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!

 

He is Risen! So What Does That Mean in 2016?

Mar
28

I’m sure that all over your Facebook today you have joyous Christians calling out to each other “He is Risen!” and then back “He is Risen Indeed!”  Well, maybe.  I guess that depends on if you have a lot of Christian friends.  At least on my feed there are a lot of them.  We’re all happy and joyous as we remember that our Lord did not just die and get him self buried and that was it.  He mastered death and because of that we have victory over death ourselves.  At least that is what’s in Scripture and what we celebrate one day out of the year.  So, what is the big deal, really, about a Lord that is not dead in the grave?  Why should we be excited about the Resurrection all the other days of the year?  After all, if you’re anything like me, you’re tempted to be really weary of this world and ready to call it.  Why are you waiting any longer, Lord?  I’m done with this merry-go-round crappy world and I’m ready for the reward of heaven! Right?

My pastor today told us that the resurrection is our reason for joy in every moment, no matter what we face.  How many of us are trying to make sense of things that happen to us over and over again that are unpleasant and chaotic?  I know I am.  There are many things that have happened to me that I’m just like, “Whatever, Abba, why this again?”  It would be so easy to just give up on my faith in God, but one thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that I have a relationship with the God of this Universe and He can make sense of the chaotic and bring peace.  Why is that so?  The resurrection.  It all comes back to that.  Without that victory over death, then God wouldn’t have victory over the chaos in our lives in 2016.  So for all time, the resurrection stands as God’s “Life Event”, so to speak, or God’s major marker in history, for all of us to point to as the day that God won the victory over all the hell we live through here on earth.

How do we live out this resurrection joy?  It’s so easy to be joyful on Easter morning, but how do we do it when we are in the trenches?  What do you do on those days?  Those are the days you have to remember that we’re in the thick of a battle and, although our Lord one the War that Resurrection Sunday, we still, everyday, have to put on our armor from Ephesians 6 and daily claim the Resurrection Joy.  The most important days to claim that Joy and Armor are in the middle of those horrible days when you want to crawl into your bed, curl into a ball under your covers and bawl your head off.  I have found the My Abba will always catch me when I claim His Joy and His Armor.  The enemy of our joy wants us to feel alone and alienated, he wants us to feel like the grave is not empty and that the stone is not rolled away.  But it is rolled away, and the grave is empty.  For the Lord has risen!  He has risen indeed!

Grief, How Angry Thou Art

Feb
23

What is grief?  What grief in it’s raw, real, natural state?  Does it just happen when someone dies?  No, I don’t think so.  Grief is loss.  Loss happens with all kinds of stages in life.

What does grief feel like?  For me it feels like a sob stuck in my chest.  It feels like the worst anger I have ever felt.  It feels like betrayal.  It feels like helplessness.  It feels like chaos.  For someone who is a type A personality like myself, grief is the last thing I want to experience.  Therefore, it is the one experience I must let myself experience and complete in order to stay healthy.  I can’t be the best mom to my kids or the best wife to my husband, or the best writer unless I allow myself to process grief.

I am going to lay myself bare here:  I am currently grieving.  As I write this article, my son is going through an experience that is totally grieving my heart.  I feel helpless to help him.  It is the last thing I wanted for his senior year of high school.  He is supposed to be enjoying his last year of high school, making friends, looking forward to his senior prom, graduation, making plans for college, dreaming for his future, making good grades.  Instead, we’re trying to fit all those things around a huge health problem.  This is not what any good mother wants for their child.  Therefore grief.

I think what has hit me hardest of all has been anger.  What happened to “do not let the sun go down on your anger”, Dear Grief?  Haven’t you heard of that?  You’re making me into a very bad Christian, do you know that, Dear Grief?  Wow.  Everytime I go through grief, the anger, and the intincity of the anger, surprises me.  Yet, this too is normal.  This too is the process.  This too must be allowed and must be owned.  It’s not owned as who I am, but as something that is OK to experience as part of grief.  The more I fight it, the less I will be.  I can’t stop grieving until I’ve allowed myself to be angry that I have lost that which I expected to keep.  

It’s OK Christian brother or sister, God can handle your anger.  He knows your angry anyway.  Trying to trick yourself so that you hopefully trick God is like trying to trick your mom that you didn’t eat the cookie when you were little.  Just calm down the mind games and admit it.  Your feeling anger and it’s OK.  That doesn’t make you a bad Christian.  It just makes you human.  Remember, Jesus felt anger, too.  He was grieved by the way his Father’s Temple was used for bartering and he took a whip and beat the crap out of everyone and overturned tables while being very angry.  God considers his son perfect and without blame.  Yet, his son was angry and grieved.  Interesting.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that, I’m learning through grief that I am not my feelings.  I am learning that anger is not something to be scared of, but part of the process to health.  I am learning that grief is probably one of the most painful things I will ever experience, but one of the things that I have to let run its course.  If I try to pretend I’m done with it before it’s finished, or if I try to stuff it, or if I try to impede its progress in anyway I can kiss my mental or physical or even spiritual health good bye until I allow the grief process its due process.  Therefore, to all my grieving partners, carry on.  This too shall pass, but let it pass…leave no pebble unturned.