What to do when nothing makes sense…

I am in a season of life right now that can be described as nothing less than bizarre.

When we moved, I believed that one of God’s purposes in moving us was to put me in a place where I could focus more on building the ministry of writing and speaking. While I’ve no doubt that I’ve grown as a writer by this here blog, the rest of the picture does not look how I expected.

My book, Mommy, Why Are You Angry? continues to wait in the proposal stage. And that proposal hasn’t been shopped out to an agent or editor in over a year.

My calendar is relatively bare of speaking engagements (yes, I’m aware that I just linked to a blank page). Not completely bare, but not the one-per-month I’d anticipated.

The traffic on my blog/website, E. Tyler Rowan has dropped significantly since the changeover.

Instead, I find myself doing a large number of things that don’t appear to fit into the category of writing/speaking ministry at all. I’m serving as President of the Elk Island Logos Society (which is the advisory board for the Christian education program in our public schools – the program my children benefit from). A friend and I are leading a team in planning our church’s very first women’s retreat. Pat and I somewhat “fell” into the role of leaders for our small group that meets weekly. We’re also leading an awesome team of people in a short-term outreach to Haiti.

More recently, as you know, I added a part-time job (in ministry with Break Forth Canada) to the mix. Even more recently, I’ve been asked by two different women to mentor them.

Lately, my morning quiet times with God have been filled with questions. What’s going on, God? What do You require of me? Have I taken on things outside of Your will? How did I move so far from the vision You placed on my heart to reach women for You through writing and speaking? Did I hear You wrong?

His answers pour into my heart and mind in the form of Scripture. Teach the younger women what is right, so that no one makes the name of God look bad (Titus 2:3)… Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)… If you have been given much, much is required of you (Luke 12:48)… You must be faithful in the little things before you can be faithful in the big things (Luke 16:10)…

As usual, God’s answers seem to raise more questions in my mind.

And so, I’m still in this place where nothing makes sense. And I have a choice to make. I can invite the feelings of confusion and doubt into my day. Or I can invite faith, trust, and peace.

Keeping faith in God’s promises is easy when life makes sense. But the seasons when nothing makes sense are the times that an abiding faith grows.

What’s an abiding faith? A faith borne out of wrestling confusion to the matt. A faith developed by trusting without understanding. A faith that, when examine by the outside world, may look a little crazy and foolish. A faith resulting in bone-deep, rock-solid, abandoned trust in God – no matter what.

In spite of my continual questions for God, I have this peace that it all makes sense to Him. I know that, somehow, each odd-shaped piece of this puzzle I call life will fit together for His purposes, for my good, and for the growth of His Kingdom. And I still believe His promise that one day, the experiences He has given me will be used for the encouragement of large groups of women. But for now, I must content myself with sharing them one-on-one…being faithful one little step at a time.

If you’re going through a season (or a lifetime) where nothing seems to make sense, I have one question for you – who will you invite to be a guest in your heart? Doubt and confusion, or abiding faith, trust, and peace?

Is there something in your life that doesn’t make sense? Can I pray for you?

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The Pitch

In the wanna-be author world, there are three things of utmost importance:

1. Great writing
2. A growing platform
3. A fantastic pitch.

I’m working on #s 1 and 2 daily, but #3 is one that only gets used when you actually have the opportunity to meet with Agents and Publishers. Since my last meeting with anyone in the publishing world was at She Speaks nearly a year ago, my pitch has gotten a little rusty.

Thankfully, Brooke McGlothin is having a little big contest that’s making me brush-up my elevator pitch! (An elevator pitch is the short version of your pitch – about 1-2 minutes in length – that you can use when you bump into an Agent, Editor, or Publisher in public. Except not in the bathroom. That is a big no-no!) And how handy is it that Rachelle Gardner outlined a good pitch for us in her blog today?!

Imagine the put-together me standing next to you as we ride an elevator to the 15th floor, with one or two stops along the way. Here I am…

(Cue music to Aerosmith’s Love in an Elevator, because that’s the song in my head as I write this.)

