Scripture: Psalm 23
An oldie but a goody. This past week we were with family at the beach for a belated Christmas celebration and a rare New Years family night. And Little E was the only one who really felt like welcoming the new year right on through the night. I was exhausted come morning and then had to fight to put her to sleep for a nap despite her droopy eyes and bobbing head. After fighting for half-an-hour I gave up. I was crying as I imagined a week of struggle in the downstairs bedroom with my 9-month-old, sequestered from the fun family festivities above. At this point I was the only one who had not yet been on the beach - even Little E had seen it the day before when we arrived! It was a bit over-the-top dramatic, but when you're going on three unconsecutive hours of sleep everything seems very near the end of times.
I sorta composed myself, carefully manuevered up the stairs with Little E, and plopped her on Hubby's lap. "I've had enough. I'm going for a walk by myself."
Heel. Toe. Heel. Toe. As I practically marched down the beach, still crying slightly though protected by sunglasses, the only comfort that came to mind was Psalm 23. "He leads me beside quiet waters." The ocean wasn't exactly calm, but the steady rhythm did help as background noise. I had a pity-party, inhaled deeply, and prepared for the next long week of not-a-vacation - though now mindful that I do believe there is a God who cares and, as the Psalm poetically reveals "He refreshes my soul."
God had plans I did not know (shocking) and was faithful to work out the kinks in Little E's sleeping. We moved from the spacious downstairs king-size bed to the futon in the room right off of the kitchen. Little E seemed more comfortable in this central location and everyone was wonderful about skedaddling downstairs right after dinner so we could put her to sleep. Turns out Grandma has magical powers and was able time and time again to coax Little E to sleep for naps and nighttime. It was wonderful. She continued her "9-month-phase" up and down in the middle of the night routine, but it was manageable since I was able to relax a bit in between.
Psalm 23 kept running through my head. Just as I needed to look out for Little E and do what it would take to keep her healthy (including naps!), someone was looking out for me and guiding me and helping me along and restoring me. Which is good because there really is no road map for this parenting thing and even if there were directions for children to follow I doubt Little E would mind them terribly well.
The Good Shepherd cares about his sheep - the ones who are sleeping and the ones who are not.