This one’s for the night-watchers.
The ones who can’t sleep because their bodies refuse to calm down.
The ones who can’t sleep because their life refuses to calm down.
The ones who can’t sleep because someone else can’t calm down.
The ones who won’t because they feel the responsibility and weight of the above reasons.
This one’s for the night-watchers, who are watching from a tower of mattress, feeling the discomfort of a thought lodged between the fluff of the bed that tells them their resting place is too rock hard. The night-watchers who are unable to end their shift patrolling for answers and who feel like the night sky is a wet blanket on their back rather than an expanse of starry hosts. This is for those who feel like tomorrow is coming too quickly or that yesterday is painfully drifting farther away or maybe they feel like their today is a jumble of the two and they don’t know why it makes them worry. Maybe this is even for the ones who haven’t seen a thing on patrol and believe restlessness in a time that should be restful is never-ending.
One night, my sleepy eyes opened up, struggling against the weight of fatigue, desperate not to slip back into the nightmare I’d been jolted from. I did not sit up in my bed. I did not fully awake. I did, however, very much want to keep from slipping back into sleep and continuing the nightmare (and no, I don’t even remember what it was about). However, in struggling to keep my eyes open, I found I’d rolled over in my sleep so that I was on my right side, facing the bedroom window.
For that split second of brief, mental prayers, asking God to help me as I go back to sleep, I saw it.
My curtains cracked apart just enough to reveal a deep indigo sky with a single star, right in view.
I remember praying, “Thank You, God.” Then my eyes gave way and I slept soundly the rest of the night.
That wasn’t necessarily a worry-filled night for me, but the image has stuck in my mind since. It has comforted on the days I am a nightwatcher, watching in vain. It reminds me especially of the single star I saw on my drive to Wisconsin for house-hunting (If you don’t know what I mean, here’s a blog post where I talked about it: “A Nomad and the Sky“).
I don’t know what else to tell you, night-watchers, except that God is still God as we sleep. Breathe deeply and cling to that promise. Go to bed, and maybe instead of watching a video tonight in attempts to drown out the noise with something louder, lay down and talk about what is most clamoring to the Lord. Talk to Him as a friend, and trust He holds you when you drift off.
And when morning comes, do not be daunted or surprised, because this is what you were really watching for:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
- Psalm 127 (The passage inspiring this post)
- “Be Still” by the Fray (One of my favorite songs of all time)
- “Our Breath Back” – a spontaneous worship session with Amanda Cook (I listen to this on nights where it’s most difficult to quiet my mind and sleep.)
- “Sleep – Best Lullaby Playlist Ever” a playlist by singer-songwriter, JJ Heller (Bonus: an episode of Andrew Osenga’s Pivot Podcast, interviewing her, in which she discusses writing lullabies and her struggle with clinically diagnosed anxiety and panic attacks.)
- This quote from Bethany Kaczmarek’s novel, Strains of Silence, I continually return to:
If it meant brighter stars, she would follow God into the darkness.
This idea of “night watch” has been on my heart a while, though the post above is brief, I know. I pray it meets you at a good time though. My word for 2019 is “courage,” so I’m chewing on what courage looks like in action. Usually, it means leaving your life in the hands of the One that creates your destiny.
Sleep well. And watch for the Lord’s hand when you’re struggling to, because He is there in the dark with you.