Hi, my name is Tyler Rowan, and I am so glad I bumped into you because I am seeking an agent to represent me.

I’m writing a Christian non-fiction book that I’d love to tell you about. Do you mind if I walk with you for just a minute?

My book is called Mommy, Why Are You Angry?: Breaking Free From Anger, One Mother To Another.

By transparently sharing my own battle as a (former) angry mother to five, I hope to convey two truths every woman needs to hear: “You are not alone!” and “You can have victory over your anger!” With a Christ-centred and practical approach, Mommy, Why Are You Angry? will provide women with both spiritual and hands-on strategies to help them find freedom from their anger and become the mothers God intended them to be.

I’ve been blogging since 2008 and have a steadily growing platform that I’m very committed to. One of my articles was recently published in P31 Woman magazine, I have a number of articles pending with other magazines (including MOMSense, a MOPS publication), and my writing is being regularly featured on Family Life Canada’s website (a division of Power to Change). I was also published in a psychological journal while pursuing my Bachelor of Arts in University.

May I leave you a copy of my one-sheet?

Thank you for taking the time to hear me. I hope that I’ve caught your interest and will hear from you in the near future!

Tell me what you think – really, honestly, tell me! Does it catch your interest? Do you want to hear more? Is there anything you’d change/delete/add? (To answer your unspoken question – yes, the book title really does appear in red, even when I’m speaking.)

And just in case you happen to know someone in the publishing industry, please be assured that you are more than welcome to pass my elevator pitch along! In fact, I encourage it. There may even be chocolate or wine in it for you…




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Small Changes can make Big Differences

Ever get just plain overwhelmed with all that life throws your way?

For me, a lot of times, I’m sure this is self-inflicted. I over-commit. I procrastinate. I make poor choices (eating bad foods, staying up too late, etc.) that affect my ability to function effectively.

On those days when I feel the weight of my responsibilities crushing me, I temporarily turn into a crazy lady. Look out everybody, Mama’s on a rampage!

The good side of the self-inflicted overwhelmedness (yeah, I made that up) is that there is an end in sight. I know when my duties are done, I can rest. Or I can delegate some duties. I can even quit one area of responsibility. Plus, I have a great support system.

But what about when you don’t have support? What if you’re in it alone, indefinitely? That’s not self-inflicted, and it doesn’t have an end in sight. You might be afraid that you are going to permanently be that crazy lady…

Might I suggest a few small changes that will help you tame the crazy lady within?

(Just a little fyi, here, while I can’t profess to have ever been in the position of “in it alone, indefinitely,” I have spend enough years “in it alone, randomly and without time frames” to make me believe I could be that permanent crazy lady. So that’s the place where my advice is coming from. Mkay?)

Small Change #1 – Don’t be a Petri.

Have you ever watched The Land Before Time? There’s this one dinosaur, Petri, who is always whining and complaining. He’s got Poor Petri Syndrome. PPS is the number one contributing factor CLS (Crazy Lady Syndrome).

This small change is probably the most difficult. It’s so easy to get into the “poor me” way of thinking. I know, because I do it all. the. time. Try replacing martyr thoughts with other thoughts…

I’m so alone.
I may feel alone right now, but that is a prompt for me to stop and ask God for His help.

This is so hard!
Nothing I do of importance will be easy. This is important, so I need to work hard.

How much can one person do?
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

This isn’t fair!
I don’t get it, but God has a plan here. His plan involves my growth. This is an opportunity for me to grow.

I will never be able to change.
I am not responsible for changing. I am responsible for obeying God. Through my obedience, change will come.

Small Change #2 – Commit to getting enough sleep.

I don’t know about you, but when I feel lonely and isolated I tend to stay up too late. I spend my time seeking connection online (No, not chat rooms, but on Facebook and reading blogs.). I watch TV until I’m numb and falling asleep on the couch. I lose myself in a book until it tumbles from my sleep-weighted hands.

This change is going to be the easiest to make, with the biggest impact. Plan a set bedtime and a set wake-up time for yourself and just follow through on the plan. Give it two weeks for your body to fall into the rhythm. And take note of how, suddenly, you feel a little bit less crazy during the daily witching hour (this is how I refer to those dreaded few hours between after school and bedtime, when children tend to act possessed).

