how God showed up

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thank you thank you, friends.  You sent emails, texts, and Facebook comments saying, "I will stand with you!"  Thank you.  Since we're in this  together, I wanted to share how God showed up this week.

First, God showed up at 8 p.m.

For three nights, my sweet baby boy screamed for hours in the middle of the night.  He wanted to nurse, we were supposed to nurse, and he was not letting me off the hook.  We rocked and paced and walked outside and cried together, until slowly slowly, as long as I was standing up and patting his little back, his wailing eased.  Eventually he rested his head on my shoulder, tucked his little arms in, and dozed off.  Those were hard nights.

Then we had a few in-between nights where he stopped crying, but would only sleep if I was holding him.  An improvement, to be sure, but I still wasn't getting any sleep.  In desperation I emailed a specialist, and she said I had to break the food-sleep connection.  Nurse him at dinner time, and make that separate from his bedtime routine.  Even though he was going to bed awake, he still associated nursing with falling asleep, and that was our problem.  So I rearranged his bedtime routine.

Here is where God showed up.

On night five, my baby cried at bedtime.  But now we were struggling at 7:30 p.m., not 2 a.m.  Do you know how much easier it is to deal with a crying baby at 7:30 p.m.?  SO much easier.  It was God's relief for me.  He didn't let me escape the hard things, but He gave a little grace, a little wiggle room to do them without losing my mind.  

That night my husband and I took turns going to his room, comforting him, then putting him down awake.  I'm not a cry-it-outer, but I am a sleep-through-the-nighter, so we walked the tightrope between gentle comfort for a sad baby and creating a new routine that night.  It was sad, but it was sad at 7:30.  Eventually, I went back to his room, held him for a minute, assured him I loved him and I knew he could do this, put him back into his crib with his little blanket, and .... 

silence.  He went to sleep.  And slept for ten hours.

Thanks be to God.  For sleep, and for the grace of pushing through at bedtime instead of the middle of the night.  

Next, God showed up in my best friend.

I've been feeling displaced ever since I cried in that room.  In the middle of my identity crisis, my best friend is a gentle, steady presence in my life.  Without her, I would surely wither away and die.  This week her workload was lighter, and nearly every day she has been with my family - taking the babies to the zoo, carrying little boys on her back during our Thanksgiving hike, helping me gut the playroom and basement yesterday in preparation for Christmas (we packed her entire car with kid crap for Good Will.  How is that even possible!?  We've only lived here eight months!).  She knew I was drowning, and as is her habit, she hasn't tried to diagnose or fix me.  She just showed up.  Every day, all week, hauling boxes and changing diapers and doing what she does.  

She has been the face of grace in my life this week.  Not letting me off the hook, but not leaving me alone either.  Thanks be to God.

Then, last night, God showed up in a conversation with my husband.

our Thanksgiving hike
Like everyone's spouse, my husband sees me at my meanest, most irrational, most ungracious moments.  Last night, as he put the toddler's bed back together (because she takes off her diaper and intentionally wets her bed so often there was a complete washing of every single part of her bed and ... let's not talk about it), he talked me down.  He reminded me that babies are isolating, and I've been having babies for a long long time.  I go through these cycles of feeling alone in the world when I have a baby.  It's not the world's fault, and it's not mine.  It is just the season.  A prolonged season, but a normal one.  And it's going to get better.

This is exactly why we need people who really know us.  We live out these cycles and can't recognize them without someone to point them out.  In the moment we're so caught up in how we feel, we have no wider view.  We need people who love us to remind us we've been here before, and we're going to be okay.  

We need people to help us see our way out, and they can't do that if we don't first let them in.

So I'm better.  Climbing my way out of the crisis, little by little.  Only because of the people who love me (including you!), and because God showed up.

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