I got away for an hour or so last night. I spent some time reading one of my favorite parenting books and some time texting my friend Kristin who just moved away. Between tears and texts I didn’t read much but felt like I needed a little primer on sacrifice so I skipped ahead to that chapter. Here is an excerpt:
God calls us as parents to lay down a blanket of sacrifice on behalf of the next generation. This is the way of Jesus. In many ways, sacrifice defines love. It was one thing for Jesus to tell the world, ‘I love you’. It was another thing entirely when he demonstrated his love by dying on our behalf….Without sacrifice, love becomes mere words and empty sentiment.” -Gary Thomas Sacred Parenting
So this being fresh in my mind, with a very sore throat and a cold coming on I went to bed early….you know where this is going if you read this post two weeks ago.
It took me an hour to fall asleep because of the severe throat pain, every swallow made me want to cry.
12:30 AM – I wake to Caleb sobbing in his bed, I run in, he is waving his hands everywhere and crying about his trucks, “They are gone, someone stole them, it was Kyler, it was Daddy, they are not here, I put them right here”. I rummage around in the dark to find his bag of cars. Crisis solved. Tuck both boys in as Kyler woke up in the mayhem.
1 AM-Still can’t get back to sleep because of the throat, get up and take some pain medication. Lay in bed 30 minutes waiting for it to work. It does.
2 AM-Kyler standing 4 inches from my face “Read a book?”. Me-are you kidding me, I just fell asleep-“No, come into bed with me and snuggle, it’s nightime.” He spends 20 minutes trying to get comfortable then wiggles out of bed. I take him to his bed, tuck him in there.
2:30 AM-Just fell asleep again. Audrey wakes up, I feed her. While she’s nursing, I hear noises. Then more noises. I am hyperventilating, sure someone is in our house. I am too tired to think clearly. I lay Audrey down and creep out to the living room.
Kyler, no burglar. Just Kyler. Playing with daddy’s lighter that was left on the floor. Taking the contents of daddy’s wallet out and lining them up on the floor. Playing with daddy’s leatherman tool. Taking out his work papers. He asks for a snack. We put all daddy’s stuff back where it was. I let him blow the lighter out a few times and praise God he didn’t light the carpet on fire while he was out there alone. I give him some milk and put him in bed again. Lay with him. Tuck him in.
4 AM-I wake to the sound of Kyler on top of me and something sticky dripping on my face. I smell peppermint. He tries to talk to me. I can’t understand anything he says. He is drooling all over my head and pillow. Finally I realized he’s chewing most of a pack of gum. No idea where from or how long he’s been up. I ask him to spit out the gum. He’s happy to oblige.
I’m about done with this fun. I finally wake up Christopher and ask him to deal with Kyler. 5 seconds later Audrey wakes up. Only she doesn’t go right back to sleep like usual. She’s up for the day. So now it’s 6:30 and she just went down for her first nap of the day. Somewhere in there before 5:30 Christopher left for work too. And you do the math, how much did I sleep? Yeah, I don’t even want to know.
Sacrifice indeed. The phrase that I’ve read so many times in the Bible about Jesus laying His life down for us has never been so real to me as it is right now. I’ve said it before to friends but it’s taken a few kids to bring me to my knees in so many ways (good, hard ways). I could fake it, keep it together, act like things were under control and generally keep up with life with one child, two kids and even three surprised me. But I can’t anymore.
My desperation for God to carry me through the day, to sustain me in ways that are truly beyond comprehension are a daily reality in this life with four. There are many, many days that by all signs should be in the toilet from lack of sleep, sickness, etc. But I believe with all my heart that God hears my quiet prayers and He is faithful to answer them. Not always my way, but He always comes through. I can feel it. I know He’s here. I know He’s placing one foot in front of the next and tenderly leading me through the day. I could not survive a day without that. He is more than able and I am SO not able, especially on days like today.