Small Change #3 – Speak good.

As a former (sometimes current) crazy lady, I will confess to spending much too much energy speaking bad. Words of reprimand and criticism come easily. My tone of voice reeks of anger, frustration, irritation, and impatience. My thoughts are dominated by those same emotions. Anyone else?

Make an intentional effort to speak good over your family. It can be as simple as, “Hey, I love you kid.” or “Thanks for taking out the garbage. Your help around here makes a difference.”

Start small by speaking good to each person in your home – intentionally – once or twice per day. (I’m not saying limit it to that. What I’m saying is that you are doing it with the mindset that I need to speak good here and now.) I try to do this, on purpose, in the morning and during the dreaded witching hour.

It’s funny how just acting the right way can begin to change the attitude.

Small Change #4 – Don’t Negotiate with Terrorists.

Kids have this insane radar system that tells them when Mom is tired and stressed. They hone in on it, taking aim, then BOOM! And a pattern develops.

Kid asks. Mom says no. Kid negotiates. Mom says no, a hint of irritation in her voice. Kid whines. Mom says no, a scowl on her face. Kid argues. Mom yells no at the top of her lungs, followed by a shrieking lecture and over-the-top discipline.

Mom feels guilty. Next time kid asks, Mom starts out with no. After more asking, Mom gets worn down and doesn’t have the energy to argue or discipline, so she caves.

Repeat.

Repeat this mantra to yourself and your kids, “My no means no.” After you say it to your kids, turn and walk away. the conversation/discussion/debate is done. Unfortunately, when you first implement your new policy of not negotiating with terrorists, they will follow you around and hound you. You must be prepared for this inevitability. Say once, “This conversation is over,” then do not respond any more. At all. Not once.

So I suggest embarking on this policy at a time when you feel well rested, strong, and momentarily in control of your CLS. And then commit to staying strong for the couple weeks it will take for the crew to accept the new policy. I promise you, your life will be forever impacted after you successfully make this small change!

If you feel overwhelmed, if you are in it alone, and if you feel like a permanent crazy lady, choose one small step today. Just one. Stick with it until it’s mastered, until it’s part of your daily routine. Then choose another small step. Over time, CLS will become less pervasive in your home. You will notice that the crazy lady is taming. Chances are, as she mellows, the crazy urchins will follow suit.

Small changes. Big differences. I promise.




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Mommy Anger

Some great mommy anger posts I’ve run into lately…

Angry Moms Anonymous

Homeschool Mom’s Dirty Little Secret #3 – Anger

And you’re always welcome to check out my posts on Mommy, Why Are You Angry?




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What to do When you Mess up

I had a fantastic time last week, gathering together with a group of beautiful women and sharing the story of how God helped me with my mommy anger. If you’re here visiting from that talk, please, please, please leave a comment or send an email so I know you stopped by! All the rest of you… please, please, please leave a comment or send an email! *grin*

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photo from almightydad.com

Okay, let’s get on with the good stuff! :)

In my session, Mommy, why are you Angry? I shared five things God has taught me in our journey to break free from my “addiction” to venting my anger and frustration on my kids. (I sure hope that you’ve had a chance to review the handout and are thinking about your first steps. Are you going to start exploring your childrens’ love languages? Do a spiritual gifts inventory or explore Now, Discover Your Strengths for yourself? Have you started writing out those verses, phrases, and affirmations and sticking them all over your world?)

But there is an important sixth point that I still need to talk about – what should I do when I mess up?

Heaven knows that I have messed up more times than I can count on this journey! I don’t know about you, but I tend to be an “all or nothing” girl. When I am trying to lose weight (when am not?!), for example, I jump in with both feet – I count points, I exercise, and I am diligent. But then someone has a birthday and messes with my system. You see, I am powerless to resist a good, fat slice of cake. And once I let that one piece pass my lips, I begin to feel defeated. I lost the battle, so I may as well quit trying. And I fall face-first, mouth wide open off the wagon. This all or nothing mindset carries to most areas of my life, including yelling. I resolve to never yell again, and when I slip up and let a frustrated holler go I feel weak and discouraged, so I just give up. Then at least I can say “I’m just a yeller” – as opposed to being a mom who is trying to change, but keeps on failing.

