My daughter came running in three times in the middle of the night last night because of bad dreams. When she was 4 and 5 years old she had a terrible time at night with bad dreams and would need help quite often. Now that she is older, she has learned to sing and prays or even reads when it happens. Her dreams must have been pretty bad this time because she came in at a full run each time.
Two of the three times, she crawled into my side of the bed, cuddled for a few minutes, and then ran back to bed when I gave her the pat-pat, time-to-go cue.
The third time didn’t go so well. She kept trying to whisper to me and I kept trying to keep her quiet. We both froze at the sound of, “get back in your bed” from Dad. I quickly scooted her out of our bed and ran her back to her bed. I lost my temper on the way down the hall and whispered angrily to her in the dark about this and that as she got into her bed. She lay very still and said she was sorry. My heart broke. I’m such a stupid wretch in the middle of the night. I stopped and took a knee. She asked if I would forgive her. My heart broke more. I asked her forgiveness and we ended up having a good cuddle and chat together.
I realized this morning that although it was a hard night (especially seeing as her little brother did his share of tag-teaming mom as well), it helped me remember a few important things: First, contrary to what it might seem “in the moment” sometimes, when my daughter needs my help in the night, it serves to draw us closer as a mother and daughter (many times because of the rough waves of emotion that toss us up and down and the necessary apologies and prayers).
Second, it reminded me of what I always share with my daughter: Jesus is with us, always. Getting up in the night 4 times or 6 times is no big deal to him. He never grows tired; He never grows weary. Or impatient. Or angry. He keeps watch with us. He is not God-way-up-there or God-standing-nearby. He is God WITH us. Face-to-face, hand-in-hand. He guides us through our rough passages. He is not a passing ship in the night. He comes walking toward us, over the waves. He gets in the boat. He calms the storm.
I can’t do all of that for my kids, but He can. And He does.