For such an affectionate, good-natured little boy he can sure get a mad on!  (not my grandson)

My two-year-old grandson’s eyebrows slammed down onto eyes narrowed to mean slits. Face darkened with rage, his usually-smiling mouth tightened. He struggled in his mother’s arms, fierce and ferocious, yelling, “NO! I WON’T!!”

We were on vacation, visiting our beloved grandchildren last month when the memorable scene took place in their family’s living room.

The sheer force of will in one scrawny little body was astounding. And hilarious. I don’t think I’m inaccurate to say none of our seven children defied us outright like that. They tended more towards passive resistance or sneaky “apparent” compliance, which carried with it problems of its own. So this in-your-face toddler fury was a new thing to me and a sight to behold!  But a little alarming too. After all, if that temper weren’t dealt with, what might it look like at 16, or 25?

My daughter spoke into his ear, then left him and headed for the kitchen.Whatever she said to him, less than a minute later he bounced up, scampered after her and said in happy tones, “I changed my attitude!” And he really had. What followed was his usual friendly, cheerful obedience.

Oh, to be able to “Presto! Change-o!” like that!

I was reminded of that scene a couple of days after we’d returned home.

Three weeks before, we’d left the snow behind and enjoyed lovely spring weather for more than a week in Texas. We spent time as guests in 5 homes, some old, some new, but all were equipped with finished walls and real closets. All had counter-tops and cupboards and smooth, unsplintered floors.

On the way  home, we headed north again, returning to the land of winter-white. Most difficult for me, we came back to all the features of our ongoing renovation that the above contrasts reveal. I looked around, seeing the unfinished, the inadequate, the inconvenient, the unhidden-by-closet-doors… and despaired.

My pattern of depression is to allow negative thoughts (“realism,” I call it in those moments) to take over my mind and then feed the monster. Thoughts rush forward as fodder for the joy-devourer –

Not one room of my house is completely finished, after almost 13 years! It will never be finished! 

No other woman I know has to live in these conditions. Am I such an unworthy wife?

I don’t think I can stand this anymore.

And just to be sure I’m down for the count, I borrow from the past to make comparisons to young parents we visited.

I’m even a failure as a mother.

For hours, I rejected every prompt from God’s Spirit to be content and thankful.

“NO! I WON’T!!” my mind shouted. And suddenly I pictured myself as God saw me: my spirit scrunched up, fierce and ferocious, self-pitying, angry and tight.

It wasn’t Presto, Change-o. It took about a day and a half before I recognized what the Enemy of my soul was doing to me. But the memory of my grandson’s tantrum and his speedy recovery shamed me into a quicker restoration than would have happened years ago.

I prayed. I confessed my ugly ungratefulness. I repented. And I was free!

He changed my attitude!”

What a relief it was to return to a state of contentment, my spirit lighter and filled with joy.

“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to … abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)


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10 Responses to Angry!

  1. lynmconrad says:

    Oh, Eleanor! This speaks to my heart! I have brought with me a book by Dr James MacDonald entitled “Lord, Change My Attitude”. It won’t be the first time I have read it and I highly doubt it will be the last!
    Blessings, my beloved sister in Christ!


  2. What a good analogy! God must frequently look at me and see a spoiled, rebellious child.


  3. Bev Rempel says:

    It is good to hear from a ‘sister’ who openly admits to sinking into depths of despair. Yes, last week, I spent a day in my bedroom ranting and raving over my inadequacies – as a mother, wife, grandmother, friend, business owner,…..and on and on. My husband was relieved when I emerged the next morning still shaken by the depths of where I had gone but able to smile and ask forgiveness. I had thought I would be settled, content, more together at this age than I am!!!
    Blessings to you for your transparency.


    • norskin says:

      It usually takes me a long time to be able to post these thoughts from the depths of my heart because I’m ashamed of myself. Then I get responses like yours, and I realize such times are common to women. My hope is that I’ve pointed people to the Saviour from all such misery!


  4. marrian says:

    “Expectations” does rear its ugly head from time to time


  5. Hi Eleanor, your post was so well written and applicable to my life. Thanks for the encouragement. I am able to attest that living in a finished home can happen. We are at year three (of thirty).


  6. norskin says:

    Lisa, does that mean you lived in a renovation for 27 years?!! Yikes!


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