Is anyone relating to this?!

Here are three quick tips on dealing with the inevitable mess ups:

1. Celebrate every little success.

We can’t experience success if we look at life through the all or nothing lens. If our goal is perfection, we will constantly fall short. So stop resolving to be perfect! Start resolving to do better next time. Take it one frustrating experience at a time. And if next time you want to lose your cool but instead give yourself a time out – you have succeeded! Write it down! Celebrate! Pat yourself on the back! And don’t forget to praise the Lord!

2. Always ask forgiveness.

There will be next times when the yelling still sneaks out. The one thing we can never afford to do is ignore those mistakes. When we ignore sin and pretend it isn’t there, it grows. We need to allow God to bring our sin into His light, so He can remove it. When we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us – every single time (yes, even if it’s the 10,000th time). Remember, too, that God isn’t the only One we need to seek forgiveness from – so many angry words can be instantly healed by the simple act of telling our children that we’re sorry.

(See 1 John 1:9. Use a concordance or biblegateway to look up some verses containing the words “repent,” “forgive,” and “confess.”)

3. Pray about your anger every day.

Event today, when I am (finally) less “angry mommy” and more “mommy who sometimes messes up and gets angry,” I still ask God to help me with my anger every. single. day. I plan to continue to do so until the day I die. You see, when something begins to gain victory over us, we will (in most cases) always be particularly susceptible to that struggle. For example, I quit smoking nearly eight years ago. Obviously, I am no longer addicted. Yet put me in a certain situation, especially with other smokers, and my foolish mind begins to entertain thoughts of having “just one drag.” The enemy knows our areas of weakness, and he is relentless in his pursuit of our failure! The best guard we have against his tricks and temptations is daily prayer for protection and strength.

Basically, it all comes down to changing our thinking. (Sound familiar?) To continue the whole diet analogy, we have to stop thinking like we’re on a diet, and begin living like we’re making a lifestyle change. It’s not all or nothing, but one step at a time toward the goal. And while our daily weigh-ins may not all show the results we’re looking for, if we begin to track progress over time (remember #1 – write down those successes) we will see positive change!

One last thing I want to say to you. When you mess up, you are not a bad mom. Wait, I’m not sure you’re really hearing that. You are not a bad mom! When you mess up, you are a good mom who messed up. So say, “Oops,” and keep moving forward. Because you are a good mom! You are exactly the mom God chose for your children. Say it with me, I am a good mom!

There are lots of other resources on my blog relating to anger, to figuring out your calling, and for spiritual growth and encouragement. (There are also lots of mindless tidbits about me and my life.) Please stay a while and surf around. I just love visitors! :) Here are the links to a couple number of posts I think you’ll enjoy:

The Dot System – a seriously brilliant organizing tip for moms with multiple kids

How to be Superwoman (or not), parts one and two – how to “do it all”

Seven Steps to Stop Anger in its Tracks - a few tips in anger management, plus a familiar story

Children Aren’t all that Different - sometimes the most helpful parenting tips can be found in dog training books

When God Messes up Your Plans – just one example of what my faith means to me and how what I believe affects how I live

This will make you feel Better about Yourself – a pathetic tale of my day starring as “worst mother in the world”




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I’m Just a Yeller

My kids are home from school while their teachers send a couple days on professional development. I come into these extra long weekends and holiday weeks with a mix of anticipation and trepidation. The thought of tossing routine to the wind brings a smile to my face. I mean, I love routine, but every now and then  it’s nice to just “hang” without a list of tasks to attend to before bedtime. The potential result of breaking routine with five kids, though, is a day (or four) filled with bickering and boredom.

On this four-day weekend, I have a plan to keep the latter at bay. The plan requires a mom who actually participates in activities with the kids, who enacts swift discipline when things even look like they’ll head sideways, and who is not hiding out in the office “working” all day. (“Working” is a general term I use for pretty much any time I’m on the computer, lol.)

