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Sleep, Glorious Sleep


Sleep has always been something that’s been close to my mind. As a teenager, I would be the first one heading off to bed before either of my parents or siblings. I appreciated my sleep. And then in college, living in a dormitory on a floor with a dozen other girls, I would be in bed invariably by 10 p.m.  Sure, there were those occasions when I was up later, but less often than most. I wanted at least nine hours of sleep. I guess this trend of going to bed early was influenced by the fact that I am a morning person. I come alive in the morning and slowly my energy ebbs as the day wends its way to its end.

For this reason, I was a little nervous about adding four more people to our household this past week, despite the fact that I was so happy to know that I’d get to spend seven days with my dear sister and her family. Ten people for one week in our little, hundred year old terrace house meant that space was a bit tight. Our living room floor space that is available isn’t even big enough to support a double mattress, so we had be creative with our sleeping arrangements upstairs. Jessica, Nathaniel and her two kids were in our bedroom (which is, I must add, the biggest room in the house!), John and I moved into Aria and Nia’s room (the tiny back bedroom with the slanted ceiling built onto the back of the house above the kitchen) and were very snug in her single bed:), and Aria moved into Johnny and Kiera’s small bedroom, sleeping on a chair bed on the floor. And you know what? It worked out pretty good! I felt like we were in the middle of some sort of adventure. It’s the same sort of feeling I get when I have to live out of just a backpack for a week.

Sweet sleep in India (2006)

But, all that said, I had a really bad week of wakeful nights. It wasn’t my neice and nephew… I didn’t hear a peep from them during the night hours and wee smas. It was MY children. Nia was so restless and I was out of bed probably around a dozen times a night. The other kids would then proceed to wake up early so I’d go in and lie beside Johnny in his wee goldilocks bed and keep them quiet until it was reasonable to get up. The last night the family was here was the worst of all and I got about 3 1/2 hours in total… blech!

However, the amazing thing is, I was and AM able to function on far less sleep than is ideal. My goal of nine hours a night is but a dream lost somewhere in the haze of mothering young children. But I still ‘live and move and have my being’. I find that my temper can be far worse when I’m tired and I’ll lose my patience A LOT quicker. But the amazing thing is, God poured out His grace on me this past week. Sure, there were moments, as I’m sure my sister can attest, that I ‘lost it’ with the kids. But I felt God’s presence really dwelling with me, covering my weakness.

As I was at church on Sunday (after that night of only 3 1/2 hours of sleep) I had a thought come to me. Jesus knew what it was to be deprived of sleep, but in a much more severe way than I know. The night before His crucifixion, He was kept from sleep. First, He had a last meal with His disciples that went on into the evening; then, they spent time praying in the garden and His spirit was troubled. Then there was a night of accusation and violence as He was put on trial before the Sanhedrin. He went to His torture and crucifixion without the strength that sleep can bring. God was His strength to endure. I admit, I felt a bit awed and humbled. What a Man, what a God, to give so much and pour Himself out… in the midst of human weakness He subjected Himself willingly to.

So sleep… glorious sleep. I savour it; I long for it; I try to get as much of it as I can. But I know that Christ is my strength when I don’t get enough. He is more than able to help me mother my children in a loving, wise way even when I get little sleep. His grace is beyond my understanding and I love Him for it.

So, on that note, to bed. May I have a restful night of plentiful sleep; may God’s grace carry me through if I don’t!

Aria absolutely 'crashed' after our journey by areoplane from Scotland to America (Oct. 2006)

4 Responses to “Sleep, Glorious Sleep”

  1. Jessica
    June 15th, 2011 15:49

    ahh, my dear sister, what you say is so true! i too love my sleep (except i like it in the morning more!) and have found motherhood a new test of my patience and my temper especially when lacking sleep. by the way, i thought you did remarkably well during the week we were there! when we go to God we definitely always seem to have the grace for what is required of us. was so lovely to be with you… love you!

  2. Beth Goff
    June 15th, 2011 22:41

    All I can say is that it’s totally amazing the grace and strength God gives to Mums of little children….beyond my comprehension.

  3. Susana Clancy
    June 18th, 2011 21:19

    Oh my dear Rachel, I came looking for some new musings from you and was not disappointed. This subject has been a constant struggle for me since Victor returned to Honduras,,,,Sometimes I have been awake all night to see the dawn come through to greet the day.

    It is harder with children but it sounds like you all had a wonderful time filled with great memories that will last a lifetime.

  4. Naznwa
    November 11th, 2015 17:08

    Ik vind haar echt super, ze ziet er gewoon alitjd zo ‘composed’ uit, ik weet niet goed hoe ik het moet beschrijven – haar L.A. foto’s zijn zo tof, met dat fisheye effect en haha, ik ben ook een kleine Rachel Bilson fan – ik was een trouwe O.C. kijker en nu ben ik helemaal hooked on Hart of Dixie, echt een dwaze serie maar heerlijke mindless entertainment!

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