Finding the strength to get through hard times

For two nights in a row now, I’ve ended up sleeping on the couch half the night with my son who has been sick. The first night didn’t involve much sleeping because he was up sick every 20 or 30 minutes. Last night, he was no longer getting sick, but I couldn’t find a comfortable position and fall asleep until about 30 minutes before my alarm went off.

As I reclined last night, tossing and turning in my head (my body couldn’t move much because there was a little boy snuggled against it), I couldn’t help but think back to the same little guy’s first three months of life. For his first three months that’s exactly how we spent every night on the couch. I had the recliner on my end to lean back in, but we were up most of the night. He had reflux and wasn’t a fan of sleeping. He’d nurse off and on. He’d cry. He’d eventually fall asleep on his Boppy beside me about two hours before his preschool-aged sister would wake up for the day. They were long months. I remember once lying on the living room floor just to remember what it felt like to lie down. It sounds dramatic, but it was legitimate.

We’ve come a long way in almost six years. Those newborn days with my son were rough. Newborn days are exhausting in general. Some are more exhausting than others. My daughter, for example, settled into a routine after a couple of weeks and would at least let me sleep three hours or so at a time. 

Parenthood totally pushes you to your limits. It starts right off the bat in the newborn days and continues through each phase. Sometimes it’s easier and sometimes it’s incredibly difficult. That year with my newborn son, I ended up with shingles as a result of the strain. I also had numerous other sicknesses and major surgery when he was 8 months old. It was a difficult year, to say the least.

The older I get, the more I realize life is like that. We encounter one event after another and wonder how we are ever going to survive it and have the strength to keep going. We think this will do us in. I remember during those three months with my son that some nights, we would both just sit and cry together. He couldn’t be soothed, and I was beyond weary. I wasn’t sure I could keep going night after night, but I did because I had to. I had a little baby depending on me for his survival. And I made it. 

There have been many other situations I’ve faced that are just as wearisome if not more so. Each time I’m left wondering if I’ll make it through. Each time, I do. I don’t, however, make it through on my own. I’m not so strong by myself. Most of my closest encounters with God have come at times when I was at the very end of myself and unsure I could keep moving one foot in front of the other. Because just like I didn’t abandon my son when he was a newborn who needed me or a sick 5-year-old who needed me, so has God never abandoned me. He’s been right there through the thick of it all, carrying me, loving me and giving me strength. Day by day and sometimes minute by minute. 

He will do the same for you. In fact, He longs to. Just like when my kids are sick and I long to be with them and help them, so He longs to be with and help us when we are struggling. We just have to ask Him. If my kids hid away quietly in their rooms suffering, I’d not know they needed me. But they trust me to take are of them. They trust that when they call out for me in need, I will answer. How much more we can trust God to do the same! He never gets weary or complains to himself about the hard work. He just shows up, loves us and takes care of us. All we have to do is call out and He’ll come running to wrap His arms around us. He is so, so good!

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