Anger Denatured into Gratitude

A once ridiculing, anxious soul is metamorphosing into unconditional gentleness. Where once was fear now is filled with peace and where once was guilt is now filled with hope.

My mother.

Unfortunately, in comparison to me- the steps I’d thought I’d taken to overcome bitterness and anger are now so clear against her grace filled love. My mom is transforming and I stopped somewhere a long the way. Or maybe I took a pause to clean out some old dusty cupboards of pain.


Being a child with divorced parents isn’t a whole ton of fun. It creates some sort of childhood trauma that manages to covertly infect most neural pathways to your mind and heart. Oh, memories! I sigh- and the purposely forgotten memories! And holidays- what a wonderful time to remember how broken your family is! This is not a rant, I promise. 

Through one recent conversation or another I found myself angry. It was something to do with plans and what dinner was at who’s house and why it was so unfair the kids had to go the other parents instead of coming to some Aunt’s house. Some sort of blame was exchanged…blah, blah, blah. I ended up angry towards my mom and then sort of stopped communicating, and really, what led up to that isn’t the important part, but I was angry and I left angry back to Iowa.

Along the 5 hour drive I meditated long and hard on my anger. At first I didn’t understand why, I just was, you know? So I just let myself be angry and sooner or later a cry for justice was to be found.

“It’s not fair!” I found myself exclaiming. There was a huge injustice done to me with my parents separating: I didn’t ask for it, I couldn’t do anything to stop it, and yet somehow I was in the middle of broken promises and lonely relationships. “What about justice?”

I let myself call out the injustice that had happened. It’s like there’s this imaginary pressure to not be impacted by divorce, like, it happens all the time or it’s not so bad or something. So all along the way of the last 10 years I’m bottling up this anger and sense of injustice inside, wanting to expressing it, but not knowing really what it is that I wanted to express. Yet I was letting it seep out every time my mom asked me when my dad is having thanksgiving or when I’m going over to his house.

Kind of ridiculous if you ask me now. Especially since she’s like this sweet lady who asks so prudently. Then I’m this ravenous wolf who just got punched on a wound.

So here I am in the car, “What about justice?” I say (seemingly to God) Of course, being God, he could almost laugh. Who could have a better understanding of unfair suffering than God? Jesus on the cross, anyone?

He doesn’t though- laugh, I mean. He comforts me by reminding me He knows about the injustice. It’s not fair. It’s not right. It’s not acceptable. He hates divorce! (Malachi 2:16)

Who could have a better understanding of unfair suffering than God?

And then of course, people kept sharing verses and articles on Facebook about unjust suffering and forgiveness…etc….. you know how that happens…

Verses like 1 Peter 2:19-25

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.

and 1 Peter 3:9

 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Genesis 50:19-20

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

And then I almost felt the Spirit asking me “What kind of justice would you like?”

Well… I don’t know I guess, I thought, it’s not like I want them punished (they believe in Jesus and his forgiveness and are in enough of their own pain) and in all actuality having them back together probably wouldn’t make anything much better either…. I guess I just wanted someone to hear me say it wasn’t fair. 

So I emailed my mom and apologized and helped her understand why I was so angry all the time. She apologized for her part, I apologized for mine and we both agreed to work towards forgiveness. I thanked her profusely for her grace as she is always so kind to me when I am unkind. She doesn’t mind the hits because she loves me so much and that’s pretty amazing.

That was all a month ago. On the drive back home for Thanksgiving today I asked myself what kind of attitude I was going to have this time. I prayed for a gentle one and I realized anything other than that would be a cry for justice. Then I asked myself, “How long will you cry out? How many do you need to hear you say it? Will it ever be enough?”

You’ve said it. It’s been heard. By God, by your mom, and by a lot of others. It’s been taken care of and it’s time to move on now. It’s time to be grateful for what you do have (believing parents, a home, food, people who love you, clothes, a job, income, school, air to breathe) and to be content with the portion God has given you. It’s time to stop looking at your circumstances with a microscope….

It’s time to be thankful. And so I shall!

Happy Thanksgiving! May God help you understand what good He is doing through your unjust suffering and unfortunate circumstances.

“Understanding unjust suffering is about not getting God to change your circumstances but beginning to understand how your circumstances are a part of His divine plan and you responding to that plan.”              Overcoming Unjust Suffering, Living on The Edge

 

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The Cave.

I wrote this up sometime in the beginning of this year, but just came across it in my journal. It’s amazing to look back and remember the dark places I was in, walking through some valleys, but God knew where He was leading me and led me out… so this is called The Cave. (its spoken word kind of a thing).

 

My heart: it crumbles and cracks by its hardness. Life’s taken back.
Under it all, it’s screaming for some form of oxygen to breath; a deep, faint beating. 
Everyday passing by like time in rewind, I’m stuck going forward and living behind my days
as I watch rolling, rolling.

