Friday, September 23, 2011

A thousand sleepless nights

Right next to the Cardiac ICU at CHOA, there's a little room where moms can go to use the hospital breast pump, to gather and store milk that their baby may never drink. Late one evening during Caden's hospital stay, I sat in the tiny room staring at the clock, willing the fifteen minutes to pass quickly so I could go sit with Caden. My eyes closed as I listened to the quiet whoosh of the breastpump and prayed for my son. Every time I sat in that room, I pulled out Bible verses I had written down the night before and I prayed them over Caden. I thought. I prayed. I dreamed. I dreaded. I feared.

On this particular night, I sat quietly sipping an apple juice box from the tiny fridge, and thought about the song "Blessings" by Laura Story. I remembered the time I had first heard the song. Driving in my car, it came on 104.7 The Fish. And I loved it, because I told Adam the words were just so true. Christians are so ready to follow Jesus, just as long as he answers their prayers for peace and blessings and prosperity. But not us, Adam and I agreed, WE were willing to follow Him regardless of what He gave and where he led. Even if our house deal didn't proceed as quickly or smoothly as we wanted. Even if we had to move somewhere no one else wanted to move.

I sat there that night and realized how weak my faith actually was. How much I was really just like those "other Christians" I judged so harshly. I was willing to follow Jesus, to trust His plan and His ways, as long as they lined up with my own plans. As long as He didn't require too much. Oh sure, I'd given Him my life, I just handed it over with specific stipulations for how He could (and should) use it. And that didn't include, in my estimation, Caden being born with heart defects.

Thankfully, that's not how God operates. Because sometimes we pray for sunshine, and He knows that what we really need in order to grow is rain.

As the song echoed in my ears, "what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near," it was truly as if I could feel the Lord pulling me up into his lap and holding me close. I sobbed into His arms, and knew that He cried with me. I pulled His grace on like a sweater, guarding against the hospital's chill. On that sleepless night, and on every night that Caden was in the hospital, as I tossed and turned, I felt the Lord's nearness like I had never experienced it before.

And in that nearness, I finally knew. Knew that God's blessings really did come in unexpected ways. That the aching I felt at the brokenness of Caden's heart, truly was "the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.

Our time when Caden was in the hospital, when I sat in the small quiet room and pumped, were truly "the hardest nights." But they were also nights (and days) when we experienced the Lord's mercy in tangible ways. When we met Him in unexpected places and unexpected ways. And when we sank into His arms, exhausted and sorrowful, but also hopeful.

My prayer for us (and for all of you), is that we will continue to let Him hold us. To remember His nearness and to hold onto it tightly. That for every disappointment, every fear, every single moment, we will recognize His mercy and fall into His grace.


  1. So beautiful and powerful. Thank you for sharing Becca.

  2. I love you and miss you tons. You are an amazing woman of God.

  3. Oh my. How this spoke right to my heart this morning. Thank you for these words and how true they are.

  4. Just beautiful and I absolutely ADORE that song!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  5. Gosh, Becca. I feel like I know your heart so well ... yours & mine seem to be one in the same.

    I had forgotten about those sacred pumping moments - the tears that fell, the talks with God - an 8x10 space to just get it all out.

    Thanks for reminding me of those lessons that were so difficult to learn, but can be so easy to forget.

  6. Thank you again for such a wonderful post. :)

  7. This is a beautiful song and it makes me cry every time I listen to it. So true in how God knows that we need rain in order to grow. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words! {{{HUG}}}

  8. I love this post. Our son was in the NICU for a while after he was born - both of his lungs collapsed shortly after birth - almost 4 years ago. He's a happy, healthy boy now....but I think of that time in our lives every time I hear that song. I actually designed a printable with some of the verses...I'd love to e-mail it to you if you're interested!


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