Malachi just woke up from his nap crying again. This has been going on for weeks now. He wakes up about an hour in, confused and mostly asleep, scared and clingy. I brush his sweaty hair out of his eyes and hold him. I pray with him and sing to him. Eventually I put him back in bed and usually he goes back to sleep for a good long time. But sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he just cries and clings and sobs, “See Mommy! See Mommy!” and clutches me as tight as he can. Those days I let him get up and then watch as he slowly eases out of his sleep state, watches a show, and then starts melting down a couple hours before bed because he’s so exhausted.
Most of the time the pray-sing-rock system works for us, but a couple of weeks ago he was having a really rough time and I started searching online a little bit. Several moms were saying that the best thing you can do is to ignore it. Going in, rocking, or otherwise interacting with your child can apparently make it even worse and harder for them to get through. They don’t remember it when they wake up anyways so even though it’s hard you have to let them get through it.
Well….. that sucks. Like really sucks. It made my stomach turn to think about ignoring my boy while he was crying and even saying “See Mommy!” I didn’t choose to go that route and I’m glad, but it did get me thinking about the way God relates to us as Father. I wonder if sometimes when we are crying and scared and wondering where He is, if He is really right there, standing outside the door, with tears in His eyes because He hates to see us in pain. I wonder if He knows that we feel abandoned, but He also knows how incredibly unabandoned we are. That in the moments when we wonder most where He is, that He is hyper-alert of exactly where we are. And if when we think He is making it a million times worse for leaving us alone, that He is actually right outside the door choosing to let us cry it out, losing sleep with us, crying with us, joining in our pain, and rejoicing over us the first time we get a full night’s sleep.
I’m no theologian, but I am a mom, and every time my heart breaks over my children I get a clearer picture of what it looks like when the Father’s heart breaks over us.
“As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.” ~Isaiah 66:13a