When I was in high school my friends and I had a term for what happens when mothers have simply had enough. Enough of their jobs, kids, husbands, chores, friends, and even themselves. When mothers have reached their limit of what they can take, which all mothers inevitably do at one time or another, they normally do one of a few things; cry, retreat into a book, a T.V. show, a glass of wine, a box of chocolates or, they explode. Dramatically and loudly usually with the force of a military grade nuclear missile. Thus the term Mom Bomb.
Trust me, when mom explodes no one wants to be within a ten foot radius of her aka ground zero. Things get very nasty very quickly and the fallout from one of these mom bombs is far reaching. Its not pretty.
For a long time I had no idea that mothers reacted any other way. I grew up with a very volatile mother and a somewhat unstable home life. For me these mom bombs were a slightly regular occurrence. After my mother passed away my father began a relationship with his high school sweet heart. Unfortunately her mom bombs were just as far reaching but she tended toward the icier side of things. When these explosions happened they were more subtle and reserved by no less powerful or far reaching.
Since being saved however, the Lord has showed me that there is another option for mothers or even women in general who feel as if they have reached their limits. Instead of falling into a book, a glass of wine, a box of chocolates, or exploding everywhere without regard for how such an explosion could effect the happiness of those around us; we can fall into the arms of our loving Father.
We can choose to allow Him to use our frustrations and emotions as an opportunity for growth instead of an area for the enemy to sink his claws into us and fill us with feelings of bitterness, anger, guilt, and shame. Because you see, when we give in to our feelings, whatever the cause, and allow them to rob us of any shred of inner peace we may have, it takes far too long for us to bring ourselves back from the edge the next time. It gets easier and easier to keep giving in to those negative emotions and the explosions get bigger and more far reaching. And then the enemy has won.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want the enemy or my own sin nature to win in any area or my life. Especially when it begins to effect those I love the most. But try as I might, sometimes these explosions happen before even I know they’re coming.
Like today, one minute I’m enjoying my morning coffee and making some much needed progress on paperwork, and then in the next I am covered in spit up, the baby is screaming at the top of her lungs for want of a nap, and the dog is barking at every little thing making said nap an impossibility. The longer this goes on, which today was quite a long time, the more frustrated I become. And sometimes, like today, I handle it the wrong way; aka the Mom Bomb.
As hard as I tried I could not seem to keep myself away from that perilous edge. Twice I exploded and let me tell you, it was not pretty at all. But instead of doing my usual routine of falling into a depressed state of shame over my failure to keep my emotions in check, today was different. I was able to hit the reset button. I was able to stop, take a moment, close my eyes and pray, and then reset my emotional scale back to zero. Warm, cozy, loving mommy was back.
It was all God. Without His influence and the things His Word has been teaching me lately I would never have been able to manage this spiritual and emotional reset. To be honest, until recently I would have thought it impossible. Until recently I would have exploded and fallen into these feelings head first and allowed them to carry me on waves of anger and bitterness through the rest of my day.
Thankfully, today was a completely different story. Thankfully I was able to take the back seat and let God steer me through the mine field of emotions facing me. Yes, I exploded twice. But three times I didn’t. Three times I was able to avoid these Mom Bombs, twice I had to reset but God helped me both times. This makes me feel so much stronger and more capable. Not because I did it of my own power or strength, but because I was able to recognize the warning signs when I was once again drawn perilously close to the edge.
So for today, I feel victorious. I was able to finish my day in better mood than usual despite many setbacks. I was able to enjoy the time I spent with my best friend at the book store and then at home making dinner. I was able to sing my daughter to sleep calmly and lovingly in spite of her crying. And when, after finally coming back to the paperwork I had been working on all day and being denied for additional financial aid for this up coming semester not once but four times; I was able to stop, reset, and hear God’s voice in the midst of my tumultuous feelings.
We are all flawed. We are all weak. We all get angry. And unfortunately, we all explode sometimes. But God can do so much with us in spite of ourselves. He can pick up the pieces left over after these Mom Bombs go off and if we let Him, He can even stop them from happening in the first place. I don’t know about you, but this makes me feel so much better. It is such a relief to know that I don’t always have to be the strong one, the stable one, the capable one. God has that covered and then some. All I have to do is have enough faith to let Him shoulder my burdens before I let them overtake me.
Is this easier said than done? Absolutely. But it IS possible. And when I make the choice to let God take the controls not my emotions, the outcome is so much sweeter then any box of chocolates and doesn’t leave me with the red, swollen, blotchy skin that a good cry so often does.
Any of the things we do to cope with our feelings seem good in the moment. Even exploding feels good. What are we left with when it’s over though? Shame? Guilt? Crying children? A sulky withdrawn spouse? Or a feeling of victory and self control that can only be given to us by our Heavenly Father? I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that over temporary relief any day.
So here’s to all the moms and women out their who are just as emotional as I am. We may not all show or communicate our feelings the same way but we all have the capacity to explode. Thankfully though, God has promised to free us from this if we let Him. His love surrounds and empowers us. So the next time you reach the edge or even go flying over it, don’t forget about the one who loves us so much more than we could ask for or deserve. And don’t forget to give yourself some grace.