In Which I Need A Nightlight

I haven't slept since we got to Africa. For lots of reasons, but one in particular is because all of the places we have stayed have security lights and I DO NOT sleep with night lights. At All. I like it pitch black and it hasn't been dark since we got here. It is making me more than a little crazy.

Although, you might have guessed, it isn't the only reason I'm not sleeping.

I'm anxious. 

This whole process is causing my hair to fall out, my face to break out, and worst of all, my nights to be one long stretch of counting the minutes until daylight. 

It's as horrible as it sounds. 

I can just hear some of you now reminding me that it is the perfect time to pray my anxieties away. And you would be right. But I would be a foolish and negligent believer if I pretended that cured everything and I went right to sleep. 

It doesn't. And I don't. 

I'm about truth telling around here, so I'll just go ahead and lay it out there that some nights I grow flat out weary of praying the same prayers with no evident answer. I'll also tell you that I feel frustrated, betrayed, and a little abandoned by a God I know deep down loves me. 

In the dark, it is just a little deeper than I can dig sometimes. 

I read Psalm 62 over and over. 

"My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God."

Psalm 62:5-7

But it isn't true of me yet. It isn't the firm declaration it's meant to be. It's a timid, quiet, half-believing whisper. Pleading with God to make it true. 

All day I fight the anxiety. I fight the fear. I parent, I chat, I fill out paperwork, and I make phone calls. 

But then the night comes. The darkness comes and it is so much harder to fight. Even in the fleeting minutes of sleep it is wrecked by horrible dreams. 

I needed a real nightlight. I needed to find some real light in the darkness. 

I grabbed some crayons and started scribbling. Verse after verse to fight the darkness. I laid the notebook by my bed. 

I took a leaf out of Ann Voskamp's book. I started taking notes of all the things there are to be grateful for and stored them in the iPod that lives under my pillow.

I started trying to connect again with the people that encourage me most. It has (for obvious reasons) been pretty easy to disconnect. I told myself it was temporary and that I would be fine until I got home. I was wrong. I need my people more now than anything. 

I still lay and pray. And now I read. And now I make reels of list of the my thankful-fors. I reach for the people who are living in the light, in more ways than one, when my world is in darkness.

Am I sleeping through the night? 

No, not yet. But I'm getting closer. 

I may not have the nightlight on an automatic setting yet, but each night I am clearing a path to the switch. 

"In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4-5