3 Ways to Master Angry Words

3 Ways to Master Angry Words

Learn how to master your angry words because your family relationships need to be protected. Especially your relationship with your children and your spouse.

He was in tears and I was apologizing. Again. Impatience and frustration had clouded my judgement for the third time in 24 hours. I retreated to my bedroom and swung in my hanging macramé chair, twisting and twirling as I silently cried out to God asking, “How will I ever tame my tongue? Is it even possible?” Then I heard it. God in his characteristic simplicity whispered into the secret places of my heart:

Stop talking.

As I twirled and swirled in my chair, I rolled the words around in my head and I thought, “What? Like a vow of silence monks used to do in the 1500s? Impossible. I am a busy mama.” But the thought brought a lightness to my heart I could not describe and before I knew it, I had decided I would try it. What I did not know is that I would be amazed.

Raising a family is not easy. Being overstimulated and overwhelmed means you may be short-tempered too. But does that mean life has to be tainted with angry words? That it just is what it is, or is there something more? I vote for more. My God does the impossible and his word says, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength.”

When we use food for the wrong reasons, we fast. When we develop an unhealthy relationship with social media, we pause our accounts and delete our apps. And if we battle an unhealthy relationship with words, we stop talking.

I know this last one sounds bizarre. Especially as it is coming from a mama who runs with five little children all day. But this is such an incredible and simple strategy I had to pass it along to you. Here are 3 simple steps to mastering angry words:

Choose a Time

Create Hand Signals

Stop Talking

Choose a Time

Pick a time that requires interaction. I chose to begin with one hour. Choose the hour before school or before dinner. Your purpose is to interact with your family without allowing angry words to get in the way. Tell your family BEFORE you begin. Be honest by apologizing for using angry words and tell them that you are going to do something new. “Soon I will not be using words and it will be your turn to speak and my turn to listen.”

Create Hand Signals

Life is still in swing and you will need a way to communicate with your family. Luckily, they say 90% of communication is nonverbal. Before you begin, create with your family some basic hand signals to communicate things like, “time to go” or “time to eat” or “bedtime.” Keep it simple. Personally, I tend to talk with my hands so my kids already knew the motion for “hurry up.” Ha!

Stop Talking

Warn them first, then zip it friend. No talking, humming, singing, emailing, texting or journaling. You are silencing your words and that means all of them. Spoken and written. This is your time to receive input, not give create output. (I highly recommend this for prayer, too!)

What should I expect?

Here are a few things that happened while I practiced fasting my words:

  • The kids tuned into my every move. No more telling them to do something 2-3 times, ending in a screamed instruction. They had to watch me for cues and they were so responsive!
  • They handled their own squabbles. Oh, they tried to get me to be judge between them. But since I wasn’t speaking, it empowered them to solve their own disputes. Praise Jesus.
  • The kids were empowered to demonstrate all they had learned. They have been trained well. But for some reason, my kids love to be told every move to make. This was a chance for them to show me how mature and capable they have become.
  • Rest. You may not realize it, but sometimes us mamas contribute to the chaos more than we realize. Choosing to put a pause on speaking gave me a rest from the endless questions, the repeated instructions and the the mental process of always directing and responding. I demonstrated my love through hugs and kisses and saw my family with a new perspective.
  • No regrets! Best of all, God spared my family from my angry words. I distinctly remember 4 incidents I would have prematurely reacted to, but in my silence I had no regrets. My original goal had been one hour, but it was such a lovely experience I ended up doing 2.5 hours.
  • More walking. You can’t yell at your kids to come in, come down stairs, or come to dinner… so there is that. It’s a small price to pay.

Not Today COVID.


This rockstar drinking a chocolate milkshake is my Grandma. And I love her so much.

She came to MO in a covered wagon from Kansas as a five year old.

She lived through the depression and wore a dress made from a bright-yellow flour sack material. (Yes, they bought the flour for food and then used the soft material of the bag for clothes.)

She witnessed our nation unify and the young and old sign up for World War II to fight against Communism and injustice.

As a newlywed she lived in a Colorado logging camp that had formerly been used as a German Prisoner of War camp.

She supported Billy Graham from his beginning to end.

She watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon.

She has three children, 6 grandchildren and lots of great grandchildren (Sorry family. I lost count of us all. But she hasn’t.).

Before this Christmas she looked pale and weak. So we took her to the doctor and found out she had only 40% of her blood due to an ulcer. Then they diagnosed a UTI. Then they diagnosed COVID.

Yes, COVID. I thought – we all thought – we will never see her again. Barred from the hospital, we prayed we would see grandma again. Hug her one last time. That somehow, this combination of living on 40% of blood, an infection plus the coronavirus would not take her.

My heart cried out, God! She has given too much, loved too many to die alone!

She will be 91 years old this spring and I am happy to say she is still kicking! Which is what I told her. To which she quipped right back, “Ha! Well, I’m not kicken’ very high!”

Marveling at God’s grace upon her, His answer to our prayers, I asked her, “How did you get through it all? It was just so much.”

