The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I've got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here. Let's see. If you guys are new here to Risen Motherhood, we just want to say welcome. We're super excited that you are tuning in and joining the community. We are a podcast but we also consider ourselves a little bit of a larger community as well, with some online platforms and social media. We are talking about gospel-hope for moms and pointing moms to the resurrection and what it has to do with their everyday lives.
We desire, here at Risen Motherhood, to encourage you in your walk. We tackle a lot of basic topics that you would think the gospel has nothing to do with. Like what you're going to wear or how you get dressed in the morning or potty training, breastfeeding, birth, all of those things. Our heart here is to really help to reveal how the gospel matters to what you do. Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection transforms how you respond, and how you react to all those things happening in motherhood. So that's what we're about here. We just wanted to give that brief intro to say welcome and to also let you know that you can find us over on social media. We are on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter @RisenMotherhood. We've got different content on those platforms so please come find us on whatever medium you enjoy. We'd love to see you over there and it's an awesome community. Emily and I are just blown away by the awesome moms that are tuning in and contributing to this project.
Emily: Yes. It's so encouraging.
Laura: Yes. So today we're talking about anger today. And guys, we're going to be honest. Emily and I are really nervous to talk about this topic.
Emily: Yeah. Call it whatever you like. You can call it impatience, frustration with your kids, losing your cool, having a crabby mom day, feeling a little off. I think we all have various ways that we say this. But yes, I think this is a hard topic for Laura and I because it's something that she and I are processing - we're kind of in the middle of it right now.
This is a real issue for us in our mothering, that we are trying to fight by God’s grace. And so you're catching us as we are processing. I don't think we're the only ones out there who get those moments of frustration and impatience with our children. We really wanted to go ahead and start the conversation and just share where we're at, and what we are learning about the way the gospel applies.
Laura: Exactly. Yes. So know that we are, like Emily said, in process and we have not conquered this. We are not perfect. In fact, this is probably each of our real sin issues that we deal with literally on a daily basis, of asking and begging Christ for help. We're going to get pretty vulnerable here and talk about it.
Emily: I know. Like soul-baring.
Laura: I feel a little bit shaky here but it's okay. I tend to desire control and I like things to go in order to work the way that I have planned. I am a planner and so I really don't want children; I want robots. When my children don't do as I've taught them, or as I’ve told them to do, or quickly pick up on remembering what I would like to see and the behaviors that I expect, I think that pre-kids and even with one kid, I would get really quiet. I'm a talkative, chatty person normally and I was the opposite when I would get angry. I would not talk and I would basically kill “‘em with silence”.
But recently I would say, as the noise in my house has gotten louder and I am pregnant with the third, as you guys know, I think there's some stress in other areas of my life that I feel like are sort of out of my control. Other things like the adoption and not knowing when our children will arrive, my husband works really long hours and when I feel like there are a lot of things in life that are out of my control, I feel like I want to exert control in my home. As the mess grows and they are like I said, making more noise, I feel like I have a lot more anger in the moment that is very visible and obvious.
That's been surprising me lately and shocking me. I didn't know that that was in there. I guess it took two kids to bring out what was buried in there, that's been really surprising and shocking to me lately. What about you? Where are you at?
Emily: Totally. Yes, I can relate to a lot of that. What you're explaining Laura, of looking back and not really characterizing myself as somebody who loses their cool or gets frustrated easily. Before having nearly four kids, I can almost not remember a time in my life where I really got worked up.
Laura: Yes. Me too.
Emily: And I have this vivid memory of sitting in a small group one time. I think we had three under three. I remember telling someone I don’t really struggle with this. It hasn't been that bad because we're pretty cool and calm and collected. "I'm so thankful I'm not easily angered." You know looking back I'm just like, ‘Man, that was just trying to compensate.’
Laura: Kiss of death!
Emily: I can remember, even when I had one kid, kind of feeling bad for those moms. "All those poor angry moms, I’m so glad Lord you did not make me an angry mom." So little did I know.
