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  • Mrs. Titus Could Probably Throw A Big Wheel Like Nolan Ryan

    August 14, 2007

    Awhile back I attended what was called a Titus 2 meeting at church.  Titus 2 is a passage of Scripture that admonishes the older women to instruct and mentor the younger women.  With that in mind, a panel of three older women spoke to a gathering of so-called younger women to share a bit of the wisdom they had cobbled together over the course of their lives as Christians, wives and mothers.

     

    I have always been drawn to older people, older women in particular. They seem to provide something that is lacking in me, wisdom I suppose.  Or maybe I’m still seeking the grandmother I never had.  I don’t know.

     

    The ladies who spoke all appeared to be model church ladies  — soft spoken, perfect beauty salon hair, silver-framed glasses, crisply and modestly dressed, legs crossed at the ankles.

     

    I was surprised by what I heard that night.  One lady told the story of a time when she was a young mother and her two children had gotten into the baby lotion and baby powder and then gleefully hand trowelled the paste of sweet smelling goo everywhere.  And oh how she laughs about it now.  But not at the time. At the time, it was not one bit funny.

     

    In her sweet Sue Ann Nivens voice, she confessed that she got so angry with them, that she spanked them.  And then as she was on her hands and knees cleaning up the mess, she got angry all over again and spanked them a second time.  The crowd gasped.  One audience member asked, “A second spanking for the same offense!?”  I did not gasp. I was nodding my head knowingly. And then when I realized I was the only one nodding, I looked around to see if anyone had noticed.

     

    Afterwards, I spoke to one of the panelists and told her that I was surprised, that I thought I was the only mom who occasionally lost her cool.  I confessed to her that I was ashamed of that, and embarrassed to admit it.  She just laughed.  And then she told me of a time when she was so angry at her child that she picked up his big wheel and threw it clear down the driveway.  I looked at this tiny, 98-pound silver-headed, soft-spoken vision of grandmotherly Godliness and I could not even imagine it.

     

    This is certainly not what I expected to hear from a panel of Christian ladies. An angry mother? An angry Christian mother?  How could that be?

     

    But you know what?  It was encouraging.  It was encouraging because in spite of the fact that they were not perfect women with perfect faith, in spite of the fact that they sometimes got angry and sometimes messed up – they were good mothers and their children grew up to be good people.  Their children grew into productive people, people who honor their mothers and fathers and people who have held firm to their faith.  And therein lies the power of forgiveness, grace and redemption to grow us into the women, wives and mothers we want to be. 

     

    And that gives me hope for someone like me, an imperfect woman with an imperfect faith who has a big wheel with a few dents sitting in her driveway.

    59 Comments »

    1. Tracey/Real Estate Girl says:

      I think we all have a big wheel with a few dents!

      Instruct a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it!

      Have a wonderful day!

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:28 am

    2. Mommy 24/7 says:

      OK, this definitely spoke to me. Whew! I am not alone! I am so very often ashamed at how quickly I come to anger over little things that my girls do and how I can snap at them when they make a simple request while I am busy doing something else. I beat myself up later over how badly I over-reacted.
      Thanks for the encouragement. I needed that this morning. (sniff, sniff)

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:32 am

    3. merry says:

      Thank God for women like her!

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:38 am

    4. Everyday Mommy says:

      Amen!

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:40 am

    5. CircusKelli says:

      >>And that gives me hope for someone like me, an imperfect woman with an imperfect faith who has a big wheel with a few dents sitting in her driveway.

      Thank you! I could use a little extra dose of “hope” this morning, too! I’ve been feeling a lot imperfect lately. 🙂

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:41 am

    6. Todd M says:

      Great story. Deep down, though, aren’t you just happy that they didn’t call and ask you to be one of the older women in this little group? ** Smile **

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:42 am

    7. Antique Mommy says:

      HA! Todd, that cracks me up on several levels! The only way I would qualify is by age. I’m still waiting for my wisdom to come in.

