Friday, August 6, 2010

Sweet Sleep!


"I can lie down and sleep soundly because you, Lord, will keep me safe." (Psalm 4:8, CEV)

The entirety of Psalm 4 is a prayer of great distress and frustration while still praising the Lord. Scholars believe that King David wrote this psalm at the time he was fleeing Jerusalem from his son Absalom's government takeover. Imagine the absolute exhaustion a person would feel not only from fleeing for their life, but also by being done in by their own son! Still, David leaves good insights for weary parents like us.

Step one: Call out to God in your times of trial. He's there to hear and answer your every prayer. The answer might not always be the one you want to hear, but He will address your concerns.

Step two: Develop a relationship with your Maker. Get to know the value of following Him and His ways. As you grow in intimacy with the One who desires to know you and be known, you will experience of joy in spite of troubles.

Step three: Experience refreshment of your soul during any stretch of life. David was able to get restful sleep regardless of his circumstances. God will allow you no less when you cling to Him.

Let me zero in on the sleep portion of this, which can be especially problematic for those of us with children who have special needs. Be assured that there are certain things you can do to cooperate with the Lord who wishes for you to be refreshed, not burned-out.

Frequently, kids with given diagnoses will have major sleep problems. Keep that child in a routine. Use relaxation tools of every kind like warm baths, soothing massage, gentle music and deep breathing to help them settle in to sleep. When your child sleeps well, you naturally sleep better. Keeping them out of your bed is definitely helpful too. If you are in a stretch where your child is not able to sleep through the night due to illness or other bumps in the road, take any help you can get so that you can restore yourself with naps or other breaks of refreshment during the day.

Parents of kids with special needs have worries to spare! Cooperate with God by parking your worries at the door before bedtime. Often, writing concerns down on a list or keeping a journal can help you do a "worry dump" instead of staying up all night, tossing and turning with fears. The same relaxation techniques used for your child can be used for you. Add to those tools the power of distraction whether it be a humorous tv show, a good book or best of all, God's word, and your mind will be pointed in a less stressful direction allowing for more refreshing rest. Memorizing verses like Proverbs 3:5-6 can be a calming meditation.

Finally, a child with special needs definitely adds to the work on our daily list. Get better at planning so that you are not up late at night. Experts agree that quantity of sleep is essential to adequately recuperate. Commit to a set bedtime for yourself and shoot for that goal. The dirty dishes or un-vacuumed carpet isn't going to grow legs and walk away. It will keep until you have time to get it done. And as you frequently hear me say, "Good enough is good enough." Your priority must be taking that refreshment of sleep that God intends for you.

How faithful our Father is that He allows us to sleep in peace despite our trials! Now be certain to take advantage of that!

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