Napping… to the glory of God?

Naps.

I love them. I hate them.

Go to sleep, Mommy.
Go to sleep, Mommy.

After four pregnancies, I’m coming to believe that they should be a part of almost every day for the pregnant or nursing mom.

But naps can be tricky. Especially when you consider other children in the picture, temptations to be too lazy or too productive, and a mind that sometimes wreaks havoc on your conscience.

Sometimes it feels like you can’t do anything else. Sometimes it feels like such a waste of time. Sometimes it feels like they cause more problems than they help.

A few weeks ago while Sophia was sick, I sat down on the couch getting ready to crash for a nap.  Somewhere in the third level of my subconscious or something, I had this thought: “Lord, please give me the rest I need right now. Help me not to take more than what I need. Help me to be happy and to trust you even if I don’t get any. And help me to wake up refreshed and ready to serve my family again.”

Now please understand; what I just wrote there was far more coherent than the actual thought in the moment. But it did kind of startle me and make me think, “Why have I never prayed about naps before?” (Besides, “please help everyone be good, and please let me sleep for two hours, and please help the baby not to cry!”)

If we’re to do everything including eating and drinking to the glory of God, why not endeavor to take naps to His glory as well?

Resting to ease our bodies of the nightly feedings or physical demands of pregnancy and nursing is completely legitimate; but our rest should be with the intention of getting up to again serve and fulfill our roles as wife, mother, and follower of Jesus.

How many times have I gotten up off the couch so frustrated and hurt because I hadn’t gotten what I needed? The problem was actually my attitude, concentrating on my needs rather than seeking to better help those around me. God knows what I need; He is a better Shepherd to me than I will ever comprehend. I need to do what I can to be a faithful steward of my body and mind; but ultimately I must trust Him and receive what His good hand gives or takes with thankfulness.

I would be remiss not to mention that these thoughts were planted in my mind by the ladies at Girl Talk. Their post Is it Wrong to Look Forward to my Child’s Naptime? addresses some of these very same thoughts. I love this line, “… we as Christians should approach all our time—even our leisure time—as “God” time. Therefore we should rest to His glory, just as we work to His glory. And bringing our rest into this light helps us to evaluate it biblically.”

Here is the original question, “Is the goal of my rest to be refreshed in order to better serve my family and others?” 

It’s a great question. Even though I read this quite awhile ago, it is only now becoming a part of my conscious thought process.

Just one more area of my life to surrender. Just one more idol I hold dear to lay down.

Just one more way to discover that His mercies reach to the heavens and His compassions fail not. Just one more to way to remember how much joy there is in trusting Him.

Just one more way to glorify Him in this vapor called my life.

Amanda: In God’s waiting room

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope that you all have enjoyed the stories that have been shared here this week as much as I have. Janine and Kristin, thank you again, so much!

Today’s story is so special to me! Amanda and her husband have been a huge blessing to Paul and I. Their friendship is completely accepting and always uplifting; we learn so much from them. Amanda, I know this wasn’t easy for you to do, but I am so grateful and humbled that you shared. Thank you!

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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

I have to remind myself of this verse often because I tend to focus on the things I don’t have instead of the many wonderful blessings the Lord has given me. This is especially true as Mother’s Day approaches. Mother’s Day is a wonderful time that allows us to celebrate and honor the sacrifice and impact our mothers have had on our lives. However, for me it is an emotional day that is bitter sweet because I long to be a mother.

Anyone who knows me would probably describe me as “planful and organized.” I enjoy seeing a goal and developing a plan to get there. I usually have Plan A, B, and C; I guess you could call me a control freak. So of course I had a “plan” for when my husband and I would start our family. My “plan” was for both of us to finish school (my husband was in Law school and I was completing my Master’s) and then we would begin our family. Little did I know, God had HIS PLAN.

In December 2009, after seven years of marriage, we began trying to get pregnant. Month after month we were met with disappointment. After a year and a half, we decided to undergo medical tests to determine the cause of our infertility. After many tests (sometimes I felt like a science experiment) and several cycles of Clomid we still didn’t get pregnant. I remember completing the last cycle of Clomid to no avail and discussing next steps with my doctor. She basically told me there were no physical reasons for our infertility and offered advanced medical procedures to help. We didn’t feel comfortable with that, so we decided to stop all tests/medications. I was so disappointed that the Clomid didn’t work and I felt I had failed as a woman because I couldn’t fulfill my purpose—to be a mom. Deep down I had hoped we’d find some medical reason so we could have a quick “fix” for our infertility and move on with “my plan.”

It has been almost three and a half years since we started trying to have a family and we are still waiting. The question that keeps coming to my mind is, “Will you trust the Lord even if He doesn’t give you the desires of your heart?” I want my answer to be, “YES, I will trust you Lord no matter what!” However, I’m ashamed to say that there are days when I have a “pity party,” feel sorry for myself, and begin to question the Lord–“Why me, Lord?” It’s humbling to see your true character as you endure a trial. Sometimes I deceive myself and think that my motives are pure and righteous. However, that is far from the truth. What I didn’t realize was that my deep down assumption was that the Lord “owed me” and I was entitled to have ALL of my desires met. After all, I had obeyed, followed, and served Him, so why wouldn’t I have a child like everyone else? I just expected Him to make it happen according to my plan.

I am so thankful for the Lord’s patience and renewed mercies each day because I am in need of them every minute! Even in the midst of my “pity parties” and my child-like demands, the Lord continues to love me and reveal Himself to me. Each time I’m at the end of my rope, He encourages and convicts me, whether through His Word, in a song on KLove, or through the words of a close friend. I stand in awe of his detailed care and love for me even when I am so undeserving!! I have discovered that His timing is always perfect.

I’m not going to say that every day is easy (because I still have my pity parties), but through lots of prayer and studying His word I’m beginning to see that He’s using this trial to purify and change me. I now know that “my plan” wouldn’t have allowed me to experience His grace. It’s His grace NOT my strength that allows me to get through each month. As I focus on Him, I can see that my purpose in life is not to be a mother or to have ALL my desires fulfilled. Rather, my purpose is to glorify Him even if I have unfulfilled desires and experience things that are painful. As I take my eyes off of my plans and desires, I can see that He is orchestrating every detail of my life for His purpose. I am beginning to see that sometimes we have to endure trials so that He can put us on display to show Himself to others. He has used this broken vessel to encourage those experiencing infertility and share Christ with women whom I wouldn’t have normally been able to reach. What a blessing!!

As I focus on HIS PLAN, I’m also learning to celebrate and appreciate the gifts and blessings he has given me, like my wonderful husband (who has been my rock), my family, and all my many friends. I have so much to be thankful for!! As we celebrate Mother’s Day today, I am anxiously awaiting HIS PLAN for me and I am confident that it will be perfect–whether he chooses to bless us with a child or not. My prayer is that He will strengthen me so I can continue to give Him control of all my desires and rest in HIS sovereign PLAN. For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

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I want to encourage all the mothers on this Mother’s Day to not take for granted the children God has given you. They are a blessing and a responsibility. May we guide them with a constant awareness that we are stewards and not owners. Also, be aware of those around you. Friendships with people in different stages of life are so healthy, especially within the body of Christ. May our hearts reach out with love and compassion, knowing that we are also in need to receive the same.