I have a little volume problem. I yell.
At my husband.
What?! Terrible, I know. Yelling at my husband is worse than hollering at my kids. He is not my disciplinary charge. He doesn’t throw crayons or blow milk bubbles with his straw. He’s an adult, my equal. His behavior is generally dignified.
But he does push my buttons sometimes. And when that happens, all the virtuous restraint inside me blows up and spews out my mouth. I call it verbal vomit.
Here’s how it nearly spilled over a few days ago.
“Honey, I’m going downstairs to pay bills. Can you keep an eye on the girls for a while?” I grabbed my checkbook and a stack of papers and headed for the basement office.
“Uh-huh.” My husband reclined in a playroom chair and rustled the newspaper. Our children scurried around him, leaping off their trampoline and pounding drum sticks onto Rubbermaid lids. It was a typical Sunday afternoon aboard the Kopitzke fun ship.
Below deck, I settled into my desk chair and started punching numbers. Half an hour passed before I ventured back upstairs. I waltzed across the kitchen, turned a corner toward the playroom, and froze.
Toy bins sat upturned and empty. Stuffed animals, My Little Ponies, tea set utensils and Happy Meal gadgets lay strewn over the carpet and tossed onto furniture. Sofa cushions were stripped from their seats and stacked double high on the floor beneath heaps of coloring books, crumpled construction paper, half-eaten apples and markers without caps.
“What is all this?” I stared at the mess, stunned.
“We built a toy store, Momma.” My five-year-old called from down the hall. Captain Dad and his skippers had already fled the shipwreck and lounged in the master bedroom watching television. I lifted my eyes from the floor to the wall. Post-it notes stuck to the paint with masking tape. “TOY MARKET OPEN.”
Rising from deep in my belly, I sensed the urge to roar. HALF AN HOUR! I step away for HALF an hour and this is what I get?! Do you think I have nothing better to do than clean up this mess? Pay the bills YOURSELF next time! I’ll stay up here and take a scissors to your hunting magazines! Aaaaaaaaaack!
Verbal vomit is nasty junk. Once that stuff splats out, it clings to hurt feelings and leaves tough stains all over the house. If only we women could get our hands on a preventive drug for freaking out.
We can. It’s called scripture.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” (Psalm 119:11).
Do you see that book sitting over there? Yep, that one, on your nightstand, or tucked in your book bag, or maybe collecting dust in a cabinet. It’s the one with the pretty cover spelled B-I-B-L-E. Maybe you read it every day. Maybe you’ve never cracked it open. Either way, unless we put its words into action, there’s very little difference between the woman who reads and the one who does not.
I know this, because I’ve done my share of reading without applying.
But thankfully God has taught me over the years how the Bible is more than a book. It’s more than a pious habit, a collection of ancient stories, or a leather-bound graduation gift. That Bible is our cure. The sentences stamped on its supernatural pages are pure medicine for heartache and misbehavior.
I’ve swallowed it—and it works.
Twice, with fists clenched, I stomped toward the television to unleash fury on my husband. Momma was on fire to shout it all out.
But I didn’t.
Because each time I opened my mouth to yell, these priceless words burst in my head and dripped down my throat, squelching the urge to purge.
A fool gives full vent to his anger. (Proverbs 29:11)
The foolish woman tears her house down. (Proverbs 14:1)
So I turned around, clamped my lips and let the steam blow out my nostrils.
That day, I claimed a small victory. Instead of spewing hurtful words at my husband—in front of the kids, for shame, for shame—I obeyed God’s Word. And the results were amazing.
Anger escaped my body with each breath. The mad beast evaporated. Suddenly, armed with scripture, I laughed at my own absurdity. My kids had a blast playing with their Dad. He lets our girls have the fun I prevent in the name of tidiness. He’s good for them. And? That playroom mess was nothing compared to the wreckage I nearly created with my tongue.
Thank you, Bible. Thank you, God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
You saved me—again.
Now. Where’s that verse about how husbands should scrub apple juice off upholstery? Mm, no such thing? ‘Kay. I’ll tell the kids to do it—in my very best quiet voice.
If this post encouraged you, please pass it on. You might also like Love Is Not Easily Angered, Confessions of a Hunter’s Wife, and The Witch. I Hate Her.
