A couple years ago I wrote this little snippet on farm life:
We’re knee-deep in the heart of winter here on the farm. During chores we spend a good portion of our time chipping away at frozen water troughs and kicking apart blocks of feed that have clumped together.
It wasn’t until a few days ago that I said, “I get so cold when I’m out here, it takes most of the day to warm back up.” and my husband looked at me with this shocked expression.
“What have you been wearing outside?” he asked. I looked down at my jean-clad legs and back up at him. That evening he showed up with an extra pair of insulated work pants.
Good grief, y’all. Insulated pants are the bomb-diggity.
Amos felt so bad for all the mornings I froze. “You should have told me you were so cold,” he said. I laughed and told him that I just assumed he was as cold as I was. I’d never worn insulated work pants in my life, so how did I know what I was missing?
I mean, I’ve worn snow pants before– but these things are another beast entirely. I can be barefoot in my boots and my feet still stay warm. #incredible
Yes, I spent half my childhood in Alaska. But I also spent half of it in Florida. There are gaps in my knowledge, you know?
I’ve been thinking about the truth in this little sketch ever since I reread it. I mean, I think my goal at the time was to just be a little funny, while painting a picture of farm-life. But a much deeper truth about me ended up on the page.
There are gaps in my knowledge.
I understand some parts of life so well, but there are other parts where I am clueless. I have no idea there are awesome tools that exist that can help me. Oh, maybe I know some of them by NAME but not by EXPERIENCE.
And whenever I come to intense seasons of life, like this last one, all of the sudden I’m faced with the realization that there are some gaps in my knowledge.
Over the past bit, I’ve stumbled onto a big one: how to deal with anger.
It kind of shocked me. After all, when we bought dairy cows oh-so-many-moons-ago, I found out I had a temper for the first time EVER, but I quickly dealt with that and moved on.
My daughter came home a few years later (after I had spent YEARS praying for a child!) and I carried the daily ups and downs she brought into our home without ever really raising my voice. Proof positive that I had the temper thing under control.
But then our son came home so there wasn’t just one child testing me 24-7, but two.
I still have a temper, y’all.
And even though I can handle rooms FULL of 2-year-olds without ever getting ruffled, it turns out that a 10-year-old can flip my switch quicker than a fox on the scent of a field mouse. (Sorry, we’re reading Danny Meadow Mouse by Thorton Burgess right now… I couldn’t help it.)
When some of the Titus-2-type older women in my life said they were hosting a prayer time for two days, and anyone who wanted prayer could come visit, guess who had her husband drive her there in a snow storm? Yep. This one.
They asked how they could pray and all these stories came spilling out.
I was surrounded by lovely women who prayed for me, with me, over me, and it was Tish (if you’ve read my new book, you know this isn’t the first time God has used her to speak a rhema into my life!) who sat back and told me her story. About how when she was struggling with this same thing with her children, she stumbled on a verse in Psalms that talked about anger.
“It said to go to your bed, so I took it literally!” she explained. “When I felt like I was going to lose it, I ran to my bedroom and laid down on my bed and stayed there until I was under control.”
This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this idea. In fact, I’m sure I’d advised people in the past to take deep breaths and count to ten before responding or some such something. But this was the first time I experienced the need to temper-train myself from the middle of child-rearing.
The next time I felt like I could lose it, I left the house and sat in the van. Not my bed, of course, but since I had to walk past the children–who were driving me to the edge of all reason–to get to my bed, I figured this would be better.
It seriously felt the same as the morning I put on insulated work pants for the first time.
There is a special tool for this issue and it WORKS. #incredible
My son told me the other day that it was nice that I decided to discipline myself to stop getting mad. For about 17.8 seconds I almost lectured him about the need to just keep your mouth shut once in awhile… but then thought, hey, he’s right. It is nice.
Not just because I feel better when my temper is under control, but also because I know God is living and active in my life. He’s getting to the heart of the matter (turns out my temper is a little too closely linked to when I think I have been personally wronged– like, you DARE lie to me?! Oy.) and in His gentle (though firm and pretty fierce in the moment) parenting, I’m reminded again on how to parent my children well.
And, as always, it starts with allowing myself to be parented by the Father.
The truth is that we all have gaps in our knowledge.
And it’s okay.
God is faithful and He will lead and guide us when we search for Him. In fact, that’s a promise. So, whether you are parenting, or facing some other crisis (okay, parenting is not ALWAYS a crisis. Only 99.2% of the time.) and realize that you aren’t sure what to do or how to handle life– it could be that God is just letting you face the hard stuff so you can get real with Him.