Grace Michaelson

Balance and the Baby’s Cry

Apr
13

Family comes first, right?  So when your baby wants in your bed at 2 am that’s where he should be!  Or if your baby won’t sleep through the night, you should be up every 3 hours rocking her to sleep, because, hubby has to be at work in the morning and you don’t, and it’s cruel to make baby cry herself to sleep.  At least that’s what your tired brain is reasoning, but is that really the truth?

How do we as “The Mom” balance everyday parenting and marriage with our own needs?  Most of us end up sacrificing ourselves so much that we completely lose our identity.  Does this look familiar?

A typical mom's promise to her child at 2 AM.

A typical mom’s promise to her child at 2 AM.

Yes, this is all too familiar too us Mom’s who have given up all that make us who we are for the sake of our families.  We laugh at the memes about living in our p.j.’s and being unshowered, yet does it really feel good to live our lives to that level of sacrifice?

I know that I am on the other side of babies and you’re probably saying to me, “Well, it’s easy for you to say, your baby is 14 years old and not kicking you in your bed at night anymore.”  Yes, but my baby is trying to push me to the limit every time she turns around and my 17 year old wants to take my car and doesn’t understand why I can’t cancel my appointment so that he and his girlfriend can go on a date with my car!  So, all mom’s, in all stages, are in the same boat.  We’re all asked by our families to make unnecessary sacrifices, and the question is, why do we allow that to happen? What can we do to regain our identities in the middle of the chaos of raising a family and blessing our husbands?

I’d like to give you a few clues that I have been given to help you realize a little sanity in the midst of raising your babies/teens/spoiling grandchildren.  What ever stage of parenting you’re at, you should never have to forsake your own sanity and identity for that of your families needs.  God never once says in His Word “Take up your cross  and lose yourself for your family.”  He says instead, “Take up your cross and follow ME”.  What Chrisitanity was revolutionary for in the age the early years of the church, was the fact that it taught that God loves everyone, men, women, & children.

We’re ALL important, slave or free, rich or poor, men or women, to God and He does not want ANYONE to be sacrificed and marginalized.  We are created to live a life following God’s Will.  God’s will doesn’t involve losing our identity.  It involves God creating a New Identity (Christ’s Identity) in us, and if we’re so busy with our family that we’re marginalized and forgotten and sacrificed, how can God do that work in us?

I know that that sounds hocus-pocus.  In practice, how does one actually keep from losing oneself?

A couple of ways:

1.  Keep to your own backyard.  Keep in mind the idea that we are all tending an emotional backyard.  Each of us has our own negative and positive emotions (flowers and weeds).  If someone comes up to you and throws a negative emotion at you, it’s not your job to weed their backyard.  Don’t take it upon yourself to own their negative emotion.  It’s not your weed.  Keep to your backyard.

2.  Children are resilient.  They don’t need to be in your bed.  They can cry themselves to sleep.  They can even be locked into their rooms if they have to be.  Don’t worry, a fire is not going to burn them alive while you train them to stay in their room.  That is just a “weed” keeping you from teaching your child responsibility for their weeds.  You do not want to be responsible for being that parent who sends your child to therapy as an adult because they don’t know how to take care of their own backyard.

3.  You are a beautiful person.  You deserve respect from your husband, your kids, from other people.  Own it.  Demand it.  Demand it of yourself.  Get out of the jammies.  Take a shower.  Brush your teeth.  Even if you have a bad night.  Do it.  Feel good about yourself.  If the teen is being giving you a “Teen ‘Tude” and not giving your respect  take the car keys or the phone.  Get their attention.  You deserve this you Beautiful Queen, you!  You are the Bride of Christ, after all.  Again, remember who’s backyard you want to play in and that you’re wanting to train your kids to stay in their own backyard, as well.  No crossing into your backyard.

4.  One last thing, and this is so important.  Make sure God wants you to do it.  You are put here on Earth not to be Soccer Mom, not to be the Ultimate Housewife, not to be the Supreme Working Mom.  You are put here on Earth to do God’s will and follow Him!  If God didn’t tell you to sign your kid up for soccer, then you better not be doing it, even if it is your kid’s dream to be an Olympian!  And if God told you to start writing a blog about Zebra’s in a Horse-filled world, then you better do that, even if it doesn’t make sense.  God’s will trumps family priorities.  It’s so easy to think you’re supposed to be doing something because you’re a mom.  If you’re walking with God daily, hourly, by the minute, He’s going to tell you what you’re really supposed to be doing.

