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The Blessing of Sleepless Nights

Posted in: Bible Study ♦ Friday, June 24th, 2011, 1:09 pm ♦ Comments Off on The Blessing of Sleepless Nights
The Blessing of Sleepless Nights

The last three months have been the most physically demanding and emotionally exhausting of my life.  Our sweet Lydia was born with a milk protein allergy that has caused her a great deal of tummy issues.  I’m thankful to be able to put a name to it now because the eight weeks we spent trying to figure it out were grueling.  To watch your new baby wrench in pain, struggle to eat and therefore struggle to sleep is distressing, to put it mildly.  The emotional toll is exhausting and when coupled with physical exhaustion due to sleep deprivation, depression rushes in.  Accomplishing simple, daily tasks is difficult when you are surviving on four hours of sleep for weeks on end.  I started telling people not to even ask how I was doing because I just didn’t want to answer. (*Please don’t mistake my recounting of this difficulty as complaining.  I am well aware that my struggle is trivial compared to the trials of so many.  However, I feel it’s important to give a picture of the pain in order that God may be more glorified as I explain His triumph in it.)

In recent days, the Lord has opened my eyes to the ways He has been blessing me through this.  My first glimpse into His hand at work came from a quote by Paul Tripp that read like a mirror into my soul, “Today you’ll talk to yourself and speak a humbling gospel of grace or a false gospel of self-reliance, self-rule, self-righteousness.”  I grew up with a “pull yourself up by your boot straps” mentality.  When things got tough, you were just supposed to reach deep down and grab hold of enough gumption to get you through.  I took this mentality in trying to survive Lydia’s first days.  I remember waking up and thinking, “OK, Kate.  You can do this.  Come on!”  Boy, how wrong I was.  I was preaching to myself a false gospel of self-reliance, self-rule and self-righteousness.  When I read Tripp’s quote, this false gospel echoed in my ears and I was struck by conviction.  I realized how feeble and certainly unhelpful that gospel had been to me.  It had not strengthened me.  Instead, it made me feel more exhausted and down on myself.  As I confessed my sin, I felt that false gospel of self reliance start to fall away as the gospel of grace poured over me.  Relief.  For the first time in weeks, relief.  I could breath and felt hope.  Since that day, my sweet Lord has given me a renewed hunger for His gospel and a provisional grace unlike none I have ever known.  My new morning thought after four hours of sleep is, “Lord, it must be You today.  Please pour out Your grace.”

In church last weekend, our wonderful Emmy Davis sang Blessings by Laura Story.  It was the first time I’d heard the song and in that auditorium seat, the Lord once again poured grace over me and the evidence trickled down my face.  Tears.  But this time not of sadness and depression.  These were tears of gratitude to a very good God who had rescued me from myself and was letting me know what He’d been up to.  Here’s an excerpt from the song:

“Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise”

A thousand sleepless nights.  I wasn’t there yet but it honestly felt like it.  For the first time, I didn’t see Lydia’s struggle as a burden or something to feel sorry for myself about, I saw it as a blessing.  My Father loved me enough to allow this very difficult season in order that I might return to Him.  No more reliance on self but complete trust and reliance on Jesus.  A blessing disguised as sleepless nights.

My hope is that you’ll be encouraged by this post to consider how the Lord may be blessing you through whatever your trial may be.  Whether it’s the daily tug of the stress and pressures of this life or deep, down heartache like you’ve never known, He is revealing a longing for something better.  I hope you’ll give up trying to figure it all out yourself and realize the answer is in Him.  He is BETTER.

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