I have been blessed with the highly coveted ability to fall asleep anywhere and at any time. Airplanes, cars, hotel rooms, and even pull out couches are no problem for me. Afternoon power naps are my specialty. My college roommates used to joke that they could throw a party in our room and I would still be able to sleep right through it! With this special ability, you might think that I am one well-rested girl. That is not the case.
Although falling asleep comes easily for me, I cannot remember the last time I slept through the night. I have two precious boys, 20 months old and 7 months old, who are also remarkable sleepers, but babies inevitably go through sleep regressions, sickness, teething, and separation anxiety. Rarely does a night go by without at least one of them needing me at some point, if not in the middle of the night then much earlier than I would like to wake up.
Apart from the needs of my children, racing thoughts and vivid dreams brought on by my struggle with postpartum anxiety also interrupt my sleep. By God’s grace, I have received the help I need to manage my days free from anxiety, but somehow my nights are a different story.
Though those moments feel lonely, I know I am not the only one awake in the night. Some of you are up nursing new babies every two hours; some of you are pacing your kitchen in the late night hours as your mind replays hard conversations from earlier that day; some of you are up praying for your parents, your spouse, your children, or your friends who are hurting and far from the Lord; some of you are just awake and restless, wondering why your mind and body cannot seem to find the rest that you know you need.
In the exhaustion and grogginess of 3 am, tears come easily. As I battle the hopelessness and despair that lurk closely in these dark hours, the Lord reminds me of His promises. Psalm 30:4-5 says,
“Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Indeed, what seems completely overwhelming or frustrating or sad in the night looks much different in the morning when the sun has risen. The Lord is still there, never having slept Himself.
Lamentations 3:22-24 says,
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”
Both my boys are living reminders of this truth. Though they might fuss or cry in the dark hours, as soon as I walk into their nursery in the morning and turn on the lamp, their faces light up. My little one rolls onto his back and looks up at me as if I am the most amazing thing he has ever seen. My toddler pops up with an enthusiastic “good morning, Mama!” All memories of midnight frustration, anguish, restlessness, or resentment immediately dissolve as my boys reach out to me, ready to snuggle and eat and play. The Lord’s mercies are indeed new each morning.
In our darkest hours, the Lord fills us with joy not because our circumstances are happy. He does not ask us to feel pleased with our suffering. Christ Himself lamented His own suffering and the suffering of those around Him. No, the Lord fills us with joy because of the hope we have in what is to come. In the midst of our dark night, we can trust that joy comes in the morning. The sun will rise. He will pour out new mercies.
Though our difficult nights, weeks, or seasons often feel unending, may we trust that the Lord is ready and waiting to pour out new mercies upon us. May we hope in Christ our Savior who shines light into the darkness. Even in unhappy circumstances, may we find joy in remembering the night always gives way to morning. The Lord is with us at every hour, and He is where the joy is.
Katie Dearman is a dancer and dance teacher in The Woodlands, TX. She attends HopePointe Anglican Church with her husband, Michael, and two sons, Joey and Elliot. She is currently pursuing her masters in Biblical Studies and discerning a call to ordained ministry.