After major emergency surgery in Panama my recovery was slow. While my husband returned to our village in the jungle, I was taken in by dear friends who cared for me and our two daughters until his return and a doctor’s release to re-enter jungle work. Christina attended the mission school during those months and I attempted to care for a very active three year old, Kim. To say that she was lively would be an understatement. Her boundless energy was an extreme contrast to my very slow and weak frame and keeping up with her was daunting.
Kim, to this day, can walk into a room and the whole room lights up, full of energy. Her middle name is Joy and she certainly brings that into our lives! Her willful defiance to correction in those early days brought me to an impasse…we would continually lock horns or I would just count my blessings and give in!
Ever been there?
I have one of those faces that can’t hide anything. I wear my emotions on my face, not my sleeve. I consider myself to be a fairly even-tempered woman with a clear understanding of what it means to be angry. I know the functional definition of anger, the peace I have to sacrifice to give into it, the guilt that results, and the pain required to resolve it.
One day at our friend’s home, Kim’s “lively activity” drew attention for some needed help. I was asked how I was going to respond to her. I answered the question with a silent non-verbal, …“what...what do you mean…?” My face must have spoken loudly because I was then asked, “Are you angry, Jackie?” I responded, “Of course not!” They replied, “Jackie, look at your expression in the mirror” (there was a mirror on the wall where I stood).
I looked…and there was no denying the fact that my face said what my mind clearly denied…I was angry! Sometimes I pause and glaze over while processing, but this was different! I slithered off into my temporary bedroom and made an attempt to rationalize my situation! Don’t they realize how fragile I am? This can’t be fair…I just had a Laparotomy, forty-four stitches inside and forty-four stitches to close…I was in bad shape…don’t I get a smidge of extra consideration??? My self-pity consumed me…why… I thought I was a victim (the biggest lie from the pit!), well…wasn’t I??
Anger is a cruel companion. The emptier the pot the quicker it boils! Anger does everything to undermine truth and defeat us! It is nothing more than “someone finding a right that I have not yet yielded to God.” By that definition no one can make me angry! I choose it all by myself…I can’t blame anybody! It is my fault!
"When God wants to bring more power into our lives, He brings more pressure." (A.B. Simpson)
There was no verbal argument and no laboring the point…just my humbly acknowledging …my guilt!
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Prov.21: 19 The last thing I wanted to be was that angry woman! My children deserved a godly example, not an excuse! My husband, bless his heart, deserved a wife free from anger to humbly love him unconditionally. Anger and humility cannot dwell together…one has to go.
Henry Drummond, in The Greatest Thing in the World, wrote:
“It is the intermittent fever which bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily when off one’s guard; in a word, the lightning form of a hundred hideous and unchristian sins. For a want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are all instantaneously symbolized in one flash of…TEMPER.”
We call TEMPER by many socially acceptable names in an attempt to excuse it: impatience, frustration, wrong response, irritation, and annoyance… We find clever ways to rationalize our anger. We protect it, guard it, defend it, and yet its ugly head rears up and betrays us.
I am grateful and forever indebted to the family who forced me that day in Panama to face my anger and its subtle and insidious hold on me! That new light to recognize anger and its deceptions, to call it by name, to ask forgiveness and to walk in the promised victory keeps my Christian life liberated daily, as I continue to learn…
Are you an angry woman?
Is humility your signature attribute?
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.