Of Infant Sleep and Answered Prayer

 Note: This may seem like a standard new-parent-detailing-of-infant-sleep (or lack thereof) at first, but hang in there! There’s more to this post than that.

In the past several weeks, Katie has decided that sleep is simply not for her. She has fought naps, arching her back and crying when I try to convince her to rest, and though she always loses her battle, it’s never for long; sometimes it’s only fifteen, twenty minutes before those big brown eyes open, ready to explore the next new thing. And it’s not just naps. Sleep has been elusive for her (and therefore, for everyone in the house) at night as well. In the past two weeks, she’s probably averaged four or five wakings per night, often taking an hour or more to settle back down again.

Ack! I see a nap coming! Run away, run away!

Needless to say, this has taken its toll. She has been tired and cranky during the day. I have been tired and cranky during the day. Jonathan has been tired … well, you get the picture. It’s incredible what lack of sleep does to one’s ability to think, to function, to behave well.

Tuesday night of this week was a particularly bad one. She was asleep in her crib by 8 p.m., then awake at 11, and again at midnight. She slept from 12:30 until 2, but then her eyes popped open and nothing could convince her to sleep. Jonathan and I took turns trying different tactics in an attempt to lull her off to dreamland, all to no avail; she lay in her crib, looking up with us with big, bright eyes, perfectly content so long as one of us was there patting her tummy. If we tried to sneak back to our own bed, however, tried to leave her there alone, the wailing would start. And so this continued for far too long, one of us there, half-asleep, willing her to close her eyes. She finally – finally! – drifted off sometime between four and five, only to wake again, ready to face the day, an hour later.

I tell you this not to complain or to invoke sympathy, for I know this is just a part of life with an infant in the household, but to give a little background, a bit of prelude.

As you might have guessed, Wednesday was a long day for us, and during the prayer time at our weekly bible study that evening, I mentioned that Katie had not been sleeping well of late. Mike prayed for our family, that Katie would have peace in her mind and in her soul and in her heart, that she would continue to grow and develop in love, that all of us would get the rest we need.

* * * * *
There is much I don’t understand about prayer, much that confuses me.

I know that prayer is, primarily, about relationship, about our drawing near to God so that we might know Him better and therefore become more like Him, but I also know that we are told to bring our petitions before Him, that He delights to give good gifts to His children. I know that God is omnipotent and good, but that somehow, human will and divine will and a fallen world and prayer all mix together in some inexplicable way to create the results we see (and don’t see). I know that prayer is not about getting what I want, that God is a Person, not a vending machine, that there’s no set formula or guarantee for having Him answer my requests in the way and in the time that I want, but that somehow, He still wants us to ask expectantly. I know that there are many, many cries from many, many hearts that go unanswered, petitions for things so much bigger, so much more important than a good’s night rest, and I don’t know how to explain all of this, how to fit it all together. I can’t explain it, can’t fit it all together; it is so much bigger than me.

There is much I don’t understand about prayer, much that confuses me, but I know this: on Wednesday evening, Mike prayed for rest for our family. Wednesday night, Katie slept from 8 until 12:30, and then from 1:30 until 5. Last night, she slept from 8 until 11, and then from 11:15 until 4. Today, I woke up feeling like a new person.

* * * * *
An order of events, if you’ll bear with me, a list of bare facts to help me sort through this in my mind:1. Katie gives up sleeping, and we go many days with not enough rest, with her waking constantly and yelling often.
2. A godly man prays for rest.
3. Katie sleeps, and I get the longest period of uninterrupted rest that I have had in weeks.It seems so simple, written like this, but I must confess that still, I wrestle, still, my mind asks, “But what about …?”And these questions are valuable. They are worth asking in humility. But maybe not today. Today, in this moment, I will do my best to put those questions to rest. Today, in this moment, I will give thanks. Today, in this moment, I will be grateful for the
rest I have been given.

Family and Parenting, Loving God

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2 Responses to Of Infant Sleep and Answered Prayer

  1. Janet says:

    So glad Katie slept!