Key Verse: Ephesians 5:20, “give thanks in all things”.
So I should be sleeping, but obviously I am awake, or at least I hope I am because this could end up being a really strange blog otherwise. My two year old daughter has been waking me up in the middle of the night consistently for the past three or four months. Sometimes with sleep terrors, sometimes for a drink of milk or to go potty. Sometimes she wakes up three, four, five times a night screaming angrily in her sleep. I have been trying to figure out how to fix this to no avail.
It is so temping to feel sorry for myself or get bitter that I am the only one capable of getting up and caring for her calmly. My husband does not function sanely in the middle of the night, or at least that is what he has me believing ; ) Sometimes I just want to throw my head back and cry like a baby… “Can’t I get one decent night of sleep, God!? Is this too much to ask for? I have to teach equations and common denominators tomorrow with a smile, proving that learning is fun! I have to try and create a peaceful and creative learning environment all while cleaning up pee accidents, cooking meals, unclogging toilets, and answering deep questions like, ‘why is starvation in the world?’, ‘why can’t my stuffed animals go with me to heaven?’, and ‘why shouldn’t I eat my boogers?’…surely, sleep isn’t too much to ask for?!”
Then there is the part of me that knows better. After having five children, I know what sleepless nights consist of. I’ve had my share of desperate exhaustion. I have concluded, there is beauty even in this. As I wake up with my daughter, I am hit with the reality that at that very moment someone else is waking up to one of their children having a seizure. At that very moment, someone is waking up in a hospital chair to check on a loved one that might not make it through the night. At that very moment, a mother somewhere far away, in a entirely different world than I will ever know, is selling her body so she can feed her hungry child the next day. At that very moment, someone is waking up and remembering that the person that use to sleep beside them is no longer there. This is someone’s reality.
You see, in every moment, I believe you can find beauty. The beauty found here, is the awareness of how grateful I am not to be waking up to these other circumstances. This beauty is a reminder of how fortunate I am. If allowed, this beauty can also create in me deeper compassion. As I sit here tonight and I pray for those that are waking up with me, whoever or wherever they might be, I am convinced that I can connect with them on a very small scale. I can conjure up a small degree of compassion for those who are less fortunate than I. I can dig deeper the wells of my heart with greater awareness of the world around me. With every tiny moment of growth in my heart, it makes me stronger and more capable of ministering to others. It creates in me wider degrees of relation with those who are less fortunate, who are struggling in large or small matters.
Everything we go through is for a purpose, but sometimes that purpose can only be accomplished if we allow it to do its work. We know that Ephesians 5:20 says to “give thanks in all things”. This is such a short verse, hardly seems like a deep revelation, but it is!! Through exercising this scripture, we begin to develop peace and a fantastic embrace of contentment. Suddenly, I begin to see that it’s not that God isn’t hearing my prayers for more sleep, He is hearing a deeper crying of my heart to be made more. To be made able to reach into wells of compassion for others, and be ready for His using. All that you are going through dear mother, is for a reason. This season of your life is developing your wells. It is making you more capable. I know there are moments when you feel like you have nothing left to give, that you have lost yourself in the mess of baby spit and fighting kids, but alas…this is not your end. This is your training ground, this is your boot camp. If you can survive this, or rather thrive through this, you will be so ready for whatever situation God brings your way. You will be made ready to draw from the deep compassion wells of your soul and rub an anointed salve of understanding on those around you. God didn’t call you to be a mother because you weren’t capable of more, on the contrary, you were made for greatness that only through mothering can it be drawn out of you.
Sarah Jane Roberts