That said, I do hope you enjoy this re-post from the archives…
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Here’s a question I’ve heard more than once: When and how did you discover that you were angry, and not just doing what Moms have to do – yell at our kids to get them to do anything?

Can I be to-the-gut point-blank honest here? For me as much as for you? Thanks…

The fact of the matter is, we moms do NOT have to yell at our kids to get them to listen to us. While certain circumstances will require a raised voice (safety concerns, a massive brawl of 14 children that needs to be stopped, a generally loud situation), if it seems as though every circumstance is one of those, we need to take that as our first clue that something is amiss. A raised voice should be the exception, not the rule. If we are yelling regularly, we have a problem.

If you were a fly on my wall, you would likely listen in on the odd conversation between Pat and I where one of us is asking, “Why do we have to yell at the kids to get them to listen and obey?” It’s one that we revisit more regularly than I’d like. Really, though, we both know the answer… If we need to yell at our kids to make them listen and obey, it is because we have taught them that they don’t have to listen or obey until/unless we are yelling.

I assure you, I am the last person who will ever pass judgement on another mother! I know how hopeless it feels, how impossible it looks. I am the queen of yelling and swearing, and I often catch myself thinking, “I am never going to be able to NOT yell!” So as you read my gut-honest words, do not feel condemned. Everyone has their issues…anger happens to be ours.

If you think you may have anger issues but are not totally sure, here are seven questions you can ask yourself:

1. Have I ever told myself or someone else, “I’m a yeller. That’s just who I am.”?

2. Have I ever had the urge to hurl an object across the room in frustration?

3. Whether or not I speak them, do I think curse words in my head when I’m frustrated?

4. If my child(ren) does thinks like slamming doors and shouting, “I hate you!” am I tempted to respond with those same words and reactions?

5. Do I frequently find myself feeling annoyed with my children’s constant interruptions and requests?

6. Do I sometimes react in ways that are disproportionate to the situation? (For example, feeling truly angry about a spilled cup of juice.)

7. Am I a different mother behind closed doors than I am out in public?

There’s no magic formula, no points system, but if you found yourself answering “yes” to a few of those questions, it’s probably time to get alone with God and ask Him if you have a problem with mommy anger.

And you know that hopeless, impossible thing? For the record, that’s a lie. It’s a big, fat, ugly lie that Satan wants us to believe so that we don’t even try to overcome this struggle. Victory is possible. I believe it with everything in me. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be out here on the World Wide Web (and hopefully, eventually in book format) publishing all my shortcomings for the world to see. The only way it’s hopeless and impossible is if we try to do it on our own.

For nothing is impossible with God.
~ Luke 1:37 (NLT)

Related posts:

Seven Steps to Stop Anger in its Tracks

How to Help an Angry Mom

What to do When You Mess up

Why I’m Writing About my Anger

And if you happen to be a publisher, editor, agent, or friend of someone who is (*wink), check out the book proposal




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It’s not for us, it’s all for You…

I had the opportunity last night to put my new year’s resolution to practice…

Laying in bed, longing for sleep that my mind wouldn’t afford me, I looked at the clock. 10:22pm. I asked the Lord to grant me rest, curled up cozy and warm, and lay there fully alert. I knew what He wanted from me. Yet I hoped, I prayed, I begged for sleep, knowing that I was truly exhausted in spite of my current state. I bargained, “Please God, if You just give me this sleep I need tonight, I’ll do what You ask tomorrow.” 10:38pm, I unfurled from my cocoon, stuck my feet inside my slippers, and headed downstairs.

I wanted to be annoyed. Like one of my children when I ask them to do a chore, I wanted to sigh at the intrusion of my time – of my sleep – and say, “Fine!” Yet before those thoughts were fully formed, His Spirit within me asked a question, “Who is it all about, Tyler?” My spirit replied, “It’s not about me.”

