so i'm not wanting to get into a debate with you, but would encourage you to see that tripp didn't come up with that idea.

      even with that piece in the book, you would get a ton out of it as far as dealing with heart issues no matter what your route of discipline is.

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    2. Thank you for your response, Jami! I don't want to get in a debate, either, but I do think that there is some misinformation out there regarding the Bible and corporal punishment, so I am going to respond. I certainly don't think that Tripp came up with the idea of spanking, and I would encourage you to take a closer look at the Scripture that is often used in support of spanking. Most spanking supporters look at the verses in Proverbs, where the rod (or shebet, the original Hebrew) is referenced, and interpret that to mean something to strike with. In reality, the rod (shebet) is a large staff-like object that shepherds used to guide the sheep and keep them safe, to keep them from wandering away. I am not basing this on Love and Logic, which I don't use, and have never read, but on the Bible. I think it is really important to look at the original Hebrew to see what the true meaning of those verses is, they are about discipline. OF COURSE the Bible advocates discipline, but not physical punishment. This online article has some of the literal translations, and some other links as well: http://parentingfreedom.com/discipline/
      I am sharing this in love, not in a divisive way...I fear that popular Christian cultural views on the subject have overtaken the Bible's actual stance on it. Anyway, this has become somewhat long...Keep on keeping on...my prayer is that my parenting would be grace filled...motherhood is one of the toughest mission fields, for sure!

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    3. while i disagree with you on the bible's actual stance on spanking, i think whether you spank or don't spank... the message of this book about getting to the heart of the matter with children(not simply behavior modification), not allowing anger to infiltrate discipline, and helping children focus on approval of God and not man is extremely helpful!

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  16. i didn't even realize that i had anger issues until reading this!? that's humbling.
    you've pegged so many of my downfalls as a parent.
    i really need to get that book, dig deeper into the Word and seek answers here.
    thank you.
    xo

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  17. You have quite a way with words, Miss Nato. You seriously have a gift to speak truth in love. I'm blessed by you and yours words.

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  18. i've read Tripp's book and it tore me up as well. Although I only have a 10 month old and am not into the "heart" issues just yet, i can already see patterns in my own heart forming. Thanks for writing this. It will definitely encourage me to take a step back and examine myself and repent before shifting blame. Your honesty is so valuable!

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  19. ohh lawdy. this is what's bringing me to my knees lately, for i am a beast. sometimes i feel like the tripp stuff doesn't work on 3 year old girls. but is it working on me is the better question.

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  20. I've seen this book many times and now I will probably have to read it! (thank you amazon for instant access) as my husband and I certainly both fail time and again in this anger area. Such unrighteous indignation - I absolutlely hate when I see it in my kids, but am realizing more and more that it's in us as well! Thanks for being open to the spirit and speaking boldly the truth!

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  21. It's amazing how you see a glimpse of their parents in a kid's eye. I'm my father's daughter. When we were much younger, and before my father had a hard grip of our Heavenly Father my father had a hard time with controlling anger. Long story, but I can see small effects it had on me, in my quick responses with a "tone." Another good book to read on parenting (I haven't read it yet, but my sister has and loves it) is Boundaries with Kids by Dr Henry Cloud. My sister said it's her absolute favorite. And she has read plenty!!
    Thanks for the insight Jami. I know my sis (Elizabeth Behrens) has told me many GREAT things about that book and your life. :) Blessings!

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  22. I love how you push yourself when it comes to telling the real story. I know it's not easy when it means laying out your own sin to the general public, but it's encouraging to bloggers like myself. I know that you know that your life is not your own and it reminds me of the same. You rocked this. Too bad I have no anger issues. #iwish

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    1. It is hard to put if all out there but the more I fall in love with God, the more I don't care that everyone knows my crap. I'm ugly in there!

