Just when you think you have a pattern of life figured out, the season changes. The wind shifts, the leaves fall, and signs of a desolate winter appear to move in for a long nap. As a mother, this is the perpetual cycle I live in with our children. As soon as I master one phase and allow myself to finally catch a breath, my kids seem to instantly move on to the next, leaving me baffled, exhausted, and desperately searching for answers on how to successfully manage the new stage of life. Thankfully, there's a way out of this tiring cycle and it all has to do with looking past the struggle.
With a baby arriving in two months, I couldn't put off taking away our two-year-old's pacifier any longer. I planned to take it away when he turned two, but we were on vacation, then I was ready to try again last month but his two-year molars were coming in and I knew he needed the soothing relief of the pacifier. Finally, we had to make it happen. Using the same tactic as with Adeline, we explained to Lincoln that he was a "big boy" now and he was going to give his pacifiers to Santa, who would bring him a present in exchange. I asked him what he wanted Santa to bring him, to which he responded, "Lots of cars. And a cupcake." He seemed to understand the plan well and explained it to everyone he came in contact with for a couple days. When the big day arrived, he happily slipped his pacifiers into an envelope marked for Santa and then we led him into his room where he was in awe of the tens of cars waiting for him in his bed. He fell asleep with little fuss that evening. But then there was the rest of the night. He was a belligerent mess and utterly inconsolable. In the end, I may have woken up with two hours of terribly broken sleep. As our children welcomed the morning with smiles, my head pounded fiercely from lack of sleep. The only thought I could muster was a single question, "How am I going to make it through the day?"
The answer? Take the focus off of myself. As I sat in the living room, already feeling defeated, I began to figure out how I could accomplish this. The steps were simple.
1. Read the Bible
Opening God's Word and allowing it to penetrate my heart never fails to uplift my spirits or speak to my soul. God promises in the Bible to strengthen us, comfort us, and listen to us. I found rest and assurance in those gifts, and I certainly needed to lean on Him that day.
What better way to remove the focus from yourself than to pray for others?! While my children immersed themselves in imaginary play, I sat amidst their giggles working through my prayer journal. Praying for my loved ones, our leaders, and our military reminded me that there are many people in my life who are dealing with struggles far greater than my current state of exhaustion.
While I was praying, I realized that although my son had received only a few hours of sleep, he was happily playing with his sister and had been easy to appease all morning (not the usual case). I praised God emphatically that although I was running on fumes, my little guy was entertaining himself and in a pleasant mood, making it much easier for me to function as a loving mother.
4. Find perspective
I realized that morning that God was allowing me a taste of what is to come in the next couple of months, as I am now seven months pregnant. There are going to be nights when the baby wakes me often to eat, when Adeline has a bad dream and needs my comforting, and Lincoln doesn't feel well, when my husband wakes me snoring, and I can't fall asleep from being overtired. Although the impending months leave me feeling weary already, I find peace in knowing that through God's grace and trusting in His promises, I will make it through the days, no matter the hours of sleep I receive.
5. Get inspired
As I was reading through my prayer journal, I was captured by a verse that helps me get through the mornings, Psalm 90:14. I decided that I should make a printable for my bedside table with this verse. On my sleepless nights, the first thing I will see upon waking will be God's Word, inspiring me to find joy in the early hours. Are you in need of the same reminder? You can download this free 3 x5 inch printable by clicking on the below link.
In the early hours of that morning, I literally didn't know how I was going to make it through the day. However, after spending time with the Lord and focusing my thoughts on others, I gained just enough energy to move forward, to make it through each hour, to not wallow in my sleeplessness, and to accept this (blessed) season of my life.