Yesterday I wrote a little bit about unrighteous anger and what that looks like.  It's not pretty that's for sure! In this process that I'm going through with my own anger, I'm learning more about righteous anger and what that looks like.

Going back to Ephesians 4: 26-27 and 31-32, we see that it's okay to have anger, but it depends on what we do with it.
"And 'don’t sin by letting anger control you.'Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil...Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."
If we let our anger control ourselves, it's not pleasing to God.  That type of anger is the unrighteous kind.  James puts it this way:
"Human anger' does not produce the righteousness God desires."  James 1:20
But we are instructed to be angry in a righteous way that reflects God.  What does that look like?

God was angry with Moses and his unbelief, which led him to resist going to Pharaoh (Exodus 4).  He is angered by the mistreatment of  the helpless (Exodus 22:21-24).  And there are multiple examples of his anger of those who turned from worshipping him to worshipping idols (Exodus 32:10; Deuteronomy 6:14-15; Judges 2:13-14).

Jesus was also angry.  He was angry at the Pharisees (Mark 3:5) and in the temple (John 2:13-22). 

Moses was angered by the Pharaoh, after he finally decided he was going to obey God (Exodus 11:8) and by the Israelites worship of the golden calf (32:1-20).  Galatians describes Paul's anger about the false teaching that has spread to the believers in Galatia and had accepted it. Men, just like you and me, can have righteous anger.

How do we know our anger is righteous?

1.  Righteous anger is God-like anger.  It is directed to man's actions.  Godly people are angry when God is angry.  It reflects God's character and not our own.

2.  Godly anger is legal anger.  It's anger towards the violation of God's laws and is expressed lawfully.

3.  Godly anger is slowly provoked.  Exodus 34:6 states that God is "slow to anger."  He warned the Isarelites many times before displaying his anger.  God is not like me and my short fuse.

4.  Godly anger is ALWAYS controlled.  Anger does not control the person.

It's kind of funny that all this "anger" talk has released a lot of my own.  I love the freeing feeling.  On Sunday, I'm going to work on how to change our anger to godly behavior.

Do you get angry?  I mean drop-drown, storming around, red-eyed angry?  I do.  (Insert very embarrassed face.)  But when I get angry, I kind of keep it to myself.  I shove it deep down in my heart.  I allow myself to have inward seething resentment.  This is me in all my unrighteous anger "glory."  This is not a good place to be.  There are two types of anger:  The ugly one I just described as unrighteous anger and the good anger, righteous anger.  I'm learning to let go of the unrighteous to take on the righteous.  Tomorrow we'll discuss the righteous kind.  I know.  It's kind of an oxymoron, righteous anger.
 "And 'don’t sin by letting anger control you.' Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil...Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4: 26-27, 31-32
God knows we're human and that we're going to get angry.  However, he wants us to deal with our anger much differently from the world.  In verse 26 and 27 say that it's pretty much okay to be angry, BUT, not to hold onto it.  Here Paul is describing the unrighteous anger.  I, unfortunately, more often than not have this type of anger.  I let it control me.  I let the offense in my heart consume me.  I'm ashamed to say that my unrighteous anger drags others down with me.  I take the anger of the offense and I spew it on to others, hoping that they will agree with me in my anger.  This anger is produced by my flesh and not by my God.  This anger is very selfish as it is directed towards my own will, rather than God's.   

I have been experiencing unrighteous anger towards my parents for so long.  I didn't realize just how much anger I have towards them; how much bitterness (man, this is making me cringe) I have in my heart for the offenses I have had. <pause> I'M BECOMING MY MOTHER!! <shaking my head>  Over the last couple of months I have been digging deep into my heart and head to purge myself of anger.  My head is over the toilet and I'm just letting it go.  I'm bringing it all up because it needs to get out so that I can heal.  I cannot keep all this anger in my heart.  I'm doing EXACTLY what my mom has been doing my entire life.  Like the flu, in order to feel better, sometimes you just need to throw up.  So I'm throwing up.  I'm throwing up all the hurt and anger and I'm giving it to God (in the toilet) so He can flush it away.  By the way, this is not my analogy, but I loved it so much, I'm using it.  I need to sit down and write out my anger.  I need to be honest with myself about how I really feel.  Writing about this has been very therapeutic, so I'm hoping that by writing down my anger and then destroying it, I will be on my way to freedom.  I feel that this will help me on my path to forgiveness. 

