Have you ever been woken up and no matter how hard you try, no matter what position you lie, covers on, covers off, on your back, on your side, on your stomach, on your other side…you just can not go back to sleep?
I am in the midst of this very phenomenon. I use phenomenon because I tried reasoning with God on this while trying to find those precious little z’s again. I had a thought on my mind, an inspiration if you will, but as a mom, knowing full well that my daughter would probably be waking up bright and early, sleep was (is) my priority.
I told God, “I know these thoughts are good and obviously from you. I will write them down first thing in the morning. It will even be picturesque if I pull my computer out onto the porch and write them with the great Rocky mountains as my backdrop.” (I’m currently in Colorado visiting my in-laws).
I had the verse in my head. I had the story worked out. I even began to work out a (minimum) 2 part sermon on the topic.
“I can remember all of this. It will be even better if I just get a little sleep.”
But then the thought hit me. I should want to be in the word so much that I don’t want to sleep. It should be God causing me to fall into a restful slumber to give me the reprieve my physical body needs, knowing that I am seeking Him to fill my spiritual soul. Sleep should not be my priority. So, here I am. My time is still a couple hours off, needless to say, as my computer shows the time as 4:30, but being only 2:30 here in Denver.
So what was it that kept me awake? What stirred my soul enough to pull my from the covers of my dream world?
Initially, that precious daughter I mentioned earlier (also known as my alarm clock). Long story short, she had woken up and once I picked her up, she became comforted. I laid her back down and she began to cry again. Diaper (and sleeper) changed and now dry, she should be set to drift back off to sleep. But as I began to walk out the door of her room, she began to cry. I walk back to her, not picking her up, but simply laying a hand on her, softly speaking to her and brushing her hair with my fingers. She calms instantly. I remove my hand, but remain sitting next to her bed. She remains quiet. I ever so slowly begin to back out. So far so good. I am almost to the door…she begins to cry.
She wanted me close by. It was even better if I was touching her. When I finally made it back to my own bed, it occurred to me that she will out grow this. She will want me close enough to touch and hold her for (maybe) the next 10 years and then she will begin to “outgrow” the comfort I can provide her. I’m not saying that I think she won’t want her mom around, just preferably from a distance until it suits her. The comfort and protection that comes from her mom will always be there and she will always know that. But, she will want me to step back. To not crowd her space, and to try to do it without me. To put me in the background.
For a parent, this is almost necessary as we are raising our children to be able to live on their own, to make their own (wise) decisions, to seek God on their own and grown in their own faith. But as children of God, why do we attempt to “outgrow” our relationship with God?
Samara wanted me close. If I didn’t have my hand resting on her belly or brushing her hair, she at least wanted me to be close enough that she could see me clearly in the dark room.
We are living in a very dark world. Sin clouds our vision and we can very easily loose sight of our Father. We attempt life on our own, seeking the earthly desires of money and security. We want God around, but just for back up. We want Him there, but living in the peripheral of our lives, rather then depending on Him to lead up and comfort us in the darkness. We seem to prefer to fall and stumble on our own than to have a Guide who can see clearly, despite the darkness.
I am studying Ephesians 4, with the intention of writing a devotional surrounding verses 22-24. But to fully understand these couple verse, I look back to the context of this portion of the letter. In the first six verses of the chapter, Paul is telling us that because we are following a God that is so incredibly great (Eph 3:20-21) we are called to live a different life then the rest of the world. We are supposed to stand out, to be different. Because we are to “shed off our old self” as we are “made new” through the blood of Jesus Christ (v. 4:22-24). While the rest of the world stumbles around in the dark, we are to cling to God to lead us. While the world’s focus is on individualism, we are to be unified. While most “outgrow” the need for God, we are cling to our Savior until the day of Salvation when Jesus comes again to bring us to heaven.
So maybe lying awake at an awful early time in the morning wasn’t a waste. It was a reminder.