I wrote this article in June, 2020, while reminiscing on being a first time mom with a school age daughter. Little did I know, she would be getting married 2 years after writing this! Our school days were long. We both had a lot to learn! What an incredible journey it has been…
She’s a born daydreamer.
I value productivity.
A combination of cataclysmic proportions for a young mom and child.
It had been hours of trying to finish our school day and she still had 2 subjects to complete. What should have been a 3 hour day had already turned into 6. I snapped at her, making sure she knew how irritated I was in hopes of increasing her work pace. My impatient attempt failed. She began to cry and I threw my hands up in exhaustion as I went to my room, slamming the door.
Her slow pace of life interfered with my to-do list. It irritated me, angered me, and brought out the worst in me. Why hadn’t anyone told me that children are slow? What was this cruel trick God was playing on my productive self? I had had enough and she was going to have to learn to be Miss Speedy if we were ever going to survive together.
I have since learned her slow pace of life was a Holy pace of life. God was calling me to a slowness through my daughter, only I could not recognize it. Children have a way of calling us into a deeper Holiness without us (or them) even being aware. It takes a slow pace to encounter God. God will not be rushed- He never moved in a fast pace. He walked from place to place, He took His time with people, He moved intentionally.
Fast forward many years…
She didn’t learn to be Miss Speedy. (Thankfully!)
And I remained angry.
For a long time, I didn’t understand God’s idea of a slow pace.
Finally, I gave up- surrendering MY understanding, MY brokenness, MY way.
Much of the time, my anger was grounded in a need for control. Anger, oftentimes, is a symptom of something much deeper going on. It is an outward sign of an inward issue. I needed to feel in control outwardly because I felt so out of control inwardly.
One of my inward issues was with IDENTITY. The problem was, I didn’t know mine! My identity was wrapped up in things I did and how well I did them. I had a performance-based identity and motherhood would not obey my performance rules. I needed outward control of my daughter- NEEDED her to obey, NEEDED her to work quickly, NEEDED her to behave. I NEEDED these things because if she did all the right things, that meant I was an adequate mom. It meant I was good enough, successful, and doing it correctly! The opposite was also true: if she did not do all the right things, then my inward (unaware) belief was that I must not be a good mother and I am failing. Her obedience equaled my success. Her childishness and/or sin were personal to me and to who I was. I could not afford for her to mess up or be a child. My identity was at stake.
My mothering began to change when I listened as God spoke to me about my identity.
He first spoke to me about how much He LOVES me! Not what I do, not how I perform. Simply ME. Because He is God, because He created me, and because what He makes is wonderful. He began to separate “doing” from “being.” His love for me is sealed. It is not dependent on what I do. His Love for me is humbling; there is nothing I could ever perform well enough to earn an ounce of His Love. It is simply a gift. When my heart began to grasp the fact that His Love for me does not ebb and flow based on my performance or behavior, it freed me to relinquish the control I needed to have over my daughter.
The next thing He spoke about was the fact that He CHOOSES me! He CHOSE to die for me, He CHOSE to redeem me, He CHOSE to clothe me in His Righteousness, He CHOOSES to speak to me, He CHOOSES to counsel me through His Holy Spirit, and He has CHOSEN to prepare a place for me to go to at the end of my life.
He. CHOSE. Me.
And He chooses you, too.
Apart from human perfection, apart from well behaved children, apart from being a “super mom” every day!
He continued to speak Identity after Identity to my heart:
You are a NEW CREATION
You are FORGIVEN
You are ADOPTED
You are DELIGHTED IN
You are A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
You are FREE!
After God began redeeming my identity and revealing to my spirit who I am in Christ, He began the long and arduous process of healing my heart of numerous hurts and wounds I had experienced over the years. My disproportionate anger to my daughter’s childish behavior was a direct reflection of needed healing in my own life.
One hurt at a time.
One piece of my heart at a time.
One bit of anger removed at a time.
My husband benefited.
My other children benefited.
Allowing God to dig deep into my soul, trusting Him and His Words to me (both in Scripture and directly to my spirit) has freed me to be the woman He intended for me to be! Even with deeper understanding of my identity, this passionate girl still messes up frequently and apologizes often. Motherhood still brings me to my knees…daily! However, I am no longer in bondage to anger. It does not have a hold on me the way it used to. I. AM. FREE.
Interestingly, as the bondage to anger broke, I began to understand the slow pace my daughter had been accustomed to. There had been a correlation between my wounds and my need to do do do! Once the wounds were healed, a slower pace within my mind followed. I am still one that values productivity! However, my mind is a peaceful place. It is a rested, slow-paced mindset that I work from. My children no longer NEED to “hurry up.” Each time they are taking longer than I deem necessary, it reminds me to slow down. Life is not an emergency! I can take my time and enjoy the moments.
Pay attention to your anger and to all of your emotions. They are signals of the deeper things God wants to speak to you about and heal you from. They are the “flashing red lights” of our souls. Next time you become disproportionately angry compared to the circumstance, ask God “What is the root of this anger? Lord, what emotion is this anger covering?” He is faithful to sort out the roots of our emotions, helping us get to the bottom of it, so that we can grow, heal, gain wisdom and understanding through our motherhood. As we do this, we will close the gap on those drastic emotions, leaving room to experience ALL that motherhood-and life- has to offer.
*One tool God used to speak about my identity was Beauty For Ashes. This particular retreat provides a safe space for God to speak into the broken places of our lives. Sixty-One Acres leads several of these inner healing retreats each year. Please check our retreat schedule for the next opportunity to join! Every woman needs a retreat!