Anger is the most immature emotion we humans possess, and it is by far the most frequently displayed. A 3yr old can’t have a snack when she wants, and she throws herself on the ground screaming. A 3rd grader can’t play video games before his homework is done, and growls while stomping to his room. A teenage boy is told he has limited screen time on school nights, and sulks on the couch before storming outside. These three children chose the emotion of anger to communicate their displeasure with the occurrences of the evening. These three children reacted as children their age generally would when given such news.
This morning, while I was sitting in the chair waiting for it to be time to take my middle son to school, the lovely 3yr old mentioned above spilled her entire bowl of fruit rounds (the Aldi version of Fruit Loops) onto the kitchen floor. While I was using what seemed like an entire roll of paper towels to clean up her mess, her 2yr old sister spilled what was left of her milk onto her high chair tray. Well, why not? Her sister and I were having so much fun, she didn’t want to be left out. As I am trying to maintain my cool, the 3yr old screams “I have to go potty,” and my husband is nowhere to be found. Milk soaked paper towels in hand, I say “well then go potty,” and in the same breath scream at the middle son “where is your father?”
At that point, my anger was on display, full force. I threw the soggy towels on the table, told the little sister to keep her hands out of the milk, and stomped quite angrily to the bathroom. I stood there very impatiently waiting for sister number one to finish on the potty so I could help her with the hygiene process, all the while steaming mad because my kid’s father is still like a fart in the wind and apparently at this point in the story, he has ceased to be my husband. Sister number one and I make our way back out to the kitchen to find sister number two playing carefree in her cereal milk, and my middle son waiting patiently to be taken to school.
Out of nowhere, like a very late knight in shining armor, my husband comes up the stairs mumbling something about being out of stamps. Oh, the poor man had no clue what he was walking into, and surely within 30 seconds he wished he would have stayed downstairs. I am quite literally slamming things around at this point, and slinging sugary sweet cereal milk all over the kitchen. I get sister number two down out of her high chair and wiped off. I have just enough time to get the two girls strapped into their car seats, soggy jammies and all, so as not have middle son leaving late for school. Before walking out the door, that poor man uttered the words many a husband have later regretted saying, “what’s wrong, honey?”
The death glare he received should have sent him running to his office, but he instead waited for my response. “I have had no idea where you were for the last 30 minutes (quite the exaggeration), and I have been up here dealing with dingle dufus spilling all her cereal and milk, and then she (pointing at sister number two) had to follow after and spill the remainder of her milk. She is soaked, this one is soaked, I used all these paper towels, it got all over the floor, and now I’m running late. When I get home I have to mop the *bleepin* floor because of all this sticky mess, and I really could have used your help.” The man I am married to is a saint I tell ya, because he grabbed some towels and started helping, even after I just completely railed him for something he had no part in! I was so nasty.
Remember how I said anger is the most immature emotion we possess? There was no reason for that amount of anger. None. I was throwing a 3yr old temper tantrum, stomping like the 8yr old, and then I sulked like the teenager. Throw in some truly adult cussing and my anger RULED me. But was I really angry at all? Honestly, the answer is likely a no. The root of all this anger on display was inconvenience. My morning did not go how I had subconsciously planned, and because my very unreal expectations were not met, I was reminded that I am not in control. The loss of control, for me specifically, is something that will almost instantly provoke me to anger. And truly, it is very silly.
Foster care has taught me a ton, and one of the biggest lessons is that I have absolutely no control over my life on even the best of days. This is something I KNOW. Like, not just a little, but a lot. I KNOW this is true, because God has continued to hammer the point home, time and time again. He is in control, I am not, and that is a pretty alright place to be. So why, when my morning goes completely awry, do I revert to acting like a child? Because I was not mature enough, in the moment, to tap out the root of what was truly going on in my heart. Instead of quieting myself and focusing on the truth, I reverted to ol’ faithful, ANGER. Anger is always expressed through immaturity. Unless it’s righteous anger and, nope, that’s VERY rare.
Did I cry over spilled milk? No. But was my choice any more helpful? For sure, no. In fact, the best response to that spilled milk would have been laughter. Laughter at the irony; chuckling at God for reminding me, yet again, I can control nothing but myself (sometimes); snorting at the fact that little sister thinks mimicking big sister is always the best choice. Truly, the best reaction would have been thankfulness for the little girls in my home who are here to spill milk and sanctify my heart. Hours later, in fact even minutes later, these realizations are staring me square in the face, and repentance is on my lips.
I mopped the floor when I got home. I hugged my husband when I saw him next. I pondered the lives of these two little sweets and realized my tantrum this morning was nowhere near the worst they had seen from trusted adults in their lives, and my heart broke further. Repentance. Spilled milk can aid in sanctification.
Do I celebrate my sin? Absolutely not. I grieve, repent, accept forgiveness, and leave it at the foot of the cross. Why do I share all of this? Because God loves my broken self, and you too. Foster care brings out all the ugly in my heart, but God uses that ugly to grow me. I am being transformed. It’s what He does best. Maybe the next bowl of spilled cereal will incite laughter, no tears or cussin’ at all.