Yesterday, I watched a short clip of Christine Cain on Facebook live. She was offering encouragement for those who feel like something has happened to hinder the work they are supposed to be doing for the Lord, causing confusion and frustration. She said that sometimes the Lord will allow the stripping away of everything that we thought we needed so that we will find that all we needed was Him. I listened with interest, wondering how to relate to this in my current season, but couldn’t really identify with any of the examples of hindrances that she gave. I couldn’t let it go though; I kept thinking about it.
Last night was one of those nights, again. One of those nights, like many, many others for the past 16 months, when both kids kept me up and I got very little sleep. Sometimes I rebound pretty quickly and move on with the day, and other mornings, I wake up feeling angry and frustrated, wondering when I will finally be able to consistently get a reasonable amount of sleep. This morning I felt angry and exhausted after yet another a rough night with both children. After laying next to my toddler for a couple hours early this morning while she was in a semi-sleepy, restless state, as I tried to muster up the energy to get up and “start the day” (i.e., the day which had started hours ago), I reached for my phone to read the verse of the day, mostly out of desperation for some encouragement. I can’t tell you how many times the Lord has used the verse of the day from my Bible app to speak a quick, amazingly pertinent word when I am struggling and can’t immediately spend much time reading.
It was Ephesians 6:10:
Be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of His power.
I read it over and over and over, prayed it, thought about it, and wondered about it. Later, I read the rest of chapter 6, which is about putting on the whole armor of God. I was struck by the idea that perhaps this sleep deprivation, which seems so physical, is a form of spiritual warfare. It has certainly interfered with my energy, mood, and what I feel I can or cannot accomplish on a given day. Then I realized that maybe I can relate to Christine Cain’s words more than I had thought. The hindrance I struggle with in this season, the thing that I perceive as keeping me from doing more of the work that I am so excited and eager to do as I try to step into my calling, is lack of sleep, time, and energy, which also makes me feel mentally foggy. I have so little alone time in this time when parenting young children is often round-the-clock, and I’m usually exhausted during the little bit of alone time that I do get. I have been excited to get to work but keep thinking that I will have to wait for this season to pass or get easier before the “real” work can begin. Perhaps the Lord is stripping away what I thought I needed (sleep! sanity! time! energy!) so that I will come to a deeper trust that He really is all that I need.
2 Corinthians 12:9 came to mind as I pondered these things:
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I cannot express how much I am looking forward to the day when I can say that I am no longer chronically sleep deprived, but perhaps, for now, it is an answer to my prayer that the Lord would keep me close to and dependent on Him. If anything good comes from anything I do during this time when I am so tired, mentally foggy, and irritable, it will be all the more obvious that it is the power of Christ perfected in my weakness. When everything that I thought I needed to bring my “A Game” to the work of the Lord is stripped away, may I find that His grace is sufficient. Perhaps I will realize that rather than waiting for an easier season, I need only allow Him to strengthen me, to be faithful in obedience to Him, and to allow His power to be perfected in my very great weakness. My very favorite thing about Ephesians 6:10 is that, according to my study Bible, the verb “be strengthened” is passive, suggesting that this is something we cannot do on our own but must rely on the Lord to accomplish in us. Praise God that He is a God who will act on our behalf when we are weak and weary! Whatever season you find yourself in, may you be strengthened in the Lord and find that His grace is sufficient as His power is perfected in your weakness.