Sit Still, My Daughter

You know that point when a child is over-tired and therefore a nap is both extremely necessary and highly unlikely?

Not only did we surpass that point on Monday, but by the time Kendra waved her white-flag and informed me she was getting in the shower and I could choose to continue to go in and attempt to re-set the twins for sleep or just let them do whatever so long as they stayed in their room, it seemed like a distant memory.  Our sweet little Abigail was so far gone, we felt a bit hopeless that she would ever give in to the sleep she so desperately needed.

Despite how much it broke my heart to do so, I let her cry for awhile.  I stayed firmly planted on the couch and listened to her sobs through the monitor.

Why?  Because I knew something she didn't.

I knew her hurt was temporary, and that my intervention would not be in her best interest.

It would have been so easy for me to rush into the nursery, scoop her into my arms, and end her panic. But while that was certainly what she wanted, I knew it was not what she needed.

It wasn't that I wanted her to suffer.  In fact, what I wanted was for her to surrender.  To sleep. To rest. To peace.

Eventually, the tears became too much for both of us to bear, and I slipped into the dark room and knelt by her bedside. Her brother had finally succumbed to sleep and I feared she might wake him if I let her cry for too much longer.  Still, I resisted the urge to pick her up and instead smoothed her hair back and spoke softly to her, reminding her it was time to sleep. She sobbed back at me "But I don't want to sleep!  I want to wake up! I want momma!"

I validated her frustrations, but did not give in to them. Her mom was busy, it was not time to be awake, she needed to sleep. Then I remembered a similar experience when her cousin Cadence was panicked beyond reason and rather than continuing my attempt at rationalization, I simply began to pray.

I'm not exaggerating when I say every time I uttered the word "Jesus," her body visibly relaxed. Her breathing slowed and her sobs dissolved to whimpers until eventually there was nothing left but the sound of my voice softly appealing to Christ to calm her fears and allow her to sleep.

I held my breath as I tip-toed back out of the room and closed the door, admittedly fearful that this was too good to be true.

But it wasn't. You guys, there is POWER in the name of JESUS. And He is still very much in the business of answering prayers.

So I tell you this story as both a reflection and a metaphor. Because as it turns out, I'm not so very different from my little niece. In fact, later that same day I found myself literally nose-down in the carpet, sobbing and crying out to God for wisdom. What am I supposed to do with my life?

This is of course a familiar cry for me, and certainly not the first time I've blogged on this very topic. But I've committed to being as authentic as possible during this process, so I'm going to be honest with you all and admit I'm still so far from having this whole following-His-will-for-my-life-thing all figured out.

Eventually I pulled myself up from the ground and wandered into the kitchen to seek wisdom. My brother-in-law listened to my heart for a moment, before he reminded me that God is our Heavenly Father, and He knows best. Often this means we are left in the dark, confused and feeling a bit lost, but never does it mean that He doesn't have our very best interest at heart.

So while I may feel like Abbey, panicked, weary, overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless in my darkened room, crying out for someone to just come rescue me - He is sitting just outside the door, His heart broken by my cries but His wisdom recognizing that it isn't yet time to intervene.
Sometimes His call for stillness seems completely absurd. But we must remember that His ways are not our ways. And thank God for that. Because if I had to choose who should guide and direct sweet Abbey's life, her toddler-self or a loving and wise parent, the choice is obvious. Shouldn't it also be for me?

And at the risk of making what is already a really long blog even longer, I would be remiss if I didn't include this little archive of photos of Abbey and myself over the span of her short life so far.
Do you see it? The transformation of trust in her heart is evident, and paints a beautiful picture of the kind of joy I hope I can find in my Father's arms as I learn to let go of my own fears and anxiety and rest in His wisdom instead.

Are you struggling to let go? Is He calling you to be still when all you want is to move? How can I pray for you?