Being reminded of joy

Nights have been tough ~ real tough ~ in the month (tomorrow) since the wee one has joined our family.  

(I'm not just talking about my lack of sleep though that has been wrecking havoc on my role as "Supermommy ~ able to make four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in mere minutes."  Superman has something as exotic as kryptonite to render him helpless.  Me?  Nothing quite as unusual ~ just sleep deprivation turns me into someone who holds a knife wondering how exactly to get the peanut butter on the bread...)   

Far, far worse than the repeated awakenings through the night are what is at the root of them. It is bedtime that we begin to see the anxiety building.  It's as if his thoughts seem to catch up to him when there is less stimulation.  I talked about it in more detail here, but it is heartbreaking to watch him continually reach for someone who isn't here.  He does manage to get some sleep, but it is a restless, mournful sleep full of whimpering and tears.  

In the midst of this grieving, it is easy to lose perspective.  Things can look really grim at 3am.  (Will his heart ever heal?  Will he ever fully accept me as his mommy?  Is he still frightened of us?)  

Thankfully yesterday morning we made it back to our church for a time of corporate worship.  In between two songs (two of my favorites I may add), our worship pastor read a longer section of the following passage:

[...weeping may stay for the night, 
   but rejoicing comes in the morning.] ~ Psalm 30:5b

I'm sure that there were others in the congregation that needed to hear those words, but it was as if God Himself were speaking directly to me in Stephen's voice, reminding me of a verse that I know so well.  Each night does indeed bring sorrow and brokenheartedness for Daniel, but with the sunlight each morning there is joy.  

It's as if a light switch turns and suddenly the little boy who cried through the night is replaced by a toddler with no worries in the world.  I so needed that perspective!  How blessed we are, the grieving could last 24 hours a day.  What a gift we've been given that it doesn't.  

And furthermore, while each night seems something like a recreation of the movie "Groundhog Day" (with the same thing happening over and over), I can look back and see some progress in healing. We've gone from inconsolable and swatting us away to whimpering and reaching for us (yet at this point still seeming to look over our shoulders for another).  

We're not "there" yet.  Last night with three hours of being awake at various times proves that.  It is going to take time to make it as a family of six.  But I was reminded Sunday of His hand in this family building.  With Him in control, we are going to be just fine...

[You turned my wailing into dancing; 
   you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. 
   LORD my God, I will praise you forever.]  ~ Psalm 30:11-12


Shonni said...

I’m glad that you shared the sleep issues of some of our children. And glad that the LORD gave you that Scripture to encourage you. It does take time, and his little smile is so worth it, huh? :)

quilt-n-mama said...

Praying for you and him as you work through this. Our sweet Abigayl did not sleep through the night the first 15 months she was home. It was exhausting and her little heart struggled so much! I have held on to the scripture you mentioned for a long time.

anything but LoKEY said...

So awesome how the Word of God can always meet us where we are and give us the hope we need for our future. Just want you to know your blog is becoming more personal for me. We have four girls and have just decided to go back to China and adopt a five year old boy. It will be my first boy experience (so different, but exciting) and an older one at that. I am trying to glean insight from your most recent experience on the differences in boys and girls and how they handle these situations. I appreciate your openness so much. :)

Leah Mei said...

Oh, I remember those days well. It took our daughter more than 2 years to sleep through the night. The difference being she was looking for me thinking I was leaving her and would ask me,"Mommy go bye bye?" Once she would see my face she would calm down and go back to sleep, this happened every 2 hours for 2 years. I know I don't need to tell you this, as you are a pro by now, but, time will heal his wounds, God is great.


Julie said...

That verse came to mind when when I started reading this. Praying for a joyful morning soon! And while our sleep issues aren't the same I can agree that everything seems much more grim at 3am!! Morning always brings a new perspective.

Traci said...

You are right, you know joy will come in the morning... but it doesn't always translate into knowing how to make PB&J! :) We are still praying for you guys!
Love you!

jody said...

Even now , lily asks the most heart breaking, thought provoking questions at night.
Why couldn't the mommy in China keep me?
is she sick?
Do you think she died?
Did she kiss me?
Is she sad?
Always at night, I am so blessed to be the mommy laying with her, to hold her,love her , to pray with her about the mother she will never know.

Our Journey said...

Isn't is great when God shows us he is listening! Praying for you & Daniel -- may your nights get easier & his heart heal quickly.

Glenda said...

What an adorable picture! Don't you just love it when God comforts you without you even asking. There is something about the darkness of night...but, it has to be pure joy to see that smiling face in the morning. It won't last forever. Remember, you are building trust with him every time you get up with him in the night. Praying!

Nancy said...

Oh Kristi, I am so sorry. I will be praying for your precious little boy's heart as he adjusts & grieves his foster family. I will also pray for strength for you.

Our Journey to China said...

Oh, Kristi, my hearts breaks for sweet Daniel and his Mama and Baba. And oh, how we understand. Our grieving with baby Emma as you know, is sometimes still in process. You are in our prayers dear friend. And as the tears run down my own face imagining your nights, they are mixed with sorrow, grief and hope for the future love that only God can bring to his sweet healing heart. We love you all!!! I hope we can see you soon. :0)

Andrea said...

So glad God reminded you of his promises! And so glad I can now read your updates on my desktop again instead of my phone. ;-)

Heather said...

I feel for you all! Sleep issues are hard enough, but dealing with a grieving child is heartbreaking. I pray Daniel's heart heals and he feels ALL of your love soon. I know how hard it is for a mommy to watch. He is just simply so precious!!!!!

Breanna said...

I love the way God meets us where we are and uses the power of His word to lift us up and sustain us. He knows exactly how to give us that extra nudge of strength we need to sustain us in those dark times. He is SO faithful! I love that scripture, but especially how God used it in that moment to comfort you.

As I reflected on how Daniel has been grieving in the night, and how you reach out your hands, but it still seems as though he is reaching for another... I couldn't help but think of how God must feel when we don't grasp onto His loving hands that come to comfort and rescue us... how sometimes we will take hold, but are still looking over His shoulder for another means of comfort. It is very humbling to think of in that way.

It's SO hard to see our children grieving. They all go through it in their own way, and some even stronger than others. I think the depth of it is even greater with the children who have been in such amazing foster families. Khloe went through her grieving, yet not at the same level as Daniel. However it was a solid 4 months before I reached out to Karen at New Day and others for prayer, before she finally began to sleep through the night. I was a very sleep-deprived mama for a long time.

You and your precious Daniel remain close in thoughts and prayers. Praying God closes his wounds and heals that broken heart soon. I trust it won't be long before he is reaching out to YOU for all of his comfort, and the mere sight of his mama (or baba) will ease his pain. Oh precious Daniel, you are SO loved!


Jordan Carl said...

I have been and will continue to pray for you all, cuz. I have no doubt that Daniel will fully trust you one day and look to your for comfort, support, and encouragement. In the mean time, while the long nights continue, you get to play out the imagery that we see of God in Zephaniah 3:17, "For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Love you cuz. Hope everything continues getting better. Btw, I just posted a new blog that you might want to read... it kinda pertains to this topic. Might help, might not, I'm just throwing it out there.

Kristen said...

Again, thank you for being honest about the sleep issues. We've had our share of them as well, with both of my girls. Ruby is finally starting to sleep through the night. I won't tell you how long she's been home though:) When we're up at 3:00 am (still once in a while) we'll pray for you too.

Melissa said...

Kristi - I love how God spoke directly to you. I know your heart is breaking for Daniel right now - know how much you are covered in hugs and prayers!!! ALL of you! Praying you got some rest last night and that the morning has brought you great joy!