My girls sleep with me every night unless, of course, E goes to Honey’s house. Every night is a battle to get into bed. Whether I’m doing a million things that I insist need to get done that second, like hanging several picture frames or painting furniture… or E delaying bedtime with every excuse in the book. We can never get into bed at a decent hour. I think by now, my husband has just come to terms with it. Bless his heart. When we first moved into our new house, bedtime was chaos. Chaos and panic. Do we try baths? Sleepy time tea? Walks? Movies? Relaxing? Books?
We tried everything possible to get to bed without being stressed out.
Or, so we thought.
Later this year we came to find that none of it worked because we were trying to do it all on our own. Life, bedtime, everything. We were not obedient to the Lord and did as we pleased.
God had to shake and flip our entire little stressed out world upside down for us to ‘get the picture’.
He was not the center of our relationship. Of our family. Of our household. Of anything, really.
Getting to sleep has always been a struggle for me and quite honestly I wish I didn’t have to sleep. No naps, no dark hours with beautiful stars out. No nighttime.
But, the reality is… I have to sleep!! One of my favorite quotes is “… I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night” and I try to keep that in mind when I become weary. God made the stars and God made night. I have nothing to be afraid of, right? Right. But it’s not so easy. It’s a constant battle for me to really grasp that. To grasp that I’m okay, that I’ll be okay while I sleep. While I rest.
When I get into bed, all my fears and thoughts flood my head. It often leads to full blown panic attacks and I “snowball” as my husband calls it. Along with fears I begin to think of all the things I did wrong that day. Maybe I let my daughter cry too long. Maybe I yelled at my husband. Maybe I Iet my anger get the best of me. Maybe I disappointed my mom.
But then someone, so special, recently told me this, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1
Ah, do you hear that? No condemnation. I am free. So free. I have to learn to literally pause myself from snowballing to think of God. Think of this verse. Think of what Christ has come for. Think of the peace Jesus brings. I have to admit, I have trouble with this! I want to sop in my emotions, but I can’t. I can’t live this way. I can’t live in fear. Every night I’m learning. Some nights I push off sleep until 2 am and wake up bitter towards my children who may have needed me during the night. Sometimes I wake up around 10:30 am because I let fear control me and I didn’t get to rest. Sometimes I wake up in puddles of sweat because of panic. Sometimes I hallucinate because of fear. And sometimes, sometimes I remember to be faithful. I sleep well and I’m able to care for my family.
My grandpa talked to me about rest the other day. He said that when the sun goes down he knows that it’s time to close the doors and windows. Shut the curtains and start a fire. Turn on the tv or read a book. Time to relax.
I have never felt that. The sun going down has always brought me anxiety. Some years were better than others but it’s always been there. It’s something I have to fight. God is faithful and I know he’s teaching me to lean on him. It’s a hard thing for me, and some may even think it’s so strange! I know plenty of people who love sleep, love bedtime.
Some nights I can feel Gods peace, I can feel it all around me. I can see it in the dim light glowing on my walls. I can hear it in my children’s breathing. I can sense it in my husbands warm palms. I know God is there. And I know it’s time to be obedient.
Bedtime has gotten better this past November – December. E falls asleep a lot faster and doesn’t crash and throw her body around the way she did when she was younger. L is like her daddy and knows when it’s time for bed. She loves her schedule. Early mornings and early nights.
When L was a month old, she would scoot her body towards me, swaddle and all, until her face touched my nose. Then she would fall asleep immediately. As she got bigger I craddeled her under my arm and held her through the night. She is now a few days away from being one and still sleeps like this. If she wakes up to find that she’s not touching my body she cries. Confused and sad she waits for me to put her back into her safe place. I can see God doing this for me!
E is just the same. She has always slept on my belly, even when I was 9 months pregnant. If she wakes up to find that she isn’t sleeping on me, she sits up and waits for me to put my arms out. Then she snuggles into my neck and her soft curls tickle my nose until she falls back asleep. She later rolls her head down onto my belly. They are always being held by me somehow. Some nights are extremely hard and I lose my patience. Some nights my baby wants to nurse just a little too much. Some nights I yell at L to “just go to sleep” instead of immediately telling her it’s okay and hold her again. Some nights I yell at my toddler for not going to the bathroom before she fell asleep. But God is there with me through it. I want my girls to be safe and know that they are indeed safe. I don’t want them to ever be fearful of the night. I want them to know that though I fail them, our mighty God won’t.
I’m thankful I get to hold my girls tight and feel their breathing. I’m thankful I get to smell their hair in my face, and feel their drool on my arm. Wake up to their giggles and pinches. Hold their baby chub for just a little while longer.