While looking through old pictures yesterday, I found this one of Clive and my pregnant self sitting out in front of the house where one of my most disgraceful moments occurred. Even though there were wonderful memories from that house and our 2 oldest sons were born while living there, I will never think of that home without remembering that moment.
My temper was a major issue while growing up. A very vivid memory I have is of throwing my little rocking chair clear across the living room during a tantrum. A friend on Facebook posted that their child was having issues with slamming doors. Ah, the memories that evoked! My Dad was always warning me about slamming doors, but even knowing what could happen if I didn’t listen wouldn’t stop me. One day, in the heat of my anger, I slammed my bedroom door so hard that it split the wood! My Dad solved that issue by removing my door for a few days…
Since my temper was so violent when worked up, I was never one to put up with the shenanigans of my brother or their friends. I was bony to the extreme, with hip bones and elbows sharp enough to deter the most teasing boy! The quickly learned that my anger was no match for their attempts to rile me.
My temper was out of control. The more I learned about living for God, the more I knew I had to ask Him to help me get control over my temper! I wanted to live for Christ and please Him in my actions, yet how could I do that, when these Scriptures said otherwise?
- Ecclesiastes 7:9 Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.
- James 1:19-20 Understand this..: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
- Ephesians 4:26-27 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
For years, I worked at giving my temper to the Lord, asking Him to turn it into a more pleasing temperament, one that would not embarrass Him, or myself, as I tried to serve Him. It was a long struggle – it certainly didn’t happen overnight! But it DID happen!! God is faithful, and it only takes as long to make changes as you let it – He will change it immediately, but you have to be willing.
Even though I rarely show that I have a temper, every once in awhile it works its way out. There seem to be things that trigger it and if I’m not watching for them, it will crop up and flare out, devouring everything in its wake. Such was the case I mentioned at the beginning of all of this. As I said, I was pregnant for our 1st son. I hadn’t been feeling well, but had to make a run to the store. The garage door had issues, and there were times that I struggled to get it open. This was one of those days! I tried to lift it up, but nothing happened. I tried all the tricks, tweaking it, putting my fat, pregnant body into it, (surely all of that excess weight would do the trick!) but nothing, absolutely nothing worked!! For some reason, that ticked. me. OFF!!! Thus began a most embarrassing, disgraceful pounding, banging, and whacking episode of a woman to a garage door you have ever seen or heard! I yelled and carried on like a raving lunatic until Clive showed up and quietly told me to go into the house and he would go instead. I went inside, still huffing, and it took me a long time to calm down.
NOT my best memory, but definitely a turning point in my life. Some people would say that I was excused because it was hormonal, but even though that may have factored into it, that was no excuse. What I did was humiliate my husband, myself, and since I was a pastor’s wife, my church, but most of all, I let God down. I shamed Him with my behavior. For years, I worked on getting my temper under control with God’s help, and in the matter of a few moments, that all came crashing down. I am thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness.
That was a turning point in my life. Even though there have been things to trigger my anger, and I do not always handle them as well as I should, I have never lost control like that. With my temperament, I will always be far from perfect, and will always need to keep a grip on my temper, but with God’s help, this is my desire:
- Galatians 5:22-25 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.