For many months I have procrastinated and offered excuses. Updating my book proposal from its previous state would be so much work! Upon its first writing, the comparative analysis listed only one other book. I hadn’t known any better then, but now, knowing that my research needed to be thorough and comprehensive, I shied away from all that would be required of me.

I say that my struggle with anger and journey to freedom were not intended for me alone, but so that other women can benefit from what I’ve learned. But did I really live it?

In His grace, God gave me a fresh opportunity to stand behind my words. He reminded me that it’s not about me, my desire for a good night’s sleep, my wish to avoid hard work, or my own timetable. It’s about Him and what I can do for His glory, to draw others nearer to His heart, in His timing.

Once the “send” button was hit to get that updated proposal in the hands of the two people who asked to see it (in August, no less), I hauled my bleary eyes back into bed. I still couldn’t sleep. But now it was for the excitement of knowing that I had been obedient, and the anticipation of how He might choose to use my mess for His glory in the lives of other women!

Five thirty (ahem, more like 5:45) came far too early this morning, but with a couple Advil, a good dose of caffeine, and an hour in bed this afternoon, I’m sure I’ll make it through. ;)




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I’m Just a Yeller…

An anonymous friend posed a really great question last week that I’ve decided to tackle this morning. I don’t really want to talk about anger today because, well, I’ve been feeling pretty pi#%ed off with my kids all week. Which means, as much as I don’t feel like talking about it, I probably should.

Our friend asked, When and how did you discover that you were angry, and not just doing what Moms have to do – yell at our kids to get them to do anything?

Can I be to-the-gut point-blank honest here? For me as much as for you? Thanks…

The fact of the matter is, we moms do NOT have to yell at our kids to get them to listen to us. While certain circumstances will require a raised voice (safety concerns, a massive brawl of 14 children that needs to be stopped, a generally loud situation), if it seems as though every circumstance is one of those, we need to take that as our first clue that something is amiss. A raised voice should be the exception, not the rule.  If we are yelling regularly, we have a problem.

If you were a fly on my wall, you would likely listen in on the odd conversation between Pat and I where one of us is asking, “Why do we have to yell at the kids to get them to listen and obey?” It’s one that we revisit more regularly than I’d like. Really, though, we both know the answer… If we need to yell at our kids to make them listen and obey, it is because we have taught them that they don’t have to listen or obey until/unless we are yelling.

I assure you, I am the last person who will ever pass judgement on another mother! I know how hopeless it feels, how impossible it looks. I am the queen of yelling and swearing, and I often catch myself thinking, “I am never going to be able to NOT yell!” So as you read my gut-honest words, do not feel condemned. Everyone has their issues…anger happens to be ours.

If you think you may have anger issues but are not totally sure, here are seven questions you can ask yourself:
1. Have I ever told myself or someone else, “I’m a yeller. That’s just who I am.”?
2. Have I ever had the urge to hurl an object across the room in frustration?
3. Whether or not I speak them, do I think curse words in my head when I’m frustrated?
4. If my child(ren) does thinks like slamming doors and shouting, “I hate you!” am I tempted to respond with those same words and reactions?
5. Do I frequently find myself feeling annoyed with my children’s constant interruptions and requests?
6. Do I sometimes react in ways that are disproportionate to the situation? (For example, feeling truly angry about a spilled cup of juice.)
7. Am I a different mother behind closed doors than I am out in public?

There’s no magic formula, no points system, but if you found yourself answering “yes” to a few of those questions, it’s probably time to get alone with God and ask Him if you have a problem with mommy anger.

And you know that hopeless, impossible thing? For the record, that’s a lie. It’s a big, fat, ugly lie that Satan wants us to believe so that we don’t even try to overcome this struggle. Victory is possible. I believe it with everything in me. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be out here on the World Wide Web (and hopefully, eventually in book format) publishing all my shortcomings for the world to see. The only way it’s hopeless and impossible is if we try to do it on our own.