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  23. Jami! Once again, nail, head, hit- multiple times. We read this book on a parenting course when our first was just 8 months old. We now have a 5, 3 and 1 year old and definitely thinking I need to pluck this book back off the book shelf and re-read with some years of actual parenting googles on, as opposed to the rosy "we would never discipline our baby in anger"ones we had on the first reading. Was very convicted and again your post is so timely. God is using you my friend. Thank you. x

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  24. Thanks for the honesty. I'm a yeller. I HATE that about myself. And my kids are now 4 and 3 ... and it's so scary and so freakin' humbling when you see your worst qualities coming out your kiddos. so, yep, totally just bought this book ... which, by the way, is on sale at amazon for a $1.99. so no excuse not to read it. :]

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  25. wowza. Right to the heart, this struck me. i have a 4 mo old, so the emotional stage is still a little far off, but i am recognizing more and more that this was how i was raised, and that it is how i am wired now... AGH!! No. i don't want my boy to feel or have to deal with the sludge i am having to sort through right now. It is so true, what you say about it being a choice to react in anger. that often we feel entitled to be angry for some reason, and so it just bubbles at the surface, waiting to be sprayed at any and everyone we see fit. but that is NOT what our God calls us to do.

    Buying that book. stat.

    Thanks for the honesty, girl. your words just slapped me upside my head :)

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  26. Thanks for your encouraging and honest words. I had a great conversation with some good friends last night and two of them have read, "Loving the Little Years" by Rachel Jankovic. They said it is one they have read and re-read and journaled about, etc. I plan to check it out and thought I'd share it with you too!

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    1. I did read that. Honestly, I needed something a little deeper, but with that said it was a quick read and gospel centered and I did enjoy it!

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  27. Thank you for writing this!! My heart needed to read your words!! XOXO

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  28. I have been on a mad search for my copy of "Shepherding a Child's Heart" ever since I read this post. (It's buried somewhere amidst moving boxes of books that I haven't unpacked.) I've heard of a couple moms mentioning dealing with your own attitude (ie: anger) before dealing with your child's, and it never made much sense to me. Till now. You made it very practical and convicting. Thank you...I needed this terribly today. Resuming my search now...

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  29. bam. you nailed it sister! thank you so much for this very, very real outpouring of the heart. i absolutely needed this. the thing about mothering for me, was and is exactly that heart mirror. this was absolutely needed. did i say that already? yes? because you need to know that your words today were for me. i'm taking them very personal. (i may or may not have yelled at one or two of my kids as i typed these 4 sentences :/) bless you and your home.

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  30. bam! you nailed it sister! and i'm taking these words very personal. thank you. mothering has really kicked my butt and i am slowly but surely coming to the understanding that it truly. is. me. that heart mirror. reflecting like mad in this household of 4 littles under 7. i appreciate your honesty. your words were needed today. for me. thank you. and may God continue to shine His face brilliantly upon your home.

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  31. This is the truth. It is ugly and hard and can heal. I want to be healed and to change the patterns. God help me...I am so weak.

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  32. hi. i found you a few months ago through leslie, from top of the page. her words are profound to me, so honest, and i have to say that your words have been just as convicting. this issue is so prevalent, so real, why don't we talk about it more? i wanted to highly recommend the book, Grace Based Parenting, that I heard about from leslie. have you read it? it changed my life, my view on parenting, my view of God. would love to know what you think of it.

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    1. Leslie is the best! I have read grace based parenting and it was awesome. I need to read it again like every year. I am quick to forget and stray from Gods word and wisdom!

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  33. Jami, this was encouraging to read. I started reading that book and stopped because I couldn't relate to much (was before my little Locklan was born). Now that I have a 2 week old, anger has definitely sprouted most unjustly on the little guy who cries because the poor thing has gas (he doesn't cry just to irritate me, silly me). I love that you can share your experiences and combine them with the Word of God. It is so refreshing and the best advice/example to follow, humility to Christ.

    Good luck on your anger adventure! I will think of those words from Tedd Tripp next time I feel anger boiling over nothing.

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  34. After reading this, I felt like you had a window into our own home as we also deal with anger issues. I never thought I was an angry person until my second child came along and woah.... My first exposure to Sheparding was in our Sunday school class several years ago as we went through that book collectively and my oldest was only a few months old at the time. This past October our church hosted Ted Tripp for a Sheparding your Child's Heart conference and while he did condense the book for an 8 hour conference, it was just a great reminder and allowed my husband and I to have some conversations about us and our boys. Thanks for opening your heart and sharing a tough issue.

