Grace Michaelson

When Tragedy Strikes

May
02

Things have been rough in my home, I’m not going to lie.  Rather than go into details about why they have been so tough, I’d rather talk about the things my precious Lord is teaching me.

The first thing is that there is never anything that you’re immune to.  Just because you’re a Christian or some other reason doesn’t make you safe.  Life is full of vulnerability, and it’s self-evident in the things we struggle with everyday.  Before you say or think the words, “That will never happen to me.” Take a moment to ask the Lord to be the Author and Finisher of your life.  He will decide what can or can’t happen to you.

There is a saying: “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.” ~Steve Martin.

I know that Steve Martin isn’t necessarily a “great” in the eyes of many people, but this quote has stuck to me ever since I read it.  Empathy is so important because, no matter how much we want to believe it is so, we are not omniscient.  There will always be a variable we don’t see or don’t understand that changes the whole dynamic of what someone else is dealing with.  Also, as I said above, anything can happen to you, too.  Before you judge, remember that fact.  Anything can happen in this sinful world.

I also want to say that sometimes things happen because you’re doing everything right.  You’re reading your Bible, your praying, your living by faith, and yet crap still happens.  I would say it’s important to acknowledge that we have a great enemy who doesn’t like it when we do these things.  He wants to leave us compromised, judgmental, and un-useful in our present state to the Lord.  That is why it’s so important to persevere in prayer, reading God’s Word, and faith.  Put on that full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10) Persevere.  Send the devil to the Lord each time he attacks.  Christ has already won the victory and he promises to us a life of victory, too.

Lastly, I have learned that ultimately it’s not the things that happen to us in this life that make us who we should be.  God may use these things to strengthen His Identity in us, but we aren’t what we experience.  We can separate the things that happen to us, the labels the world puts on us, and the actions of other people, from our true identity.  Our true identity is what Christ went to the cross to preserve.  Child of God, bride of Christ, loved, righteous, precious to God are just a few words that describe what Christ preserved on the cross.  That is who you really are, not your experiences or anything else.  Praise and thanksgiving be given to God.

 

New Years, Healthy Choices or Resolutions

Dec
30

Last year I wrote a “feel good” piece that ended up being published in Argus Leader.  My point of that article was the insanity brought on by creating resolutions that you know you’re going to break.  I implored you to take a look at your beautiful page called 2016 and come up with truths to put on it that are healthy and strong, instead of weak resolutions that you’ll want to scribble away or tear off your year after you fail.  How did you do?

Already my Facebook feed is filling up with posts about people getting excited about their new year, the plans they have, and the resolutions they are making.  I’m just as tempted as the rest of you.  Last night I was having a particularly discouraging night, so I poured out in my journal a bucket list of things I would love to see change in the new year.  The thing is, I know better than to turn those wishes into resolutions because I know how disappointing it is to put my heart and soul into a resolution only to fail to make it come into being.

We can’t force changes into our lives, they have to happen naturally.  Even if you don’t believe in God like I do, you have to believe in the practicality of the fact that your life is impacted by the people who surround you.  If they don’t choose to change with you, then you’re life isn’t going to change easily.  That leaves an interesting dynamic and choice right there.  Do I choose contentment in the life I have now, or do I let change happen by moving on from relationships that keep me stagnate?  Either choice may be a right one for you.

Resolutions simply don’t allow for healthy choices, in fact, they stunt your ability to make these natural choices.  Resolutions cause sharp disappointments which bring choices up abruptly and stunt the ability for life to move forward.  An “I can’t” attitude can move in, and instead of freedom to make good choices, you can be beset by fear that you will only make a bad choice again.  After all the resolution was a bad choice, right?  Why should you even allow the possibility of that disappointment in the first place?

I’m writing about broken resolutions and their ability to stunt choices before it can make any real changes in your life.  I don’t know how you believe, or who you live and work with, but I know you can think about it and avoid those resolutions.  Let change happen naturally.  Have a wonderfully Happy New Year.