I am so excited for you to get to know my friend Thelma Wells. She was the first African American speaker for women of faith, and she has been such a trailblazer for women. After meeting Thelma and learning more about her story, I knew I wanted to talk with her about this emotion of anger.
Though she lives a life filled with so much joy, Thelma's childhood was not always joyful. "My mother was a crippled girl who had polio. Not only that, but she was abused by her mother because her mother was very ashamed that she was all twisted up. She would lock my mother in closets, and sometimes she would lock me in there, too. Then, when I was four years old, I was taken to my great-grandmother, and she raised me. She did a good job, but she had a hard job.
My grandfather would ask me to come spend the night with him and my grandmother. And I did, but he didn't know what was going on. When he was gone, my grandmother, the one who hated my mother, put me in a dark, dingy closet, and I would sit in that closet all day until my granddaddy came home. And this is what I would do-because my great-grandmother taught me the scriptures and how to sing, I would sit in the closet singing, 'Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.'"
God sees you
"I tell people all the time, God sees your problems. He sees everything that goes on, and He will rescue you from perishing. He's the rescuer. We just have to give Him time and give Him a chance. Many people are so fed up, they won't give the Lord a chance. They want to take situations into their own hands, but they don't know it's already solved. When you give your life to Jesus, it's already solved. Yes, you might have to go through the valley of the shadow of death. Many people do. A lot more people do than we may know. You go through the Valley, you go through the shadow of death, but a shadow can't harm.
He got me out. He got me out, and He didn't stop. Because my grandmother was so mean to me, I was shocked when my granddaddy died and willed her to me. He said in the will: you must take care of her for as long as she lives-pay her bills, take her to the grocery store, everything she needs, you must provide because he was a good provider for her. I went to God in earnest prayer. I told Him, 'I don't want to do this,' but the more I said I don't want to, I think my heart was saying, 'help me.' I had to ask him to please help me to forgive her. Then, I'd tell myself before God, 'God, whatever reason you gave me this woman helped me to love her and treat her better than she's treated me.'"
Mama T sang and prayed her way through her own valley, but God saw her through the whole way because Jesus is the way maker.
Loving the next generation
We talked next about how more seasoned believers can speak into the next generation.
"I think one of the problems that we have is that people are afraid to love because they don't know how. They don't know how to be tender and loving. You can't handle everybody the same. So the first thing we have to do is to learn to deny ourselves. We have to be examples. Now the other thing that I believe we must do is to stop talking about people and start talking to people. So much gossip. Get over it and stop talking down."
And I want to translate this to the internet right now because it's still applies. I think for our generation, we have one set of rules for our lives, and we have one set of rules for the internet. Everybody is talking at each other publicly as if it's okay to say these things, and it's not.
Next, we went in a little deeper on the emotion of anger. I wanted to hear how Thelma worked through this emotion and how she would teach others to do the same.
"I'll tell you a story that happened to me this last year. There were some things that had happened in my life between me and my husband that I was so hurt and angry about. God is such a good God, though. He had a lady call me during this season. She said, 'I need to come to your house and talk to you about your anger. The Lord told me to come to you and to give you 12 protocols that can help you get over your anger.' She came into the house and as soon as she came in the house, she started praying. When she started praying, I knew she was real. And then she gave me some instructions. She had come over about 7:30 in the afternoon, and at 12:30 that night, she left. She stayed until I got free.
We get angry, we get hurt, But God says do not go to sleep angry. I knew that, but I was doing it. I would pretend that I was okay. Pretension is really a lie. When she left, I was so much better, and I thank God for showing me my faults because I held things in. I didn't think I was holding things in, but I was. And that night was the first time in a long time that my husband and I just sat and held hands."
I want to end with this because it is really important. I just know there is a lot of righteous anger right now. I have some. I asked Mama T where is there a place for anger and what good it can bring.
"You know, if you're angry enough to do the right thing about what you're angry about, it can do a lot of good. God hates sin. He says He hates sin, but what does he do? He loves people back to Jesus. So ask God first. How should I approach them? God says, address everybody as if you would want to be addressed because everybody is somebody. Whether it's the beggar on the street that hasn't had a bath and 15 days. We all have problems in our lives, but God is a problem solver."