I sank slowly to the ground in my kitchen, right in the same spot, where the cabinets meet and form a v-shape. For some reason I’m drawn here every time. Maybe on some level the closeness of the cabinets feels like someone’s comforting arms. Not that anyone would comfort me if they knew what I had just done.
As tears poured down my face I feel so helpless, defeated and shameful. I’m in church weekly, a volunteer at the elementary school, and harboring a secret that if anyone knew would cause me to lose everything. Why can’t I get my anger under control? Why do I hurt my little ones, with my words and actions, over and over?
My secret was anger. The cycle was vicious. I would blow up, cry my eyes out in my corner and then get up acting like it never happened. Deep down I wanted to change, I did everything I knew to do. I prayed, I tried and I failed, over and over. At the time, I was teaching an adult class at church, we had started a study on the book of James. It was in that book where I discovered something that changed me.
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).
I can still remember when I saw those words on the page, I started sweating and I felt like I might throw up. I wanted God to make my anger go away, but I would never consider telling anyone. What would they do? Who would they tell? How would people treat me?
My girls were young, Meghan was nine, Katie was six and Lauren was four. I knew what I was doing was marking their lives. ‘Confess your faults’ must have rolled around my head for days. One evening I was walking down the hall at church and I saw our Pastor’s wife. As I asked her if we could talk, I started stammering. I thought I was going to die! I really can’t remember exactly what I told her, but it was at that moment that I changed.
The power of a secret is huge! Once I pulled my secret out into the light, then God started showing me what steps I needed to take next to be healed. In my case, it was telling my husband. That was a painful conversation; he was so disappointed in me. Next, came getting down with the girls individually and telling them bluntly it was sinning when mom said/did that, and it was wrong. Would they forgive me?
Now my girls are seventeen, thirteen and eleven, and they still remember some of the bad times, but what they remember most is that mom changed. I’m not the same anymore, I have been healed!
If you are hanging on to a secret, I know that if you share it the power will be broken. Find someone you can trust and tell them. Nothing is more exciting than freedom!