When You Wake During the Night

There are times I wake up during the night feeling anxious, sometimes even being jolted awake by a nightmare. You can check out my previous posts for the foundation the Lord has been building up in my heart as I’ve been able to form more patterns of remembering His sovereign care, infinite wisdom, and unconditional love, but today I’ll share some ideas for the nighttime (or some daytime patterns that influence my sleep at night).

  • Listen through the book of Psalms on Bible.is or another audio Bible and echo the words out loud. Write down images you can picture at night–Jesus being the Good Shepherd and you His little lamb, Jesus being the Light filling your life with His kingdom light, God being a rock of refuge, holding you with His Everlasting arms, etc.

  • Start thanking God for as many things as you can think of as you reflect on what happened the previous day. Thank Him for the ways He helped you to be obedient and faithful. 

  • Listen to worship songs or hymns and sing along (or whisper the words at night). Pick a couple hymns to memorize, like “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” or “Blessed Assurance.”

  • Picture yourself as a child, walking up to God’s rocking-chair throne as He reaches down and sets you on His lap. If you are feeling anxious about someone else, picture yourself taking them by the hand and leading them to God’s rocking-chair throne. As you pray for them, imagine both of you sitting on His lap together. 

  • Write out some Scriptures and tape them in front of your toilet. Believe me, you’ll look at them! Say them out loud quickly over and over until you’ve memorized them so you can quote them during the night. (Psalm 34:8, 55:22, 62:1-2,8, 107:1, 118:8, Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:9, Isaiah 43, Romans 8, Philippians 4:6-9)

Which one of these things are you going to try this week?

Next week, I’ll share about inviting others to help you engage in this battle.

Grace in Motion

This year, I had the chance to share a testimony at our church’s Thanksgiving service, and I wanted to give praise to God by offering it here as well.

I want to give praise to the Lord for the grace of His presence and work in my life in the area of anxiety. I have been humbled and amazed by all the help He’s given me in the ongoing battle. 

I’m speaking not from a place of complete healing, but as someone who’s still plunking away at the piano with Him, knowing that Jesus already played a Mozart piano concerto on my behalf. My prayer is that as I share what He’s done in my life most recently, He would bring to mind all the ways His grace has been meeting you in your battles. 

He sent a text message from a friend, pointing me to Christ’s righteousness on my behalf right when I was tired and discouraged about my parenting. 

He’s graced me with Paul Tripp’s devotional New Morning Mercies (where I found the phrase for the title), drawing my thoughts back to the gospel each morning. 

He’s provided life-giving conversations with friends to share what God has been doing in my life and hear how He’s met them. 

He’s brought me a mentor to meet with me week after week and point me back to God’s sovereignty and love and the way He’s using everything in my life to make me more like Christ. He’s strengthened my heart as I’ve met many of you, and right away you shared your testimonies of how God drew you to Himself and how He’s continued to sustain you. 

He’s brought me a sliver of time almost every day right before dinner to go outside to see the sunset and remember again His greatness through listening to a worship song. 

He’s brought to mind picture after picture to help me see Him as my loving Father–picturing myself as a child sitting on His lap, a baby bird who can’t fly but has her mouth open for what He wants to fill it with, a tiny person sitting on the palm of His left hand as I watch His right hand control the universe, and a toddler who can keep taking tiny steps forward while His strong hand holds mine.

 And He has shown me the gift of repentance as a daughter, not an employee trying hard to be perfect and not mess up so my boss will be pleased. 

As I’ve offered him the measuring stick I’ve used on myself and others, He’s taken it and nailed it to the cross. In exchange, He’s shown me His Shepherd’s staff that he’s using to guide and comfort me. 

I’ve had to repent of the roles where I’ve tried to find my worth, imagining them as nametags stacked up on top of each other: Wife, Mother, Church member, Friend, Musician, Writer, Organized, and Disciplined. I’ve imagined myself ripping them off so that the only nametag that’s left on my shirt says, “Pleasing, Beloved Daughter of the Heavenly Father. 

It’s all because of Christ’s sacrifice and the righteous life He lived in my place that I’ve been able to really believe I can sit in this reality, to confess the lies that have kept me from believing that it’s safe to repent and receive the gifts He wants to give me in exchange. 

I’ve been so afraid of not being in His will, of not doing the right things, not believing that he can move me where He wants to, like a hot air balloon. 

He is showing me His will is for me to live in peace, not fear. Resting, not striving. Repentance, not condemnation. Humility, not pride. Faith, not unbelief. Love, not selfishness. Trust, not anxiety. A child, not a boss. Obedience, not self-righteousness. Hope, not discouragement. Righteousness covering me, not shame. Patience, not trying to control everything. 

His understanding and wisdom, not what the world says. His circumstances for me, not my own expectations. His daughter, not His employee. His friend, not a performer. Being carried, instead of always deciding. Justified, not trying to earn His favor. These are His priorities for me, His will for me, and are the gifts He delights in giving as my loving Father. The gifts He is teaching me to receive.

Lamentations 3:22-24 says, The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”