She answered, “You just do what you gotta do until you get through it. Anytime you face something new you do not have any experience with it, so you just do it. Then, when you make it through, okay now you have some experience. But until then, you just face it and do it until it’s done and behind you.”

Grit. Thats how I sum it up. Her generation has grit.

I asked her what was the hardest part about the last several weeks. She said, “Being alone. It’s hard to be alone. But I see myself back in my apartment and seeing you all again and that’s what I am working toward.”

Hope. Plain and simple. Hope gives us the strength to do what we need to, to grab hold and push foward until we make it through. It is for hope we persevere.

Hope doesn’t beg for relief or whine about discomfort. Hope doesn’t depend on ease. Hope is the joy set before us. An expectation that rallies the soul and urges us on.

What is the hope you are clinging to today? What propels you forward?

Jesus is the hope my Grandma clings to. He is the hope I cling to. Unmoveable. Unchangeable. Eternal. A rock in the storm. A beacon in the darkness.

Grandma, I am excited for more of your stories and to give you another hug soon. And yes, I’ll bring you another milkshake!

Continued Changes due to Coronavirus

I cooked a lot before, now even more. It astounds me how much food the kids go through now that they are home all day long. Once or twice a week we support a locally owned business by ordering dinner. But since we are not allowed to go in, they deliver it curbside.

Spending more time together as a family means my community that was once outside these walls, is now entirely within these walls. This has brought us closer as a family physically and relationally, but exposed our weaknesses as well.

Since we do not go to church, we worship here in our living room. This week Gabriel accepted Christ into his heart. Esther and he are to be baptized this coming weekend – Easter weekend – in the creek. Obviously, it won’t be a big hullabaloo like before but I do think the intimacy makes it more special.

In some ways, life reminds me of our intense baby stage when my house was never clean, I rarely had time to work out or put makeup on, I lived in leggings and my mom-bun hair was washed every three or so days. It is was as uncomfortable then as it is now. However, I have become more familiar with each of my children. Strengths. Weaknesses. Preferences. I have also become more familiar with my own.

Part of me mourns the loss of time in the mornings with Grace and Ruth before they leave for school next year. Now I am fully occupied with homeschooling and they play by themselves. But, I am so grateful we are all healthy, home and together.

I really believe we will look back at this time in our lives to see this particular season of loss and disruption as a time when God pruned away our non-essentials and grew our faith, our love and our family. This is a call to fix our focus on things most important. It is a chance to know God as Provider, Prince of Peace, Healer, Comforter, and Friend. To know family as community.

I am choosing to dive in deep to this unprecedented time, when the world seems to have paused for a moment and the rush and race of life has slowed down on the home front. Praying for fresh strength to steward this season with wisdom and grace.

We Do Family Different: Speak or be Silent?

Years ago, I visited a very sick, pregnant woman in a Catholic hospital. There were verses all over the walls and a crucifix hanging above the bed. She wanted me to pray for her healing so she could go home and be with her family. Her mother was happy I had come as a friend from church to encourage her daughter. When I asked her if she wanted to join us in prayer, she backed away horrified that I would pray publicly. (As public as a private hospital room can be that is.) She told me she did not approve of forcing faith on others. What if the nurse walked in and overheard us? I looked again at the verses on the walls and the cross over the bed and told her the nurse was likely not going to be shocked, may even be encouraged by it. Besides, if we really did believe what we claimed, why wouldn’t we be bold for Christ? There she stood in front of me, wringing her hands terrified to pray in front of someone much less speak of her faith.

“Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words.” A common quote people reference to St. Francis of Assisi. Problem is, Francis of Assisi never said anything like these words. However, society has used them to train Christians to silence. We do not want to “push” our faith so we quietly live our lives hoping our family absorbs the truth through a process similar to osmosis.

Kids are quick. They pick up on far more than we give them credit for. However, wrestling through a matter of faith tends to be a private affair and kids do not get to see the whole picture, are not privy to the process. While observant they miss out on vital information and lack the ability to connect the dots. They need to know about about that process if they are to have Hope. Your testimony is their inheritance. Your ceiling, their floor.

I encourage you to talk to them about it. Tell them what wrestling through a hard season looks like for you. What it looks like for others. Your family needs to hear these words if Hope is to have a firm foundation in their hearts. Today, kids are drowning in hopelessness and its time we love them well by giving them a faith and hope to cling to.

You do not need to have “arrived” before you can speak to your kids about your hope in God. Neither do you need a Masters of Divinity from a seminary. As a parent, God ordained you and gave you the authority and the commission to teach your kids all about Him. He does his best work through average people like you and I. The prayers of a parent are precious to Him and he will guide you in what to say. Raising your family to have Hope goes beyond taking them to church and silently modeling a life of Christlike living. It takes a lot of intentional teaching and training.

Read: Deuteronomy 11:18-20, Proverbs 1:8, 3:1 and pray Psalm 78:5-7.

Psalm 78:5-7

Father, give me the wisdom to teach boldly my children your testimony, “that the next generation might know [Your power], the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in [You].”

