Monday, September 8, 2008

He Gives Strength to the Weary...

and oh, boy, was I weary this morning. Last night was the worst of the last 5 nights that Mike has been away, and in addition to an insomniac baby, I had a grand mess in the kitchen and rest of the house, so I was ready to lose it. I did lose it. At 4:30 in the morning, I hadn't slept more than 2 hours total, and I was doing the dishes that were piled in the sink, just so I could hook up the dishwasher and run the dirty dishes through that had been sitting for two days. After all, we would need some plates to eat our hamburger buns on for breakfast. (I left the refrigerator open the night before, so we had no food for breakfast except what was in the freezer. Hamburger buns. Yum.)

Crawling back into bed at 5, Avi still was awake, so I took her with me, ruining the last 4 nights of work to keep her in her crib. She immediately calmed down and fell asleep. And I cried. I hadn't even had an hour to myself since last week, I realized, and I wouldn't have any chance to sleep before the girls would be up for the day. The house needed cleaning, and not just for my comfort. It needed cleaning for our health and safety. We needed food in the refrigerator, and I needed to make sure I had a babysitter for this week, and those following. I needed to prepare for lessons starting, and actually show up at work for real. During the dark hours between night and morning, everything seems insurmountable. I prayed, trying not to feel the usual guilt for feeling sorry for myself. I asked God for supernatural strength, not entirely resigned to a reality in which He'd actually give it to me.

Somewhere between 5:30 and 7:30, I dozed. When Nourit woke up, I coaxed her back into bed with me while I nursed Avi, buying a little more time to just lie still. At 8, she said, "Mommy, it's time to get up." I couldn't imagine how I was going to stand up, much less make it through the day. Driving to the store on such little sleep seemed like a dangerous idea, but staying home all day with a toddler seemed more dangerous.

But I did it. I got up, toasted our hamburger buns and spread peanut butter and jam on them, and began to feel something like optimism. It could possibly be a good day. We could go to the store, I could get a coffee to drink while we shopped. I wouldn't have to call child services on myself after all. And even though there were a few episodes where my fuse almost blew, we made it into the car and to Lincoln Park without a hitch. Nourit had a great time pushing her little cart next to mine, and Avi snoozed in the Moby wrap. We went to the coffee shop, bought groceries, and made it back before the rain came. Then, both girls napped (which hasn't happened in a few days), and somehow, as I write this at 9pm, the house is relatively clean. (I did find a cockroach belly up in the cleaning bucket, but at least I didn't have to chase him down.)

An hour ago, I sat down to find the passage in Isaiah that I have highlighted, and turn to so many times.
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. (A much bigger job than keeping the pantry stocked.) He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Does that mean He can make sense of my irrational, middle-of-the-night thoughts?) He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."
And even though I know this verse so well that I intentionally looked for it, it really hit me tonight. He gave me that strength today. In my sleep-deprived weakness, He gave me the power to not only make it through the day, but to feel a peace and a joy that at 4:30 in the morning, I thought I would never feel until my children were adults.

Maybe once school starts, I'll even find myself running races and soaring on wings like eagles.

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