For nothing is impossible with God.
~Luke 1:37 (NLT)

Because I hate to leave you hanging here with a bunch of unanswered questions, here are some posts that I hope will help…

Seven Steps to Stop Anger in its Tracks – help for the heat of the moment

How to Help an Angry Mom, parts three and four – help for the parent who doesn’t know what to do instead of yelling

What to do When You Mess Up – help for those times when we “fall off the wagon”

Why I’m Writing About my Anger – to answer your other question, Why do you want to write a book? (specifically this book)




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Why ask for Prayer?

One of the things I teach (that God spent years teaching me) in my speaking sessions on the topic of Mommy, why are you Angry? is that Secrets are the Enemy. What I mean by this is that we must stop keeping our struggles hidden, confess our sins to a trusted person (preferably two or three people), and seek out both prayer support and accountability.

Why isn’t it okay to keep our private struggles, well, private?

I like to look at hidden sin like food. Let’s say a piece of fruit, just for kicks. If you have an apple or an orange hidden away in the dark, what happens? Mmmm-hmmmm. The smell. That fruit rots and grows mould and it stinks! The smell of that hidden piece of fruit will eventually give itself away.

The enemy wants us to believe that we will be judged by others if we dared to speak out about our temptations. And he has been busy for years making us a prideful people, so that the last thing we believe we can handle is being publicly humbled. Pride and fear hold us hostage to our secrets, and they remain in the dark. That is, until they give themselves away.

Isn’t it better to be open and honest with one another about how we fall short, rather than to pretend we have it all together only to be exposed eventually anyway? And who are we hiding from? Others? Ourselves? God?

He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.
~1 Corinthians 4:5

He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.
~ Daniel 2:22

What good can possibly come from us confessing to one another?

Jesus tells us in John 8:32 that the truth will set us free. In this situation, He is referring to knowledge of the truth (that He is the promised Messiah), but confession of the truth also brings freedom.

Alcoholics Anonymous has understood this truth since its inception. The first of their twelve steps is for the alcoholic to acknowledge that he or she is powerless over alcohol. Step five is admitting to themselves, God, and another human being the exact nature of their wrongs. Step one takes the alcoholic from a mental state of powerlessness toward a mental state of freedom. Taking the fifth step is the alcoholic’s way of moving beyond the mental to the practical aspects of becoming free.

The old saying is true, “Confession is good for the soul.”

Do I really need prayer and accountability?

James, a man who packs a lifetime of wisdom into five short chapters, pretty much wraps up his teaching with this, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (~James 5:16)

One of the wisest men to walk the earth, Solomon, is famously quoted for his advice, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (~Ecclesiastes 4:12)

The church in Thessalonica was exhorted by Paul, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” (~1 Thessalonians 5:11)

I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. We NEED one another.

Do you yell at your kids habitually? Are you powerless against the lure of pornography? Is it impossible for you to resist sharing that one juicy morsel of gossip? If you are struggling with a habitual sin your life, and you feel trapped and powerless to change, let me leave you with this:

It is not your sin that has you imprisoned, but the lies of the enemy – lies that trick you into keeping that sin hidden.

Secrets are YOUR enemy and mine.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
~John 8:32




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Thing Six: What to do when you mess up

This morning I am packing up to take my kiddos and dog home from a weekend of worship and fellowship. For many years I volunteered at the Freshwind conference, hauling chairs around and cleaning bathrooms (okay, honestly, I usually tried to delegate the bathrooms), but this year was special. At this year’s conference, I had the huge privilege of being one of the workshop speakers. Can I just say – my body and mind are just as exhausted as they have been every other year! (Honestly, though, I do know those volunteers had to deal with a lot more crap than I did! If you were there, you know what I mean ;))

Not only did I enjoy the hours of catching up with some old friends (you know who you are), but I had the opportunity to meet some new ones. I just want to send a quick shout out to them: Rhiannon, Kathy from New Sarepta, Heidi, Monika, Pam, Charlotte and friends from Calgary, and Pam and Wendy from “the Park,” and about 90 others whose names I didn’t learn. Hi girls! Thanks for spending your time with me Saturday afternoon. :)

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Okay, let’s get on with the good stuff! :)

In my session, Mommy, why are you Angry? I shared five things God has taught me in our journey to break free from my “addiction” to venting my anger and frustration on my kids. (I sure hope that, if you were in my session on Saturday, you’ve had a chance to review the handout and are thinking about your first steps. Are you going to start exploring your childrens’ love languages? Do a spiritual gifts inventory for yourself? Have you started writing out those verses and sticking them all over your world?) But there is an important sixth point that I still need to talk about – what should I do when I mess up?

