A few days ago, my husband and I got into a heated argument. The type of argument that probably hasn’t happened in over a year. The boiling point argument.

Out of his frustration, my husband said, “I’m tired of hearing you yell at our girls.” His words struck deep and hurt—not because they weren’t true, but because they were all too true. I’d had to apologize to my girls for my raised voice one too many times over the course of the day. While the apology was a good start in the right direction, an apology meant nothing if I didn’t change my course of action.

With tears in my eyes, I ran to our room, overwhelmed, convicted, ashamed. It’d be easy to blame my actions on the situation—I was pregnant, exhausted, overwhelmed by all that needed to be unloaded and put away. Laundry was already piling up, and groceries needed to be bought. Add to that the fact that our vacation, Christmas, and time as a family was coming to a close. Then add the simple fact that I have two very busy toddlers, and it’s enough excuses to “justify” my frustrations. 

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However, the circumstances never justify the behavior—the culmination of those frustrations—as a woman who is called to be set apart. 

As I was studying my Bible today, I knew I needed to focus on my anger. So I turned to Proverbs. The first place I turned was Proverbs 25:24.

“It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” 

Knife to the heart. I have been that contentious, vexed, heated, impatient, frustrated woman. 

Out of fear, conviction, and desperation, I turned to find a way to remedy my contentious condition. So I turned to Proverbs 14:1.

“A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” 

I spend my days building our home to be a place of rest and refuge through the work of my hands, words, and actions, yet many days I am also the one demolishing it through those same hands, words, and actions. After coming to the realization that the building up of my home is dependent on the choice I make to be a wise woman, I wrote these words as a reminder: 

I have the power to build up or destroy.

I have the power to bring joy or cause fear.

I have the power to encourage or tear down.

I have the power to nurture or react.

I have the power to pray or walk blindly.

I have the power to answer gently or speak sharply.

I have the power to redirect and train or destructively discipline.

I have the power to set the tone or pace in frustration.

I have the power to teach or reverse.

I have the power to laugh abundantly or scowl from impatience.

I have the power to be present and active or distracted and missed.

I have the power to be wise or contentious. 

May my words, actions, priorities, choices, direction, and love be that of a wise woman—building my home. How can I build my home today?

Originally published on the author’s blog 

Arianna Freelen

Arianna is the wife of a rugged man and a mom of three little princesses. She is a photographer, professional furniture re-arranger, purger of all the things, Celine Dion karaoke queen, and Classic Coke drinker. She loves to write about her Savior, her role as a wife and mother, and finds fulfillment with her arms full of those she loves most. You can learn more about her life at www.choosingfreelen.com and @choosingfreelen.