By Jamie O’Donnell, High Countries
You woke up again last night, like always — except I had puttered around the house instead of going to bed. So I was mad, really, that I hadn’t even closed my eyes before you started crying. And you were really crying. I never did figure out why you decided to wail for a half-hour, but as I sat in the rocking chair with you on my lap, I fumed about not this one night, but all of the nights that you woke multiple times, for which I had no reason. And I thought about how long it had been since I’d slept til morning, and I sort of thought-prayed, “God, when will he get it? Why will my child NOT sleep?” And after you had finally nursed yourself into deep slumber, I laid you back in your crib and huffed off to the bathroom, frowning and trying not to stomp like a child. My thoughts were very me, me, me, me, ME.
My thought-prayer had been heard, and God answered my plea, ashen face reflected in the mirror: You don’t lean on sleep. You lean on Jesus. And I realized: you, my dear Ezzy boy, don’t sleep well yet because I need this from you.
Seriously? Seriously. There are few things I want more than to feel rested. In the past, I have thought this to be what helps me finish the day — but you have totally obliterated that. I worry and I stew and I make routines and I get frustrated by them… but I don’t go to Jesus. I have failed (as of yet) to learn this one simple lesson: from whence shall my help come? So God lets it continue, because its important — missing sleep important.
I went back into the room we share — your daddy, you, and I — and covered you with a thin blanket. I prayed. and I prayed this time not for sleep, but for remembrance, of where to go when I’m tired and needy. I prayed to stop trusting in myself, in a well-planned schedule, in energy or hours of sleep or time alone or coffee — but to trust in God, my refuge and strength. Ah, I thought, so this is what that means.
And then you went and slept till morning.
Bio: Jamie O’Donnell lives in Japan with her husband and three kiddos: Jones (4), Ezra (2) and Harper (3 months). She writes about walking with Jesus through life overseas, motherhood, and the things in between at High Countries.
Dear friends, Jamie’s touched on such an important principle of motherhood and parenting here – that as much as we are there to help shape our children, they are also given to us to help shape and refine us. (Thank you for bringing this truth to light Jamie!) Friends, what helps you to remember this principle when you are up with a 3:00am feed or in the midst of a toddler tantrum?
constantly being refined,