It’s 2:00 a.m. and I am wide awake. Our middle child has had sleep issues for a while now and tonight it has me up, mind spinning, sleepless. As a friend said to me just today, it’s amazing what sleeplessness does to our bodies. How can I be so tired yet find sleep so elusive? Thoughts flood in. Sometimes parenting feels like the Hunger Games. I feel like I’m just trying to survive each day and keep my children alive in the process. I distract myself with meaningless details like what new countertops would work best in our kitchen or where to put the TV. Because sometimes that’s easier. It’s easier than facing reality.
I don’t know why faithful mothers of multiple children get diagnosed with cancer. I and many others received this news about a friend just recently.
I don’t know why four-year-old boys have to battle leukemia. They are supposed to be playing in the mud—invincible.
The other night we introduced our kids to the story of Narnia. My oldest, distraught over the White Witch, asked, “Does the witch win, momma, or do the good guys win?” I assured her the good guys won and the witch was nothing to worry about. And when Aslan lay down on the rock and the witch drew her sword my daughter said, “He’s dying for their sins, momma.” And I held back tears.
The only way I can cope with some things in life is to continue to preach the gospel to myself—to remind myself of the truth. In this life, unfortunately, the good guys don’t always win and bad things happen to good people. We can never be good enough to earn a life free of pain. We can never earn perfect health for ourselves or for those we love. We can never earn life free of tragedy. We can never earn forgiveness of sins. But, there was One Who could. And He did it on behalf of the “good” and the “bad.” He knew no fear. He faced a torturous death so that mommas with cancer, mommas with empty arms, mommas with fear, and mommas who can’t sleep can have hope. He died to give us HOPE, and mercy and grace and forgiveness and life—NOT fear.
I have a painting of my father’s childhood home hanging in my living room. It’s the home my grandmother lived in until her stroke. Sweet memories flood my mind every time I look at it. As beautiful as her home was and as many wonderful times our family shared there, it reminds me to shift my focus. It reminds me why I feel so uncomfortable in this world. It’s not comfortable to hear sad stories or to face harsh circumstances. It’s not comfortable to watch current realities become distant memories. But when I read my Bible I see a bunch of imperfect people walking difficult roads. And I want to be like the ones who did not lose hope—the ones who kept their faith until the end.
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16
As I looked into the eyes of my four-month-old baby boy the other day I told myself, “Today is a gift.” And I lingered longer at the changing table soaking in the laughs and giggles. As I watched my girls twirl around the living room, I reminded myself to savor. I want to savor the gift of now. I don’t want to fear tomorrow. Because my ultimate tomorrow has been decided. The good guys are going to win because the real Good Guy already won. We may leave this life with aching hearts, ragged bodies, scars, stretch marks, and deep wounds, but as daughters of the King, we’ll enter the next life whole, at peace, and free. In the mean time, we’ll lock arms with one another. We’ll weather the storms together. We’ll weep with those who are hurting. We’ll shoulder each other’s burdens. And we’ll keep our eyes on the One Who conquered it all.
And one day, mommas, we won’t be tired anymore. One day we won’t be afraid. And because of THAT day, we can live today with boldness.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
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