The other night, I finally came up with a name for what often affects me in the night. Many nights, I will go to bed thoroughly exhausted, only to be woken up during the night and find myself wide awake for hours with my mind racing and my heart burdened about the things in life causing me great concern.
Friday night was one of those nights. I went to bed shortly after 10:00 pm, fell asleep, and awakened less than an hour later. I went to the bathroom, and by the time I got back in bed, I knew I was in trouble. I was not going right back to sleep. I had gone to bed feeling upset with the behaviors and choices made by two of my children and that all came flooding back to me at that moment. As I lay there, fighting against my thoughts and trying to get back to Sleepy Land, the name “Night Demons” came to mind. That is what I decided to name the circumstances within our family which cause me great concern and keep me awake at night. They are usually related to our children. I fought to go back to sleep for almost an hour, and finally I couldn’t lie in bed any longer. The Night Demons were taunting quite persistently and one of my dogs had begun snoring so loudly that I couldn’t stand it anymore. I got up out of bed, grabbed my journal, Bible, and pen and went to my husband’s office to write out my feelings and thoughts.
The Night Demons have robbed me of sleep more hours than I could possibly count. I have lost countless hours of restful sleep over the last few years as our children live through their teen years. I am amazed how the issues that are sort of “quietly” concerning me during the day become outright giant tormentors in the night. During the day, I attempt to speak about the concern to God and leave it with Him to handle. Or, I may pursue coming up with a solution to whatever the problem is. Or, I may try to bury it in the back of my mind because I have no idea what to do about it. During the middle of the night, when all is quiet, and I am not busy doing all the things that must be done in daily life, those issues which were just gnawing at me earlier begin yelling very loudly. There is no stuffing them down and hiding them away. They throw their punches and beat me down in the night. They grow bigger and bigger in the darkness and make me feel miserable and helpless.
Leaving my bedroom Friday night, I went into Michael’s office, opened my Bible up to a random page, and sat down with my journal to write all my feelings and thoughts. Sometime, I noticed my Bible was opened to Ecclesiastes, and part of what I wrote in the journal was the words from Ecclesiastes. Somehow, I tend to find myself in Ecclesiastes when I’m feeling down. As I wrote, I cried all my woes to God, told Him of all my frustrations and concerns, and of my utter feelings of helplessness to change anything I felt was wrong. God is greater than the Night Demons. I believe Him to be the only way to conquer them.
As I finally began to feel tired and spent from the intense writing, I felt like I had resolved nothing over the prior two hours. The truth is: I really had.
I had written and spoken to God about all my sorrows, concerns, and feelings that I was incapable of making my children listen and take to heart my admonishments about one thing or another. Once again, I realized and faced head-on my lack of control. I cannot control my children’s wills, attitudes, thoughts, or actions. I can instruct, encourage, admonish, and discipline them, but I cannot make them do what is right and what is best for them or others. I long to have their hearts tender and yielded towards us, but the truth is that there are plenty of times their hearts become hardened to us and to the truth and wisdom we offer. I know that only God can deal with matters of the heart. It is only God that can truly change a heart. Man can attempt to force a change upon themselves or upon another person, but nothing truly changes unless God brings about that change. My lack of control is so very humbling.
Over the last 21 years, I have endeavored to be the greatest mom and parent and endeavored to raise good children who become adults of great character. However, I have realized that, ultimately, the outcome is not dependent on my human efforts. It really is all a matter of God’s doing. He is the Master Potter, and I am clay just like my children. Yes, by God, I have been given the privilege to play a certain influential role in my children’s lives; I do not discount that aspect at all. But the final result is God’s accomplishment, not mine. I am part of the threads in the grand tapestry of this earthly life; I am not The Weaver of the tapestry. I can take credit for nothing. As He molds who I am and as He weaves my place in the tapestry of life, so also does that affect how I instruct, encourage, admonish, and discipline my children. The work God brings about in me affects the influence I have upon my children.
We all find ourselves at the grace and mercy of God, whether we believe it or not. There are all kinds of vessels created by the Master Potter; all having a different role to play in this earthly life. We are molded by the Potter as He wills and as He does. (Romans 9)
It is always His will being done, not mine.
As I am repeatedly faced with these truths each day, I am humbled more and more.
This is the most difficult season of parenting I have ever faced. Yet, I am also learning the most about entrusting others into God’s hands and trusting Him to do His perfect work within them.
Believing and trusting in God’s sovereignty...