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



The Source

Trust The Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3

This is a pretty great verse for life, and (obviously) especially a life lived for God. It has a command, a call to humbleness, a practical, and a promise.

A desire I have for my life that God has called us all to is to love Him and love others (Matthew 22:37). What that looks like can be scary if you stop reading there- especially when you hear the great commission to go to all the nations and making disciples, people to follow Jesus (Matthew 28:18). It’s also scary when I start measuring how the Holy Spirit is working by the number of people I share my story with or the good news of Jesus. I start looking at the works as an outlook of the source instead of just looking right at the source Himself.

The verse in proverbs 3 at the top is taking at look at the source of Life. First, I trust The Lord with all my heart. Honestly, I hardly know what that means but I think it’s similar to John 7:38: “whoever believes in me as the scriptures has said , streams of living water will flow from within him.”

Wow. If I believe in Him according to what the scriptures say… and not “on my own understanding” streams of living water will flow out from within me… And you know what happens when that happens…. I will “acknowledge Him in all my ways”. And if I can acknowledge Him in all my ways it attests I’m trusting Him based on truth from scripture and God promises to make my paths straight!

If my paths are straight… What does that mean? This is something I’m learning about and don’t quite have the answer to. I do know it doesn’t mean there won’t be suffering because Romans 8:17 says through Jesus and his work on the cross for our sins we are children of God, heirs of God, and through our suffering we are co-heirs with Christ’s suffering, but also His glory.

Wisdom leads not to folly, so it seems reasonable to suggest success is also apart of having straight paths… But I think it means more than worldly success. I think it’s about living a straight path of righteousness, which doesn’t always entail worldly success. If my path is not straight and level, I will stumble and fall, hurting myself regardless of the surroundings my path leads through whether I’m rich or poor, married or single, home or away, crying or thriving.

Proverbs 15:24 says “the path of life leads upwards for the wise to keep him from going down into the grave.”

I desire my paths to be straight, but I know that as I trust God in truth and acknowledge Him in ALL my ways… He will indeed make my path straight and I pray He would keep that promise according to His great love! If I’m acknowledging Him in all my ways… I’m going to share the gospel because that is apart of everything I am or do.

A book I’ve been reading and got a lot of these thoughts from is The Love of God by Chambers.

Carry on in faith.