The Troll Who Torments My Children

Whenever a blog topic begins rolling around in my mind, I can usually count on being attacked and failing royally either right before or right after I post the article. But that’s okay. This blog is primarily a lecture to myself, and it’s good to have documented on it what I know to be true even when I fail and must repent.

Today’s post on the Troll who torments my children was inspired by a friend’s recent status update on facebook.

“I really don’t like the unfriendly, unbending troll who takes my children to school each morning. I’ve fired her several times, but almost every morning, she shows up about 15 minutes before we leave, jangling my keys.”

Oh how I identified with my friend. And apparently so did many other friends, for that one little status update generated quite the conversation. That nagging, mean spirited troll shows up at my house all too regularly. I hate her! And she usually shows up shortly after I’ve felt some self-satisfaction at my skills at crisis management on a particular day. Then suddenly, something happens, that straw that breaks the camel’s back, and the bitch voice comes out of my mouth. I look back and think “Where did THAT come from?” But I know exactly where it came from. It came from ME. My mouth, and my heart. Often, I don’t realize the troll has appeared until my boys look at me with that crushed expression that shines a mirror on exactly who I’ve become and how I’ve hurt them. And in that moment, the self-condemnation kicks in big time. I hate her! But in reality, I know she’s just me.

The troll fades, leaving in her wake crushed spirits and much regret. And I have found only ONE salve to the devastation she leaves behind—gospel repentance. It’s not worldly sorry that only brings regret and looks for something other than Christ to make me feel better. That may work for a time, but it won’t bring real change. In that moment of sin, I have to preach the gospel to myself. In Christ, I am no longer this woman and she doesn’t have the power over me that I am giving her. I confess to my children and repair with them what I have harmed. Then I can walk forward believing in the awesome power that gospel grace has over our sins. (and I repeat that in the evening when she shows up again, and the next morning, and so forth)

I hate being that troll. But cross-centered repentance and restoration with my children is really beautiful. They are learning the gospel by watching me repent. And I see them better understanding repentance for themselves when they sin against each other. I would much rather them not learn repentance from watching me having to repent after repeated sins. But I am so thankful for the good news of all Christ has accomplished on the cross, for it alone can pick me up after another crushing defeat by the troll and turn it into something of gospel significance. And in Him, I have confidence that one day I’ll kick her butt into a place of irrelevance. Some days even now, I actually see her coming and start pelting her with gospel truths until she turns and runs for her life. Until the day that she is totally eradicated, I repent, and in light of the gospel, that alone becomes the lancing of my festering wound that begins the process of healing.

Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

2 Cor. 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

8 Responses to The Troll Who Torments My Children

  1. Abbey December 15, 2009 at 4:16 am #

    Amen! What would I do without the gospel to defeat my own sinful troll-self? Well timed, and well said. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement in the every-day running…

  2. Dea December 15, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    Spent a good while repenting this morning, then, later I went up to the school. Seems to always happen every time I go into the Jr. High that the Troll comes out with my 14 year old. I hate her and I'm afraid he thinks she's me. Maybe she is. Oh, help me Spirit. Always learning and never coming to the truth. Have mercy on me for I have sinned. I believe Lord that you can change me, help my unbelief.

  3. Kristine McGuire April 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    I imagine every mother out there knows about “the troll”. I know I certainly do! Thank God for repentance, forgiveness, and grace.

  4. Melissa April 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    Thank you for this post! I have been struggling with this issue VERY much recently. I do repent and make reparations with my children, but I am SO sick of being like this! How did Paul put it? “I do the things I DON'T want to do, and I don't do the things I WANT to do!” GRRRR…so frustrated…LORD change me!!!

  5. Joanna Roddy August 18, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Wendy, I love this post so much. I have lately been trying to face that facet of my personality that embraces anxiety and opens the door to a clamoring, demanding posture that only brings grief to myself and others.

    I have sticky note up that says in big bold letters: SLOW DOWN. LET OTHERS STEER. LEND YOUR STRENGTH TO THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER.

    Something that is helpful for me in this process is a little different from where you said “She's just me,” and a lot closer to when you said, “In Christ, I am no longer this woman and she doesn't have the power over me that I am giving her.”

    It helps me when I believe that I AM now in Christ. That means that my sin isn't the real me. I have to own it, repent of it, certainly, in fact desperately. But Jesus is restoring me to holiness and wholeness in Him. That lets me say, “I was wrong. This isn't my true heart. My heart is really to love the people around me well. To care for their hearts and mine before my agenda. I put off the old man and take up the resurrected me.” In short, my flesh isn't me anymore. Or at least, through Christ, it doesn't have to be.

    I've been finding that this posture is such a rescue from shame and further alienation from God after I feel like I've blown it.

    I love how honestly you expressed this (and the speeding ticket post). There is so much to identify with and your journey offers life and perspective and grace.

  6. Wendy August 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Thank you, Joanna!!! I love the way you put that–my sin isn't the real me anymore. 🙂

  7. priest's wife December 8, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    …that troll has been visiting my house as well..tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it (yet)

  8. thomos February 22, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    Thanks so much for this blog. It's so honest and encouraging. It's good to know there's others who are struggling on the same issues, and not with a 'oh well, we all do it' kind of attitude, but with an exortation to repent, and keep going. To love, when we don't feel like it. The internet actually can be edifying. Suprise suprise.