Heaven knows that I have messed up more times than I can count on this journey! I don’t know about you, but I tend to be an “all or nothing” girl. When I am trying to lose weight (when am not?!), for example, I jump in with both feet – I count points, I exercise, and I am diligent. But then someone has a birthday and messes with my system. You see, I am powerless to resist a good, fat slice of cake. And once I let that one piece pass my lips, I begin to feel defeated. I lost the battle, so I may as well quit trying. And I fall face-first, mouth wide open off the wagon. This all or nothing mindset carries to most areas of my life, including yelling. I resolve to never yell again, and when I slip up and let a frustrated holler go I feel weak and discouraged, so I just give up. Then I’m just “a yeller” as opposed to being a mom who is trying to change but is a failure.

Is anyone relating to this?!

Here are three quick tips on dealing with the inevitable mess ups:

1. Celebrate every little success.

We can’t experience success if we look at life through the all or nothing lens. If our goal is perfection, we will constantly fall short. So stop resolving to be perfect! Start resolving to do better next time. Take it one frustrating experience at a time. And if next time you want to lose your cool but instead give yourself a time out – you have succeeded! Write it down! Celebrate! Pat yourself on the back! And don’t forget to praise the Lord!

2. Always ask forgiveness.

There will be next times when the yelling still sneaks out. The one thing we can never afford to do is ignore those mistakes. When we ignore sin and pretend it isn’t there, it grows. We need to allow God to bring our sin into His light, so He can remove it. When we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us – every single time (yes, even if it’s the 10,000th time). Remember, too, that God isn’t the only One we need to seek forgiveness from – so many angry words can be instantly healed by the simple act of telling our children that we’re sorry.

(See 1 John 1:9. Use a concordance to look up some verses containing the words “repent,” “forgive,” and “confess.”)

3. Pray about your anger every day.

Event today, when I am (finally) less “angry mommy” and more “mommy who sometimes messes up and gets angry,” I still ask God to help me with my anger every single day. I plan to continue to do so until the day I die. You see, when something begins to gain victory over us, we will (in most cases) always be particularly susceptible to that struggle. For example, I quit smoking nearly eight years ago. Obviously, I am no longer addicted. Yet put me in a certain situation, especially with other smokers, and my foolish mind begins to entertain thoughts of having “just one drag.” The enemy knows our areas of weakness, and he is relentless in his pursuit of our failure! The best guard we have against his tricks and temptations is daily prayer for protection and strength.

Basically, it all comes down to changing our thinking. (Sound familiar?) To continue the whole diet analogy, we have to stop thinking like we’re on a diet, and begin living like we’re making a lifestyle change. It’s not all or nothing, but one step at a time toward the goal. And while our daily weigh-ins may not all show the results we’re looking for, if we begin to track progress over time (remember #1 – write down those successes) we will see positive change!

One last thing I want to say to you. When you mess up, you are not a bad mom. Wait, I’m not sure you’re really hearing that. You are not a bad mom! When you mess up, you are a good mom who messed up. So say, “Oops,” and keep moving forward. Because you are a good mom! You are exactly the mom God chose for your children. Say it with me, I am a good mom!

There are lots of other resources on my blog relating to anger, to figuring out your calling, and for spiritual growth and encouragement. (There are also lots of mindless tidbits about me and my life.) Please stay a while and surf around. I just love visitors! :) Here are the links to a couple number of posts I think you’ll enjoy:

Friday Feast (our four-week challenge to read God’s Word daily)
Seven Steps to Stop Anger in its Tracks (a few tips in anger management)
How to Help an Angry Mom (a series, parts 3 & 4 are all about child training)
When God Messes up Your Plans (how God has been working in my life)
Are You Burying Your Talents? (wondering what your calling is? this might help)




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