Tough Love

Gesly Susan   |   February 27, 2018 

My baby boy, Jethro, finally arrived at the wee hours of a warm summer night of last June! I had never imagined that my heart could burst with such intense feelings of joy, wonder and worry all at the same time. And just like that our whole world began to revolve around this tiny little being.

However, we were set up for some unexpected challenges right away. My mother passed away just 2 weeks after baby Jethro was born. We flew to India with a 3-week-old all the way from Canada and he fell terribly sick and to top it off he was the worst sleeper ever.

To say the least, it was only the Lord’s grace that sustained us through those weeks. After 3 weeks in India we got back to our home in Canada hoping to finally settle into some normalcy with our new born. However, to my dismay, motherhood looked nothing like I had pictured. I had heard tales of sleep deprived parents for which I was mentally prepared. Or at least I thought I was! Jethro is just an exceptionally light sleeper. After taking an hour to fall asleep ,he would wake up the minute I put him down.

This got to the point where I just had to hold him for all his naps which was around 6 hours a day besides intermittently doing the same for the night. I loved my baby- but the exhaustion and drudgery of motherhood was getting to me. Everyone said it would get better after the 3 month mark. Well, that 3 month mark came and went but nothing had changed- except that he only got heavier to be held all the time.

Finally, my sister suggested that I do some kind of fast and pray specifically for Jethro's sleep situatIon. I knew exactly what God was calling me to quit. Netflix had become my sweet escape during mindless hours of nursing and holding baby to sleep. Nothing felt better than just sinking in my couch at the end of the day ("end of the day" = the half hour you get after dinner and before your baby screams for his milk) and turning on the TV and flipping through channels while simultaneously devouring a whole bar of chocolate. Moms, can I hear an amen?

1st of Nov I decided that I was going to give up chocolate and go on a media fast until new years. I set before the Lord 5 requests- with his sleep situation toping the list. The weeks that followed were spent in hours of prayer and reading through the scripture.

I started a bible reading plan called "Read Scripture" ( highly recommended) beginning from the book of Genesis. I also began to do prayer walks so I could keep myself awake while holding my baby. Finally, at the stroke of midnight on new year, I broke my fast sinking into a glorious chocolate brownie.

Those days as I dwelt in Scripture, desperately seeking answers to all my woes of a child who refused to sleep- the Holy Spirit in His perfect knowledge and timing was leading me through the story of Israel as they ventured out of Egypt through the wilderness into the promised land.

I have to say there were many snippets of life lessons that the Lord was gently teaching me and exposing my heart to. But if there was one theme that I had I to pick that the Lord bolstered into my heart it was the consistent and intentional disciplining of a loving Father.

"Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you" Deuteronomy 8:5

As I read through Israel's journey it often baffled me how soon they forgot Gods providence and faithfulness towards them. Imagine wanting to return to the people that killed your baby boy just because now the food in the desert didn't seem as appealing? Imagine building an image golden calf to worship while they still had a visible pillar of cloud and fire overseeing them? God had to constantly remind them to worship Him and Him alone.His reminders were sometimes gentle, like bread from heaven and water out of a rock but several times it was in the form of plagues, sickness and death.

Several times as I went through the book of Exodus and Leviticus, I had to pause to take in to what seemed like harsh judgement on His people. Men, women and children were killed as a result of disobedience. The lengthy and arduous rituals for purification, strict laws to abide by to keep the temple Holy- all of it seemed like a big, magnanimous God was trying to shepherd these feeble people. It took  me a while to connect the dots and realise that God was constantly trying to bring them back to Him for their very own good even though they couldn't see it for themselves.

All the laws, rituals, detailed temple architecture- everything pointed to bringing a sinful people to a Holy God. And this included discipling them with what seems harsh and painful at the moment.

It dawned on me that this sleepless phase of my life was also a part of the Lords discipling. My own actions and reactions were much like the the Israelites- I coveted other moms who went out and about while their babes slept peacefully in strollers. I secretly wished I could escape back to how things were pre-baby, but I couldn't see His providences in the day to day.

It took many tearful sleepless nights and days but the whole time He was working on something far greater than fixing Jethro's sleep. His end purpose was much greater and I had to just pause, step back and see the bigger picture.

By the end of my fast I had almost finished the first 5 books of the bible and spent hours in prayer walks. I have to admit that I had never spent as many hours in prayer and scripture which ironically happened in the most busiest and intense phases of my life. There was a spiritual awakening like never before. Now I consciously cut down on mindless entertainment. I also came across a few other women with whom I could shoulder the joys and hardships of motherhood. All this and more because the Lord decided to use a little wide eyed babe to point me back to Him, to trust Him and seek Him.

Many times the Lord allows circumstances and tragedies that may or may not be a result of our own folly. Surely the God who parted the Red Sea can snap his fingers and make it all go away but He allows it for our own good and keep us from even further harm- remember, His anger only lasts for a moment but his favour for a lifetime!

"....the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son".   Hebrews 12:6

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Gesly Susan

Having moved from city to city and country to country in her growing up years, Gesly recently moved to Canada making it her new home. Having a background in social work, she enjoys working with children with special needs, traveling, writing, deep conversations and music.

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