In the middle of a heated argument that had frankly gone way too far, I said, “I hate you!” That phrase stopped us both in our tracks. Literally pumped the breaks on the fight.
A couple of slow blinks and my husband said, “do you mean that?”
Stuttering and blinking back tears I said, “No, of course, I don’t mean that…I’m just so frustrated and angry…I’m not even sure why I would even say that to you…I am sorry…I shouldn’t have said it.”
As Christian women, we’re quick to remind ourselves about being a Proverbs 31 woman. That woman is faithful and expresses reverence towards her husband. She’s strong, charitable, well-rounded, cares for her family, and fears the Lord. That woman does not actively argue in anger with her husband.
Often I think we focus solely on the Proverbs 31 woman and we forget the example in Chapter 2 of Titus. The Titus 2 woman is also a reverent, self-controlled gal who is submissive to her husband. She also trains young women and is a teacher of good things. She is specifically not slanderous. That woman does not tell her husband that she hates him.
My hate-filled declaration during an argument was neither an example of Proverbs 31 or Titus 2. Here, I violated two separate examples that God has given us about how to behave within a marriage. Yet, God gives us other examples of harnessing our anger. In Ephesians 4:31 (NASB) scripture says, “All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice.”
Why must anger and slander be removed from us? Simply stated, it’s hard, if not impossible, to love as Christ did while harboring anger.
Proverbs 10:12 (NASB) tells us, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
Love covers all offenses. Real ones and perceived ones. During a marital spat, I need the reminder that I love this guy I’m married to. He’s not my enemy, rather he’s my teammate and I should be treating him with the respect that is demanded in both Proverbs 31 and Titus 2.
Obviously, this is specific to marriage, but it’s applicable to any relationship where we want to demonstrate the love of the Lord. We would all be better if we could remember the lessons of releasing anger and approaching one another in love.
So on the Hallmark holiday of love, I’ll make the public declaration:
How often have you been in a scenario where you thought of the perfect come-back or retort…after the conversation was done?
Last week I had an encounter with a guy who was hogging up a spot at a gas pump while eating a burger. He had me blocked in and there were two other cars behind me waiting for their turn at the pump. When I tapped my horn to get him to scoot out of the way, he shook his head at me…and then he flipped me off.
I was shocked. And in disbelief, I managed to get around him and leave the gas station.
Over the next few hours, I revisited the interaction often. I wish I had gotten out of my car to chat with the man.
I know, I know. That’s not necessarily safe in our society. But I do wish I had gotten more involved. Why? Because of some contextual clues. He had out-of-State plates, a military haircut, and an Air Force sticker on his bumper. As a retired military member, I wish I had engaged to let him know that his behavior was reflecting on the entire military service.
I wanted to have the last word.
In John 19:13, Christ said, “It is finished.”
He had the last word.
In this instance the Greek translation is that of an accounting term and means that it’s been paid in full.
What is paid in full?
Our debt due to our own sins, which trace all the way back to Adam and Eve’s original sins in the Garden of Eden is what was paid in full. Jesus was saying that “it is finished” in regards to removing the consequences of our sin nature.
Earlier in the book of John, we see Jesus praying to the Father prior to his arrest by the Romans. In John 17:4 He prayed to ‘finish the work you have given me to do.”
Not only did Jesus state “it is finished” in regards to covering our sins with his blood, but also that His work on Earth was finished. While they seem to be the same implication, there is a slight difference in knowing that Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy. As part God and part man, He was able to fulfill that prophecy despite His own human experiences. “It is finished” is the completion of the Old Testament prophecies.
The will of God…The faithful service of Christ….The option for forgiveness of our sins…All of these are covered under the simple statement of “it is finished.”
Those famous last words of Christ, which are so much more profound than any last words we may have in an argument or altercation.
In the next week, I pray your last words are ones of grace and love…and not just because you wanted to have the last word.
There’s this moment where you feel as if you’re the only one that has ever gone through this. And that moment lasts for days, weeks, maybe months. No one ever talks about it. Maybe because you feel it’s not your story to tell. Maybe because you feel embarrassed. Maybe because you’re afraid you’ll be judged. But those thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth. So here I am, ready to break this stigma wide open, because it needs to be done. Particularly in the Christian community. And I share it with the full support of Peyton.
On March 6th of this year, my sweet Peyton tried to kill herself. Even writing it now makes me cry. I never thought I’d be the parent who wrote those words. But my daughter was so overwhelmed that she felt like the best option was to go to sleep and never wake up. So she filled her small hand with pills, downed them with a glass of water and laid down.
She has absolutely zero recollection of waking up about an hour later. She has no memory of trying to go to the bathroom and talking to us…or attempting to. She doesn’t recall the next hour of her dad and I trying to talk to her, putting her in the shower to see if she would be coherent, and us searching her room for the alcohol or drugs we were sure we would find.