Go and get your life back… The life God really has for you!

 

Social Anxiety and Backyards

Dec
23

I’ve been dealing with Social Anxiety for a very long time. Being at the PRC this last month has thrown me into a social environment and thrown me out of my comfort zone to the extreme. I’ve been using every single coping skill, whether good or sometimes bad, to get myself through this month, just so that Caleb could get the full benefit of the program.

One of the things I do for myself is paint pictures for myself so that I can distinguish for myself what is mine and what belongs to others. So during this time, I have been thinking a lot about backyards. I look at myself like I’m in a backyard. My feelings, my thoughts, my judgments, my decisions, and my actions are weeds or flowers in my backyard. When I use a good coping skill I pick the weeds in my backyard, if I use a bad coping skill then I let the weeds grow.

Some people, like those of us who are socially anxious, don’t know how to stay in their own backyards. We worry about what others think of us, or what their judgments are, what their feelings are, etc. So we go over to their backyard and start pruning their flowers and picking their weeds and don’t tend to our flowers and our weeds start getting overgrown.

This picture has helped me a lot over this month. Every time I was thrown into a situation where I became really anxious about if someone was thinking negatively about me, I would say to myself, “That is their own weed.” Then I could go on with the situation using some deep breathing or some other good coping skill. After all, what can I do if they actually are thinking negatively about me? Nothing. In the past, changing my behavior around negative people has only always made them more negative because then they know they have more power. In the end, it’s just best to be yourself, weed your own backyard. I like who I am. If you don’t like who I am, then you’re totally screwing yourself and missing out on are really nice person. And that’s the truth.

Anxiety and God’s Peace

Nov
16

As I have shared in many of my posts, I have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is not something that I fool around with. I hate the feeling completely. It’s an out-of-control feeling in the pit of my throat and upper chest that tells me that I am deeply, deeply afraid of where I find myself and what my circumstances are. My heart beats above 100 beats a minute resting and I have to take extra breaths or my head will start to spin and I will feel like I’m going to faint. My hands tremble and I can see “those looks” coming from people around me because I look anything but normal when I’m fighting panic. Have any of you tried to pretend you are perfectly OK while fighting back waves upon waves of panic for no reason at all? This is just part of what it’s like to live with an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a very read disorder. It’s not something you should deny or “just live with” or try to spiritualize and blow off. So what I’m going to share, though it may seem like I’m “blowing off anxiety”, I want to forward with a warning. If you haven’t sought help and gotten the physical part of your anxiety disorder dealt with, this post is not for you. This post is for people who have dealt with the physical aspect of their anxiety-are on medication that is replacing the hormones their body can not make on its own, or are taking medication to suppress the hormones they are making too much of.

After you have that medication on board, it’s time to deal with the bad habits your left with as a result of your brain having been broken (having too little or too much of the hormones that caused your panic/anxiety disorder.) All of us are left with residual effects, no matter what your mental illness might be. That is why it’s so important to add counseling, spiritual growth, and exercise to your regimen of healing.

So, lately my life has been very stressful. I have been very ill and one of my children has been very ill. We are both headed to Mayo tomorrow, in fact, to get checked out and hopefully diagnosed. This has caused some of my bad habits in the anxiety disorder to rear their ugly head. So I took some steps:

I immediately informed my psychiatrist that I was having trouble with my anxiety again. He was able to adjust some of my PRN meds to be able to get me through the next couple of weeks that will be stressful.
2. I decided to take steps in my spiritual walk. I found verses to encourage me that talked about walking in obedience to the Lord in regards to anxiety. I want to share with you some of the verses so that you can be encouraged, too. Philippians 4:4-8, Psalm 139:23-24, 1 Peter 5:6-7, John 16:33, Philippians 4:11-13.

The biggest thing I have learned about anxiety is that it can be beat by obedience to Christ and prayer. Pretty much all those verses above are either talking about casting your anxiety on Christ, or are about someone praying and casting their anxiety on Christ. That is where we must obey. We must cast our anxiety on Christ in obedience and ask him to replace that anxiety with His Peace as we pray and thank him for His answers in regards to what we were afraid about.

We can be set free from being victims to our fears. We can be victorious.