I literally can remember the first day I got so frustrated that I lost self-control. I was like, ‘You guys need to stop!’ I was literally in labor with my fourth child. I was early in having contractions but I knew this is the day that I’m going to go to the hospital. One of my kiddos was hitting another one of our kids. And I don't know, something snapped and I got really upset. I can remember being on the way to the hospital thinking to myself, and feeling horrible; that is never going to happen again. That was just because I was in labor. But really that didn't just stop when I came home. There was the stress of having a fourth baby.
Like you were saying Laura, the noise got to a level, the chaos got to a level, where it revealed what was really lurking down in my heart. Which is, I want to be in control. I want my preferences. And if things don't go the way that I want them to go, and they don't go according to my preference, and they don't make me comfortable, I get upset. It's real. It's me now.
Laura: Exactly. That is why we are tackling it today even though we're in the heat of it; even though we feel very fallen in this area. We hope that this will lend encouragement to you where you are at, that you are not alone. And that we will also give you hope that you don't have to be that way, as we say ‘angry moms.’ You do not have to be characterized or defined by that.
It's going to be a two-part show. Today, we're going to be talking about the gospel. We're going to talk about: Where did this stuff come from? How did it originate? What is deep in our soul, that's causing these feelings of frustration and anger and patience? But then, what is the gospel? What did Jesus Christ come to do and why does that matter for us in the heat of the moment and the anger?
And then next week, we have a show coming out. We're going to talk a little bit more about that nitty-gritty stuff. We're going to be talking about figuring out what's tipping you off. What are some of those reasons you're getting angry? And then also just sharing a little bit more practical things that Emily and I have found to be helpful - or have been told that are helpful - that we are working on applying in our own lives.
Many of you have asked for longer shows. We are still pretty committed to the time frame, for various reasons, of about twenty minutes. But we hope that this will be a good way to tackle a very large topic in a two-week show. Definitely tune in next week if you're looking for more after this week.
Emily: The gospel. We’re going through another overarching story of the Bible with our kids and right there in the beginning, Eve takes the bite of the apple. Adam and Eve disobey God. I was talking with my kids about basically, what they really wanted was to be like God. They wanted to put themselves in that position and as soon as that happened obviously, sin entered. And now I think that characterizes our hearts as sinners. We want to put ourselves in the place of God. We want to be in control. We want to have all the knowledge. We want to have the right to control and be wrathful. And that is not only in our hearts, but you also see that in scripture passed down even to Cain and Abel.
Laura: Yes. You can totally look at Cain. When the Lord accepted his offering and not Abel’s, he was angry about that. And he decided to administer justice with his own hands which is essentially what we're doing. We have a very good example right there, at the beginning of God's word about what sin did to us as humans and our relationships, fracturing and breaking them. Often we think about this as husband to wife, but this happened mother to child; parent-child relationships were also fractured. That's often what we're going to be talking about today, specifically. But our frustration is the fact that we have limits and that we are not God, and that we want to put ourselves in that judgment seat.
In anger sometimes, there is righteous anger. But Em and I are willing to bet that about 95% of the time with a mom, with most humans, it's probably not a righteous anger. Or if it is, we still act incorrectly on that anger. As we were starting to say, the heart of anger and frustration is often pride.
Emily: Yes. And pride is a word we use a lot. But I think it can be one of those things that are always helpful to me when I go back and actually think about, what that really means. Pride in our culture; we think of somebody who's super puffed up about all their achievements and all the good stuff that they do, all the possessions that maybe they have. I think that, a little bit, describes Biblical pride. But I think what we're talking about is more like, again, rebellion against God. Putting yourself in God's place and not having a right understanding of where we belong.
Because we tend to either equalize ourselves with God, or put ourselves above God and that is pride.
Humility, which is the opposite of pride, is having a right perspective of ourselves in relation to God which is like, woe is me. Prostrate on the ground, I fear you heavenly God. I am an unrighteous sinner who does not deserve to be in your presence and that is a humble correct understanding of ourselves. We just wanted to pull that out before we get into talking about pride too much, which is a lot of what's underlying, to say really it’s just us thinking of ourselves as God.
