One of the hardest things about being a mommy is listening to Jones cry, knowing that if I went in his room and scooped him up, he would stop — but he most certainly would not sleep.
Today has been a long day for him. His second nap was supposed to be taken in a car seat, sitting in the midst of loud choruses and unfamiliar, micro-phoned voices at Zion. We also ate out for lunch, which meant nap #3 was in the car seat, too. (Needless to say, he rarely sleeps well on Sunday mornings.)
I know he’s really tired. I know he needs to sleep. I know that he’d stay up for hours if we never put him in his crib. I know what’s best for him, because I’m his mommy. Unfortunately, getting Jones to sleep under these conditions usually equals a lengthy bout of crying — he cries as I change his diaper; he cries when I try to give him his pacifier; he cries when he spits it out accidentally; he cries as I swaddle him; he cries as I pick him up; he cries as I rock him and attempt to calm him down; he cries as I lay him in his crib; he cries as I leave the room.
I know this paints a very sad and lonely picture. I hate doing this. It is absolutely my least favorite part of parenting. But I know that it’s necessary. There is plenty of advice out there telling me to do it differently, and I often question whether this is really the best thing for Jones or not — should I really let him cry? I just want to do what’s best for him — I just want him to feel safe, secure, and loved. But when he cries because he’s tired, my arms are not his greatest need.
As I’ve thought of this, I’ve been reminded of the difficulties the LORD has allowed in my life in order to cultivate obedience in my heart. I can see an inch — His field of vision is never-ending. I think He’s left me out-to-dry — He knows the result of every trial. I am eager for the end product, yet unwilling to experience the pain of letting go of my selfishness and supposed ‘rights’. He is refining me, a process I don’t always enjoy.
In hindsight, I gain perspective from the harsh storms of life, which allows me to know and understand the LORD in ways I never imagined. But were it up to me, I would always want to be under an umbrella.
And were it up to Jones, I think he would never sleep more than 45 minutes.