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.