Sleep: a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended. Source: Apple Dictionary widget
Sleep is a very precious part of every mother’s day. It is where one finds physical, mental and emotional rest to refuel the energy reservoirs so that we can cook, feed, run, chase, play, read, teach, and laugh with our children day after day. However most moms find that they cannot get enough sleep and its a challenge to keep the energy going… which is probably why many of us start drinking copious amounts of coffee at some point!
A young mother gives birth to her first child and for the first several weeks, finds that she has now become either a night owl or a morning person overnight… or both! After a few weeks, the baby gets his or her nights and days straightened out and the young mother is able to get a few periods of 4-5 hour chunks of sleep at a time (this varies from mother to mother and baby to baby). There may even be a period of time that the baby sleeps 6-8 hours which mothers are very happy to call, “sleeping through the night”… at least I call it that! Although there is joy to be found in nursing a baby in the middle of the night when all is quiet and its just the two of you, there are days when exhaustion sets in and you need a miracle of strength to get through the day.
As I have reflected many times on the status of my sleep deprivation over the last couple years, I am reminded that one day, I will have sleep again. One thing that I keep learning is that I have to change my expectations. I need to expect that for the next few years I will not be getting much sleep at night. After having accepted that, I am finally content and at peace with this expectation. To tell you the truth, its been hard to adjust to less sleep. My dad tells a story often of when, one morning, I was sleeping in, and my dad knocked on my door and said, “Time to wake up! You’re wasting your life away (he was exaggerating)!” I knew that he wouldn’t let me sleep in so I had prepared my statement! I cheerfully replied from under my blanket, “I’m not wasting my life away… I’m nurturing the temple of the Holy Spirit!” I was resting! Even Jesus needed to rest! Surely my dad could appreciate that! haha! Now he uses that statement in sermon illustrations!
But I really guard against complaining about lack of sleep. Because even though some days will be completely exhausting, I savor the moments of the day. This season of little sleep is flying by and I don’t want to miss anything! It is a sweet, joyful, fulfilling, and at times stressful, and exhausting, and very sanctifying season of life! God continually shows me a mirror image of myself in my children every time I say, “Be patient, no whining, use kind words, have a happy heart…” God shows me that He is STILL after 33 years of life, teaching me these very same lessons that my 2.5 year old is learning!
God has given me this beautiful season of being a mom to young children and I’m constantly archiving our days through photos, video, and little notes throughout the weeks… I don’t want to forget these beautiful days. The joy of watching my daughter delight herself in books, watching my son walk for the first time, listening to my daughter sing along with me, chasing the kids around the house, playing horseyback ride at the end of a long day and galloping around the house, falling on the floor with them climbing all over me, reading the same book several times in a row just because it makes my daughter smile, waking up in the night to soft cuddles and a head on my shoulder, putting our daughter back to sleep for the 7th time and then falling asleep beside her and waking up to her sweet face and soft purring snores… these are the joys of the Season of No Sleep, a sweet and precious season of motherhood.
And in this season of motherhood, we are drawn to depend on Christ in the same way our precious little ones depend on us for everything! I am reminded of Psalm 121 which teaches us that God also has “sleepless nights”. I’m so thankful that God neither slumbers nor sleeps. And so when I awake in the wee hours of the morning to comfort a crying child, I can come to Him in prayer, and rest in His strength to give me all the energy I need for a new day.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 121, ESV