Monday, March 26, 2012

Sleeplessness and Contentment

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4: 11-13


Night weaning has brought with it severe sleep deprivation. At Day 13, The Dude's waking is worse than ever. His protests are violent, which is unnerving in the middle of the night. In his fury, he tries desperately to bang his head on anything he can find. He is so frustrated that he has even recently started trying to bite me whenever his face makes any contact with my skin or clothes. It would be funny if it wasn't so exhausting and so very pathetic.



This time, remembering my experience with Aquaman, I have been ready for the long haul. All the sleep books say within a few days the protests will stop, but with Aquaman it was weeks, months. I don't expect any different this time. God has blessed me with very strong willed boys. I am proud of them. God will use that determination and strength someday.


If I ever needed strength it is now. And these days the moments to recharge mentally are few and far between.

But the beauty of living in a constant state of doing more than I can do alone is, I never get too far before falling backwards into God's most capable Hands.

I'm so incredibly grateful to only have to work part-time, and to have two amazing sets of grandparents to care for my kids while I am at work. I will never underestimate or undervalue the gift that God has given me through them.


But I have to admit, I never saw my life this way. I got my nursing degree, but mostly because it was one of the closest things to getting a degree in being a wife and mother. I actually love my job. It is very fulfilling. I love my patients dearly and I love my co-workers. It just gets confusing. My primary language of love is quality time, and I've never, even in my deepest exhaustion, been one of those mothers who wishes these busy days away. I KNOW they'll go too fast. And I also know that the children God has given me are primarily JT and I's responsibility to raise, and only for a few short critical years. It's hard to balance all that out with being even a part-time working mother.

With the summer approaching, and juggling around childcare, the feelings of inadequacy and frustrations have once more come to a head. I cried for a few days ( a combination of true concern, hormones, and lack of sleep), but ultimately, I came back to the word God had given me several times these past few years.

One afternoon during my pregnancy with The Dude, I was listening to Focus on the Family on the radio. There was a guest who was talking, for the millionth time it seemed, on the importance of the mother being home. She said that when she got pregnant with her first child, she had prayed that God would work out a way for her to stay home...over several weeks and months, and then He answered her prayer. The implication of this broadcast was that if we have faith and our priorities are in the right place, God will answer this prayer.

On hearing this, I burst into angry tears. For two years I had prayed that same prayer. I am fully aware that the God of the universe can turn hearts and work in whatever way that He chooses. So I decided to ask one more time.


"God, I have prayed over and over this same prayer, and You have not answered it. Why, God?"

And He answered. Clearly, decisively, in the way that he had many times before. In the way that I did not want Him to answer: "Because that is not my plan for you."
Sometimes the hardest thing is accepting that our lives might not look like what we thought they would, or even what well-meaning people around us have told us they should. But it doesn't make us wrong to be called to something different. It just makes us...us.

And surely God, who loves me, my husband, and my kids more than anyone else, wouldn't make a mistake in the plans that He has for us.
And so I have learned (most days) to be content in this, the place where He has me today.
Now more uncertainties loom. With rumors that the county may do a firefighter hiring sometime in the summer, we're faced with an issue we haven't had to think about in a couple of months. If he is presented with the opportunity, should JT become a firefighter? The possibility of the ocean rescue era ending soon is saddening. It has been like living a dream for JT. But it is becoming clear that this is a young man's game, and I can see the discouragement growing in my ambitious husband as time goes by.


But a firefighter? 14 months of paramedic school and back-to-back 24 hr shifts?

Couldn't You do better than that for us, God?
Yes.
So if You don't, this is the Best.

And we'll be content with it.

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