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:53 am

    8. Girl Gone Wild says:

      I was just moaning to my mum yesterday that maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be a mom. I felt like I didn’t have the patience and just KNEW that I was warping my children in some irreversible way! Then, while tucking them into their beds, they both attacked me with hugs and kisses and said, “You’re the best mom in the whole world….even when we irritate you.” Ouch…right in the gut!

      I’m sure Mary felt the same way about Jesus, right? Maybe?

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:53 am

    9. Melissa says:

      Oh yes, if we only knew how other moms actually act at home with their kids we wouldn’t feel so guilty. I know we got yelled at and disciplined and still grew up to be pretty normal – at least I think we did. 🙂

      Thanks for the reminder!

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:11 am

    10. Jackie says:

      I loved that story…thanks for sharing it!

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:14 am

    11. Jessica says:

      Thank you for sharing this. I too have lost my temper with my young son. I am shameful of that. It is somewhat comforting to know I am not the only one!

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:16 am

    12. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

      The key, (and the hardest part of mothering so far) is to figure out a way to put the dents in the BigWheel and not in the kid’s little psyche. I caught myself affixing my 2.5 year old with my very best WITHERING STARE yesterday. My mom did the same thing to me and it was DEVASTATING. So today, when I feel another (inevitable) fit of WITHERING coming on, I’m just going to send her to her room for a few. Have I mentioned I love the background pattern of this blog? Every time I come here I start thinking about re-upholstering the furniture in my guest bedroom. It is GORGEOUS.

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:26 am

    13. Cheryl says:

      What a treasure when women honestly share their stories! We need each other…but it only works well, when we tell the truth.
      I’m encouraged too, by these wise ladies…

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:28 am

    14. Terri says:

      This was encouraging. I’m glad you posted it. I’ve been struggling with feelings of inadequacy since my oldest was born nine years ago. It doesn’t help that there is a woman in my circle of acquaintances who seemingly has all the answers to motherhood and frequently “lectures” the rest of us on how to be the perfect mother which only serves to magnify my feelings of inadequacy. It’s encouraging to know that I’m not alone.

      You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned “the power of forgiveness, grace and redemption” in our journey to become godly mothers. That’s what I hold on to when I feel like a failure for overreacting and disciplining out of anger.

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:28 am

    15. Ortizzle says:

      I feel cheated. The only thing I get to throw is a blackboard eraser, LOL.

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:28 am

    16. nan says:

      The weird thing is, when you feel inadequate you get more angry. But when you KNOW that other women do the same stuff and feel the same way, you feel less inadequate and less angry. So you can deal with stuff in a calmer way. Or is this only me?

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:35 am

    17. Katrina (Callapidder Days) says:

      Oh, that’s so good to hear. We all need to hear those authentic confessions every once in a while, so we know we’re not alone. We all mess up…yet we all tend to think no one else does.

      August 14th, 2007 at 9:40 am

    18. Jenny says:

      Thanks for the encouragement. I thought I was the only one with the urge to fling toys.

      August 14th, 2007 at 10:01 am

    19. Lara says:

      Isn’t it refreshing when women are honest with each other? I find it so irritating when we act like we have it all together on the outside but behind closed doors it is another story. It is only by the grace of our loving God that we are able to get through each day. Thanks for letting us see into your life and for being the real thing!!

      August 14th, 2007 at 10:01 am

    20. Elaine says:

      It’s unavoidable; we are going to warp them in some ways. But our gracious God will send other people in to mend them up and send them on their way. God’s grace and mercy…priceless.

      August 14th, 2007 at 10:08 am

    21. Clemntine says:

      For me, the power of shame is broken when I set aside my pride and confess my sin to a trusted older sister in the Lord. Invariably, the response is, “Me, too, Sugar. Me, too.” Then I know the power of God to redeem and understand that He is faithful to make up the difference between what I bring to the Mothering Table and what’s actually required to do the job.

