I am out of practice.
There were whole years of my life when I went without more than a few hours of sleep in a row on any given night.
I was up with the baby…or the toddler…or even older children…or all of the above in one long succession of people who needed mom.
I functioned with continual sleep depravity it seemed because a mom is on the job around the clock.
Now, all my kids are three years old or older, so there are entire nights where I can sleep.
Recently, though, my son has woken up several nights with bad dreams of being lost or fighting harmful creatures out to get him.
Last night, he yelled out in fear and I trekked across the house to his room. I gathered him up for a hug, and that’s when he complained about “Ladybugs.”
I’m not sure what the ladybugs were doing to him in this dream, but they were apparently terrifying.
He wanted to go to “mom’s bed,” and even after we had cuddled and I had carried him to my bed, and held him, he kept tossing and turning and saying, “Mom, protect me. Mom, protect me!”
After his breathing slowed and he was deeply asleep again, I carried him back to his bed and tried to sleep myself….only to be awoken by an older child who needed to go to the bathroom and was thirsty.
At this point I gave incredibly important Mom-advice to this older child who appeared by my bed in the deep hours of the night when we’re all supposed to be sleeping.
“Go to the bathroom and get some water.”
This recent week of nighttime disturbances has me remembering those days of frequent wake ups all night, every night.
After all, I’ve lumbered across the house in the dark, half-asleep, at 3 a.m. what feels like a million times in my life. This is familiar territory.
How in the world did I ever make sense in those days? How did my brain work? How did I accomplish anything?
How do young moms live with so little sleep?
I’ve been prompted to pray after this little reminder of those “old days” when nighttime interruptions were my normal existence and not the exception.
I know young moms now who are still waking up to a crying baby in the darkness. They’ve been on my mind.
That’s because I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I remember those days. I remember how hard that was.
They are losing sleep. They are walking the floor. They are rocking babies at 3 a.m. They are exhausting themselves with midnight feedings.
And now, it’s my turn to reach back to them.
There is such powerful encouragement in the words, “I’ve been there. Don’t give up.”
We offer prayer, praying for them as they walk a path so similar to the one we’ve trudged down ourselves.
We offer the courage to keep going because they will make it through and the reminder they aren’t alone.
And we offer the power of testimony.
The Psalmist wrote:
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
16 With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
17 O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
18 So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come (Psalm 71:15-18 ESV).
As long as we live we should be endeavouring to glorify God and edify one another; and those that have had the largest and longest experience of the goodness of God to them should improve their experiences for the good of their friends.
We share our experiences of faith and how God brought us through the hard times “for the good of our friends.”
Yes, we do.
But doesn’t it bless us also? Doesn’t it remind us to worship God for all He’s done for us?
God helped me during those days of stumbling through my house barely awake because the baby cried once again.
And He helps me now with a preschooler and elementary kids and tweens.
And He’ll keep helping me.
Our own testimonies remind us how truly faithful God is and make us better able to encourage and minister to those around us.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast. (Psalm 119:90 ESV)