Of Volcanoes and Scenic Overlooks

This week some bloggers I know and love ‘went public’ about their struggles with anger, and how the Lord is meeting them in their place of need. These posts ministered to me so much, I felt like it might be time to share what the Lord has been teaching me in this most-heart-wrenching area of my weaknesses as a mother.

But  a little voice said “You are not qualified to write about anger. You haven’t conquered this mountain—how could you help anyone?”

So I took notes in my journal of what the Lord was speaking to me, saving it for I time when I felt more worthy to offer it to you.

Then a voice—a kinder, gentler, loving Voice—whispered, “You are definitely still in process, but must one wait till the end of the journey to share the beauty found along the way?”

scenic overlooks along the path of freedom from anger
Scenic Overlook on Skyline Drive in VA, taken last fall

The truth is, sisters, anger is a terrible problem in my life and my heart. One I have wept and raged over for years. I have silently feared the fruit of an angry life, cringing when I saw its blossoms swell and explode.

But this month (this month I backed off social media to embrace quiet and listen more—coincidence? I think not) God has been speaking little truths and insight into my struggle against the anger monster, and once or twice I have experienced a small victory. Ever so small. Ever so humble. Not worth speaking of, if I listen to the first voice. Something I should share along with songs of praise if I listen to the second Voice.

And so, I will open up my journal, and my heart, and what I am struggling to grasp this week, even before I have a handle on it myself, because I so desire that you might glimpse the very real hope that I have experienced this week, in realizing that God is bigger than my anger problem, and He is strong enough to deliver me. And you.

Come, walk along with me on my journey…

Early Morning Rumblings

It was 6:30 am and I was already boiling, ready to explode on the next thing—inanimate or human—to cross my path. Luckily, I was the only one up.

Is it any coincidence that we have been studying volcanoes in homeschool this month, and I constantly feel such kinship with these vents of the earth’s boiling magma?

Much of the advice that I have reached for and held onto and tried to apply when it comes to overcoming anger goes along the lines of detaching from it, giving yourself time and space to cool off. My anger has only built when I have tried that strategy, because as a mommy to three small children it is nearly impossible and quite unsafe for me to leave the room when I’m in the middle of an anger-triggering incident. I can’t just go and lock myself in the bathroom, people. You know what would happen? Disaster. It would just make matters worse.

But in this one instance, for once, I did not only have a chance to detach and cool off, I was forced to. We were leaving at 8am (for a prayer meeting. I know. If my life is nothing else, it is entertaining for the irony factor) and I had a load of laundry that needed to go on the line before we left. The family was still sleeping, getting outside and into the quiet of the early morning was the next and only thing to do.

And in that quiet, God began to speak to me about my anger.

The first thing He showed me was so breathtaking, it was like one of those spots on the highway where you pull over for a scenic overlook. So, though I haven’t arrived on my journey, I share it with you. Come on, friend, there is beauty on this journey…

His Beautiful Truth to me…

God told me my anger was not something I needed to overcome. I know that’s a common word used in conjunction with anger problems. And for some people, overcoming may be the recipe for moving on. But for me? My Father said, no, nu-uh.

He told me that the solution was not for me to become stronger than the anger.

What a relief. Because I’ve been trying that route for 30 years. When the anger rises in me and begins to vomit out, I often experience a moment of clarity in which my heart screams, “No! I don’t want this! I must stop this!” but the explosion continues, outside of my desperate desire to control and stomp it back down.

No, overcoming hasn’t worked for me. I’m not strong enough to fight this. That’s why I’m so glad to be told that wasn’t the way I would find freedom.

In that moment of forced quiet as I hung laundry, steam venting from my ears and nostrils, He told me that the solution to my anger was surrender. Admitting I couldn’t fight this, and handing the battle over to Him. In that moment when I feel myself begin to boil over, He told me the action I was to take was to Cry for Deliverance.

He would fight the battle. I could lay my feeble weapons down, and all He asked of me was to call to Him.

And, glory be and waddyaknow—I found that God WAS strong enough to overcome my anger. Next time I’ll share what happened when I cried out to Him in the middle of my fury.

Have you felt like your anger was something you were obligated to manage or control? I know the guilt that comes from failing in that area, sister. Perhaps it’s time to try a different strategy, to admit you aren’t strong enough for this battle, and to hand the fight over to Someone who is. Tell me, is this an area I can pray for you in?

You can find all my posts on Freedom from Anger here.

