Oh, my sweet Knox. He truly is such a delight in our home. Smiles big and says hilarious things. He fits perfectly.
Poor boy got the flu or some virus a couple weeks ago. Then after a week of fever and lots of cuddling on the couch, the next week was all about tantrums and whining (you know what I mean? When they are harder after the sickness is gone...).
During those two weeks of "not quite himself" he developed some poor sleeping habits. By that I mean, he cried and we'd comfort him. all. night. long.
I imagine his inner toddler monologue goes something like, "I'm awake in my crib. I'm alone in the dark. If I cry they come and maybe they will hold me. Just maybe if I'm lucky my mommy will bring me in her bed. WAAH WAAH, MOOOOMMYY!! MOOMMY!!"
After weeks of interrupted sleep a parent will do whatever it takes to just get some sleep (Can I hear an 'Amen'?).
Monday night Bruce laid next to the crib (on the floor, people) to help Knox go back to sleep (he's a good man). And so Tuesday night I volunteered to take Knox sleep duty.
When I heard that cry at 2:45 am...I popped out of bed. Okay, "popped" sounds to peppy...I rolled out of bed?
Oh dear me. My patience barely hung on for the first 2 hours of trying to get that boy to fall back asleep. In exhaustion I decided sweet Knox just needed to cry a little and fall back asleep. Hopefully, the bad pattern would end that night.
Unfortunately, his crying meant Bruce couldn't sleep. So Bruce offered to lay down next to the crib...again. But I didn't think that would be a sustainable option. Then he pleaded, "Heather, I just really need to get sleep." Poor guy.
So I headed back to Knox's room. But if my patience had been low earlier, it was plum g.o.n.e by this point.
Mothering 24-7 is no small task. And since interrupted sleep has been my reality since 2005, I'm kinda over it.
Sweet baby Knox got the brunt of all. the. feelings. Of course, harshly requesting a toddler to "JUST GO TO SLEEP"...is not quite the tone or lyrics appropriate for a lullaby. But in my loopy state I gave it a go...to no avail.
In guilt and exhaustion, I scooped him up and held him in the rocking chair. While I shut my eyes, his little hand brushed my cheek, then my nose and slowly passed over my eyelids. He's just precious. But I was spent.
(what happens when you had a toddler a tiny piece of chocolate, hold toddler on your hip and load the dishwasher. adorable, nonetheless.)
The next day my attitude toward the big boys was anything but lovely, kind or gracious.
I needed a nap. I didn't need to meet endless needs and clean up never-stopping messes.
Fortunately, after some more sleep last night (only interrupted by one bed wetting...a little boy's not mine, but miraculously no toddler cries), this morning I landed on some God-centering truth.
Oh Peter. I so get him. He was the disciple who had the "all in" kinda faith only to stumble on the simple acts of faith. The "I'll go wherever you go" kind of faith, even walking on water. But before that next step he looked around at the wind and waves, took his eyes off Jesus and sank.
I'll claim #livebyfaith as my motto for 2014 and be able to believe God for big, big things. But you ask me to fill one more sippy cup when I haven't slept...watch me sink.
So when my man Peter gently guides me in these verses, I'm ready to listen. Because I feel like we understand one another.
His words led me to write out this prayer:
May I not be so distracted by social media I forget to go to You, God, in prayer. Help me love my little ones deeply over all else...because that deep love will help cover over all the fighting, whining & discontent. May I offer to serve them and meet needs without grumbling myself. And by serving faithfully show them Your unending grace...unmerited favor. Only in Your strength, Lord, may it be.
May you find strength for today, focusing on these three words: Pray, Love, Serve.
Pray. when you want to turn to any other distraction or escape route.
Love. when the messes are piling around the house and stuff multiples, just hold a little one on the couch for a few minutes.
Serve. when you'd rather sit in the bathroom and read a magazine, show them Christ by putting other's needs above your own.
In these things we are administering God's abundant grace in lots of different ways. Or various forms.
One form of grace today may just be filling up that sippy cup.
Or picking up the thousand cheerios he spilled on the floor.
Or loading the dishwasher one. more. time.
Or making a rainbow loom bracelet while listening to him read aloud.
The miracle is the more grace you offer your kiddos, the more they will show you in return. Which could come in handy on those sleep-deprived cranky days.
What form of grace can you administer to your kiddos today?