Confession is good for the soul

I grew up with an amazing woman as my mother. She willingly transplanted from a place of security and comfort to a place full of strangers and foreign ways. She selflessly set aside her own desires to follow the Lord in raising a family and being an amazing wife. She is brave, wise and faithful.
But, like so many of us, she has been deeply hurt. I only have seen shadows and heard whispers of what happened. But I know it was sexual in nature, and I know it wasn’t right. I know it happened in her adult years, and I know that it happened at the hands of someone she should have trusted. And it colored her world. That, along with other situations that I cannot begin to fathom, made my mother an angry woman. My childhood years have memories of her laughter…and her raised voice. I remember her being a gracious host…and I remember being afraid of her responses to little things I would do.
And, like every child, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be like her in those ways. Never, my heart whispered.

And now it is 30-something years later. And I have my own little children, who are still young enough to look at me with eyes of adoration. My personality isn’t cut out for this stay-at-home life. I thrive on change. I love the challenge of starting something new. Routine is deadly to the life in my heart.
And here I am, a stay-at-home mom. Routine is my middle name. Maybe my first. Hi, nice to meet you – I’m Routine.

And the frustration of this God-called life? It finds its way out in anger towards my kids.
Last night I lay in bed and confessed to my husband that I struggle with inconsistency. My little ones have no idea if they will get happy mom or angry mom. I raise my voice at things that just yesterday I greeted with a laugh. I see it in the eyes of my oldest. Fear…and it crushes me.

Confession is good for the soul.
And it’s true – my confession to my husband, my laying bare my mistakes and my failures – it brings life and healing. I find that today I am a little more inclined to choose life. I am a little more apt to look at life and try to find solutions to this season, and not just react to the circumstances around me.

It may seem small, but it is not. Unconfessed sins fester.
So today, I urge you to find a safe place to confess. Ask someone to come alongside. Know that you aren’t alone. We all struggle with secret sins…we all have habits from our history that are causing someone else pain. We need the healing that Light brings.

Praying for you today, sisters. Praying that you would see with honest eyes where you need to confess, and repent. Pray for me, too. Pray that I would embrace this season, with all of its routines, as a gift from Him. As they say, “the days are long, but the years are short.” I want to look back on these short years and see my hands consistently open in surrender.

Annabel

14 thoughts on “Confession is good for the soul

  1. Annabel, could I encourage you to share what you did with your husband with your children? If you see fear in their eyes, they need to know you don’t mean it–that it’s a struggle for you as their mother; and that you are asking for their forgiveness. What may seem to you to be a confession of weakness (and it is) will be seen by them as a statement of love and strength, and tenderness. A loving hug and sincere tears of regret from you can make all the difference in how they see you as their mother.

    • I definitely take the time to repent to my children and ask their forgiveness, although that wasn’t something I talked about in this post. I agree about a loving hug and sincere tears – however, my prayer is that I will truly have a changed heart!

  2. Thank you for your confession! It is a great encouragement to me that I am not alone in this struggle, and a good reminder that I need to daily go to the cross for forgiveness and submission.

  3. Anabelle, please work a little excitement into your life. Yes, there are seasons of routine, but there is still room for fun projects, a spontaneous trip, etc. What are your passions and your gifts? How can you keep those alive in small ways until a new season of life gives you more room to run?

    • Lori,

      Thanks for the encouragement. I am actually very blessed to have a husband who supports me and helps me find the room to pursue time alone and passions. But the truth is that I am selfish – I want all the time to my own ends, desires, pursuits. I get angry that small hands are tugging at me. I am not “cut out” to do this stay-at-home mom thing naturally – I am called to it, and it’s flesh-killing. In fact, I think God is using it to unearth my selfishness and struggles with anger.

      • Girl, Thank You For This!!!!! I am so there with you. I would think that I wrote this if I didn’t know better! Thank you sooooo much for your candidness. I thought I was alone in the selfishness and anger. Yes, I think God IS using this season to unearth my selfishness, too, AND my struggles with anger. I have a 2 and 5 year old and I feel exactly as you describe. I’ve confessed to my husband AND to my children and ask their forgiveness; however I feel like the most horrible mother of all when I lose it. And, like you I can never tell you what’s going to set me off. (I also had a mother that I never knew what was going to make her happy or angry.) Thank you so much for this post and for your honesty. You don’t know how much that means to me!

  4. I don’t know if I can fully express how much I identify with your post. I also had a mom who struggled with anger…not so much in my early years, but when I was a teenager (while she was also raising toddlers). I made so many “vows” of what I wouldn’t do. And now it hurts so bad inside when I find myself losing my patience, snapping at my kids, and finding myself angry at even little annoyances in the day.

