Coaching

What I Found Out At Midnight

 

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The cries were louder this time and getting more dramatic by the second. My husband and I lay in bed desperate for sleep but instead being kept awake by crying again. Our anger escaping and seeping out in surprising ways- ways that I don’t care to repeat. We didn’t know what to do.

I looked at the time…it was nearly midnight. I felt the baby in my womb wiggle and squirm, he was also uncomfortable, just like me.

I joined in the chorus of crying, and began to shed my own silent tears. Partly out of pure exhaustion and partly out of being overwhelmed with the situation…or perhaps this whole season.

***

Motherhood has walked me to what I thought was the edge of all my comfort zones. But most days I’m still wiggling and squirming trying to find some position that feels right and easy on my heart.

I’m nearly 3.5 years into this role as a mama and I still haven’t seemed to find that secret sweet spot.

Motherhood seems to fit me awkwardly. I feel insanely uncomfortable most days, like I’m wearing jeans that are too tight all the time.

By 10am I already feel cranky and crabby, trying somehow to escape out of the limitations and the constrictions of my everyday life as a mom. I can’t do what I want, when I want, or how I want anymore.

This is just a season, I remind myself…or is it?

***

Returning to the scene I began with- this has been our evening bed time routine over the last few weeks. Can I be honest? It feels like a form of torture. Sometimes it takes us two hours to get David to bed at night. What once was a smooth and effortless ritual has turned into a raging battle.

Not only is David dealing with some changes, but then there’s Zoe’s new found independence. Her stubborn desire to feed herself equals big, sticky messes for me to clean up afterwards. There’s also the incessant crying and whining from both of them for no apparent reason. Then there’s David’s obsession with growling like a lion or acting like a dinosaur and chasing Zoe around the house. And did I mention they never seem to listen to me? I say the same things all day long and I never feel like I get heard…a definite recipe for insanity.

I’m not writing this to get your sympathy or advice, please hold off on that. I’m writing this to remind myself and hopefully you too, that life can be full of mystery.

***

Following Jesus doesn’t come with a well-drawn map or a precise plan to get all of our needs met or all of our dreams realized.

And nothing has done better to remind me of this than motherhood.

Sometimes we parent our children in what feels like a fog, a mystery of sorts.

When I lay in bed at night, tears streaming down my face because I’m so bone-tired and my child is struggling to sleep, I feel completely at a loss. But that could probably be said about my whole day.

I feel lost in the mystery. Is this just a season or is this going to be my new life forever, I wonder.

I don’t know what to do.

I’m out of solutions.

I’m depleted of energy.

My patience is not even thin, it’s disappeared.

And that’s when the questions fire away…

***

God…why? Why now? Why here? What do I do? When will I feel more alive? When will I have time to myself? Why is this so hard? Am I doing something wrong? How will I make it with a third baby? Will our marriage be strong enough?

The questions fire away leaving bullet holes in my heart. They don’t ever bring the answers I want, they don’t make the situation easier, they don’t bring any relief… they only pull me deeper into the mystery.

And it’s there, staring at the unknown, that I can make two choices.

One, I can despise the mystery and find my own solutions.

I can make the lists, do the research, and take control of the situation. I can become totally self-reliant on my own plans. This choice brings a sense of relief and peace.

Or two, I can delight in the mystery and let Him unfold the story.

I can come in honesty and vulnerability towards God, admit my need, and see my weakness as a doorway to His wisdom. I can become totally God-reliant.

This choice brings not just a sense but a surety of our coming relief and peace even in the mystery.

So I ask myself again today, how okay am I with mystery...with not knowing or having answers or a plan, with letting go of my to-do lists and selfish ambitions and goals, to simply be in the fog, the beautiful cloud?

***

I’ve been struck by the story of Moses and the Israelites lately. They learned to embrace and delight in mystery, The Mystery.  

It was here, in the Cloud, as they called it, that they actually became steeped in God’s presence.

“The Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Glory of God filled The Dwelling. Moses couldn’t enter the Tent of Meeting because the Cloud was upon it, and the Glory of God filled The Dwelling.” {Exodus 40:34-35}

Could it be that here in the fog of motherhood, of this season, of life, that there is an unspeakable, indescribable glory? That if I were to truly see The Mystery for what it is I’d be on my knees?

“Whenever the Cloud lifted from The Dwelling, the People of Israel set out on their travels, but if the Cloud did not lift, they wouldn’t set out until it did lift. The Cloud of God was over The Dwelling during the day and the fire was in it at night, visible to all the Israelites in all their travels.” {Exodus 40:36-38}

Could it be that I’m supposed to stay right here when all I want to do is escape or have answers? Could it be that I’ve been mistaking the Cloud of God’s presence as just an uncomfortably hard season of motherhood?

The Israelites chose to stay in the Cloud because they knew within the mystery God’s miraculous presence was guiding them.

Can I choose like them, to stay here? To see? To hear His invitation?

Here, in my toughest questions lies a quiet invitation to trust Him.

***

I realize that saying yes doesn’t mean I will get answers, comfort, or even a next step. Saying yes means I grab His hand and walk deeper into the fog.

I learn to settle into the Cloud.

And then I find out a precious secret- that all the mysteries of my midnight hours or my mundane days are really invitations to dwell in the Cloud of His glory and the fire of His presence.

God becomes visible and tangible to those who choose to take delight in instead of despise The Mystery.

Friends, this isn’t just a situation, or even a season that will soon pass, this is life. God longs for us to stay here, in what can feel like a cloud, so that we come to trust Him even in the mystery.

 


Where do you need to settle into the Cloud? What unanswerable questions and uncomfortable seasons do you need to see differently…perhaps as an invitation instead of a constant irritation? 

 

Walking with you into the fog,

Charissa

 

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