"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."
- 2 Corinthians 3:18
- 2 Corinthians 3:18
James is what has been termed a High Need Baby. He doesn't sleep for more than an hour at a time. Ever. He needs to nurse every two hours. He has little to no interest in solid food and only wants to be breastfed. When he is awake, he rarely will tolerate being set down. Since I have another young child, a home to take care of, a husband to love on, and only two hands, I don't have the luxury of indulging all of James's needs exactly when he wants them. So, that means our little Mister spends a greater amount of time crying each day than anyone in our household would like.
When I tell people these things, I wonder if they pity me. I wonder if they worry for my sanity or my health. Do they think that I will spoil him? Do they worry that, because I say these things, I do not love my son or I wish he was different?
Sometimes, I do feel worn to the bone, poured out completely, and meanwhile James is still screaming for more, more of me. Always me. He is a Mama's boy through and through, as High Need babies are. Sometimes, I beg God to let him sleep for just a few hours, for just a few minutes, for some peace. Sometimes, yes, I wish he was different, and I used to pray for this. But, in the past month or so, I have learned to change my prayer.
I have come to the realization that James is probably not going to change, at least not anytime soon. This is not because I don't believe God has the power to help my son sleep through the night; I'm sure He does. Rather, I am beginning to understand that God chose to make my son exactly as he is: needy and snuggly and intense and squirmy and sleepless. I love my son. I love him just as God made him, and this means I have needed to change how I pray.
My prayer now is God, thank you for the gift of my son. Help me to be truly and completely grateful for every day you give us together. Help me to be a good mother to him. Grant that whatever rest I receive will be enough to give me the strength I need to care for my family. Use my son to sanctify me. Help me to serve this little one as I would serve You. Take this sacrifice of myself, and teach me holiness.
Slowly, slowly, I am experiencing grace under fire.
Will I go out of my way to keep my body in shape and better nourished than I wouldotherwise have to to meet my son's needs? Can I smile as I pop him into the sling again while I make dinner, even though my back is killing me and I've been holding him all day? Will I sacrifice this opportunity or that night out with friends to ensure that James will have the comfort of my arms, my devoted nearness without which he seems totally lost? Can I keep myself from screaming back at him while he wails and wails and nothing I do helps at all?
It is humbling how often I fail, and I have had to ask everyone I know for forgiveness of my temper, my forgetfulness, my lateness since James was born. Often, I have to ask James for forgiveness. He doesn't say anything, but I like to think that he understands my contrite heart and the yearning I have to be a better mother for him, every moment of every day.
I stop for a moment, when the house is still and I am alone, and I think how gracious a God I serve that He would choose to sanctify me through service to my sweet, sweet, screaming, sleepless son. There are worse ways to learn holiness.