By Sabrina Schlesinger
There is mom guilt we should reject, you know the kind...when you don’t make it to the fifteenth field trip, or when you let your kids watch a few hours of TV on Saturday instead of going on a hike. But what do you do when you know the “guilt” is earned? How do you process when you know you screamed, said mean things, or let your emotions get the best of you? What do you do when your kids were on the receiving end of your grown up tantrum?
If you think I’ve never “been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt,” than you are SOOO wrong my friend. I have shed many tears over my behavior; tears of regret, embarrassment and even shame. Tears have been shed because I know the very mouth I was supposed to bring life, blessing, and encouragement instead brought the opposite.
So, no, I am far from perfect. I have blown it too many times to count. But hopefully the space between my failed moments has become longer, and the times I have erupted become fewer. But in order for that to happen, I’ve had to take these two extremely important steps.
1. I Must Humble Myself
It sounds elementary, but it is still the first necessary step to getting right with God and my kids. I can’t make excuses and blame my outburst on them; I have to own it, completely. Just like I teach my kids that no one can “make” them angry, I have to take big ol’ bites of that humble pie and not throw blame on anyone else but me.
So I get right horizontally, first. Meaning I ask forgiveness from the loved ones I have damaged with my words and behavior. And I don’t keep this general, because my flesh would LOVE to skim over the details of my tantrum and not shine a light on the ugly that is within, which means...if I want to deal a death blow to this part of me, I’ve got to expose it fully. So I get detailed, specific, and tell them “I was wrong when I...” And I always end it with, “Will you please forgive me?”
And after making it right horizontally, I then take it vertical. Because the sin that came out of me grieved the heart of my Father in Heaven. And ultimately, I need Him to cleanse me and purify the inside of me so I can be a representative of Him to my kids. I get detailed and specific with God and ask for His forgiveness. And only He sees the inside of me, knows my motives, and if I am sincere in my humility. And if I am, He forgives me every single time.
And let’s just get this out of the way while we are at it. There is a big difference between conviction and condemnation. Condemnation is when the accuser, Satan, points out our flaws to shame us and knock us down. Conviction is when our Savior, Jesus, addresses our sinfulness to set us free.
1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”NLT
2. I Must Search Myself
I could stop at the humbling of myself, but if I stop there, the likeliness of me doing it again is very high. If we are going to fix what is broken in us, we have got to get under the hood and examine where there is disorder and dysfunction. And this isn’t easy…this is painful and uncomfortable because we have to ask ourselves the tough questions. And possibly the more difficult part is discovering the answers to those questions.
For me this often looks like journaling. I start with a question to God. Why? Why did I have such an emotional outburst? Why did I get so angry? Why is it so easy for me to cut kids down with my words? I don’t know what your “why” is, but we all have them and until we actually ask the question, we will never get the answer and start our journey to real transformation.
After I have asked the question, I stop and I listen. And it isn’t an audible voice; at least it never has been for me. I am listening for the voice inside of my heart and spirit, who lovingly peels back the curtain and tells me the answer. And when I sense I have heard an answer, I write it down.
But my quest for truth doesn’t stop there. I generally ask more questions based off the answers I receive. The picture I often see is me placing my hand into the hand of my Father. And as I ask the questions, He leads me down a set of stairs….one step at a time. Each step is getting me closer to the basement where I have hid things, where I have covered areas up inside of me that I haven’t wanted to deal with. And at any point I can stop the process and run back up to where I am comfortable and don’t have to face the ugly inside of me, or I can trust Him and allow Him to lead me all the way down to basement. Because it is in the basement where I get to the root of my issues. The basement is where I get to see how this fruit of anger was planted in me in the first place. And here in this place I have two choices, ignore it or uproot it.
When I have discovered root issues within me, I either have to allow God to heal me or I need to repent. Some roots were passed down to me through the generations; some were planted from a traumatic experience, and some I sowed all by myself.
I have had the greatest transformation in my life when I have allowed this process to take place. And EVERYONE around me is so grateful when I do.
Psalms 139:23-24 says it perfectly,“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” NLT
I think the Lord is waiting for us to pray this prayer that David prayed. And we all know the people we love (and hurt) the most are waiting for us to do this as well.
So let’s get serious about our issues. Let’s stop sweeping our sins under the proverbial carpet and go after the areas in our lives that are bringing damage to the hearts of those God has entrusted to us to steward. Let’s be ruthless with our sins so we can be pure vessels of honor the love of God can flow through.
So mama…you blew it and so have I. But let’s both choose to stop the cycle and be ruthless with dealing with the root of our emotional outbursts and become the mom that God has created us to be! We cannot change our past, but God can change our future…if we allow Him.
Sabrina is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is a pastor’s wife, graphic designer, founder of Mom Mentor and the brand new Parenting on the GoPodcast! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-n-cheese over vegetables, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!