Tomorrow I'll talk a little about the righteous anger I am seeking.
Thank you for going on this little journey with me.  I never thought I would write about my hurt for all to see, but I wanted to be open, honest, and real with myself.  I didn't want to squash everything down and never talk about it.  This is for me to just get it out there in the open so that I can recognize and face the issues.

I have a wonderful, awesome, amazing husband!  He has been playing a HUGE part in my healing process.  His prayers, his guidance, his ability to let me be upset have all been such a blessing.  He is encouraging me to have get my anger out, vent my frustrations, but to also bring them to God for complete healing.  He has hope for a renewed relationship; a renewed family. 

I am mad at my parents for hurting me.  I am mad at them for all their hate and unforgiveness.  I am mad that they are choosing to be separated from me and my family.  It hurts.  That's about as plain as I can say it.  It. Hurts.

Yet, I long to renew this relationship.  The harboring of anger, the harboring of unforgiveness ends with me.  I will not conform to the generational issues that have come before me.  I do not want to pass any of this on to my own kids.  I, with the help of my husband and my God, will learn to truly forgive and not harbor bitterness.

I love my parents and that is the truth.  I won't and can't stop loving them.  I miss them.  I just pray that we all can forgive one another and grow from this experience.  God has set me free and I'm glad he is walking me through this process.
Today is the last day of a wonderful 3-day weekend.  I was so blessed to be able to spend it with my all of my in-laws.  We celebrated my nephew's 1st birthday and had a blast reconnecting with everyone.   After the party, we had a girls and guys night out.  Well, more of a girls night out.  The guys kind of got the seconds.  Thanks for letting us hang out together.  : )  Though there was a lot of laughing, hugging, and kissing, I had a little pain in my heart.  The pain of wanting those kind of relationships, the mother-daughter kind.  But then I realized, I have them!  God provided me with Mrs. V. and my in-laws.  I'm so blessed.

Well, I'm just having one of those days that I need to get my house together so that I feel together.  So I'm going to finish here and meditate on Isaiah.
Have you never heard?  Have you never understood?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Isaiah 40:28-29

It showed up on my phone as "Restricted Number."  I hestitated to answer it because I knew of only one number that called me that has their number restricted; my parents.  What could it mean that they were calling me?  Did they want to sit down and talk again and clear the air?  Had the time come for true healing and forgiveness?  Sadly no.  My dad called to have me taken off the Costco account.  I spoke longer to the customer service representative at Costco than I did to my dad.  I actually caught myself hanging onto the line to see if he would come back on to say anything.  Unfortunately, all I heard was the call being disconnected.

Disconnected.  Separated.  Cut off.  Detached.  I never realized how disconnected this whole debacle could make me feel from family.  I have a hole in my heart.  My parents raised me from birth when my own biological parents could not.  They put a roof over my head, fed me, clothed me.  Everything a parent is supposed to do.  They gave me lots of stuff.  But the stuff didn't matter to me.  I think that is why they felt I was so selfish.  The stuff was just stuff, at least to me.  What my heart wanted, what I craved so desperately was love; in my language.  I've noticed that my love language changes according to who I am around.  I just took the test again and my primary love language is physical touch, followed closely by words of affirmation.  If they only knew my love languages when I was growing up, then maybe they would've chosen better words than "slut" or "fat" (but what could you replace with those words?!).  And maybe more hugs and kisses may have been given.  I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet that things would have been different.  But I cannot dwell on what may have been, so I will continue to learn what my children's love languages are so that I can make sure that they feel loved beyond any doubt.  I want to make sure that I make those love connections with my kids.

My parents' love language seems to be gift giving, but when I think about gift giving, you give freely, with no strings attached and no expectations on how that person is to use that particular gift. So I'm not sure what their love language is and I'm pretty sure that if I ever gave them the book, they wouldn't crack it open.  That's just been my experience with them in that setting. 

So what am I going to do? 

I will continue to pray for healing for everyone involved.  I will continue to dive down deep into God's word.  I will continue to bare my heart and soul so that God can work on and in me.  Right now I just want to shake them awake and say, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"  Anger and frustration are so powerful. But God is bigger than it all.   I know it's going to take longer than 31 days to heal myself and to truly forgive them.  So I pray that both will come quickly. 
Psalm 119:114
 You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
Five Minute Friday
I'm linkng up with Lisa-Jo Baker at Gypsy Mama for 5 minute Friday.  Don't forget to do yours and link up
back to her site.
  5 "simple" minutes of your day to just write about a one word topic.  I say "simple" because sometimes those 5 minutes seemto drag and I'm like, "Uh...what just happend?"  So just let it flow.  Let it be free.  If you only get a few words out, it's okay.  Just write. : )

I never thought I would actually WELCOME the opportunity to hurt.  Who in their right mind would say, "Thank you for this hurt." ?  Certainly not me.  But I'm changing my mindset today.  I WELCOME the hurt and the pain.  Why?  Because that just makes me cling more to my God for strength and encouragement.  Without this hurt, I would still be where I was several days ago.  I would be "just okay" with my relationships. 

