• Clarice Aeby

Finding joy in those sleepless nights


Photo: Vedad Colic from Pexels

Do you ever experience a sleepless night? Or perhaps you fall asleep but wake in the hours of darkness only to find no path back to sound sleep. Can something good come from that dark alone?

I am blessed by usually sleeping well. In fact, if I maintain a regular sleep pattern, I can count on seven hours of deep sleep. But I admit I don’t always adhere to what I know are my best sleeping hours. And I pay a price the next day.

I am blessed to know this about myself. Many don’t even anticipate a good night’s sleep. Their bodies have gone years without this special gift of end-of-day-restoration.

My heart goes out to you. Fatigue can make all of life more intense with the emotional depletion that can follow.

Young Mamas know what I’m talking about. So do people who are long-term caregivers to loved ones who are ill.

I remember waving happily across the church to a friend. It was all about good sleep. We both had little babies. But this particular Sunday we waved and each held up five fingers -- we’d experienced five hours of uninterrupted rest, and we felt renewed, refreshed, revived… and we rejoiced in the gift of sleep.

My personal habit (because I can usually count on great sleep) is not to settle for less. By that I mean, if I don’t fall asleep with fifteen minutes, I get up.

It’s my own way of telling my body that if it wants the comfort of that soft, warm bed, it had better cooperate by releasing the day’s activities and challenges – and sometimes excitement – and submit to sleep.

In recent years I’ve discovered some great joy in those dark, quiet, alone hours. It’s when the traffic is silent. I don’t want to bother my apartment neighbors by turning on music, a movie or my vacuum.

In the sheer silence… it’s God and me. A perfect pairing for a holy moment.

I love how The Message words Psalm 4:8:

“At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep.

For you, God, have put my life back together.”

With nothing else to do but sit before the Lord, many of my night hours have become sacred as the Spirit swept over me with Whispers that have “put my life back together.”

Sometimes it’s a time of confession, sometimes a time of dreaming Next Steps for a fresh passion. I always grab my pen and journal as I turn on a soft light, anticipating something good – something far better than sleep – is about to unfold.

My sister considers her midnight wake-ups as a call for intercessory prayer and always begins with thanksgiving. She receives her quiet dark awakes as a gift to join the Holy Spirit in making her plea for the comfort of others.

If you are in a whole season of little sleep, I’ll say a prayer for you. If you are like me and normally a good sleeper, I pray you can embrace those occasional sleepless hours as a sacred time of quiet with the Lover of your soul.

Pull up a chair and sit still

Photo: Burak K from Pexels

Have you considered preparing a welcoming place all set up in case some dark awake hours are before you? What if you went to bed with your Bible, journal, pen and warm blanket ready for whatever Holy Whisper may come your way?

Thanks for sitting still with me today.

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