Recently, I was a monster.
For the first time in an eternity, I started a Saturday in prayer. Kneeling. This itself is like miracle stuff. Saturday is for kids in our bed and big breakfast meals and cleanup and spilled juice and cartoon marathon and adventures at the park way too early.
I woke up heavy-minded. You know, all the stuff. I knew I needed Him today. I did not know, just yet, how much. And somehow, after the commitment of my day and the choice to honor Him, I came out of that prayer closet swinging at the world.
It started with a splinter. Or, at least, the thought of one. My boy was limping. Walking on his heal. No matter how many times I tried to persuade him to let me look, he pulled farther and harder away. Protective Mom was getting irritated because of all those times someone told me “it can hurt your foot if you walk like that!”
Obviously threatening was necessary.
“You cannot go to the store with Dad until we look at that foot!”
You cannot leave this room until you let me look!”
Anger rising. Volume raising.
And in the middle of all of this very positive affirmation, she came out. Mrs. Hyde.
The morning became like Anger Management with Adam Sandler. Minus the counselor. It’s worse than you think. Don’t be thinking I’m nice Mom being hard on myself. I’m pretty sure I then yelled at my daughter about applesauce. APPLESAUCE.
I’m pretty sure I also stubbed my toe, hit my elbow and ran into something all in the span of an hour. Mmmmmk.
It was honestly like one of those moments you can look down from the sky and see yourself, and you are absolutely baffled.
What is wrong with you, Ginger?
I knew I needed a shower. A time-out for Mom. And the moment the water started, I said, “Where, God, did that come from?”
I knew I needed to apologize to the kids quickly. And I did. I told them I make mistakes. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have yelled. They were gracious to forgive me.
But I was still baffled.
I could blame female hormones. But, alas, copout.
I know spiritual warfare is sharp. Yet, it had been quite some time since my flesh had come into the ring with my spirit and punched the tar out of it like that.
I started over after that apology, and we had a great family day. When the kids were down to sleep, I treated myself to a hot bath. I pulled out my current read, Grace in the Workplace. (I’m obviously very qualified to teach grown adults about living in grace.)
And of all the verses I would come upon in the middle of a chapter about evangelism….yeah – you guessed it, BAM! ——->Right to the heart.
It was only my VERSE FOR THE YEAR. Smack in the middle of my random book. On THIS day.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19
You guys. For real.
Here is the thing about God as a Dad. He is always good in His discipline. Perfect, really. Perfect timing. Perfect words. Perfect way about it.
He throws it out there – the truth we know we need to hear. Then He lets it sit and do its work.
The verses actually goes on to say, “for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
That part – that was God’s encouragement to me. Like when I discipline Josh and then give him reasoning for the character I want him to have.
God knows I want that righteous life in Christ. He knows – deep down – what I really want. He was saying to me……in my spirit, “Ginger, anger itself may not be sin, but it opens a gate you don’t want to walk through. And you’re standing at the gate.”
When grace comes in the form of discipline, we are the better for it. Every time. When the discipline happens in the exact area of your ministry, it can break you. It’s the best kind of humble. Because on our best days we are only as good as the lessons we apply from our worst. We do not teach well what we have not struggled through.
Aren’t we most useful after we have been broken? And how many times does God warn us before the breaking is at its worst? And how grateful should we be – all of us – that He does indeed discipline us as a good Father does a son He loves.
His goodness is humbling and His grace breaks me in every kind of good way.