      I don’t hesitate to confess and repent to my children, either, when necessary. And without saying, “If you just hadn’t…” I tell them I broke God’s rule about _________. When I disobeyed Him, I hurt them; I was wrong and I hope that they will forgive me. So far, they have.

      To God alone be the glory.

      August 14th, 2007 at 10:36 am

    22. Beck says:

      Wonderful post. Too many times I’ve felt ashamed by my anger and needed the reassurance that other moms also felt anger at their kids, that I wasn’t the sole grouchy mother in the world.

      August 14th, 2007 at 10:54 am

    23. Shalee says:

      Oh AM. That gives me lots of hope too. I’m by no means perfect in any way, save for the blood of Jesus.

      My problem is that I don’t have a huge problem telling everyone that I’m not such a good mom. Then they’ll know up front that they should not be looking at me for any sort of guidance in that department. Cooking maybe, but not mothering.

      And for the record, I threw my shoes this morning. Not at them. Just down for emphasis. It worked.

      August 14th, 2007 at 11:17 am

    24. shellie says:

      Thank you for posting this. After reading it, it seems it was ment for me to read. I struggled all day yesterday with my own experiences. I too get to the point of where I want to throw something and sometimes do. Of course, I feel appropriatly guilty afterwards, and beat myself up for a day or two. By the way, I love your blog.

      August 14th, 2007 at 11:39 am

    25. patois says:

      I’m not surprised that we all have these moments. When I’m having one, I feel like I’m the only horrible mother out there. And by “horrible” I mean not the true horrible mothers — the ones who do physical or psychological damage to their kids through their actions or their neglect. I mean “horrible” as in the mothers who love their children and want only good for them but who have moments of weakness. I’ve had enough to shame me. Thankfully, my kids see the entirety of their childhoods, not the brief moments of mom’s despair.

      August 14th, 2007 at 11:46 am

    26. Lela says:

      I’ve just started hanging around the older women at my church. I like how I feel after our encounters. There are no comparisons of our children or what we have or where we went; it is just talk and laughter of life.

      August 14th, 2007 at 11:54 am

    27. kittyhox says:

      I am also drawn to older ladies. I guess I hope to soak up their wisdom somehow.

      When I first had a baby I spent most of the day beating my self up (not literally, of course) because I just felt like I was the world’s worst mother (in hindsight, not sure why) and that my son would be better off with a babysitter. It was when I confessed how horrible I felt to my Bible study ladies that I realized those feelings are semi-universal. Once you realize you are normal and accept yourself as a parent it gives you the freedom to enjoy parenting so much more! Now I think I’m a great mother, just a flawed person.

      I’m a big proponent of taking out frustration by slamming a cupboard door or throwing something (non-breakable) rather than snapping at the person at who you are really frustrated!

      August 14th, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    28. Kacey says:

      Oh, you Sweet, Young Thing! Don’t you know that old ladies are just young women with a few years on them? Also, jerks who come to Jesus are still jerks — they are saved jerks! The reason those lovely ladies were so perfect and peaceful is because they are finally out of the trenches. Enjoy your time in the trench, you sound like an almost perfect Mom to me.

      August 14th, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    29. Auntie Jen says:

      You give me hope. Thank you ♥

      August 14th, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    30. AuthorMomWithDogs says:

      Antique Mommy, please consider going back to full posts in your RSS feeds. Thank you.

      August 14th, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    31. jen elslager says:

      I appreciate the honesty of those ladies.

      Mine are teenagers now, and the only thing I have the urge to throw are video games.

      August 14th, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    32. Blog Antagonist says:

      I wish more mothers would admit that they lose their cool. There is such a stigma about it these days that women are scared. What a wonderful thing that those ladies were able to share their weaker moments with you. Sometimes, I think I miss a lot not going to church.

      August 14th, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    33. Kerri says:

      Amen!