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  35. Shepherding a Child's Heart is an awesome book, but I also want to highly recommend 'Unglued' by Lysa TerKeurst -- I think she wrote the book just for me! ha! A friend brought it to me and said, "I was praying this morning and felt like you could use this". Little did she know what an awful morning it had been before we made it out the door to church (are Sunday mornings like this for anyone else?). This book has really helped me to examine my heart and how I respond to others. Such a great book!

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    1. my mom bought unglued for me and my sister and said it was written for her and us! lol

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  36. I needed to read this at the very moment I did. Thank you.

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  37. This is so great and so what I needed to hear today. My daughter is in the "terrible two" stage (or atleast that's what I keep telling myself), but maybe I am just in a terrible 32 stage. I am buying that book today.
    Thank you so much!

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  38. shepherding a child's heart and sacred parenting are my favorites. you summed them both up. truth.

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  39. Apparently the 6 year olds are winning for the prime age to reveal their Momma's anger issues!? I have recently become so aware of my sin and how it flies out of me so fast... sometimes I'm totally surprised by how much comes barreling out and how easily it's release is triggered. Control heart idol getting bonked on hard. I just read the book "Unglued". But I really just need to run to Him and let Him have His way with my heart. I'm tired of coming to end of the day and being ashamed of how I handled it.

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  40. Apparently the 6 year olds are winning for the prime age to reveal their Momma's anger issues!? I have recently become so aware of my sin and how it flies out of me so fast... sometimes I'm totally surprised by how much comes barreling out and how easily it's release is triggered. Control heart idol getting bonked on hard. I just read the book "Unglued". But I really just need to run to Him and let Him have His way with my heart. I'm tired of coming to end of the day and being ashamed of how I handled it.

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  41. Apparently 6 year olds are winning as the prime age to reveal their Momma's anger issues!? I am sometimes shocked by how much comes barreling out and how easily its release is triggered. Heart idol of control being bonked on hard. Just read the book "Unglued". Really just need to run to Him and let Him have His way with my heart. Tired of coming to the end of the day and being ashamed of how I handled (more like didn't handle) it.

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  42. oh my goodness i needed this!! seriously needed this. thank you. i have these thoughts and have just been dancing around the idea that maybe the problem is me! my anger is my sin. oh man i have a lot of praying to do.
    and i love your title... "i hate being mean." amen sister.

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  43. Isn't it interesting how anger can shoot out like a volcano? I am pretty sure I can point to the time in my life when anger became an issue, but regardless...it never ceases to amaze me how a tiny thing can release what is apparently boiling right beneath? We don't have kids, but my husband and I can fight dirty sometimes and it's true - it's an anger issue. Hpw thankful I am for the grace of the cross each time I am shown a mirror of my own self. Not exactly the "image of Christ" I was made in. Thanks for sharing.

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  44. jami, i wanted to say thank you for being vulnerable and authentic with the interwebs. the holy spirit has literally taken your words on this post and changed me over the course of a week (not perfection but total heart transformation). i am so grateful that you allow your sin to be public for His kingdom's sake. what selflessness on your part so that God may accomplish redemption, healing and restoration in your readers lives. i've been a long time reader and look forward to each and every post. thanks again!

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  45. Dear Jami, I was very inspired by your above post. Thank you for that. To learn more about this subject I decided to buy Tripp's book, I didn't know it or Tedd Tripp. But I was so shocked to read about his ideas and advices on physical punishment to children. I totally disagree with this. I absolutely do not think it is Gods wish we punish our children by spanking them. As this book to me is in so much contrast with your post I just needed to share this.

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    1. while i disagree with you, i think whether you spank or don't spank... the message of getting to the heart of the matter with children(not simply behavior modification), not allowing anger to infiltrate discipline, and helping children focus on approval of God and not man is extremely helpful!

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  46. Once again you hit the nail on the head. We are parenting a couple of teenagers and it quickly becomes about how they wronged us, or how hard we have been trying and they haven't, and less about what God expects of them. Thank you for the mirror as I really needed it. Off to share this post with my husband...

    Tammy

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