Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In the Still of the Night

It seems that in all the busyness of the days lately, the nights haven't slowed down much either. I'm talking middle-of-the-nights, when everyone should be asleep. You'd think that with so much happening, the whole family would zonk out and not open an eye until morning.

But Brody has begun this crazy habit of either waking up in the middle of the night or waking up super early. Coaxing him back to sleep is not an easy task.

Maybe I should hand that job off to Emma or Addie who are sometimes up around the same time. It seems they plan it out, and alternate nights to have bad dreams or restless sleeps.

Or maybe it's a good job for Gary since he's up anyway. He's having a hard time sleeping lately. He'll wake up stressed out or thinking about all he has to do. Usually it just means he goes to work far earlier than normal (by HOURS).

So rocking Brody back to sleep or lying awake in bed while I let him cry it out for awhile is left to me. And that just gives me time to think.

There have been so many big things happening in our family lately. Brody just turned one, Emma started kindergarten, Addie's about to start preschool, Gary's kicking off another busy school year, Emma has started playing soccer... and I'm adjusting to all of these big changes. More often than not, I end up thinking back to where I was this time last year... or the year before... or the year before... and noting how life just keeps on going.

Last year at this time, Emma had just lost her first tooth. She was about to start preschool. Addie had just busted her eye open and narrowly escaped stitches. Brody had just been born and we were all adjusting to being a family of five. Life was good and beautiful - just like now. But isn't it funny how every season of life being "good" is always different than all "goods" before?

Two years ago at this time, I was blissfully unaware of all I'd experience by the month's end. I was finally feeling good in my pregnancy after 18 long weeks of morning sickness, we were celebrating the fact that we were expecting a boy, and I was hoarding all Rice Krispie Treats in sight. I didn't realize that within a few weeks, we'd lose that baby. Our Joshua.

When I think about Joshua in the middle of the night, I'm struck with a sadness that I still can't articulate. He's in my thoughts more than I thought he would be by now. But at the same time, I feel a sense of awe that God trusted me with Joshua all the days of his life. A sense of awe that I got to hold and cuddle such a tiny, fragile baby. I wonder how I made it through and remember that inexplicable peace that the Lord gave me new each day. I remember how I drew nearer to God than ever before, and how he comforted me and gave me the strength to move from one day to the next. I can't think about Joshua without realizing what a gift that time was. It turns out, that season of life was hard, but very good.

And so in the middle of the night, when the house is quiet except for the tired cries of baby Brody, my mind often wanders back to those often dark days. God didn't let me dwell in those dark days too long, and he certainly didn't let me come out of them without a deeper understanding of who he is or a stronger desire for him. And in those quiet midnight hours, I think about that desperate passion and need for him that I had in those days and weeks after Josh died... and wonder how it faded. It's not that I've lost it, it's just that it isn't as urgent as it once was. I love the Lord and depend on Him daily, but I think I've reverted back to relying on my own strength too often these days - strength that I didn't even possess back then. Sometimes I begin to pray that God would take it from me and replace it with the desperation and intense need that I had two years ago...

But then I stop.

Because that's too scary.

Because God answers prayers.

And do I really want to go through that kind of pain again? What if he answers my prayers that way? What if it's not that way, but some harder, scarier way? Who wants that?

But what if it's not like that? What if I ask God to light that fire under me again, to show me how to lean on him without looking back, to realize once and for all that it's his will not mine... and he just... does. What if, without some heart-wrenching situation, God just reveals himself to me in a more real way than ever before? Would he do that?

And so, thinking about these things, chickening out and not finishing my prayer, I drift off to sleep. And sometimes I wake up in the morning, realizing that I'm in for another day of mediocrity until I ask God for more.



  1. Those "dark hours" (as my grandma calls them) will get you every time. I know they do me. But on the positive gives you time to reflect, love, miss and enjoy your sweet Joshua.

    I think of your little family and I always think of you as a 'mom of 4' - Emma, Addie, Joshua & Brody. May God continue to be with you and grant you the peace and serenity and maybe a little bit of understanding. Joshua DOES live....he just does it up in heaven by the side of God.

  2. I think you just spoke for every Christian out there. How do we keep the same closeness and pace of growth in our relationship with God in times of plenty as we did in the times of famine... We all "know" the right answer to this, but in practice, we're all human and get side-tracked. This could be a 3 hour long philosophical conversation here, but just know that you are definitely NOT alone in wanting "more" from life and more from God!

  3. I often think about my 2 babies in heaven during the dark hours of the night. I also think about how I was feeling when I lost them and then the ways in which God comforted me.
    I have thought about the ways I leaned on Him because I had no strength of my own and often miss that time of closeness with God...but am also too scared to ask for it again because it came with deep sadness and loss.
    I pray you can find that closeness without any pain or loss.

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart. Someone once told me there is a reason David wrote the Psalms and Solomon wrote the Proverbs. David had so many difficulties, one after the other, and he needed the praise to pull him through. Solomon lived in peace, so he needed God's guidelines to keep on the right track.

    Anyway, I often feel the sanctifying of the ordinary is harder than the huge trials for just the reasons you talk about. I know I can't do it on my own with the big things, but so often I try day to day life in my own strength.

  5. Thank you for your honesty here. My sweet third daughter, Miller Grace, has been at home with the Lord for two years and three months. Her baby sister was born this Spring. So our lives parallel a little. I have a first grade girl, a sweet four year old girl here at home with me, and our precious fourth baby. But it is my third that I long for in the middle of the night and it is her life that has knitted me ever closer to her Savior. He is good and He is able and He is a mighty Redeemer!!!!! :) I smile to think of your son with my daughter, there at the feet of our King, and praise God for the truth that we'll see them face to face one day soon.


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