The last few days have been rather tiring. Ruby has had nightmares. Mom and Dad have not slept much. Dad took Ruby Saturday night. Ruby, terrified to sleep and have the same dream again, simply wouldn’t. Finally, I intervened. She wouldn’t rest until I curled up on the floor next to her bed. At 3:30 a.m. She was asleep inside of a minute. Me, not so much, but eventually. These old bones don’t contour like they used to. How did we ever get through the newborn baby stage?
I managed to stumble through church yesterday. Good sermon and worship and all, from what I remember. I just hope I didn’t say anything off-color. When I’m really tired, the wheels fall off. Things tumble of my face that truly shouldn’t.
Before we tucked Ruby in, we had a conversation. I wanted to know what her terrible dream was about. She refused at first.
“It will be worse for me if I tell you,” she protested, shaking her head, tears spilling down her cheeks.
I have a little experience with bad dreams. I know if you tell them, get them into the light of day, they lose their power. The crazy nature of the reverie is revealed and something about putting them into words exposes their flimsy construction.
Her dream was about zombies chasing her. They wanted to eat her. She ran and ran until it was daylight. Then…
“The sunlight was too hot for them. I killed them.”
She won. She has been having the same dream over and over, and each time she wins. I pointed this out to her. This, my friends, is a good bad dream. Mine were never so fortuitous. I would wake up just as the angry guy with the machete was –
We prayed over her, citing scripture and rebuking anything that would torment our precious girl. I would rather it were me, any day of the week.
Last night, Ruby made me promise to sleep on her floor. I put her to bed at 6:15. Say what you will about the early hour; she was already weepy and exhausted. She was snoring by 6:20. And so was I. I woke up around 7:40 and spent a little time with the big kids – Jonathon and Zac. I tried to go to bed again at 8 but couldn’t. My “nap” ruined it for me. I was up til 11 p.m. I watched some of “The Bible” on the Discovery channel but found the characterizations contrary to scripture and the whole thing a bit too bloodthirsty for me. I opted for a rom-com instead. I fell asleep in our bed and was awakened by a little hand on my arm at around 1:40. Back to Ruby’s floor again.
The soft tick-tock of her Betty Boop clock soothed me. Chloe, Ruby’s furry guardian angel, came and went, mewing and prowling around. What, cat?! Lie down already! Ruby dropped back to dreamland in an instant. I wasn’t far behind.
I remember an old friend of ours from Coos Bay signing his emails off with “In the beloved”. And I remember thinking that was cheesy. Maybe so. But if you’re in Christ, a believer, you *are* beloved. I John 4:7-8: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. There are many, many other verses where the writer refers to Christians as the beloved. And if we’re beloved, what is there to fear? I John 4:18: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
A pastor friend of mine used to tell me when he couldn’t sleep, he would remind his mind and the devil of Psalm 127:2: It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. It was the “rest” part he was referring to. Trust in repose is a benefit of being a believer.
As I groggily contemplate another night, I pray Ruby gets it down in her spirit that she is beloved. She has nothing to fear. I will be here, and God is even closer to her than I am. I may be a tangible, soothing presence, but Jesus – He’s not even a breath away.