Claudine Phillips

What happened when I surrendered my anger

The kids and I were loading up in the car today from a long afternoon of swimming with friends at the local athletic center. I noticed another mom packing up the back of her car in the parking space next to me.

What got my attention was the level of volume she chose to ‘talk’ to her kids that were buckled up and ready to go. She was clearly upset and saying things I knew she would regret the minute she could take a breathe. Something I could relate to all too well.

I slid into my driver’s seat so not to be noticed and paused. My mind was processing what I just witnessed. I felt a pull to get back out and make light conversation to help calm her and possibly reach out. But I didn’t. I placed the key in the ignition and turned it to start.

As I was pulling out, the last thing I saw was her closing her trunk and a huge Not of the World  sticker affixed to her rear window that said “SAVED” in all caps. I laughed out loud and said sarcastically to myself, “Isn’t that interesting.”

I think the reason I chose not to reach out was the thinking “Who am I to help calm and reach out when I am just as guilty as she was at that moment?”


Rewind a month ago. Greanly and I had a chance to escape from life and participate in the Hume Lake Mother Daughter weekend. It was the first time we had ever adventured on a girls only camping trip. We have escaped on small trips with just the two of us before, but nothing like the Hume Lake experience.




We drove the four hours it took to get there, just us, alone. We talked, laughed, and even shed a tear or two. The entire weekend we were inseparable. We were fed good food and good word, we adventured, we bonded. This is a time I will never forget.




Near the end of the trip we were walking around the lake alone and I asked her if there was anything she would change about me. I gave her a free pass. No consequences. She can say anything with no repercussion.

Not a second passed before she could blurt out the answer.”Your anger. I wish I could erase your anger.”

My heart stopped. My breath was taken away. It took me by surprise. You see this girl has a quiet spirit. She is compassionate beyond measure. So considerate of others that she cried for my son when he got stitches. He did not even flinch. So for her to say such a bold statement was courageous and I better be listening.

I took a deep breath and asked her to repeat her response so I could have time to process the honest truth that she just disclosed. I responded by thanking her for telling me and asked her specific questions. I wanted to make sure she felt heard and that I could see her point of view of me.

That night I cried myself to sleep.  I thought I had that “anger monster” under control. I knew I had unresolved anger with specific things in my life, but had no idea that it came out often enough for her to want to wish it away. My heart hurt. I wrestled with God all night.




I made time that next morning to talk about my anger more. I expanded upon what it was about and that it had nothing to do with her. That it was mommy’s stuff that I had been working on and placing at the feet of Jesus daily. Although I have come a long way, I still have a long way to go.

Let the truth be known, this conversation was so hard for me to have. I had to place that icky pride aside and care more about how my behavior was affecting her than care about trying to cover up what I looked like to her and might look like to others if they found out.

This conversation had two roads it could have taken. One path would be to shut her down. I wouldn’t have to feel the consequence of my unresolved anger if I stopped her from telling me her thoughts and feelings. This would result in less of a relationship with her which I was not willing to risk. The second road would be to stand in my truth that I was angry and she did not like it. This would draw us closer together and create a deeper relationship and bond. This sounds good to me.



I praise God for his wisdom in strengthening me to have the hard conversation with her that day. Once we got through the hard stuff, I proposed a different questions that would turn the mood around to a more positive note (more for me than her).

I asked: “What would you like me to do MORE?”

Again, a quick response: “Play with me.”

She is ten and she still wants her mama to play with her. She just wants me. My time.

I vowed I would play with her more and asked her to think of some things we can do together that would be fun.

That day, I took advantage of the soonest opportunity to play with her. When it was time to leave Hume Lake, she started to cry. She said that this place felt like home and she did not want to leave.

We talked as we headed home, but the tears kept coming and there were more and more as we drove further away. I pulled over and asked her if she would like to go back one more time and say good-bye. She said no at first, but I knew she meant yes.

We turned around and stood at the lake’s edge. She just leaned into me so hard, still crying.

I knew we had a schedule to keep and get back to life, but I asked her one more question, “Do you want to go for a boat ride?”

She beamed, “YES!” And before we knew it, we were in the middle of the lake, playing.




Since then, we play often and the craving to play has grown within me.

The pressure can be overwhelming to me when I think of her eyes on me all the time. Looking to “be” like me. I am so very broken, so flawed. I do not want her to absorb my very worst traits.

The one thing I do want her to take on is humility, authenticity, and the love for Jesus. I want her to know that I am sorry when sorry is due and that we can talk about anything without judgement. Most of all, I want her to know Jesus.

Nothing is guaranteed in life, but what I know is that little people repeat what they see. I am not perfect, thank God. That is the way he meant for us to be so we can rely on him in our weakness. I want her to see my weakness so she can see my surrender and see God work in my life.

As I continue to surrender my anger, I must trust that God is using this for good in her life.

Easy to write, hard to put into action. When I am weak he is strong.{ 2 Corinthians 12:10}



I made up a word the other day: unperfectionism. If perfectionism means the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth (reference) and un means – not, then unperfectionism can be defined as not able to obtain freedom from sin here on earth. I can further explain it as the inability to obtain perfectionism as long as I am here on earth.

Why keep trying to be perfect? It will never happen and only fuels my anger. What I have learned is that people see through it, especially God. The only one I am fooling is me.

So, here I stand, ready to accept my anger and my child’s desires for me to cool my jets, ready to lean into the Lord and for me to show grace on others that aren’t perfect.

When I think back on that lady and her fit of anger in the parking lot with the Christian sticker displayed proudly, I remember, I was blind to my anger before I was a Christian. I numbed my pain with drugs, relationships, and alcohol. Today, I live in the pain, but it is productive, imperfect pain, just the way God needs it to be to heal me.




2 Corinthians 12:10 “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


Thank you Lord for surrender. Thank you for the chance to say “I’m sorry.” Thank you for my baby girl Greanly. And most of all, thank you for your time-abundant, never-ending grace.

Is there an area of your life that you are not surrendering? Is it keeping you from relationship with the Lord or with someone in your family or community? Join in on the conversation below, you just might inspire someone.


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