My heart: it bleeds and screams, but it’s falling on deaf ears. 
My own soul doesn’t even know why it’s so cold. My minds stopped caring or maybe just wanting to know.
It’s so deprived, but I’ve placed it outside of…

My mind: is so distant. I can’t walk in the right way.
Left and then right is all it can say. 
Feed your flesh and night overcomes day. 

Yet it’s not right. There’s a distant screaming inside.
Emotion, you say, could I define? No, my hearts being trapped, enclosed by my depraved mind. 
Yet, no regret for…

My soul: covered in webs, dust: old. It’s been forgotten, rotten, and cold. Cold like ice in a cave with no sun to melt it. 
Like a bat in light: any ounce is decay. 
It’s not right, and yet a distant scream echoes inside.

My heart: it still cries, all this time begging for my mind to be renewed in Christ
melting my soul to let go… I’m looking for something, something to know
that I’m still alive; that I’m not overcome to depravity of mind.

“Lay down and die” said the coldness of the night. This cave could keep my grave from time.
Though I can’t see: this caves too dark, 
there’s a warmness of light I see with my heart. 
It’s bleeding inside, though I can’t feel a thing, but the bleeding it seeps from the pores of my skin
taking all of my pride right out with it. 

Oh sweet weakness. Could I define its starting position? 
Cleanse me within with sweet glorious repetition. 
Though the stains of my blood can be seen by my brothers and sisters: Lord, I don’t deserve a glorious disposition
if You didn’t seek to love me, I’m overcome to all distorted inhibition. 
I cry “Leave me to be! Lay down and die”. Do not seek to restore my life. 

I’m hardly worth any of Your time.

The cave: so dark- so cold. It tells me I’m all alone. It tells me this is my home.
But there’s a distant screaming inside.
A faint heart beating, still clinging to life.
Will I lay down and die? Overcome by this cave when there still is The Way?

There’s a distant screaming, a deep faint beating. 
Everyday passing by like time in rewind.
I’m stuck going forward yet living behind,
but it too would be pride to just lay down and die.

So I guess I’ll learn that I have to abide in the light in the cave.
Remember the promise to me You made: You will never leave nor forsake. 

Loving the Lord’s discipline.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?… Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Hebrews 12:7, 10-11

A Reflection on the past 6 months. 

Never in my life have I experienced such a radical change in my relationship with God. I remember the start of really struggling with God and it starts back with my pride and my unwillingness to work hard… maybe around December. As months passed, I can look back in my journal and see how cold my heart grew as winter began fading. Anger towards God raged more and more, and it seemed that not so long ago I had been skipping class to read the Bible. I had to leave my bible at home it was becoming so distracting for me. Especially towards the end of the semester, a dear sister would pray with me and every word she spoke caused nothing but torment to come pouring out of my soul. Surprisingly she still stuck with me, and still kept praying. What I would have done without her patience, I just don’t know. 

In my heart, at that time, there were a lot of reasons I didn’t want God to be apart of my life and there were a lot of times I would yell at Him for not answering me to unlock my heart and expose my brokenness. By the end of the semester I was in tears a lot and just barely hanging on… and not only that, I was hit with a virus called Pityriasus Rosea… or what I like to call Leprosy. It spread all of over my body and BOY DID IT ITCH! I couldn’t even take showers without my body being drenched in frustration… you see, I couldn’t itch because it only made it worse… so fighting temptation became its own battle. God was stirring up a fire. 

Yet, when He begged me to open my heart… I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let him in. 

After school ended, I spent the next month pretty much weeping every night before bed. So fed up with my heart, that I couldn’t part with it, and now a new burden crossed my path. My dad wouldn’t call me back. For three months I waited, trying not to expect too much from Him, trying not to put my hope in him; but it hurt and it felt unfair that while the rest of the world looked forward to phone calls with their dads… I couldn’t… and it was obvious that God was inhibiting our relationship and a lot of other relationships in my life during that time to break me down. Eventually God did. He wore me away and showed me that I was rebellious and sinful.

This sin was unbelief. Doubt. 

Apparently I wasn’t putting my trust in God and His truth. Turns out, you have to believe it… and choose to believe it. It didn’t seem like God was good because I just wasn’t believing His truth, nor was I reading it. This is why God disciplines us. Oh how I longed for the days of old, but God wanted me to fight through this battle and come out on the other side. 

“Love the Lord’s discipline” 

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

It was hard to do, but through God revealing my rebellious heart to me, He showed me He was in fact disciplining me… because He loves me. It is hardly a joking matter to be humbled or disciplined, this I see and know first hand. If I could describe the last half of a year all I can say is “Hard.” Through God’s hand of discipline, and how severe it was… I see that God allowed all the situations in my life that I thought were merely humbling to take my heart and say “Hey, Teresa. You are not believing in me or my truth. Stop. Believe my words. I will never leave you nor forsake. Believe my words, with all your heart, mind, body, and strength.” 

I chose to believe it again. I chose to believe God is good. I chose to believe He has the best for me in mind. I’m continually choosing to believe His love is better than life. I’m continually choosing to believe He is, and was, and is to come. I chose to LOVE the Lord’s discipline because it is a mark of His love. Amen.