No Place Like Home: Day Five
the longest nights
By Nicole Lawrence
READ: Psalms 90:13-17, 1 John 1:1-4
My lot as a mom has definitely been having bad sleepers. It is a badge I am trying to wear with honor, but some nights really test me. Sick season has been especially hard this year on my family. Flu, strep, stomach bug, viral induced wheezing, bronchiolitis (yeah, I didn’t know what that was either!) all struck our home like a very unpleasant house guest. Days could easily be passed with cuddles and movies, but the nights were impossibly long. The peaceful whirring of sound machines was replaced with coughing fits and lots of painful cries, including my own.
During that season I would often echo Moses’ words in Psalms 90:13, “Lord - how long? Turn and have compassion on your servants.” Waking up at 2:00 AM in complete desperation for the night to end became painfully common. Our all-nighters felt like one long nightmare that had no hope for sleep restored.
At the end of this Psalm, Moses was crying out to God for restoration. Restore is a verb meaning to give back, to return. What I would have given to return to normal sleep once again, chocolate? Netflix? Coffee? That one might be too much of a stretch. But what I was really longing for was joy to be restored in our home. Lack of sleep opens the door for harsh words, very little patience, and an abundance of irritations.
Home is built around things like joy, love, and fellowship. When these things are lacking, home feels less than welcoming. One night in particular sticks out in my mind. God has a way of humbling us in the midst of the darkness. Our youngest daughter, was crying constantly, up about every 30 minutes, and it seemed to my grumpy mind that it was for no reason. Irritated, I picked her up and tensely began rocking her. As her body settled into my own, her tears resided and she settled into a deep sleep. She just needed her safe place, her home to be found in my arms. After that sleep was restored, she woke up in the most cheerful mood. Her shouts of joy were echoed in my heart.
God wants us to be restored after our longest nights. In 1 John 15:3b-4 scripture tells us that, “our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” In the dark hours, I had to fight for fellowship with Him. When I was dwelling in His presence, I felt at home. The darkness didn’t feel so overwhelming. I knew that morning was soon to come, and with it, love and compassion.
And I can also find joy in knowing that not only is the darkness leaving and morning is coming, but my work of parenting in the middle of the night is not in vain. God tells us favor will be upon us. He promises that His splendor will be seen by our children. He will establish the work of our hands. The hands that rocked my sweet baby back to sleep. The hands that held a sick child all night long. The hands that cleaned the mess sickness left behind. The hands that are now raised in worship to God for being my home where joy is restored.
Scripture to mediate:
“Yet I am writing you a new command, which is true in Him and in you because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8
What long seasons of darkness have you felt in motherhood?
During those humbling days, what hard work were you putting in? Do you ever feel like you aren’t seeing the joy that work is producing?
What ways can you engage in fellowship with Christ during your “longest nights”?
Describe the joy found in your home today.
God, there are seasons where it seems like the darkness will never end. I want joy restored in my home and I know that it is in my fellowship with You where it can be given back. Thank you for the learning that takes place during the humbling times. Let me use that hard work to point my family back to Your splendor. And let me shout for joy when the morning comes. It’s in your Son’s name we pray, Amen.