As I sit and write, my sweet daughter is playing by herself on the floor. She's found a laminated poster that makes a fun noise and she's perfectly content to wave it around and slap it to hear all the fun sounds it can make. If only she were this quiet and content all the time. Lately she's hit a streak of nights that sleep is difficult to come by. Getting her down is no easy task, and once she's down, she's not usually down for long. Two to three hours later she's up for a feeding, lather, rinse, repeat, until about 4am when she's decided it most certainly is time to play. If it isn't time to play, then it must be Scream Like It Is The End Of The World O'Clock. In those wee, dark hours it is hard to hold on to sanity with a baby screaming (sometimes in your ear). Some nights it seems as though nothing will comfort or calm her. It is in these times that I struggle to keep my cool. Then I wonder what it must be like for God when we act like this. What do I desire from Him when I'm frustrated? What calms me? What does my daughter want? On some level, I think she simply wants to be heard. She wants to know that someone is listening and that that someone cares. She wants to be comforted, to be soothed. Some would argue that babies cannot, in fact, soothe themselves. I think it could be argued that adults can't soothe themselves, either. We need, even crave, something beyond ourselves to calm our tired, weary souls. So what do I desire from God when I'm frustrated? I want Him to listen. To hold me and hear my cries. I know that He'll eventually push me to more, to take on more, to be more, to be holier, but I also think He understands that before I can be challenged, I need to acknowledge that the growth is, well, challenging. Sometimes I feel as though I can't comfort myself, my worries, my fears are too big for me, I need His strong shoulders, His arms to hold me and comfort me. As our daughter grows, I know we'll need to challenge her. She won't be instantly comforted for every little whine and whimper, and that will be hard for her, just as those changes are hard for me. It is in these sleepless nights that I'm learning to empathize with her at how difficult growth can be. I learn to draw on His love for me and the way He never gives up on me, no matter how fussy I get. He keeps loving, keeps trying to soothe me. But even more than that, He's simply present to me. I draw on His strength, His Fatherly love. I remember that the day will dawn and once again my daughter will smile at me and I'll love her just the same whether she screams all night or sleeps straight through - the same way the Father loves me.
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