16 responses to “Of Volcanoes and Scenic Overlooks”

  1. Jessica Avatar
    Jessica

    Uh-Yes please! I also have 3 young children and my oldest, he’s 5, sure takes after his mommy! We yell a LOT. It’s quite a God send, me finding your blog. And here all I thought I was looking for was advice for healing said 5 year old’s teeth. HA! Wow. Thank you so much for being so open and honest. I KNOW I have friends struggling with their kids too. You’ve given me the freedom to share with them about my struggles. Who knows! Maybe I can help them too.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Jessica, I’m delighted to have you stop by! It’s true–we have to be honest with each other about our struggles, and in that honesty, we find both the support and accountability to grow. I’m so excited that you’re inspired to talk with your friends about this! God bless you,
      Trina

  2. […] seems that I am not the only one. Several of my favorite bloggers have recently written about their own struggles in […]

  3. Laura M. Avatar

    I wish I could say I have no idea what you’re talking about but that would make me a liar. I have been struggling with anger a lot lately. I have found myself yelling at my babies often and over the smallest of things. My poor husband stands by me faithfully as I take my frustrations out on him. We have been going through a huge trial with an outcome that I was not praying for and I have been taking my anger out on my family. Thank you for the encouragement. I sat in the church pew yesterday morning just begging for forgiveness and help with my anger. God is so powerful!

    1. Trina Avatar
      Trina

      Aw, Laura! I know what it’s like to have something big stressing you and affecting your mothering. I pray you can let it go, and also remember that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us from sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) He loves to answer the prayers of His children!

  4. Jenn Avatar
    Jenn

    Thank you for sharing…I always feel like such a failure because of this. Are there any areas of forgiveness in your journey? I feel like I have some, but I don’t know how to get there. Even though I WANT to! I look forward to your next post.

    1. Trina Avatar
      Trina

      Jenn, what do you mean by areas of forgiveness? If you mean, asking others to forgive us for our anger, that is definitely something I do a lot. I hope to talk about that in a future post. The good news is, we don not have to stay in that place of shame and feeling like a failure (that is exactly where the enemy would like to keep us) but God has provided a way for us to get back into right relationship with Him and those we’ve offended…confession and repentance. I apologize to my kids A LOT.

  5. Candace Avatar
    Candace

    It’s God’s providence that I should read this and be encorage today. I have been prone to forget God completely when my anger erupts and then rely completely on myself to gain control. Yesterday as I walked away from a situation could feel my anger rise, instead of my knee-jerk reation, I found myself in prayer, seeking the grace of God to tranform and renew my heart of anger to one of patience and love. In his grace by the time I reached the top of the stairs I was calm. this post reminded me of God’s hand transforming my heart yesterday. Praise God when I surrender and confess sin he is faithful to produce righteousness.

    1. Trina Avatar
      Trina

      Amen and Amen!!! Thanks so much for sharing your testimony, Candace! Praise God.

  6. Lauren Avatar

    AMEN! OH AMEN! My only defense, my only shelter in the storm of my anger, is the call for help. I love what you said, I CANNOT OVERCOME. But he can. Praying along with you!

    1. Trina Avatar
      Trina

      Thanks, Lauren!

  7. Lisa Avatar

    My mother seemed to be constantly angry when I was growing up. So I saw anger as something ugly and I stuffed mine. Not only anger – but all my emotions. I seems that since I’ve been an adult, God has SLOWLY been teaching me how to experience emotions “on the outside” (instead of stuffing inside). Like having a little girl that died at 17 months – I have learned to cry in front of people and deal with the unnerving feeling of seeming to longer control where or when I burst into tears. Anger – that is something that has come up more lately. I have found 2 main triggers for me: 1-if I am being disturbed while doing something (uh oh – often it is when I’m online!) and 2 – if the kids seem out of control and I’m having trouble getting things settled down the way I think they should be (that anger is usually at myself for not disciplining/teaching the way it should be done). Thank you for this post Trina. I am glad you listened to God and did not wait to share once you mastered controlling anger. 🙂

    1. Trina Avatar
      Trina

      Thanks, Lisa, for your comment! Um, we have similar triggers. 😉 Those are some of the things I’ve been trying to reduce lately, by focusing my computer time during naps more, and being more diligent to lead my children in keeping the living room tidy, and making sure everyone gets the sleep and snacks they need. A messy house is a big trigger for me, but it can be avoided through diligence!

  8. Gayl Avatar
    Gayl

    You are so right. When we try to overcome things ourselves we can never quite do it. But God is there ready for us to just yield to Him and He will give us the grace and strength we need!

  9. Stephanie Kay Avatar

    Oh my yes! Definitely one of my major issues. Even worse is that I see it growing in my children.

    1. Trina Avatar
      Trina

      Oh, Stephanie, I know! Nothing motivates me more than seeing the fruit of my anger blossoming like that. May the Lord give us grace to show our kids what to do with that anger.

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