      August 14th, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    34. Steffj89 says:

      It is so calming and healing to know others have these experiences too. I must confess I recently let my youngest cry for a good bit for “hiding” my car keys. Told him we didnt have another one, and that we would just have to leave his brother at school and not go to church since he couldnt remember where he lost them….
      It took him about an hour but he finally bemembered where he hid them. (he had taken them off the key rack when i went to the bathroom) Apparently he “needed” them to drive his (TONKA) tow truck.
      steff

      August 14th, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    35. Pat says:

      A couple of times to prevent bodily harm to myself and child, I even ran away, once barefooted! But I went back home. Daughter doesn’t recall my leave-taking, and I think everything turned out okay… She’s 33 now.

      August 14th, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    36. Lucy says:

      What a great post! I am fortunate to have a group of friends who are all very honest about their experiences with their kids. One of the worst things I ever did was hide how angry and frustrated I was with my kids and myself (I was suffering from depression). If I’d been more open, and maybe even cut myself a little slack, maybe I would have gotten help sooner and spared both myself and my young children the wounds that resulted from my actions and words. Thankfully, God made children to be very resiliant, as well as forgiving. Now my kids tell me I’m the best mom in the world, even though I still lose it once in a while. I did learn that almost nothing heals a child’s wounded heart better than a sincere acknowledgment of wrongdoing and an apology. And then lots of hugs and kisses!

      August 14th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    37. Marian says:

      Yes, yes! How good of her to be so candid, because she, at this age and stage of life, could so easily let the angelic, grandmotherly image stand and let bygone reality conveniently slip away (My mother-in-law definitely tries to do this, but my husband’s memory isn’t *that* bad!).
      When I was a brand new mom, I remember being in the home of a very godly woman whom I admire quite a bit. She mentioned how frustrated she’s gotten with one of her children, and how many times she’s wanted to just ram her daughter’s head into that sharp corner over there… While it was initially a little shocking to me, it was such a relief to know how human she was and, later, when I felt rage like that, I thought back to that conversation and was blessed with grace and freedom from some of the shame. In another conversation she shared how she was really starting to like her kids, how she used to give them love and take care of them, but never truly liked them. Honesty like that is such a gift.

      August 14th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    38. Roxanne says:

      Yes, how often do we see another mommy lose her cool in public. . .at Wal-Mart, or the McDonald’s playland, or the school office. We think, “HOW HORRIBLE!!!!” but that’s us on any other given day at any other given moment. I try to apologize to my children when I know I’ve lost my temper uncontrollably–which I have most definitely done. They always forgive me. The other day my daughter, after I’d chastised her for something, said, “Mommy, I TRY to be a good girl. Really I do.” To which I replied, “Me too, honey. But we’re not always gonna be good, which is why love is so important.”

      Thank God he loves us perfectly all the time.

      August 14th, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    39. Kathy says:

      I was horrified one day when my anger was at such a boiling point that I ripped my daughter’s doll’s head off and tore up a book belonging to my son. They had gotten into something or other that sent me reeling. Admittedly, it was the same week as the death of my mother, but I still remember the anger, raging, the heat, the slow-motion at the same time it was on fast forward.

      Within a day or two, I headed to church to find an older woman to talk to. I admitted my shame. I bawled as I explained the disgust of myself. She held me tenderly and reminded me of God’s grace. Loving me. Forgiving me.

      She taught me, too, I was not alone. And that my children would not be damaged although their toys took a beating that day.

      They are grown now. They don’t remember this episode that I was sure would send them to counselors to forgive me as an adult. They are both happy, healthy, productive citizens.

      You are not alone AM. And His grace is enough.

      August 14th, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    40. pam says:

      Amen Sister!
      Awesome post, how horrible we feel as mothers when we lose our temper, when these are the little creatures who we have loved since conception and vow to love and protect no matter what. However, we are human with human emotions and feelings. Thank you for reminding us that it is okay to be a human Mommy.

