Tag Archives: Scripture

Insomnia

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We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5.

Lucy climbs out of her crib.  She creeps into my room.  “Mommy, cuddle you.”  I pry open dry eyes, throw the covers back, swoop her up, stumble back to her room.  I rock her as she snuggles into my neck for a few breaths.  I lay her down, spread her blankie over her back, lurch back to bed.  I toss and turn for a long time.  My mind spins with our life.  Finally, I sink into sleep.

The dog, Diva, whines in her sleep.  My eyes snap open again.  The wheels in my weary mind start to grind – again.  I sigh, sit up, open my Nook, read a few Psalms, turn my body to shield the backlight from my sleeping husband.  After a few minutes, I lie down and wait for sleep to cover me again.

The wind whips a branch against the side of the house.  I jerk out of sleep, shoot straight up, eyes wide.  Just the wind.  I resettle my mind, rearrange my pillows, snuggle down under covers again.  My mind is too full; I push back my thoughts while I try to drift into sleep….

Then, the door cracks open – “Mommy, cuddle you.”

Over and over again.  Night after night.

I am so tired.

During the days, I wear thin.  I snap quickly, leave laundry unfolded, forget to return emails and phone calls. I want to live above my long tunnel of sleepless nights, but I am so human, so fragile.  Flesh thoughts. Victim thoughts. Melodramatic thoughts. It is hard to handle life tired.

We are slaves to our bodies.

I cry to God for sleep, just one night of long hours of uninterrupted sleep.  A quiet mind, a rested body.  Then –

What if this is an opportunity?

What?

An opportunity.  

For what?

To renew your mind.

Sleep will renew my mind.

Ah, so will a simple choice.  Do you trust me with these circumstances that spin in your mind in the dark hours I’ve set aside for your rest?

Huh.

I stop in my tracks.  Conviction cascades over me.  I see it.  I put aside my cares, my anxieties in a separate space during the day.  Then I pick them up again as I lay my head down.  I thread them through my night hours, endlessly spinning them on the strings of sleepless hours, the hours in which I can do nothing to redeem them.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7.

Lord, I have a busy life. I do not have time to dwell on hard things, nor do I want to. I want to be free.

Ah, that is part of this choice.  This is an opportunity to renew your mind. What will you choose?

How do I do that, Lord?  How do I redeem my sleepless nights?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom.12:1-2.

How could I miss this?  Is that not what keeps me up at night?  Trying to discern His will? Mulling over this muddy vortex that appears to complicate His good, pleasing and perfect will?  I mistakenly believe that my mind is what holds me back, but no, it is not my mind; it is my lack of discipline over my mind.  

Do you trust me with these circumstances that spin in your mind in the dark hours I’ve set aside for your rest?

Yes.

Will you let Me transform you by the renewing of your mind?

Yes.

I confess that I have not cast my cares upon the Lord.

I confess that I have dwelled on that which belongs solely to the Lord.

I lay down the circumstances that feel complicated to me, but are laid bare before You, Lord.  You have a way through. Indeed, You Are the Way through.

I tell you everything in my mind, Lord.  You already know, but I give it to You myself.  I pour it out to you in the daylight hours, knowing you will hold it through the night. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Ps.62:8.

I take my thoughts captive, making them slaves to my freedom – not the other way around.  

And I sleep.

Unless the Lord watches over the city, 
   the guards stand watch in vain. 
In vain you rise early 
   and stay up late, 
toiling for food to eat— 
   for he grants sleep to those he loves. Ps. 127:1-2.


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Tantrum

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And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:12.

I sit in Barnes & Noble, creamy Earl Grey tea steaming next to my left hand, my Bible unfolded to 1 Kings 19 as it has been for days as I drink it into my parched spirit, over and over.  I have started this paragraph & deleted it – many times.  I do not know what to reveal, what to protect.

I will speak frankly.  I am in the midst of a bloated, messy, bloody temper tantrum with God.  

I beg Him to intervene for my justice, for my calling, for a redemptive outcome in a whirling vortex of circumstances over which I have no control.  (Child, perhaps My redemption will unfurl in an unexpected way.  I see you.  Do you see Me?)

I hesitate, because there is much at stake.  I want a specific outcome, a safe outcome, an outcome that costs something but not everything.  We may step into the redemptive healing of the outcome we believe is right; but we may not.   We must simply wait to see.

Lord, there is no sin in the outcome I desire.  We have been through so much pain.  We have seen Your glory.  You have done the work. Please do this for us.  

Beloved, I know all of that. Will you trust Me with it? Keep your eyes on Me.  I see you.  Do not look to the right or to the left.  Do not look at the rocky ground beneath you or the swarm of hoverers around you.  Look up at Me.  I see you.  

1 Kings 19 tells the story of Elijah’s heart after a staggering miracle God had done through him.  Elijah had challenged 450 prophets of Baal to a battle of worship.  They lost.  Elijah commanded the convicted Israelites to kill every one of the pagan prophets, effectively purifying God’s people from corrupt worship and lifting a (literal) drought on the rebellious land.  The rains fell on the parched land after the pagan slaughter, washing away judgment.  A clean start for God’s people.  All because of Elijah’s faithful obedience to the God of Israel.

Did Elijah rejoice wildly in the work of God?  Did he throw a giant party?  Did he kneel in thankful worship?  Did he relish the healing that God had done through Him?

Nope.

He threw a bloated, messy, bloody temper tantrum with God.

Huh.

Queen Jezebel (boo. hissss.) threatened to kill him for murdering her prophets.  Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. 1 Kings 19:3.  He fled to the desert, where he flung himself under a tree in empty turmoil.  He came to a broom tree, sat down under it, and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough Lord,” he said.  1 Kings 19:4.

Yes. Elijah is my homeboy.  A mighty work of God, followed by a mighty big fit.

God’s response?  Judgement?  Lightning bolt?  Stern reminders of the miracles for which He had consecrated His beloved prophet?  Get your head back in the game, Elijah!  Stop being such a baby!  Maybe you aren’t cut out for this……

No.  None of that.

As a Father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has compassion on us; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. Ps.103:13-14.

The Lord sent angels to serve Elijah.  He tucked him in for days of restful sleep.  He asked him for his grievances, then listened to his heart. His God spoke over him in a gentle whisper, the only language that a defeated Elijah was able to receive in those cloistered moments.

Then the Lord showered Elijah with grace. In those quiet whispers, God promised Elijah a smoother path under the leadership of his life.  He promised him a partner, Elisha, a companion in his lonely mission.  The grace of leadership, the grace of community, the grace of a God who sees us in our most desperate hours and shepherds us with tender strength and intervening mercy. 

Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.  1 Sam.14:6.

Right now I sit under the broom tree. I have had enough, Lord. But I fix my eyes wholly on the God of the gentle whisper, my Jesus who remembers that I am dust in a fragile vessel, merely earth and breath.  My eyes fill with tears as I remember who I am and the cost to redeem my broken life.  I bow before Who He Is, my El Roi, the Strong One Who Sees Me (Gen.16:13), who knows me, who shelters me and speaks tenderly to me.

Spill out your temper tantrum, beloved.  You are safe with me. But lock eyes with me – and trust me.

Yes, Lord.

What does He whisper to you?