I'm a member of the 2:00 club. It's called that because those of us who belong to this club (a dubious honor at best) wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. I can remember belonging to this club way back in my teen years, and maybe even before that. My brain turns on and I can't turn it off.
In those young days, I did my best creative thinking in the middle of the night. I composed papers for school, letters I needed to write, and youth group lessons - in those days we didn't have youth pastors to direct our activities; we had to create them. We were each assigned a Sunday night to give a "lesson." If one was really lazy, she/he could have a "Bible quiz," which mostly consisted of hollering out a verse "address" and the first one up to read it aloud got a point. It was a great way of learning where things were in the Bible, but lacked a lot in lesson value. I always wanted to do a better lesson than the one I did before. And I did my best planning in the middle of the night.
One middle of the night the summer after my senior year, I was asleep trying to figure out how I was going to afford to go to college. I know - it was pretty late to be thinking about this. But in those days you didn't get a lot of help from school counselors. I heard my parents talking and found out they were discussing the very same thing. I went back to bed and wrestled with the thought my dad had voiced, "Maybe you should stay home a year and work to get some money saved up." No, No, No. I didn't want to stay home another year. I had been looking forward to going to this particular school for two years and had been counting the days. As I struggled with this idea for a long time that night, I began praying about it. I finally got to the point of surrender when I told God I would stay home if that was His will. At that point of surrender, I began to see the advantages of staying home another year - I could have some money! I could pay for tuition! I could have some new clothes! As morning dawned, I was at peace. The miracles began happening that day. Church people started calling (I was the p.k.) and offering things I needed. They had a "shower" for me. I got everything I needed from the shower and from unexpected sources - my younger brother and his friend even got involved and bought me a winter coat and towels. Talk about a faith booster! My lifelong scripture promise became Matthew 6:28-34: "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
You'd think, with my membership to this club, that getting up with babies would have been a snap. Not so.
As time moved on and things got tougher in the growing-up family years, that club membership involved lots of worrying. I know, I know, "why worry when you can pray?" But worrying is one of my worst faults. And I had lots to "be concerned" about. Isn't that what we Christians like to call worry, since the Bible clearly states it is not God's will for us to worry?
Aging has not been kind to my sleep habits. The trip down the hall, which I avoid as long as possible, causes wakefulness, which causes my brain to start buzzing, which causes me to be unable to sleep. It's not very spiritual, but middle of the night t.v. puts me to sleep immediately. I do try to take notes of what is going on in my mind so I don't forget it when and if I ever do go back to sleep. Some of my best blogs are created in the middle of the night sleeplessness!
King Xerxes chose to get up and read when he couldn't sleep. He read some history of his kingdom (probably thought it would bore him back to sleep). Esther 6 tells the story. According to the Message version, "He ordered the record book, the day-by-day journal of events, to be brought and read to him." In this history reading, he was reminded of the time Mordecai had exposed a plot to assassinate him. He asked what great honor had been given to Mordecai for this. When he learned that nothing had been done, He called Haman in and asked him what Haman would advise for someone who should be given a great honor. Of course, Haman was sure the king was talking about him, so he came up with a great plan - "Bring a royal robe that the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crown on its head. Then give the robe and the horse to one of the king's most noble princes. Have him robe the man whom the king especially wants to honor; have the prince lead him on horseback through the city square, proclaiming before him, 'This is what is done for the man whom the king especially wants to honor!' " The king ordered Haman to do it for Mordecai - what mortification for Haman! What glory for Mordecai - and for God who used this man, through his niece, Esther, to save the Jewish nation.
I love this story. I especially love the verse, "Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this." I love the song that was written from this verse. I love to think that something I do someday may be God's answer "for such a time as this."
I really wish I could turn off my brain as easily as I can turn off the t.v.! But I really, really wish that I could use my sleeplessness for something important, and I need to be paying better attention to what that might be.
FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES IN THIS TECHIE GENERATION:
Anakin was looking at a world map (his greatest interest right now) and asked me, "Grandma, where's Hong Kong?" Care Bear piped right up, "Is it a video or a CD?"
Then she was playing with her new drawing toy she got for her birthday, an updated modern version of Etch-a-Sketch. She wanted to erase what she'd drawn, and said "I need to rewind this."
Cracks me up!