What about you? Do you have a story about sharing your faith with your family? Family can sometimes be the more scary than a stranger because they see our every move.

We Do Family Different: Hope

In the United States over the last twenty years, according to the American Psychological Association, “Suicide… ranks as the second [leading cause of death] for 10- to 34-year-olds. It remains the 10th leading cause of death overall.” Hopelessness is a disease that has crept into the hearts of our young people. How sad.

Uniting Hope to Faith and Love creates an intrinsic powerhouse so that when trials come a person is trained to deal with that heartache. The men and women of Hebrews 11 saw and understood their earthly situation. But, they faced it with Hope for the promise and a Faith that forged new paths.

When kid’s grow up knowing God’s answers are either: “Yes, Not yet, or I have something better,” they are rooted in the strength of their Faith and their Hope for the things promised. That is what we want to see our children doing. We need to create a family environment founded upon a Hope that perseveres in the face of pain.

Read Hebrews 11 and pray 2 Corinthians 4:7-10.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Father, show me how to build this family upon the foundation of your Hope they can say, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

We Do Family Different: Faith vs. Realism

We know from experience children believe anything is possible and anything can be accomplished. Their tender hearts are designed to dream, reach, explore and be groomed for their God-given purpose. God created family to be the place where a child grows and flourishes into the man or woman they are called to be.

Realism according to the Oxford Dictionary is “the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.” Key words here are “being prepared.” However, in recent years Realism has morphed into something much different: a fear-driven attitude rejecting faith and hope in an effort to avoid disappointment and therefore avoiding action. What is supposed to be a useful attitude of resilience has become a negative attitude of fear-based impotency.

As a parent, you can teach your family to view and accept a situation for what it is then how to subject it to the power of faith. When the trials and struggles of life come, bind together in prayer and encourage each other. I cannot stress the importance of siblings doing this for one another.

With God all things are possible and without faith we cannot please God. If we want to see our children move through life’s struggles with support and resilience, we must teach them to see clearly, trust in the Lord and know that no matter what their family is there for them. It must become an unshakable foundation.

Read Romans 4:16-22.

Romans 4:16, 17

Father, I pray our family would live, “with faith like Abraham.” Teach us to see the reality of what we face and still choose to believe in You, “the God who gives life to the dead and decides that things will happen that have not yet happened.”

We Do Family Different: Choosing a New Foundation

Before you do an overhaul on your family foundation, it is important to understand the meaning of Faith, Hope and Love: why they exist beyond all else, how they feed into each other and why it is imperative to foster these three into the foundation of your family. First, Faith is a longing, a knowing. Faith is an intrinsic, driving force by the unseen that results in action. Faith is what propels us forward into the fight and it is tightly bonded to hope.

Because we were made for a world without brokenness, without violence, without sickness, without death, there is an intense yearning for something better. That “something better” is our Hope. Faith drives us forward to find our Hope.

Love ensures we find it. God’s love makes the way. God’s love reveals the Hope. God’s love establishes our Faith. God’s love is the realization of our Faith and our Hope. This is why Love binds the three together and is the greatest of these. God’s Love partners with Faith and Hope to drive us forward through life and grant us access to that which lasts far beyond.  These three combine to create an during foundation for family.

Read Hebrews 11 and pray Romans 5:1-5.

Romans 5:1-2, 5 ICB

Father, lead this family to be “made right with [You] because of our faith. So we have peace with [You] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the Hope we have of sharing God’s glory… And this hope will never disappoint us, because [You have] poured out [Your] love to fill our hearts. [You] gave us [Your] love through the Holy Spirit, whom [You have] given to us.”

We Do Family Different: Faith, Hope and Love

When we build our families upon Christ, we source our energy from His enduring faith, hope and love. They become the motivation for which we live and bind together.  While every member may not yet walk with the Lord, he or she will be equipped with the knowledge and ability to endure the storms of life. Faith, Hope and Love are not religious philosophies a family embraces. Faith, Hope and Love are the energy, the wellspring of life that spurs us forward. Faith, Hope and Love are the difference between a family living and family living well.

“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I [Jesus] came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Jesus offers a very specific heavenly focused faith, hope and love. The three are timeless because they originate from a place where there is no time, only eternity.

We Do Family Different: A Lasting Foundation

Welcome to our new series on Family! Over the next several weeks we will be diving into God’s amazing Word on what it looks like to raise a family God’s way. To make sure you do not miss out follow our blog and share it with friends who would love it too!

A Lasting Foundation

Despite our family failures and weaknesses God equips us with the things that endure beyond our brokenness binding us together in His name. While each family member is responsible for his or her own actions and choices, we can give our families the tools to succeed that God has equipped us with. As a parent you can build, or rebuild your family foundation on Christ aligning it with His three enduring pillars: Faith, Hope and Love. Do not underestimate them. Just because you see them on couch pillows and wall decor does not remove their enduring power to change the course of a family.

Start by praying today’s prayer of 1 Corinthians 13:13 over your family.