Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Dark Cathedral

 I haven't been blogging much because when I finally get a break from the hours I spend each day trying to get my daughter to sleep, I'm pretty tired of my own words. My brain has become completely bored by my internal dialogue and I just don't have the heart to sit and rehash even a portion of all that I've thought about throughout the day.

  However, I can't shake the feeling that the past few weeks have been some of the most productive I've experienced in a long time; and I wonder if some of what I've been (begrudgingly) learning might be of encouragement to some other mamas of babies out there. So. Here it is:

  My baby does not like falling asleep. Once she's there, and I mean really there - in some deep, deep part of the sleep cycle - she does great. But getting her there? I am not kidding when I say that any other tedious thing I have done in my life truly does not compare. Here are her basic rules for me: Do not sit down. Do not stop moving. Do not expose my tiny eyelids to light. Do provide the loudest droning noise possible (in our case, the fan in the hall bathroom, but if you have a jet engine you'd like to loan me, it would probably work better). Spend a minimum of 25 minutes doing all these things, and then repeat as needed.

  This is frustrating and exhausting and most definitely not her fault. She is 7 weeks old. She is hyper alert and has a hard time winding down. Sometimes she gets painful gas. She's a baby just being the way God made her. And I'm her mommy. He picked us for each other. He ordained these days, these long evenings. He knew that, at best, I might get 45 minutes of peace each night between rocking and feedings before I go to sleep. He knew I need to learn some things, and that I need to practice them every single day.

  He knew I need to be reminded how selfish I am. I get frustrated with the sleep drama because it infringes on what I want to do. Even if what I want to do isn't self-centered, like laundry or playing with Liam, it is still my plan and therefore, not necessarily God's. So, everyday, several times a day (but especially from the hours of 7:30-9:30) I get to practice submitting to God's plan for my time. It is painful, but I know it is good.

  He knew I needed to become more disciplined in prayer. So, He allows my daughter to only fall asleep in situations that keep me from doing anything besides being silent. In the dark. I cannot look at stuff on my smartphone or read a book on my Kindle or watch a t.v. show. During my bouncing/rocking in the dark I have been reminded of how to really pray for people. Not just mention their names to God in passing, but how to let the Holy Spirit help my mind to dwell on those I care for and really bring them before the throne of grace.

  He knew I need to  learn to abide and live with a sense of need. I know it sounds ridiculous, but during these times I am more aware of my need for God. I CANNOT maintain a good attitude on my own. I get so weary that my nature wants to either weep or become furious. By the end of the day I am relentlessly asking God for patience and grace. At first it seemed silly to spend so much time asking God for help in a situation that is so small, compared to other difficult situations; but then I realized that it is just as simple for Him to help someone experiencing a massive crisis as it is for Him to help me in my trivial frustration. He just wants us to rely on Him - no matter what our circumstances.

  God is slowly and painstakingly kneading these truths (and others too, I'm sure) into my soul as the minutes roll into hours and the little one haltingly drifts off. A huge part of me can't wait for some normalcy to return. But then, another part of me wonders if that just means a return to selfishness, on my part. Will less time swaying in the dark bathroom just mean more time mindlessly surfing the internet? In my mind I'm providing my daughter with all of these props because they are necessary to get her to sleep; but perhaps my Father is simply providing His daughter with the props necessary to get her to more fully rest in Him. It is with my heels digging in and teeth tightly clenched that I ask God to keep me in my dark cathedral until my heart learns to return there on its own.


Carol said...

Oh dear friend. I am so sorry that Cora requires so many props, but I really appreciate the grace shared in your words and the sentiment and reality that we need God deeply and so often want other things.

Molly said...

She sounds just like Asher. He was SO high maintenance when it came to sleep! Have you read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child? That helped me tremendously!
Hang in there!

kaw said...

I agree with Molly! That book was awesome! Also we swear by noise machines! All of us use them!! Great post as always! Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer McHam said...

Thanks for this post. I can certainly relate. Kaden has always been an extremely challenging baby and to this day he still HATES to go to sleep. We've read all the books (including Sleep Habits) and tried all the methods and nothing has consistently worked. We constantly have to alter our approach with him to help him learn how to settle down and sleep on his own. It has been so challenging and I myself have spent hours and hours and hours bouncing/rocking in a dark silent room! Hang in there and keep up that great attitude!