I started out writing this post at my desk and in complete despair. I try not to blog at work, but I had to have an outlet today. I was suffacating. I wasn't going to post this because I was just writing to relieve stress. Some of it makes since, some doesn't. But as I wrote the Spirit Of The Lord fell upon me and changed my heart. I want you to see this because it proves that our God is big enough to handle our emotions, he is big enough to handle our tears, and if we let him, he is big enough to change our hearts. As you read please remember that I wasn't writing to write. I was writing to release. Whatever came into my head I typed. I corrected spelling errors but that is all. Here it is:
I sit here at work completely overwhelmed and quite near tears. My body feels physically heavy. I'm shaking and trying with all of my might to muster the strength to write. I sigh, and the heaviness lingers. I feel defeated.
Last night Eli was up again. It was simple enough, he wanted a drink of water. I was a little upset by this disturbance and had a hard time falling back asleep, so I prayed. I must have fallen asleep in my Abba Father's arms because I awoke this morning ready for the day. I drove to work with Eli on my mind and decided that being up for seven minutes last night was not the end of the world.
Then, after my show I called my dad to check on him and Eli. That is when I found out that it had been a bad morning. Instantly I was flooded with a wave of emotions, drowning in the despair of realizing that Tuesday's surgery had not been a fix all. Now what?
I had two days of complete peace, two days of hope, and two days of joy knowing that the exhaustion, frustration and bleakness of the past seven months was all but a memory. Or was it?
The questions keep coming...
Is this my new life? Am I ever going to sleep again? Is my reality sleepless nights followed by early mornings, followed by the motions of trying to make it through another exhausting day? Am I just being negative? Am I sleep deprived or is this depression? Am I bad mother? What kind of mother can't teach her child to sleep? What did I do wrong? Why didn't sleep training work? Why didn't crying it out work? What is next? How will this impact my marriage, my career, my relationships? Can I muster the strength to find joy again?
I know I should be happy, I know I should move on. I know, I know, I know. But I can't. Can't never could...what?
Do I put my mind around the reality that I will possibly never sleep again? Do I acknowledge that I have failed at teaching my child one of life's most basic nessesities? Do I accept this failure, swallow my pride and brace myself for many more sleepless night? It would be freeing. It would lower my expectations which would in turn make it easier to accept.
Or do I fight? Do I pour my heart and soul into training my child? Will it become an obsession that is unattainable? Or will it be a discipline that will bring successful, sleep-filled nights? Do I fight this battle and risk having my heart ripped out every time something goes awry? Or do fight this battle and come out on the other side a victor?
Are there answers to these questions? If so, what are they? Yes, there is an answer...the answer!
Nehemiah 8:10: "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
(When I did I stop grieving over poverty, pain, and injustice and start grieving over sleep? Sad!)
Joy is not an emotion. It is not dependent on sleep or other favorable situations. Joy is a spiritual DISCIPLINE. A presence that is with us in spite of our circumstance. Joy does not come from our earthy reality. Joy comes in knowing that HE IS RISEN. HE HAS CONQUERED THE GRAVE. THE BATTLE IS OVER AND JESUS IS LORD! Can I get an Amen?
Happiness on the other hand is a choice. Happiness is dependent on our circumstances, on our perception of reality and on our earthy understandings. I have joy, but I am not happy.
WRONG!! If I have Joy, then I must also have happiness. Not because the two are the same, not because they go hand in hand, but because the world is watching. To the world these two words are synonymous. We as believers know they are not, but the world does not realize this.
It is ok to cry. It is ok to grieve because for everything under heaven there is a season. It is not ok however, to lose joy. Because if the Spirit is within us, we must produce the fruit of love, JOY, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
I don't know about you all, but the Spirit lives within me! I am more than a conqueror in Christ! His JOY is my strength! And with or without sleep I will show the world who I serve!!! I serve the God of hope, the God of peace and the God of JOY!!!
Do you serve the God Of Joy? If so, what is he doing in your life?