I am a horrible sleeper, always have been. From the moment my head hits the pillow, my mind
begins a high-speed simultaneous rewind of the day and fast forward of the ‘morrow. My brain
spools with threads of to-do’s- children and students and deadlines and groceries. I’ve also
struggled with Fibromyalgia from the age of sixteen and that makes nighttime an extra
nightmare as well. Physically, I welcome the close of each day, but my anxiety tends to ramp up
as the sun begins its slow descent.
As a girl, I frustrated my parents to no end, though they were very talented at masking it. They
knew what bedtime would bring. My mother would tell me the story of “Rapunzel” until her eyes
crossed. My sweet daddy would sit on the edge of my bed and make up ridiculous tales of a
made up superhero who conquered all manner of evil in under ten minutes each night. He
would then tell me not to try to fall asleep because, obviously, that wasn’t working. He told me to
just close my eyes and relax from “my toes to my nose.” Oddly, that did help. I would offer up my
prayers, feeling terribly guilty when I would invariably nod off on God midway through.
Then I got to thinking how nice it was that my parents would sit with me at night, listening to me,
assuring me it was okay if sleep wouldn’t easily come, that my mind would rest when it was
ready. The rest would come in due time. It was a comfort to fall asleep beside them, their
nearness so calming. I began to think God, my Father, might not mind that I sometimes drifted
off while talking to Him at night. Wasn’t it rather like be lulled to sleep in His arms?
I’m still a lousy sleeper. Though I fall asleep with more ease these days, staying asleep is very
difficult. Finding and remaining in a comfortable position is next to impossible. My mother is just
a phone call away and my husband is right beside me and both are such a comfort, but my dad
is recently gone and that’s an ache which hasn’t yet begun to fade. Those unstoppable thoughts
include my kids, my students, my family, the dad I long to see. He was right, of course. His rest
came in due time.
Promises kept are so important to little girls. It’s how we build faith. My parents kept their word
to me, which taught me to believe and trust them, to rest easy. Later on, when life becomes
challenging and promises are harder to keep, we can lean into to the Word that never fails us,
the Words of our Father, in Whom we rest.
“For all my life You have been faithful, and all my life You have been so, so good. With every
breath that I am able I will sing of the goodness of God.”
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