If I’ve learned (or confirmed) one thing about myself in the past two months of being a mother, it is that my sanctification is sorely tested when I am sleep deprived. At the start of a night, I am happy to gently rock my sweet bundle of joy for as long as he needs, quietly singing hymns and smiling fondly at his wide open eyes. By three a.m. he sees a very different version of his mother, this one with crazy hair, spit up stains, and a slightly wild look in my eyes as I repeatedly ask him, “Why are you still not asleep??”
This morning found me in a particularly cranky mood, frustrated at my continued lack of sleep and Jack’s continued love-hate relationship with feed times. As I took him back to the nursery for his 9 a.m. feed, I dreaded another round of gassy fussiness mixed with cries for more milk. As we settled in for the battle, I was pleasantly surprised to find him relatively calm for this feeding. For the wiggle worm that is my son, this is highly unusual! As he nursed, I was also surprised to find the bitterness I’d been wrestling with this morning start to fade away. I sang songs as they came to mind, interspersing hymns with lullabies and songs my family used to sing together. As I rocked him to sleep at the end of his feed, I began singing some of my personal favorites. Matt Papa’s Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call was on this Monday morning’s playlist, and I was struck by a line as I sang it.
“Be my vision in the night. Be my hope and refuge. ‘Til my faith is turned to sight, Lord, my heart will praise You.”
As I stumble out of bed for those middle of the night feeds, groping my way toward the bassinet, is Christ my vision? Do I look to Him when the shadows of the Fall loom large in the community around me, in the sin that easily besets me, in the fears and failings of my own heart? Am I clinging to Him as my hope and refuge in faith of a better world to come, or am I simply stuck bemoaning the world that is?
Motherhood has quickly revealed quite a few selfish tendencies I didn’t realize I had. I told Zach the other day that having a child isn’t just lightly chiseling away at my selfishness, but heaving at it with a demolition hammer. In this more intense season of being shown my own sinfulness, am I submitting to the sanctifying work of Christ with a heart of praise, instructing myself to continue to hope in Him? I fear that at 3 a.m. my thoughts are not usually quite so holy.
But He giveth more grace.
The heaviness that often comes with living life in a fallen world can leave us weary, with a gaze that looks inward to find the strength to carry on. This usually has an opposite effect, causing us to feel even more tired as we attempt to summon the energy to keep trudging along on our own. Sometimes we then shift our gaze outward but become so overwhelmed by the problems around us that we are pulled closer to exhaustion and burnout. But Christ is to be our vision not just in the sunny light of day, but the black darkness of night as well. When we look to Him, we see our God on a cross, proclaiming, “It is finished.” When we shift our focus to the God of Light, we are once again reminded that the Source of all good gifts has promised us all we need for godliness, clothing us in His righteousness and indwelling us with His strengthening Spirit. When we make Christ our night vision, we hear Him beckon us, “Come unto me and rest.”