Linking up with: The Better Mom, Playdates With God, Mommy Moments, Marital Oneness Monday, Titus 2sdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Living Well Wednesdays, Wifey Wednesday, Grace at Home, Things I Can’t Say, and Faithfully Parenting Fridays.
Linking up after you at Playdates with God – such a good example of how God can help us control our tongues (and our anger) – thanks for sharing this.
Thanks for visiting, Cherry!
Mindy @ New Equus - A New Creation says
I’m always amazed when I hop to another blog and read a post similar to what I’ve just posted! Thanks so much for visiting me today so I could find you. 🙂 Sounds like you are doing a great job with your tongue holding…I think I’m going to need a lot more practice! 😉 Blessings!
I thought the same thing when I read your post today, Mindy! I love it when God reinforces a lesson through other writers. Together we’ll aim for a holler-less week!
The Barbers says
Very encouraging post. Thank you for solidifying my pastor’s sermon from yesterday about applying the Word! If we don’t live what we’re reading… it’s just academic mumbo-jumbo. 🙁 May they know us by our love.
Blessings, Grace For That
Funny – my pastor had a similar sermon!
Lorien's Leaf says
“The sentences stamped on its supernatural pages are pure medicine for heartache and misbehavior.” Love this line!! And I sooooooooooooooo relate…
I love you, friend. 🙂 We’re so in this together.
Mommie Daze says
I’ve been working really hard at not yelling at my kids lately. Being in God’s word truly helps.
It surely does…
Oh, I hate it/love it when those darn Proverbs get stuck in our heart and bubble up into our head. At just the right time, of course. Your writing is such a sweet mix of hard to swallow truth and easy to enjoy authenticity. Thanks for sharing your gift here! If your kids figure out how to get that apple juice cleaned up, I’ll take some tips for my kitchen chairs 🙂
Thank you for your kind encouragement, Alicia! I’m still giggling over the kitchen chairs!
D. Lynn @Purple Kale says
Oh man. I hang my head in shame while I read this. I am HORRIBLE for the yelling. I have been trying REALLY hard to change that. Thanks so much for the encouragement!
You’re not alone!
Verbal vomit… A very graphic, but appropriate, way to look at it. Thank you for this much needed reminder, Becky!
Julia Hunter says
Stopping by from Pour Your Heart Out, i felt like you were talking about my home when you said you stepped away and your hubs sat in the recliner . My hubs does the same thing and when I come back there is usually a mess.
Mindy @ New Equus - A New Creation says
Hi Becky! Although I stopped by earlier, I’m your neighbor at PYHO and wanted to say HI! 🙂
I often start to yell at my husband- just b/c I’m frustrated(not necessarily at him, even) and I know he’ll still love me anyway. But I try really hard not to because it’s not fair of me to use him to get out my aggression just b/c I know he’s a safe person for me to vent my emotions on.
I LOVE this post! It is sooo easy to just let loose, especially after a long day! To know that the Lord is NOT pleased by those actions, and the hurt that it causes our family is something that needs to constantly be at the forefront of our minds! Thank you for your honesty and sharing your wisdom!
WOW!! I read many blogs, devotions, scriptures, etc. and I never comment on them. However, this (who was sent to me by a friend) really hit home with me and gave me a since of relief…it let me know that I can control my anger and it is okay to pick your battles and more importantly, that I CAN! I do not need to explode about little things that are not that big of a deal and in turn cause such strain in my marriage. I seriously had a sigh of relief…thank you for sharing!
Thank you for your comment, Dana – it blesses me greatly! Yes, we CAN control our anger! Halleluia.
Oh boy…I needed to read this for sure. Thank you.
Thank you for the reminder that although we are all human..we are also all HIS. Love that scripture and I have to learn to cling to it much more! =)
This is an excellent reminder to pause before we speak. I really struggle with that. Thank you!!
Laura Boggess says
Becky, you had me smiling and nodding my head and amen-ing all at once! Isn’t it a shame when we think of the Bible as just another book? When we think it’s just “reading”? I love what you say about the power of the Word. It TRANSFORMS.
Lovely thoughts. So glad you linked to playdates this week 🙂
Thanks, Laura! I do love your Playdates link-up party and the messages you share. Thanks for the chance to join your community!
Yes!! Way to let the power of the word of God really work in you. It’s not just a book, you know?
Yes. You know. 🙂