I want more than superficial relationships.  I want to be me.  I want to be WELCOMED with open arms, no strings attached.  I want to say, "This is who I am.  This is me!"   To be WELCOMED is such a fabulous feeling.  There's not jockeying for the spotlight.  There's no pretending.  It's raw.  It's real. How many of you feel WELCOMED in your home, your church, your place of employment?  And if you don't feel WELCOMED would you change yourself to fit the mold or would you become the person God has intended for you to be?   

For myself, I'm going to take this opportunity to WELCOME the hurt so that I can WELCOME the healing.  I'm giving it ALL to God so that I can WELCOME the changing of my heart.  I can't change other people, no matter how hard I try.  If I have expectations of others, I'm going to be disappointed.  If I don't address issues at all or if I don't address them in love, I will be bitter.  If I don't love unconditionally, I will be alone.  So again, I claim my hurt.  I WELCOME it in my life so that I can learn from it and make changes in myself to become a better person.

End 5.
Please join me for the next 31 days and walk with me through the healing process.

The Nester, every October, does a stint on 31 days of writing about anything that you want.  Please check out all the amazing 31 Days stories.

"We've shared many smiles and many tears, but nothing beats the laughter!"
I called my friend and mentor to tell her what happened between me and my parents because I knew she would understand,.  She walked through it all with me in high school and I knew that I would find comfort in our conversation.  However, out of her mouth came something I DID NOT expect.

"What's going on?"
"My parents cut ties with us." (I'm sobbing buckets of tears. . .)
"BAH HA HA!" (Cue laughter for a few seconds.)

I was a little stunned.  It even caused me to pause ever so slightly.  I started thinking, "Did she HEAR what I said?  My parents NO LONGER want to have a relationship with me and my family!"

Um, yah.  She did hear me.  And yes, she did understand.  She understood so well because she went through a similar situation.

Throughout our conversation, she just kept chuckling.  I love that through the pain she could help me find the laughter within me.  For the last 16 years she has remained constant in who she is to me.  Nothing has waivered, not even a little bit.  We've had our share of ups and down while I was in high school, but she didn't love me any less.  Her love was not and is not conditional. 

"Katie," one of the few people who can call me by that name, "you cannot change them.  But what you can change are the tapes that they created that you continue to play in your head.  That's what you can change."

Her words of encouragement and her chuckles, even for those few minutes, were so precious to me.  When I felt like I wouldn't be able to pick up the pieces, she offered up her wisdom and experience.  Oh how it felt to laugh.  It felt so good. 

I find it strange that I can laugh at all.  I suppose it's my coping mechanism.  My drug of choice.  My temporary fix. 
"Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains." Proverbs 14:13
I don't want the grief to remain.  I need to learn to let go.

What do you have a hard time of letting go?
Please forgive me for forgetting to acknowledge the basis of the 31 days.  The Nester, every October, does a stint on 31 days of writing about anything that you want.  Please check out her 31 days (#13) here.

It's kind of funny how God talks to us. 

I've been trying to figure out what kind of relationship I truly want with my grandparents.  Last Wednesday I started writing a letter to them because I knew they were upset with me.  Well, I didn't really know it.  That has just been their M.O. for as long as I can remember:  Get angry, give me the silent treatment, Kate calls and asks how they're doing and life goes on.  Or so I thought.  So any way, I was sitting in my car listening to the radio waiting for Jada to finish up Cubbies for Awanas, when while I'm writing, this song came on.  Now if you're like me, you just sing to the song or listen, but not really know what you're saying or listening to.  At this particular moment, I dropped my pen to just listen.  God wanted to talk with me and I cranked up the music.
I can't believe what she said
I can't believe what he did
Oh, don't they
know it's wrong
Don't they know it's wrong
Well maybe there's something I
But how could they treat me like this
It's wearing out my
The way they disregard

This is love or this is hate.
We all
have a choice to make

Oh, Father won't You forgive them
They don't
know what they've been doin' (oh no)
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive
Cause I feel like the one losin'