    I’ve been on a journey of transformation…knowing that I can’t just “white-knuckle” patience. Like you, I confess often to my husband, often to God (asking Jesus to transform my heart), and often to my little boys (like your reader above mentioned). In fact, I am finding that my confession especially to my oldest (almost 3), makes a world of difference in our day. He’s watching me live out the truth of the Gospel…I mess up and get things wrong, I have to stop and pray and ask to be changed, and we get to start again. Sometimes, when everything’s getting out of control, he and I both start taking deep breaths together and I’ll lead out by saying, “Mommy is working on calming down, mommy is having a hard time, will you try to calm down with me.” It’s amazing how much that changes our experience (as opposed to me just getting angry at his meltdown or fit over not getting his way).

    Also, just last week, I read this post and it was really practical! I highly recommend it for any mom!

    http://simplehomeschool.net/anger/

    • Thanks Evie!

      I totally agree about asking your kids forgiveness. My sweet oldest hasn’t quite caught on, though. Whenever I ask forgiveness, the words “Sorry, Mama” are said. I think that there is a little confusion about who is saying sorry! But I pray it will set a good foundation for our relationship.

      Looking forward to reading that post!

      A

  5. I just thought I would let you know that your post inspired me to write a list of confessions to my husband. The confessions included things that I have noticed myself doing a lot more lately, such as nit-picking, taking him for granted, etc. I gave it to him this morning and he actually got a little misty-eyed as he read them. So thank you for writing this–I appreciate it! : )

  6. I too struggle with the same issue, except mine stems from having preconceived notions about motherhood and realizing I don’t quite have that life and it feels like failure. Whatever happened to the children playing nicely with a few toys while the baby naps and I peacefully make dinner and set a nice table? Instead, I’m barking orders to clean up a trashed house while the baby screams bloody murder and dinner boils over on the stove while plates and flatware are just thrown on the table. I look at it all as a big mess, a huge failure on my part and I get angry that no one is helping me establish my sweet little vision for the family.

  7. I identify with this as well, only it was my father that was the angry, inconsistent one. I always thought I would never be like that, Wrong! I had that tendency for many years of marriage and child raising. I felt like a terrible person, thoughts of ‘if people only knew the real me’, shame and guilt. I can say I’m not bound by anger, but I still fall into it’s trap now and then. I can look back and see a turning point on Father’s Day, of all days. The song Alabaster Box, “You don’t know the cost of the oil, You don’t know the cost of my praise” helped me release the ‘right’ to be angry. I realized the power of forgiveness. I have accepted this ability to forgive others AND myself as a gift from God. I love the creative ways God will speak to us.
    Annabel, you’re on the right track. The healing is taking place. I heard the question this weekend: Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? It’s much easier to accept Him as Savior that as Lord/Master. But that’s exactly what we must do if we are to truly live for Christ. I believe He is using this process to refine you into gold worthy for use in His kingdom. Thank you for this safe place to share our hearts. Be blessed!

  8. Hi Annabel,
    As a christian catholic, I confess also to my priest, on several areas of my life because we do not have children, and he has always given me words of advice that I know come from Jesus. I will encourage you to go to your pastor or spiritual guide and confess these struggles to him or her. That person has had years of studies and had listen to people like you and me. He or she will be able to also provide valuables tools to go through this season in your life. Blessings sister. Sending you a big hug.

  9. I just read this post for the first time and like a few others commenting, I can absolutely relate. That wild anger I saw as a kid seems to have found it’s way into me too, even though I also vowed to never be that way. Over the years I’ve learned what things can really push me in that direction, so I’m better at changing my mindset sooner, but I still feel like I’m fighting back a beast sometimes. And sometimes it wins and I snap, but I always apologize and make sure that my kids understand that my behaviour is wrong and ask for their forgiveness. The thing that scares me the most is the idea that they might not be able to forgive me at some point. That their hearts will be filled with resentment and that will block their relationship with Christ. That my sin could “give them a reason” to also sin. The world gives plenty of reasons as it is, I never want to add to that.

    This has also been a point of contention between my husband and I, and it has directly affected our relationship in the bedroom. And I don’t blame him a bit, what good man would want to be with a woman who yells at their children in a fit of rage? It’s disgusting. So, it’s really hard to confess to him, knowing that it’s such a hard thing for him to forgive, but it honestly has really helped me become a better person. I hope you’re doing better with this, Annabel!

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