Monday, October 23, 2017

To the Mom Who's Barely Hanging On

It was midnight.

I was awake.

I do not like being awake at midnight.

I did not fall back asleep until 3 a.m.

What was I doing? I wasn't sure. I wasn't sleeping, I knew that. As a mom of three kids, ages seven and under, I haven't slept well for years. But only recently, I've been awoken by something other than crying babies and an unstoppable bladder.

I think God may be waking me up. 

I know.


I told you. I'm going through something.

Some might just call this insomnia. Or anxiety. Or fear. And they may be right. I'm sure cutting out caffeine or gluten, or adding in chamomile or Vitamin D may help. Or maybe I should check for harsh chemicals in the fabric of my sweatpants. Who knows?

Well, I do. I know what it is. I've heard that voice before. 

I am not a special Christian who has VIP access to some kind of heavenly after party. Although, that would be cool. I think I keep being invited to these middle of the night sessions because I have great need. Like a soul thirst that is taking over everything else. Even what my physical body wants to do. 

God might be waking me up not because I'm holy, but because I'm hurting. Not because I'm hopeful, but because I'm scared. Not because I'm perfect, but because I'm polarized.

And in this season, he is asking me to reach out my hand and hand over my sleep. The very thing that gets me through the days when I am barely hanging on.

My most precious treasure? Are you crazy? Do you even know what you are asking?

And He does.

So I crawl out of bed. Head to the living room. Open the nearest Bible or book I'm reading. And I wait. I expect to hear from him. Because I am fearful. And he is faithful. (Psalm 92:2)

Some nights have become like my own personal church. 

Not every night, mind you, God isn't a cruel taskmaster. But some nights. And on those nights I've heard things like:

Nothing is a waste.

I am the Good Shepherd. 

Awake O Sleeper. 

Like a tree planted by streams of water. 

How much bread do you have?

And sometimes I hear just one wonky word like frontlets and I am left scrambling for my Bible or my phone to figure out what the heck is being said. Usually, he is just telling me to stay the course. Don't give up. Stop that thing you keep doing.

But its constant. This invitation. Once the Bible is in you, it won't shut up.

If you are known by your Bible, it speaks back to you. All day long.

If you aren't known by your Bible, it can seem like a lifeless textbook or a creepy animal sacrifice log (seriously there is so much blood...) or an outdated waste of time. In that place, God can feel distant. Cold. Unfeeling. Uncaring. Mean. Angry. Violent. Gone. Non existent. Silent.

Awake O Sleeper. 

I wish I could say that hearing from God makes me feel like I am not about to slip off the edge of a cliff; it doesn't. It only reminds me of what I'm falling into. 


We are falling into the very place where God wrote himself into human history. Into a life giving well of words. Letters are the method he chose. That always blows my mind. So it would make sense that these words are more than words. That are alive. Like the author of life intended. He can only create life. He knows no other way. So every word of His, speaks. Comforts. Calls. Quiets. Holds. Helps. Lifts. Loves.

His words then become an exploration. 

There is this wildly adventurous side to God. He wants to take us offroad and into wastelands where no life should be and create a rain-soaked peninsula. (Isaiah 55, Ezekiel 36:33-36)

He enjoys using unexpected backdrops to unfold his plans. Like night. Like when the shepherds were watching by night and the star appeared or when an angel opened a locked prison door in the night with a snoring guard at the helm.

There's something magical about the midnight hours; those unexpected places when we are awakened to the drama of the story we've been written into.

So if the dead of night isn't off limits in hearing God speak, then nowhere is. Not the bathroom. Your desk. Your shower. Your bed. Your car. Your garage. Your yard. Your pantry. Your wallet. Your injury. Your addiction. Your anger. Your doubt. Your loss. Your much.

God knows what we need. He really does. What you need.

He knows you have need. He also knows your greatest need is to hear him.

He knows the exact words to say too. He knows the exact portion of Scripture that will chip away at our hard places. The exact word a friend can use to remind us how deeply we are loved. The exact podcast that will awaken us to our deadness if we are willing to open the coffin. The exact paragraph that we need to read when we are wordless.

The exact words to catch us when we can't hold on a single second longer. 

And my friend, that's what I've learned. I'm barely hanging on these days. My life is going. I'm going with it. I'm not in despair, I'm not depressed, I'm not discontent–even as I'm facing some of my own personal worst fears.

And that's where the letting go has to happen. 

He is saying, fall. I got you. I've always had you.

I almost feel like God is telling us that he not only wants to spend unexpected, adventurous time with his daughters, but that he also wants to rock us. To cradle us. To mother us. He wants to be for us what we don't think we can be today.

Come my daughter. Awake. Let's steal away. Let me catch your tears. Let me rock you to sleep.

I guess when something is really important we wake someone up.

So God, wake us up. We're listening.

We're in this together,

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