Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kindness...Something I Ponder in the Land of No Sleep

Last year at this time I wrote this post about not getting much sleep because of Elaine. The year before at this time I could have written a similar post about not getting much sleep because of Elaine. The year before that I could have written another post about not getting much sleep because I was pregnant with Elaine. In short, despite her many wonderful qualities, Elaine is, not to put too fine a point on it, a terrible sleeper.

Lucy....oh, what a wonderful little sleeper she is and always has been since the day we brought her home from the hospital. I think of how much more sleep Darren and I would both have if it were just her. When she was a baby, you could walk in her room, pick her up from her crib, love on her and talk to her, put her back, and she'd never stir. When Elaine was a baby, we almost didn't even want to check on her at night because as soon as you opened the door to her room the tiniest crack, her little head would pop right up and her eyes would be open.

Now that she's in her own big girl bed, routinely in the middle of the night, a ghostly little figure comes into our room, carrying her own pillow and crawls up in between us to go back to sleep. Sometimes she doesn't even say anything unless the door is stuck (living in an old house every door to every room has its own unique challenge. They vary anywhere between falling open or having to crash your hip against to get them to unstick. E doesn't haven't much patience with the crash-your-hip variety. She stands and rattles the handle and wails until one of us gets up and opens it). We let her stay there until she's asleep again, then one of us carries her back to her own bed. This happens anywhere from between one and three times a night.

In all of this night waking, the main person Elaine wants is her daddy. "Daddy, wock me!" "Daddy, sleep wit me!" and "I want my Daddy!" are frequent utterances. There's something about the dark of night (well, really the daytime too if we're honest!) that makes her want her dad's comfort and protection.

It's even worse when she's sick, which of course she is now--with the dreaded congestion cough. She's recently stopped taking an afternoon nap, something we hoped would help with nighttime sleeping. Last night she came in our room around midnight, wailing, not even really awake. So, Daddy hauled himself out of bed to pick her up, and she was soaked. Unusual for her, she'd wet the bed. He changed her underwear and pajamas, and she scooted in next to me and cried while he then changed her sheets. I don't know how many times throughout the night she cried for Daddy, but I do know he finally got back to bed just as my alarm was going off at 4:30.

This week in my Fruit of the Spirit study the emphasis is on kindness. The study is all about how yes, we're given these fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control--and we're supposed to continually grow in them, but they truly originate from God Himself. That may seem like a "duh" moment to you, but I hadn't really thought of it much until the study. I just thought of that list as signposts to sanctification and the areas in which I usually slip up and need to work on (helloooo, patience!)

This week about kindness went through many, many references on God's nature, His kindness. Interestingly enough, they almost all focus on God as a parent, another attribute or role we don't always think of. I wish I could list all the references, but there are so many: God gathering us under His wings, God coaxing us to open our mouths for Him to fill with food, God weeping over lost children, God comforting us as little children, Jesus gathering all the children around Him to bless them...the list goes on.

For all the times I wrestle with God's sovereignty and wonder why He allows some of the things He does or why He isn't working the way I want Him to, I have been so glad of the reminder this week that I can go to Him as a father, and He will always respond in kindness. When I'm tired or frightened or sick or can't get the dumb door open, I can cry out "Abba Father" and He answers me, His child, with compassion.

I've been thinking also about how His character is imprinted on us and realized afresh that that's where our parent love originates. That's what makes a loving dad at our house get up, time and time again in the night even though he's been working all day, to respond to his little girl's cry for "Daddy!", to change her wet clothes and sheets, to gently rock her back to sleep, to keep checking on her throughout the night to make sure she's resting quietly. As Elaine herself says, "Best Daddy."

Psalm 103:13 & 14 "Just as a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to all who worship Him because he knows we are made of dust..."


Mae said...

Thank you for this reminder of our "heavenly Father" and His love and patience for us. It is also a joy to hear of Elaine's dear father and his love and kindness for her.

Juliet said...

I just love "Abba Father". I have cried it many times.

And truly Darren is a great dad. Not everyone is as blessed as you are with such a husband.

Love the photo.

Ann-Marie said...

Awww...makes me want my daddy, too! I'm glad Darren is such a blessing to you and the girls. I love it when God brings comparisons to mind that show His love for us. Thanks for sharing.