TITLE: Death of a Scriaming Mother
By Donna Howard
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The Death of a Screaming Mother
I looked at my teenage son at breakfast this morning, and realized what a tremendous change had come about between this middle child and me.
I had always wanted four children, two boys and two girls. Our first was a dainty, feminine little girl and I was delighted. Then two boys came along, two years apart, and I couldn’t have been happier. But soon after the birth of our third child, my world crashed. I was not in the best of health, and after having all three children by Cesarean Section, there would be no more children for me. No second little girl. I became terribly depressed. Every little thing upset me, especially little two year old Jim. Jim was an active child, both physically and mentally. He was always getting into things, forever breaking things. I became what is commonly known as a ‘screaming mother,’ and Jim received the brunt of my feisty lungs.
As the years passed, he turned away from me. He had no respect for me. He talked back to me, which only intensified the situation. As he grew in age and size, he also grew more rebellious. A civil word scarcely passed between the two of us. I often degraded him, but seldom praised him, I realized what was happening, but because I couldn’t help myself, even while on medication, I couldn’t begin to help Jim.
Then we moved to another state, where we began to attend church. The people there were very loving and helpful. The pastor’s messages were pointed and direct. Soon the Lord Jesus Christ became very real and precious to me. I wanted very much to live in a way that was pleasing to Him.
Immediately, God spoke to me about my relationship with my son. That was not pleasing to Him at all. Ephesians 6:4 seemed to scream at me as loudly as I had often screamed at Jim. “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.” I knew that God also meant that verse for this particular mother. But what could I do? A feeling of hopelessness engulfed me. Somehow, I realized that I was not to try to change Jim. I could only try to change myself. I also realized that I could not sit back passively and expect anything to happen. I had to work at it. I had to take some kind of action. But what?
Finally, I took a slip of paper and on it I wrote, “With the help of God, I will treat Jim pleasantly and will quit screaming at him.” I signed it, and then I showed it to Jim. As I did, something happened to me. It was no longer just a hope within me that I
could change. It was a promise before God and before my son. I told Jim how very much I wanted to keep that promise. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I asked him to help me by reminding me of it every time I started to yell at him. Almost immediately, I could see the barriers between us begin to crumble. A short time later, Jim came to me with a written promise of his own. “With the help of God, I will quit talking back to Mom.” He also had signed it.
Together we struggled, helping each other. Neither of us changed overnight. Habits which have been practiced for many years are difficult to break, but we struggled toward our goal. Many times we had to ask for each other’s forgiveness (and God’s) when we failed, but the tide was turned. Gradually our attitudes toward each other changed.
As I looked at my grown son at dinner today, a warm feeling of love flooded through me. I thank God for that feeling. I praise Him for the gentle, kind and loving man Jim has become. And I think Him for the promise that initiated the death of a screaming mother and the birth of a loving one.
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