*Updated from journal entry dated February 3, 2014.*
The day I turned 13, she gave me a gift. It was a book entitled, Everything A Teenage Girl Should Know.
The hardback version. I have always been an avid reader, and this was the kind of book designed to survive numerous rounds of reading and re-reading. Perfect.
Mom and I never had the talk. That conversation which some refer to as being about ‘the birds and the bees’, although I still have no idea what birds and bees have to do with human sexuality – but, I digress. This was Mom’s way of getting an uncomfortable conversation out of the way with as little discomfort as possible. I am sure she must have known that I had covered most of that ground in the fifth grade and I was already into my third year of high school when I celebrated my thirteenth birthday.
As a seasoned educator, Mom would have had to know that much of the information in this new book was old news to me, so she must have had some other reason but I thought nothing more of it at that time.
More than 25 years later, it finally dawned on me that the answer had been staring me in the face the whole time.
When the preacher quoted the passage, I leaned over and told my dear husband: “I remember that text. Mom wrote it inside the cover of a book that she gave to me, but I never realised what she was trying to tell me until many years later. Did I give that book away?”
Who. Why. How. When? He had no idea.
I can still see her cursive lettering, written with a perfection that I never mastered. It is such a pity that penmanship skills are not passed down in the genetic code:
“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” ~ Proverbs 25:28
She got the wise Solomon on board and tried to tell me in her own quiet way that I would need to get a grip on my anger before it swallowed me whole. That having divorced parents was not the worst thing that could ever happen to a person. That lashing out against any slight – perceived or real – would hurt me much more than it would the other person. That the time wasted in anger would never be recaptured.
Mom tried to tell me that I needed a Filter, but she never actually said anything. She just gave me a book, which was merely the conveyor for the strategically-placed Scripture passage – one she knew I might not meditate upon willingly, even if I encountered it in the course of my reading.
In retrospect, I realise that she must have also known that what she gave me was only one part of the equation. You see, I could – by my own doing – acquire willpower, but willpower would not heal the kind of brokenness that I was up against.
The wise Solomon was addressing the matter of self-control or temperance, which is recorded in Galatians 5:22-23 as flowing naturally out of a healthy connection with the Holy Spirit. A Connection that heals brokenness and guarantees organic long-term results.
Paul calls it fruit, and no tree ever struggles to bear a particular kind of fruit. Orange trees bear oranges naturally because they are orange trees.
Mom knew that any move on my part to take heed to Solomon’s words would eventually drive me to the only logical Solution but, if she had told me all of that at the time, I would not have been ready to receive it, and so she bought a book.
I have failed to find any trace of the book, but I am extremely glad that I found her Saviour.
It is in the furnace of affliction that we are refined, so we will never be rid of hard places on this side of the eternal world, but I am learning to rest in the assurance of Emmanuel even in the midst of trials.
Faithful is our God.
Do you have a loved one who struggles with anger issues? Caring is sharing…
Blessings and peace to you and yours.
*Images: Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain)