So where were we in this little *lack of sleep and rest* story?
I had lost title, position, most of my marbles and any inkling of what God had in mind for my life. I was madly volunteering for anything anyone would let me do, cleaning obsessively, weeding my yard (and maybe even a little of the neighbor’s), helping Rocky & Jovan with their upcoming nuptials and basically over-doing everything I could put my hand to. I was up before the sun and didn’t, or should I say, “refused,” to stop until well after dark. There were no leisurely lunches with my daughters for me, no playing in the pool with the grandkids. I was suddenly “not working,” and all I knew was, if Jesus returns today, He will not find me sleeping or being lazy!
“work…for the night is coming…” – The BIBLE!
During this time, my vision was blurred, I was chronically swollen, my body ached everywhere it is possible to ache, my joints were locked up. I didn’t feel well – ever. This “time off” thing wasn’t working.
Amidst all the activity, I kept praying, asking: what next? I wanted to know how God planned to use me, where I would next get to serve Him. I cried about this a lot, but the heavens remained silent, no to-do list written in the clouds.
I felt miserable and broken and now even God had no use for me. Couldn’t He see that I was a hard worker for the Kingdom? He said He needed laborers for the harvest. Didn’t God understand that I would sacrifice pretty much everything to work for Him? Hadn’t I proven this? I couldn’t comprehend why He wouldn’t put me to work?
It was a very hot summer day in August
8.10.06. The Walgreens sign in town said 104 degrees. My daughter Tara called. She and her husband, Dave, were bringing my adorable almost-2-year-old grandson Hunter to the house for a swim. When they walked in the door a few minutes later, daddy carrying Hunter, the little guy seemed in a bit of a daze. He had fallen asleep in the car and his face was pink from the sun, complete with car-seat sleep-creases.
As they prepared for the swim, his daddy set Hunter down to prepare a water bottle to take outside. Hunter teetered and his body started to tremble. He grabbed the legs of a kitchen stool and started to cry. But it wasn’t like any cry I had ever heard from him. His face was red, agonized; a sorrowful, deep groaning-almost-scream came from within the depths of his little body.
Hunter had our attention immediately: mine, mommy’s and daddy’s. I offered to scoop him up. The cry poured out, he shook his head. No. Do you want a drink? Water? No. Do you want lemonade? No. Do you want some pop? No. Do you want mommy? Do you want daddy? All we wanted in that split-second was to bring Hunter comfort, but nothing we were offering seemed to fill the bill. We could not comfort him. He was troubled beyond any simple outside fix. Hunter could not be comforted.
I know I am the nonna and everything, but Hunter, even at 20 months, was an unusually good-natured toddler. There weren’t random meltdowns for no reason. He wasn’t throwing a fit; he wasn’t trying to get his way.
As it happened, they’d just had a really busy, on-the-go day and he’d missed his usual nap time. They figured a refreshing swim and then a nice late-afternoon nap would be the ticket. Unfortunately, he fell asleep in the car those few minutes before and he was past the point of exhaustion – his trembling body a true sign of that. He needed rest right now, more specifically sleep. Pure and simple – sleep was the answer. Until that happened, there was nothing else that could happen.
God was about to show me some things concerning sleep…
That evening as the sun was setting and I was out on the patio staining some bricks (yes, staining bricks…I know, I’m rolling my eyes now, too), I was remembering Hunter’s gut-wrenching and pathetic cries and how badly he was needing that nap. I thought about how he could not be soothed because he was so tired and that nothing I had offered would or even could comfort him.
Immediately, out of the blue, I began to remember the story of Elijah. This was a power-man out of the Old Testament if ever there was one. He was bold and walked in the favor of God raising the dead and declaring miracles and ticking off government leaders by saying what God told him to say. God backed him with so much authority that he could even change the weather. But as I was sweating away staining my bricks and pondering Hunter’s gut-wrenching cry earlier in the day, God reminded me that even Elijah needed a good, long restorative nap.
More on Elijah later…
Do you need permission to rest and sleep in? I give you mine. I give you God’s. Consider whether this constant state of activity in which you are living is where you have placed your confidence? Are you fully self-sufficient and is it the healthiest place? Is it a place of pride for you? Because, fair warning: God resists the proud. He gives grace (and naps) to the humble, though. So – think it through carefully…
Be blessed and be at rest today! Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: “...ask..where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls...” Jeremiah 6.16 NKJV
Read all the posts from this series:
- Sleep, Day one – I didn’t even know I needed it
- Sleep, Day Two, I hadn’t slept in almost ten years
- Sleep, Day Three, Hunter and the Prophet Elijah
- Sleep, Day Four, Even the Prophet Elijah needed a nap
- Sleep, Day Five – I discover Psalm 127!
- Sleep, Day Six, The Sunday Morning Bubble Disaster
- Sleep Day Seven, Even God rested on the 7th day