"God loves a lullaby in a mother's tears in the dead of night, better than a Hallelujah sometimes.." - Amy Grant
I remember when a friend half-jokingly reminded me of this lyric when I was having long nights with Emma in the early days.
Well, those days are back courtesy of my currently least favorite 6 letter word Eczema (my formerly least favorite 6 letter word was of course Monday).
I have a suspicion that Emma really understands and appreciates the benefits of sleep. We've had some great nights when she hasn't been struggling with stomach issues or itchy skin issues. But recently we've had some terrible nights due to the latter. I feel like a bit of a wimp because I know that it could be worse and that mothers around the world go through difficult seasons with their kids, but after being up from 11pm to 1:30am last night with Emma and then attempting to settle my mind into sleep, I started mentally composing this blog entry.
I have had the opportunity to be disappointed by every eczema cream we have tried so far in a quest for relief (Aveeno, Vaseline, Aquaphor, Neutrogena, California Baby, Burt's Bees, etc.). I now rely desperately on a newly prescribed antihistamine for Emma and a beautiful bottle of Ibuprofen for my lower back which is not a huge fan of the hours spent pacing at night with a baby who is either fighting against me as her sock-hands strain to scratch at her neck or legs...or a baby who has finally given into sleep and I pray won't be awakened by my own irregular breathing as I cry. Again.
I wish it were only Hallelujahs pouring out of me, as much as I hate to argue with Amy Grant.
I've now washed a good majority of Emma's clothes in baking soda to try to rid her things of any detergent residues. I've also bravely ventured into new territory free of Dairy, Wheat, Chocolate (!), Soy, Eggs, Peanuts and Potatoes. And I gladly give all of it up (even the glorious taste of half and half in my coffee) if it brings a reprieve.
So...what do I do with all of this? That is my question to myself this morning after the tease of 4 hours of sleep last night.
I'm reading Bill Hybels' "Power of a Whisper" for Ladies Life currently, and at various nighttime hours in particular feel like I am at the mercy of two very powerful whispers.
The first whisper says something along these lines,
"You are all alone."
"You cannot do this. You shouldn't even try."
"It's probably best if you abandon the hope that has long abandoned you."
The second whisper is more like this,
"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised"
"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word."
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
"He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength."
"Cast all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you."
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
My prayer in the midst of all of this (aside from ongoing desperate prayers for healing) is to find the balance between the honesty of a difficult season and joy-less resignation.
I know there is power (and wisdom) in thankfulness and I am SO thankful for a baby who is healthy, sweet, funny, chatty, smiley, and a humbling glimpse of the kind of love the Lord must have for us. And I am ultimately thankful for this,
Lamentations 3:22, 23 "The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning."
I'm banking on the newness of today, praying to encounter it with hope rather than defeat.