“If you are a parent, you have been there. Children do things that test the limits of those of us who admire rationality and common sense. Our innate default in such moments is to respond badly.” ~ Israel Wayne, Pitchin’ A Fit!, page 11.
Hello. Yes, if you’re a parent, you’ve experienced the anger that can only come from caring for irrational, emotional, immovable little creatures. Small humans you deeply love, but don’t always understand or empathize with.
We’re hosting a Pitchin’ A Fit book club over at the Family Discipleship on Facebook. You’ll find all the information you need to join us at the bottom of the post. I thought I’d blog my thoughts about a couple chapters at a time for you. Feel free to leave a comment here on the blog, or hop over to the Facebook group to discuss with the whole group…..
I just had to grimace reading this story from Israel Wayne. Children just do things that don’t make any sense, don’t they? Not only do their actions lack common sense sometimes, they can cause major issues for us as parents (as did the grimace-worthy episode in the intro).
I love the end of this short chapter where Israel assures us that if we are habitually angry:
- You are not alone. Everyone struggles with this issue to some extent.
- It is not okay. Left unchecked it will damage important relationships.
- There is hope. There is freedom found in God’s Word to help you overcome this habitual sin.
Pitchin’ A Fit!, page 12
That is both encouraging and sobering. I agree we’re not alone, we can’t stay angry, and there is a way out through sanctification in Christ. God’s Word is always the answer.
Chapter 1: Stressed Out and Overwhelmed
Most people would categorize me as a “Type-A” personality. My husband tells the kids there’s actually no category for me–I’m just always going. If I’m not really careful, I tend to live life without margin. In fact, I’ll schedule into my sleeping time if need be, just to be able to say “yes” to the things I really want to be able to commit to. Sometimes that works out. But often, it shortchanges my kids, my patience, and my ability to perform when life’s unexpected events occur.
I’ve learned that if my life is too busy to absorb a sick child, or an unexpected day trip with my family, I’m too busy. When there’s no margin in my life at all, I can easily become stressed and irritated. It’s not a long trip from irritated to angry. Have you experienced that?
I also have found that it’s worthwhile to manage my expectations of others. It’s when I expect too much of my kids that I tend to become angry. I’m not saying we shouldn’t train our children into adulthood. I’m just saying that my desire to give instructions once and then have my children perform perfectly is not realistic. Training takes time, patience, and love. If I expect to work through an issue with my child more than once, it somehow causes my parental frustration to evaporate. The day I decided that my job is to say the same thing over and over, to lead my kids to the same verses over and over, I became a lot calmer, and a whole lot happier.
Chapter 2: Is It Wrong to Get Angry?
I’m so glad the Waynes addressed this issue. It’s common in our culture to hear a defense of anger as “just an emotion”, as an important way of validating our feelings, and as an effective means of parenting. Here’s the thing: Scripture doesn’t leave us in the dark about this. God’s righteous anger and wrath are holy, and without sin. The Lord is a holy and righteous Judge. We, however, are sinners from the womb (Psalm 51:5). While, we can feel righteous anger also (over abortion, child abuse, the martyrdom and oppression of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and so on), our righteous anger is tainted by our sin nature. When I’m grieved by a sinful decision my child makes that harms another person, that grief can initially be just. However, as I process that emotion, it usually morphs into an anger that is no longer righteous. I believe that’s why we find just a few verses in the Bible like Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV):
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
We’re going to get angry. In parenting, we’ll likely have ample opportunity for anger. Those moments of anger–righteous or unrighteous–are our opportunity to turn to Christ for Holy-Spirit-gifted grace, mercy, forgiveness, and self-control. Before we get angry, we can seek the Lord and petition him for love, peace, patience, and kindness with our families.
I’m going to be transparent with you. I pray for love, peace, patience, and kindness throughout the day. When I meet with my church’s small group for Bible study and we have our weekly time for prayer requests, that’s what I ask people to pray for me. I’ve been asking that, and praying that prayer, for years now. The Lord has been faithful to honor my request.
Overcoming Anger Scripture Memory Cards
I took many of the Scripture verses mentioned in Pitchin’ A Fit, added a few of my own, and made a pack of Overcoming Anger Scripture Memory Cards for me–and for you. They’re available in ESV or KJV, and there are 45 verses in the pack. I’ll be working on memorizing these verses over the next three months. Will you join me?
Note for my male readers: I know they have flowers on them, but it’s spring and the flowers are bold and graphic. In my defense, my husband is partial to the yellow flower designs. I hope you’ll overlook the whole flower thing.
Join the Discussion
We’re hosting discussions over at the Family Discipleship Facebook Group. Come on over and join us!
Purchase Pitchin’ a Fit
Amazon: Pitchin’ A Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting
Christian Book: Pitchin’ A Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting
Check out our study schedule. The book is just 159 pages, so this shouldn’t stress your schedule too much, and at one chapter a week, you’ll have lots of time for prayer, meditation, and Bible memory. Order a copy of the book and join us at the Family Discipleship group over on Facebook today! Please don’t forget to invite your friends. You never know who is wrestling anger silently in their own home or heart.
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.