25 January 2017

elbow room

For all of you who marvel over 'how we do it all', I repeat imperfectly.  

Today came with a really humbling meet your Maker moment.

You ALL know I am no morning person.  I don't get a lot of sleep, but the sleep I get, I NEED.  I l-o-v-e.  I cherish.

I am grouchy without.

And last night, for no foreseeable reason, Nora was NOT doing it.

Starting at 11, she was wailing in her crib.  I'm sick.  (Still?  Yes, still.  All that fun turned into a respiratory infection.)  I KNOW I need sleep to stop hacking, so we left her for a good 15 minutes, and by then she had awoken everyone.  Maybe she was hungry.  Made two different snacks.  Nope.  Teething?  Tylenol.  Wet?  Changed. Scared? Comforted.  Uncomfortable? Blanket. Fan. Water. Milk. Rocking. Singing. Books.

I tried everything, with growing desperation...and then growing irritation.  At one am, I had HAD it.  We were all awake, all exhausted, have a now-awake sick houseguest, and I had tried EVERYTHING.  I pulled that chunky monkey out of her crib, brought her to the kitchen, sat her down on the counter and reasoned the life out of her with my sternest teacher voice.

"NORA. Now EVERYONE is awake. I am SICK.  The girls have school tomorrow! You woke up Ms. Gail. There is NOTHING wrong with you.  I gave you yogurt. I got you a banana.  I changed your diaper. I walked with you. I put you in our bed. I laid down next to your crib!  I sang to you. I patted your back. YOU WILL STOP IT RIGHT THIS INSTANT.  There is NOTHING wrong with you and you MUST go to sleep.  RIGHT NOW.  Go to sleep.  There will be ABSOLUTELY no more of this.  Stop it right now!"

Matt was probably snickering in the bedroom hearing my rampage of frustrated grouchiness and anger.  I fed her one more time, I kissed her one more time, I put her to bed, I closed the door, and at 2 AM, TWO AM folks, she finally fell asleep, and then the alarm (Oh wait, that was Nora, too) at 6 am.

I was so exhausted I could hardly stand. I'm so sore from coughing that my chest aches. I was so grouchy that even after two cups of coffee poured into my eyeballs this morning, I still wanted NOTHING to do with the happy little grinning monster trying to get my attention with her sweet little, "Hi, MaMA!"

"Mama is MAD at you!" Matt laughed, and it was true.  I WAS.

I'm a mama, we don't expect much, but I need just a few hours of sleep.  I need it.  And she took it from me.  Don't care how cute and happy she woke up.

Bleary eyed and grouchy, I got everyone braided and dressed and off for school, and then  quickly downloaded my emails at 7 for an update, and indeed my sweet dear friend wrote that her mama finally went to be with Jesus at 4 am.  Oh, that was it.

Matt came home after dropping Sofie to find me still not talking to Nora, and bawling all over my exhausted self for Sharon and her sweet family and all of the love and the memories and the loss.

He sent me to the shower with coffee number 3, and I got it together, I put on some makeup, I got to work, I caught up with our staff, I started through "the list" with Carol.

At 12, I headed for chapel, but exhaustion made me hesitate and drove me home...Nora was still napping (somebody kept her up all night, apparently), I had a few minutes of quiet before the girls came home.  My heart still spilling over sweet Mary meeting Jesus, the only thing I was more desperate for than sleep was Jesus.  I laid on the bed and pulled out My Utmost and it all flooded in...the truth.

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him— to give God “elbow room.” We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. 
No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly—God meets our life “…when it pleased God….”
Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.
Even as I read it, He did just that.  Broke in deep.

All huffy, grouchy night, all weepy, broken day...I had not made even an "elbow room" of space for my God to COME.  To be.

I hadn't invited Him into one ounce of my situation, had indeed NOT learned the great lesson that He might come at any minute.

From 11-2, instead of pacing the house in frustration, desperately lecturing a baby back to sleep, I could have MADE ROOM.  I could have expected, invited God to work.

All night, as I bargained and reasoned and pouted, I could have been dwelling in sweet prayer for my friend, for her mama, for her family.  I could have been praying for many.  I could have been making room.  I could have been with my God.

I could have been a testimony to my husband and children a life truly hidden in Christ, instead of a mommy-you'd-bettter-not-wake-up!

I could have taken full advantage of the unexpected 'crisis' as an opportunity for God to COME, not telling Him how, but inviting Him and meeting Him and worshipping Him.

I had a beautiful chance to worship and lift up and be MET last night, and I was too darn frustrated and self-consumed to even make give Him a toe-in to COME.

At bedtime prayers tonight, Sofie sweetly asked God to please, please keep His hand over Nora's mouth all. night. long.

That was a good prayer :)

But you know what I need more than a good night's sleep and seven cups of coffee?

To keep my life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any time.  To live so expectantly that even when things DON'T go according to my plans, there is sweet and welcomed room for God to come.  

What a powerful moment with Jesus this afternoon when I finally made an ounce of room for Him...and He was quick to break in and convict and forgive and love on me.

I share this with you (with no photos, you're welcome) because I know there are 8 million things in our lives and hearts and schedules and thoughts crowding Him out...and our Holy and amazingly loving, never-ceasing God is anxious, family, anxious to come in.  

Our God is anxious to come Into our circumstances, to come INto our emotions and thoughts and days and crisis, to come INto our fears and doubts and frustrations and to bring PEACE, to make all things new, to bring TRUE comfort, and to divinely guide.

He is anxiously waiting, at all hours of the night and day...have we any room for Him?


  1. Such a good word!! Love you friend...and many prayers for some sweet sleep tonight.

  2. In our human nature and in the heat of a sleepless night with a baby...we do forget... Thankful he met your need and thankful you shared so we all can be reminded. Love and good sleep to you all :)

  3. Phew! I'm exhausted reading this, dear friend. Just remember that when we do not leave elbow room, He is still there with grace. :) Love you!