We thought she was drunk or high. She’d sleep it off. While I was going through her phone to see how she’d gotten the stuff, I made the single biggest mistake I think I’ll ever make in my life. I opened her phone’s internet browser and I saw her search history, “How much amitriptyline do I take to overdose.” And I thought, “WHAT A RANDOM THING TO LOOK UP. NOT MY KID.” If it had been a neon sign, it would’ve blinded me and I still don’t think I would’ve acknowledged it. Instead, I just kept looking for where she got the alcohol or drugs.
She laid in the living room on the couch asleep while I laid down on the love seat beside her, checking her throughout the night.
When she woke up the next morning, she was completely disoriented and didn’t understand why she was in the living room. I looked at her and asked if she felt ok. She said yes and just sat there for a moment before she looked up at me with tears in her eyes.
“Can I tell you something without you getting mad?”
I said, “Tell me.”
“I tried to kill myself last night.” And she started to cry.
What we had witnessed was my daughter’s body reacting to an overdose. Miraculously, despite my willful ignorance to her Google search, she survived.
When you’re going through a tremendously painful time like an attempted suicide, you’re not really sure who to call or talk to. Which one of your friends will understand? Who is going to judge you or your kid? Who’s going to pray, and not just pray in passing but pray the host of heaven down on your child to heal her physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? Who’s going to treat your child differently? Who’s going to treat YOU differently?
There’s such a stigma attached to mental health and it can feel embarrassing. But as Chris and I walked through the next 6 days of a trip to the ER followed by some inpatient time for Peyton on an adolescent psychiatric unit, we found out we weren’t the only ones. We knew a surprising number of people who did or were going through the exact thing we were.
It’s been two months since her attempt, and it’s been a process to work through healing for her as well as for us. We find that the more candid we are with Peyton about what happened and what her feelings are currently, the more she feels ok to open up when she struggles. We can’t put her in a protective bubble (which, believe me, I’d love to do) but we can ensure that we’re walking WITH her during this. She now knows that she’s not alone in this fight because her entire family is here to fight with her. In turn, this has allowed her to be very open about her mental health and attempted suicide with others. She wants to know that her miraculous gift of failure in that attempt will help someone reach out before their attempt is a permanent consequence.
My walk with God is even more important than just walking with Peyton. As a Christian mother, I know that God is bigger than trauma, than hurts, than depression. He is bigger than the lies the devil tells her.
These two verses are ones that I’ve held strong to since March.
“When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.” –Isaiah 43:2
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33
I know that God is with us. He sees her and He loves her. And though there is a fight going on in her head and in her heart, He has not left her to fight this alone. In fact, He wishes to fight on her behalf. He wants to fight on my behalf. I praise God that even though the world is often too invested in ‘self,’ He is invested in US.
If you are struggling with this in your home, please, I beg you, know that you are not alone. Not only do you have a Heavenly Father who is 100% for you, you have friends here at the Iron Porch who understand and have walked in this valley, as well. There is no judgment here. There is no stigma here. There is the love of a Savior and friends who stand with you.
**If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.**
I made a mistake. I told my best friend I wanted to go hiking with her. It would’ve been fine if I had shut my mouth and pretended not to be covetous. But noooooooo, I had to say how much I envied the fact that her and a friend went on these hikes and were getting some fun exercise in their lives. And that is how I ended up on the trail that is straight from the pit of H-E-double hockey sticks.
This “easy” trail consisted of a 4.7-mile winding path that took us up a 900-foot incline. What I knew was that it had a beautiful creek running along the path and was wonderfully shaded for most of the hike. What I didn’t know was what a 900-foot incline really meant, and that I was going to be walking uphill, both ways, barefoot in the snow.
I know that it appears I’m dramatic. But when a person who has been on the trail says that it should be named “Birthpain Trail” because you forgot how hard the hike is from the previous time, you recognize that I’m not that far off the mark! I thought I was going to die. I asked Emily if I could change my mind about the hike and not be the friend that does the hike but instead the friend that has lunch ready for them at the end of the hike when they’re done. She laughed at me.
I know I’ve had struggles that feel like that hike. It feels like it’s an uphill battle. You see there’s a little tough spot and you push through. It appears there’s a reprieve, a beautiful trail along softly running water. And then you realize that your trial has just begun and it’s about to get TOUGH. Every step you take is pressure on your body. You’re out of breath and tired from fighting to get ahead. You’re weak and winded. You feel like you’d rather quit and give up the fight.
I encourage you, friends. Do. Not. Give. Up. You need only cry out to God. He says in Psalm 138:3, “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”
He is fighting the fight with you and is walking with you. When we call out to our Father, He hears our prayers and our desires. He sees our fears and frustrations. God desires us to lean into Him for our strength. When we cry out to Him, we surrender the fight to HIM so that He can give us the strength to complete the journey. When we call, He is glorified.
Let’s make sure we are calling to Him so that we may become bold with strength through Him! Is anyone going through a struggle that we can pray for today? Share with us in the comments, and we’d love to come along side you and pray.