Laura: Exactly. I don't know about you guys that are listening, but Emily and I identified a few things that our anger produces. I think one of the things is that we will justify that anger. When I get upset at my children, I’ll often think, "Well it's because they're lollygagging. It’s because they’re back-talking." I'm becoming my own defense lawyer. I'm sort of pretending to be the ultimate judge which is, as we know Jesus Christ, that's his place. God is the ultimate judge. His power is actually revealed in our inability to provide our own defense. We cannot justify or provide defense for the wrong that we do when we act out on our anger.
Another thing that I definitely do is, I'll be like, "That's not me. That wasn't me, that wasn't who I really am. Tomorrow I’ll be better. I'm pregnant; I've got hormones and I'm just not myself right now." That's not true either, that's prideful. That is you. The anger that is coming out is your true sin nature and you can do nothing apart from Christ. It's again justifying, going back to that, and giving yourself all the credit of saying I can redo myself. I'll do it tomorrow. But that's what only Christ’s blood can do and not just your good intentions.
Emily: Totally. And I think it's easy to get stuck there. Like Laura said, there's this really fine balance between going, "That's not me and I don't want to own that." And then owning it, and labeling ourselves to the point where we are so identified, and so buried in it, and so condemned that we are not believing the gospel. That's why we wanted to definitely take some significant time to talk through what our hope is because there is hope.
I know that a lot of times, in situations like this where we have a sin that seems to just be incessant, or is something that you're like, "Why can I not just stop doing this?" It's because we do not have the willpower to be able to overcome it on our own. We do not have the morality in and of ourselves to just do better, but Christ in us; the Holy Spirit in us, can help us overcome. I think we can be hopeful when we see our weakness. I'm preaching to myself right now. That I can be hopeful and say, I am so weak but this is why Christ died for me.
Laura: Exactly. I think that never before have I ever seen the gospel come out more clearly than when I started to see some of these thing happen. One thing I think about a lot is with Cain and Abel. God said to Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door but you must rule over it.” That means as Emily was saying, you can fight sin and you don't have to act on the anger that you feel. Often, I'm sure, Emily and many of you, feel like Paul, in Romans seven, when he says, "I fail to do that good that I want to do." I know the good but I don't have that ability to carry it out. But when we admit that, when we get to that point, we don't use it as an excuse to continue sinning. We just admit our weakness and that this anger is just a huge billboard that shows our desperate need for God's grace through Christ.
Emily: As I was thinking about a wrathful parent. I was thinking how often, again going back to the way that we feel like we are under God's wrath whenever we sin against our children, or we lose our temper again. I had a little picture here. Imagine there is a parent and there are two children and one child is like two and doing everything right. Being kind, obeying the right away, is thinking of their sibling, is responding correctly to their parent; just the picture of sweet innocence. Only occasionally do we see that in our children, right? A little flicker of that.
Then the other child is just being a complete and total stinker. Rebelling against everything, intentionally doing the exact opposite of what the parent asked, hitting their poor innocent sibling, stealing toys, biting and just a total terror. And the parent is wrathful and angry at this sin that they see it in their child. Right before the parent is getting ready to just unleash wrath on this naughty rebellious stinker child, the innocent child comes forward and says, I will take that punishment for my sibling. If you can imagine watching a parent unleash on a child who does not deserve it.
I don't know if you've ever been in a situation out in public where you’ve seen a parent freak out on their kid and it doesn't look like they did anything wrong. I mean just imagine that and how undeserving. We are just like that rebellious child. And when we realize how unfair it is that Christ took that wrath and all of it, so that when that's over, God can turn to us and go, “It's over. I don't have any more wrath. It's all gone. Let's go to the park. Let's go play."
Emily: I have to remember that is how God sees us now.
Laura: Exactly. I think remembering how he sees us now and knowing that someday in eternity we will be fully redeemed and that we won't have any more of these fractured relationships. We can look forward to that day when there will be healing in everything that we do and that we no longer will deal or struggle with this sin, which I think gives me a lot of hope.
Okay, we are hitting the edge of our time. We will be back next week to talk about some of those practical things and get into that nitty gritty. So we do hope you'll join us. Find us on risenmotherhood.com for all of our social media links and lots of show notes on this topic.