      August 14th, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    41. Birdie says:

      At this moment I am 100 percent tired of summer, of my two boys who are making armpit fart sounds and convinced it’s the funniest noise this fine planet has ever experienced. I am tired of all of it, of the lack of money, the lack of time, the way my best efforts add up to nothin’ in my pocket, nothin’ but heartache. Over and over and over again.

      I am not a woman of faith. I am a heathen, a girl who ran from church many years ago. Yet I still wrestle with these days, with losing it, with finding the good within me, within my boys.

      We all reach for the good. I just know it. Every one of us. Even when we can’t lift our hands.

      I enjoyed this story very much.

      August 14th, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    42. Jill says:

      Why is there not more honest among Christian women about the ways we screw up. We honor God less when we try to look perfect than we do when we are trying to show everyone how together we are. If we aren’t broken, why do we need him to fix us?

      August 14th, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    43. Melinda says:

      Thank you. I really appreciate this. In fact, there was a thread on the forums at FamilyLife.com on “Mommy anger.” If you don’t mind, I’m going to post a link back to this post. I think it will be appreciated there as well.

      Hugs,
      Melinda

      August 14th, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    44. Kimmie says:

      sigh, so good to know that I am not alone…somedays it seems like it is me against the masses here. AND as my boys got a big wheel for their birthday, now I am afraid that I have a few ideas in regards to its condition 😉

      thanks for sharing..hope my life will reach out an bless someone younger than me, certainly there are many people younger than me these days!

      Kimmie
      mama to 6
      one homemade and 5 adopted
      * we just got a # on our agencys waiting list for a girl in Guatemala…come see

      August 14th, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    45. Joanna says:

      It’s the ones that don’t admit to losing their cool that I worry about. My mom would never admit to doing anything wrong so I’ve found that when I apologize and tell the kids I blew it they are VERY forgiving.
      I still feel like today’s lesson on how not to behave, but I’m sure no one can relate, huh?

      August 14th, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    46. Jenny says:

      This is an encouragement to me too! I think it’s hard to be open and honest about our trials in motherhood, but it’s also important. It’s encouraging to know that we aren’t alone! And thank God that his mercies are new every morning!

      August 14th, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    47. lindsey eason says:

      From one imperfect momma to another – THANK YOU for sharing this! It’s so easy (especially for us bloggers) to make our lives seem so pristine and perfect…I’m with ya’ on the fact that it is refreshing to know that we are not the only ones who get downright exasperated with our kids from time to time. Also, just wanted to let you know that although I haven’t been commenting, I read your conclusion to the story on Ruth – wow…I actually was out of town visiting my family and read the entire story to my mom – she’s now sold on your blog!! 🙂 My husband and I were sitting down on the couch a few nights ago talking about your blog and he wondered if you knew how good you really are at writing?! So…do you know how good you are?!?! 🙂

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    48. Becky says:

      Wow…THANKS for sharing this! Makes me feel much better about my imperfect parenting. 🙂

      August 14th, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    49. Terri says:

      Bless your heart for sharing that! It’s so hard to know if or when we’ve done the right thing or not with our kids. I’m sitting here in tears with my head hung in shame thinking about some of the blunders I’ve made. I wouldn’t want to go through my 30’s again with all of those quick-tempered-hormones of mine for love or money. I KNOW my husband and kids wouldn’t either!

      My oldest son has always been one of those from Missouri, the “show me state”,(even though we are from Ohio). He has taken twice the effort and patience than my other 2 put together. Yet, he’s such a blessing to us. He’s like having your own teddy bear. (That’s probably why we BOTH have survived!)
      When he left for college, I had the hardest time going to bed at night. It bothered me to lock the doors, turn out the lights, and go to bed without all of my kids being in their beds. I sat on the top step crying many nights missing him so much, hoping that if he thought of home, me, it wasn’t about just the times I was so hard on him.

      He graduated from college this spring, got married this summer, and started his new job as a band director in Louisville, KY just yesterday. More importantly, he’s a good man.

