Gratefully Dependent

We haven’t gotten much sleep lately.

Every new parent dreams of having one of those (sadly mythical) newborns who sleep through the night within a matter of days, but we are not among them. Owen provides all sorts of entertainment in the wee small hours of the morning, my favorite trick being the one where he needs to be changed 15 minutes after we finally have fallen back to sleep, and as we’re changing him he takes a leak on himself (or on the closet door, which is a good 3 feet away), or forcefully dispenses mustard-poo onto the changing table, which is usually followed closely by him yakking used milk onto said table. A few times I have almost fallen onto the floor laughing in the middle of the night, astounded at my son’s excretory prowess.

At any rate, Leslie and I have been given a fresh opportunity to cherish God’s good gift of sleep. I’ve been trying to fight my grumpiness about a lack of consistent sleep with C.J. Mahaney’s excellent counsel from his book, Humility: True Greatness: “Don’t just fall asleep but seize the moment to weaken pride and cultivate humility by acknowledging that you are not self-sufficient, you are not the Creator. Sleep is a daily reminder that we are completely dependent upon God.”

It is all too easy for me to begin to think of myself as autonomous when I have everything I need. It is easy for me to begin to think of myself as my own ultimate provider; that I am self-sufficient. It is easy to begin to play lip-service to God, only half-heartedly thanking him for “providing this meal” because I am too cognizant of the fact that I paid for it and my wife prepared it, when in reality God provides my income and my ability to earn it. And He provided Leslie with everything she needed to prepare the food, including an able mind, body, and servant heart.

But when something I need (like sleep) is temporarily removed, my thanksgiving can become authentic again because I fully realize that “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), and that “He upholds the universe [including my frail, dependent body] by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3).

I give thanks to God that He has made me utterly dependent on him, and that He is utterly dependable. I thank Owen for reminding me of that.

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2 thoughts on “Gratefully Dependent”

  1. Well you have a great perspective as a new parent on the whole sleep issue.

    Three kids and eight years later I have resumed a normal sleeping schedule and had forgotten what it feels like. My youngest is now 4.

    God has amazing ways he gives us what we need when we need it. Early childhood parenting is a great time for him to teach us lessons about trust and dependency in Him and how He alone is our sufficiency.

    Keep up the great philosophy, seeing the humor in the situation and sleep whenever Owen sleeps!

    Many blessings

  2. Every time I am awake in the middle of the night I consider it an honor to serve my son. I always try to remind myself that he did not choose to be born, but I choose that he would be born.

    I am also thankful for the many lessons God has taught me through my experience as a father. I am also very thankful that you now have the honor of experiencing the grace of God as a parent.

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