I have an ugly temper.
A quick, impulsive temper that sometimes, usually with my kids, makes a really big deal about a very little thing.
The thing is, it never feels like a very little thing until way later, when I'm listening to the still, small voice again instead of the monster of erupting emotion. Then I think, "Man, that was a waste of anger. I totally tore down that relationship instead of building it up. I let sin get the best of me, ignored the direction of the Holy Spirit, and completely blew it. Again."
I realize that there are multiple good, justifiable reasons to be angry. I'm not worried about those...my kids know when they've earned a little parental wrath. I'm talking about the times when my child makes a mistake, or does something without thinking first, or performs some age-appropriate crime and I neglect to charge, try and convict them as juveniles. Sometimes I'm feeling irritable and they're bugging me, or my feelings have been hurt, or my authority challenged, and I go on and on and on and on and on without so much as pausing for a breath of fresh air. At times, I can get myself so worked up about something (something that doesn't even matter, no less) that I'm unrecognizable as a child of the Risen King. Ouch.
Bet there's a good chance you've never seen me like that.
That's because, for better or for worse, I reserve this slightly evil alter-ego Lisa for those who know me and love me the most...my family. I don't do it on purpose, mind you, it's just that when I'm with my husband and my kids, I let my guard down. I'm comfortable. And sometimes I conveniently forget to try my hardest to be Christlike.
But that's what's so incredible about my family.
They see me at my absolute worst, and yet they love me still.
I was taken aback earlier this week when I was explaining to Miss M (my daughter with Reactive Attachment Disorder) why family is so important compared to friendship. In our conversation, Miss M said that she loves her friends "because they like me. They don't know all the bad things I do." She admits to hiding the "ugliness" from other people so that they'll like her.
I was trying to get her to understand how much more powerful it is when people know everything about you...have seen you throw hundreds of tantrums, have heard you scream terrible things, have been bitten and scratched and pinched and kicked by you, among other things....and still love you and want to be with you.
That's the power of family.
It's easy for people to love you when you're being sweet and nice, but it means a whole lot more when someone loves you after seeing you at your worst.
A good lesson for a child with RAD. A good lesson for me, too.
I'm so thankful for my family, who loves me regardless, who forgives me always, knowing full well that I'm going to mess up again. And for my friends who know all my faults and love me still, well, I consider you my family, too. Thanks for loving me at my ugliest.