Well it's only the dead that can
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that's mine
times seven times
Cause Lord it doesn't feel right
For me to turn a blind
Though I guess it's not that much
When I think of what You've

This is love or this is hate.
We gotta a choice to

Oh Father won't You forgive them
They don't know what they've
been doin' (oh no)
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel
like the one losin'

Why do we think that our hate's gonna break a hard
We're rippin' arms over wars that don't need to be fought
pride wont let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but
it's just to burn them down
We think our pain is own apologies and get them
to stop
Well truth be told it doesn't matter if they're sorry or not
freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of Your mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down

Oh Father won't you forgive
They don't know what they've been doin'
Oh Father, give me grace to
forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losin'
I feel like I've been

Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the
one losin'
This song is very popular, but since Wednesday, I have heard it no less than twice a day on the radio and I only have the radio on to and from work.  The lyrics, it feels, like they were meant just for me.  God knows just what I need to hear.  And let me tell you, I just want to give thanks to HIM because I can't do this alone.  I also want to thank my husband, who has been a wonderful leader for this family.   He stood by my side during the altercation and continues to stick by me in love and support.  I am so blessed.

I didn't think forgiveness would come to me as eagerly as it has today.  And I'm talking about TRUE forgiveness.  The kind where you know it because it speaks to your very core.  Sure, I'm still mad as hell, but God has softened my heart for me.  My heart is malleable in His hands.  He has surrounded me with people who are letting me vent, but are also leading me down the path of forgiveness.  I can speak freely.  I am free to be me, which is a concept that I struggle with, but I don't have to worry about the outcome.  Since forgiveness doesn't roll off my tongue as easily as I would like it to,I'm glad I have my support team.

Community. . .It helps the forgiveness medicine go down.
Lord, hear my cry.  Take my heart.  Mend it. Help me to forgive. Walk me through these words.
Well look at that.  I'm still breathing.  Thank you to everyone who sent a message and/or called to talk with me today.  This experience has shown me just how important community is in my life.  I love you all.

So what happened?  How did we end up like this? 
Grudges, hurt, anger. . .unforgiveness. 

Un-for-give-ness.  This is how it all started. 

My grandparents have been harboring hurt for far too many years.  I don't think they got the chance to heal from the death of their daughter, my mother.  She has been gone 20 years.  So if you think about it, there has been a lot of hurt that has been building upon that cornerstone. They have allowed any and all little grievances to find a way to embed themselves like splinters deep down in their hearts.  During our short conversation on Saturday, they could only reference the past hurt that I caused to them while in high school.  Those issues happened about 15 years ago.  My hurtful tongue wants to use hateful words.  And my heart wants to harbor anger for them being angry. 
But I REFUSE to be like them in that way.  I want to take the good qualities about them and incorporate those into my life.  I want to get rid of the poison that has been slowly killing our family.  I want to change what we've always thought was normal.  But I need to forgive as they have not forgiven.

God has gently whispered:  “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."  (Matthew 6:14-15)  Now THAT scares me.  My heavenly Father not forgiving me, quite frankly, scares the crap out of me.  But I'm NOT the heavenly Father.  Forgiveness does not come easily to me. 

So Lord, I pray that with your continued guidance, you will help me and my family learn to forgive. 
Breathe.  Just breathe. 

This is what I have to keep telling myself after what has happened.  This is so surreal.  I don't know if I can fully process everything that is floating around in my head.  My head and my heart are throbbing.  Throbbing with such pain.  Pain that I didn't know really existed in my soul.  I knew it could happen, but what person, what child could expect the unexpected?

The two people I grew up with have said that their love is conditional.  That their love comes with expectations.  Ouch!  I feel like I have been punched in the stomach and every bit of breath in me is gone.  Who took my breath away?  My grandparents.  My Mom and Dad who have raised me from birth since my biological parents are no longer in the picture.  My Mother passed away when she was 26 years old and I never met my Father.  By taking on their roles, they were supposed to take on every part of the role, which I thought included unconditional love.  Or so I thought.

I have so much anger and pain in my heart right now, yet I feel so numb.  Though in my numbness, I am seeking out the Bread of Life. 
Ephesians 4:26
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,

Ephesians 4:31-32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
I have heard and read these words many times before, but now their truth is screaming at me.  I don't know how long it will take to let my anger and hurt go, but I know I need to do it.  I also know that I will need to forgive them 

I hope that in these next 31 days I will be on my way to healing my emotional self, walking side by side with my Forever Dad in heaven.

Hey look at that...I'm still breathing!