      All 3 of my kids are good Christian young people. Whew…..only by God’s grace do we have them anyway. He knows we’re not perfect but His grace is sufficient.

      Great post, AM!

      August 14th, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    50. Hanlie says:

      I heard a phrase this week that is becoming my motto: “Balance, not perfection” I think it’s especially true for motherhood…

      Blessings to you and your family!

      August 15th, 2007 at 2:11 am

    51. Carrie says:

      What a neat idea for all of our churches! I have been so encouraged by talking with older ladies in my church, about how God provided for them, and they made it through five children without even a changing table, etc… it is so important to learn from older mentors who have been there! 🙂 Thanks for your encouraging post!

      August 15th, 2007 at 8:46 am

    52. becca says:

      Oh, what a wonderful meeting that must have been. I think our congregation has zero white/silver haired ladies…and we definitely miss that.

      August 15th, 2007 at 10:55 am

    53. catherine says:

      ‘There is therefore no condemnation…” . None of us are perfect. David was quick to repent.
      The main thing is to not damage our children psychologically nor harm them physically.
      Don’t spank in red hot anger. Wait ’til you’ve cooled off and then administer the rod of knowledge to the seat of understanding. Don’t forget to remind why you are doing it. I always worked for me.
      I’ve broken something too. I slammed the newest porcelain doll I had bought for my only girl (she was 14 then, 25 now) onto the dresser where it stood and broke it’s leg. Then I cried and apologized. Still has that leg in a crystal dish in the hutch.
      Definitely a need in our churches for the elder to teach the younger, pulling out all stops. The world in looking for real people, not super-people that only make others feel guilty about their shortcomings. And that it not of God.
      Great post!

      August 15th, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    54. sara says:

      Excellent post!

      While we all need that sort of honesty and assurance that things will be okay, I don’t think there’s anywhere it makes more of a difference than in the Christian world. The pressure that faith should make us immune to the usual frustrations and mistakes is a pressure keenly felt. I read Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions whenever I need a reminder (or a really hard laugh).

      August 15th, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    55. At A Hen's Pace says:

      Loved this post and linked to it.

      Thank you!!

      Jeanne

      August 16th, 2007 at 12:01 am

    56. Mycrazylife says:

      Wow. I just loved reading this. Somehow there is comfort in knowing that despite the perfectly coiffed appearances of others, they can be as imperfect a mom as I am.

      August 16th, 2007 at 11:25 am

    57. Sheila says:

      Thanks for this great post. I struggle with anger sometimes. Its great that you have women in your life who are willing to be honest.

      I have a book recommendation for the others who have commented on this post. Its called “She’s Gonna Blow” by Julie Barnhill. Christian author. It discusses momma anger.

      August 21st, 2007 at 1:30 am

    58. Tara says:

      You have no idea how badly I needed to read this today. I found your blog through Rocks in My Dryer. Anyhow, just wanted to let you know what a God-send this post was for me in my hour of parental discouragement. 🙂

      August 21st, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    59. Jessie says:

      WOW I needed to hear that again. I love all 4 of my children so much but I get so angry sometimes I also suffer from depression and a (young mother 17yrs my first was born) but by God’s grace and forgiveness and a change in what I eat my depression is better. I found that alot of my anger came from my own selfishness too. Ouch that still hurts but now with my change of how I see my children they are blessings and not burdens beautiful little people with hearts of gold. Also great teachers to me on how to died to myself and wash their little feet :0) I am grateful to have this season of my life and wouldn’t change it for anything I have learnt so… much and gain much wisdom! I know that I will still “lose it” from time to time BUT now I know I have a different choice then to hit out of anger or throw things, screaming into a pillow is good :0) But the one thing I NEVER forget to do is say I am SORRY and ask them for their forgiveness most of the time I am crying like a baby and let them know that it is NOT their fault and that I love them. Just thank you again always need that reminder :0) He gentle leads those that have young….

      January 31st, 2008 at 4:29 pm

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