10:07pm: My husband pulls me close in a strong embrace as he pleads with the Father – once again – to give his wife sleep.
11:03pm: I finally drift into fitful unconsciousness after wrestling to believe that my Heavenly Father really cares about whether or not I am refreshed with rest.
2:01am: Sleep flees suddenly as if in fear, chased away by horrific haunts only to be replaced by frantic frustration and anger.
5:49am: My mind tires of running marathons of thought and sleep cautiously returns once more
6:15am: My considerate husband rouses himself as quietly as possible so as not to disturb me. (He wakes to the sound of splashing waves programmed on his phone to make sure his alarm is as unalarming as possible 🙂 Alas, sleep is startled and twitches nervously at my side until he kisses me goodbye.
7:03pm: Aletheia wakes from a full night’s rest with coos and giggles, bouncing up and down at the sight of her momma coming to give her her morning milk. (One of the cutest sights ever!)
And so night after night passes in sleepless monotony. Aletheia has been sleeping through the night for 5 months now (7:30pm-7am), but for some reason I still can’t. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could just sleep during the day while she naps, but, for some reason, this former all-time champion napper has lost the ability to fall asleep in daylight hours.
The more and more sleep I lose, the angrier and more frustrated I become. I’ve (wrongly) hesitated writing about this issue because it has become so personal, because the sin of anger and fear seems so ugly to me. When I say I’ve gotten angry, I mean ready to scream at God for withholding slumber from my weary eyes kinda angry. The other night Daniel found me laying on the ground outside of Aletheia’s room about ready to throw a fit because Ali was screaming and had woken me up after I had finally fallen asleep. Every night when I first lay down this wave of discouragement overtakes me and a disheartening voice whispers in my ear that this night will be just like all the others. “You’ll wake up at 2am. You’ll get angry. There’s no sense in fighting it. Just accept your lot. You’re in for another hopeless, sleepless night.” And without putting up a fight, I’ve believed that voice for weeks now. After coming face-to-face with my anger however, the last few nights I’ve been clinging on tight to the cross and yelling “NO! I won’t believe you! I may lose sleep. In fact, I may not sleep at all, but my Heavenly Father loves me, and the Holy Spirit will help me say no to anger, just like I’m saying no to your rotten lies.” Recognizing sin and lies is a gift from God. If you’ve been awakened to see your sin, rejoice! God is at work in you! Be encouraged! He is changing you. Move forward in faith and conquer in the name of Jesus!
I don’t always win. Sometimes I let the lies back in. Sometimes I let myself feel justified in my anger. But the Holy Spirit is helping me see that my actions are sinful, and that I need grace to change, that change is possible.
During my wakefulness I also struggle with a lot of fear. Fighting fear is done in the same way as fighting any other sin. I fight with truth. Coming back to the truth that my Heavenly Father loves me (perfectly) is vital! If He withholds sleep, it’s because He loves me and wants to use that experience to make me more like Jesus. If scary things happen to me or my family, it’s because He loves me and is working everything out for my good. No matter what, He is loving me.
That’s why I like “Blessings” by Laura Story so much. I first heard it on my friend’s blog at the beginning of the summer. During that time I was facing some hard life changes. It repeated the truth that my Heavenly Father loves me in such relatable terms that I’ve gone back to it again and again. It was the first song I went to when my Uncle tragically passed away in May. It was the first song I went to when I struggled with confusing and scary health issues this summer. It is the song I rehearse in my head now before laying down to sleep.
“‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops. What if your healing comes through tears. What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near.”
I’m learning to see that knowing Jesus is more important, more rewarding, and more restful, than any amount of sleep. (That doesn’t mean I don’t pray for sleep anymore though . . . I just am coming to the place where I can rejoice either way 🙂
Click here to listen to “Blessings”. May it be used to teach you the truth about the Father’s “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”