Finding Rest

Devotional I wrote for the April 2010 MOPS Crossroads newsletter.

I’m tired. Some days I’m really tired. Some days I don’t know how I’ll keep my eyes open. Such is life with a newborn, especially the third baby. I’m so busy running after my older two, that I don’t really have the chance to nap often. And a nursing newborn doesn’t allow for a night of uninterrupted sleep.

The last week of my pregnancy, I was basically put on bedrest. At the time I was just wishing they would do the c-section early, but my doctor was all about the magic of 39 weeks, so he wanted me to pretty much “be a slug” (his words) so I could make it to my scheduled section date at 39 weeks. I obeyed and did nothing. As a mom, I found it incredibly difficult. At times I was bored out of my mind, and other times, I just found myself wanting to have a normal routing. Making my kids lunch was a habit, and so I would find myself in the kitchen looking for the peanut butter… but my husband or family would shoo me out back to the recliner to rest.

During this time, I heard the small voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me that it is okay to rest. The Steven Curtis Chapman song based on Psalm 46:10 kept repeating in my head. “Be still and know that I am God… Be still oh restless soul of mine.” I was indeed restless that last week. I’m not sure how people do bed rest for extended periods. But I know I had to remember to “Be Still” and rest in Him. I think this was God’s way of making me slow down a bit that last week and try to rest as much as possible. God knows my limitations—and I do need a certain amount of rest to stay healthy and pleasant. And He knew that I was about to welcome Anna, our third child, and that I would be faced with a baby that doesn’t always allow me to get much rest.

So we get home with Anna and I knew that rest would be interrupted and sometimes hard to come by. But I think Jonah, my middle child, spoiled me somewhat as a baby because he slept so well. He was a nursing champ who took little time to eat and was always back asleep as quickly as possible. So, those nighttime feedings with him were not as tiresome as they had been with my firstborn, Katie. I had hoped and prayed that Anna would be like Jonah. But, she has reflux and for the first couple weeks would cry and fuss, even scream at times, for several hours in the middle of the night. After 5 or 6 days of this, I was exhausted. To the point of tears.

I found myself one night pacing the floor with my sweet, but fussing baby. I had been awake for 2.5 hours and just wanted to sleep. I needed to rest. I didn’t know how I was going to make it the next day. I started praying, begging God to please let Anna sleep. And again, I heard a still, small voice. I was reminded of some scripture that I clung to when Katie was a baby and wasn’t the world’s best sleeper, either. (At least Anna napped during the day!) Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” God was telling me that He alone was to be my source of relief from being weary. And then it struck me… Something I’m not proud to admit. I hadn’t been reading my Bible and praying like I knew I should. In the busyness of my life, I had kinda let that slip for the last few months. And then I remembered Isaiah 40:29-31. “He gives strength to the weary… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

So I knew what I needed to do. I needed to find myself back in God’s word, fellowshipping with Him in prayer. Would it cure my tired feeling? Would it make Anna sleep 8 hours straight at night? No. I wasn’t delusional. But I did know that I could not continue on in my own strength.

After Anna finally went back to sleep that night, I opened my Bible and read a small devotional. And I keep that up every night. I find myself praying more. And, Anna, now that she’s on her reflux meds and Gripe water, is actually sleeping better. Not perfect—some nights are still rough. But God has allowed me to get more rest. Sometimes it is actual sleep, and other times, I really feel it is just His supernatural power giving me strength throughout the day. He knows what I need, and I just have to rely on him, as life on planet mom has taught me time and again.