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I Don’t Really Want to Hurt My Child

Written by Kathy Collard Miller

 

Darcy’s training pants were wet again. Again!

 

Marching over to my two-year-old daughter, I directed her into the bathroom. As I struggled to pull down the soaking pants, I felt a rush of frustration and a sense of failure.

 

“Darcy, you’re supposed to come in the bathroom and go in the potty chair. Why can’t you learn?” I continued to berate her. As I began spanking her with my hand, my tension and exhaustion found an outlet. Spanking changed to hitting.

 

Darcy’s uncontrollable screaming brought me back to reason. Seeing the red blister on her bottom, I dropped to my knees.

 

“How can I act this way?” I sobbed. “I love Jesus. I don’t really want to hurt my child. Oh God, please help me.”

 

The rest of that day I held my anger in check. The next day started out pleasantly. I watched my happy daughter. How could I ever be angry with you or want to hurt you?

 

But as the day progressed and pressures closed in on me, I became impatient. I looked forward to a few moments of peace while Darcy and two-month-old Mark took their naps.

 

Telling Darcy to play quietly in her room, I rocked Mark to sleep. Just as I laid him carefully into his crib, Darcy burst into the room shouting, “Mommy, I want to color.”

 

Mark woke up crying. I grabbed Darcy by the shoulders, shook her, and screamed, “Shut up! Shut up! I want him to go to sleep!”

 

Both Darcy and Mark cried as I shoved Darcy aside, rushed out of the bedroom, and walked through the house, banging walls, and slamming doors. Only after I kicked a kitchen cupboard and dented it did my anger subside.

 

As the weeks turned into months, my anger habit worsened. At times I grew so violent that I hit my toddler in the head. Other times I kicked her or slapped her face.

 

As a Christian for ten years, I was ashamed. Oh, God, I prayed over and over again, please take away my anger. Yet no matter how much I prayed, I could not control my anger when Darcy didn’t perform according to my desires. I turned into a screaming mother wondering whether I might kill Darcy in one of my next rages. In time, I had to be honest with myself–I was abusing her. “Oh, God, no, I’m a child abuser! Help me!”

 

I was afraid to tell Larry, my husband. After all, he’s a policeman. He’s arresting people for the very things I’m doing. I certainly couldn’t tell my friends, either. What would they think of me? I led a Bible study. I was looked up to as a strong Christian woman. But inside I was screaming for help.

 

One day I realized Larry had left his off duty service revolver in the bureau drawer. Convinced God no longer loved me and had given up on me, I concluded suicide was the only answer. Then I wouldn’t hurt Darcy any more. But then the thought sprang into my mind. “But if people hear a Christian like me committed suicide, what will they think of Jesus?” I couldn’t bear the thought that Jesus’ name would be maligned, even if I wasn’t acting much like a Christian.

 

Even though suicide was no longer an option, I didn’t have any hope. God doesn’t answer my prayers for an instantaneous deliverance of my anger, so He must not care. I was in a pit of despair and depression.

 

One day, I shared briefly with a neighbor friend about my anger. She didn’t condemn me like another friend had when I’d tried to share my pain. She even indicated she felt angry towards her children too. Oh, Lord, maybe there’s hope for me after all, I cried out when I left her house that day.

 

From that point on, God seemed to break through my despair and little by little revealed the underlying causes and the solutions for my anger. And there were many. I had to learn how to identify my anger before it became destructive. I forced myself to believe God wanted to forgive me-over and over again. Reading books about disciplining children effectively, I became more consistent in responding calmly to Darcy’s disobedience. She became better behaved.

 

I also copied verses like Ephesians 4:31 and Proverbs 10:12 onto cards, placing them in various locations throughout the house. As I took Darcy into the bathroom, I would be reminded that “Hatred stirreth up strife; but love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12). These verses helped to break my cycle of anger.

 

Eventually, I had the courage to share my problem with my Bible study group. James 5:16 admonishes us to “admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” They prayed for me and their prayers indeed had “wonderful results.”

 

Through a difficult process of growth of over a year, God’s Holy Spirit empowered me to be the loving, patient mother to Darcy that I wanted to be. I learned many principles during that time that I now share in the books I’ve written and seminars I teach.

 

I’m thankful to the Lord for healing the relationship between Darcy and me. A beautiful 41-year-old, Darcy has forgiven me for the way I treated her and we share a close relationship.

 

Although I wondered during that unhappy time of my life whether God could ever forgive me for the horrible things I’d done, I know now that He has. As Psalm 40:1-3 says, He pulled me up out of my pit of destruction and set me on the solid rock of Jesus.

 


 

Meet Kathy

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Kathy Collard Miller (www.KathyCollardMiller.com) is a popular women’s retreat speaker who has spoken in 8 foreign countries and 31 US states. She has authored 51 books including Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible study series (Elk Lake Publishing) and Never Ever Be the Same (Leafwood Publishers).

 

Website: www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor/

Twitter: @KathyCMiller

Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible study series: http://amzn.to/2bpCN7U

Never Ever Be the Same: http://amzn.to/2bGA3AD

 


 

 

11 thoughts on “I Don’t Really Want to Hurt My Child

  1. Thank you for sharing about how God delivered you from a cycle of anger and abuse. Although some parts of your testimony were difficult for me to read, I commend you for having the courage to share about a subject that I’m sure stirs up a lot of emotions in others. I am so glad the relationship you have with your daughter has been restored. What a wonderful God we serve!

    1. Thank you so much for being willing to read my difficult story. I totally understand that it is indeed very hard to read. Now that so much time has passed and our family has been restored, it’s hard to believe I was that out of control person. God truly does redeem and heal.

      I so appreciate you taking the time to read through it and commenting here. You have encouraged my heart.

      1. I understand what you mean when you say it’s hard to believe you were that out of control person. I feel the same way when I look back on my past. I’m so thankful we serve a redeeming God who makes all things new!

  2. Thank you for giving hope to the weary and tired souls. You show us an amazing God. You show us how God takes our past and turns our story into something beautiful. Your ministry to the hurt and lonely is part of that something beautiful.

  3. Kathy, thank you for participating in this series. I appreciate and admire your honesty on such a difficult topic. I know when my children were that age, it was so easy to fall into anger. Thankfully the Lord does help us when we cry out to Him. It takes a lot of courage to share the not stellar things in our past, but you have an amazing testimony of God’s redemption to share and help others. Thank you for answering His call.

    1. Casey, thanks for taking the time to comment and bless me. I didn’t mention it in the article, but originally I had no intention to tell anyone about my sin. When I wrote an article about my story and it was accepted, I asked the editor to publish it anonymously. I fully expected a horrible backlash if my name was on it. Even though it would be anonymous, I was so excited that my first piece of writing had been accepted that I had to tell people about that. They asked, “What’s it about?” God is so creative. I then had to learn to actually say the horrible admission but no one condemned me. Then God orchestrated it that someone found out about my story and invited me to share at our church’s young mom’s group. I refused. But then God convinced me to obey Him and that first speaking began my ministry. So we know our courage is from Him and His gentle persuasion. Thanks, Casey, for meeting me here!

    1. Angel, I so appreciate your prayers for me and my ministry. And your encouraging words. Isn’t it incredible to see how God uses broken vessels? I’m sure one of those! I trust God is using you also in whatever way He has designed for you. Thankfully, it’s not only a “ministry” which glorifies Him. Everything we do in His Name is ministry. God bless you!

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