i’m convinced that parents put their children to bed too early. sure, i understand why they do it — who doesn’t want some peace and quiet as early as possible after long days? but when i think of bedtime as a young girl, i think of long hours laying in the dark, waiting for sleep to take me.
and that was the hard part. that is when every shadow, every sound, every object in my room was suddenly something sinister and evil. you laugh, but there were plenty of nights when i was too scared to move an inch to get off my bed to find the comfort of my parents bed. i could see the wicked witches with their long noses, the rabid dogs underneath my bed, the men on the roof just waiting to sneak through the window to end the lives of those slumbering in the white house. my imagination was… very active. and i grew up a scared little girl.
whenever my parents left for the evening i was always convinced that they had been in a car crash and that’s why they were never home as early as i thought they should be. i’d lay sideways on my bed so i could stare out the window and watch the vehicles drive by — always, of course, praying that i’d been mistaken and their car would be next.
and i’d cry. i was convinced they were dead. i was convinced that men were on the roof. i was convinced the chair in the corner was actually a witch come to taunt me.
my grandmother knits and embroiders and is the crafty sort of person i want to be but am not. hanging on one of the walls in my childhood bedroom hung a prayer with a picture of a child praying at his bedside — all embroidered by grandma. i used to whisper the words of the prayer during those nights over and over, hoping that somehow God would hear me.
i didn’t realize it then, but there came such peace when i would whisper those words. the tears would start to slow and i’d be able to move myself from the window and place my head on my pillow. suddenly the tree branches beside the roof would show themselves and i’d realize that there really weren’t any men. and the chair would just be the chair — no evil lady and no long nose.
it’s nights like tonight when i don’t know what to do with myself that i’m reminded of that embroidered prayer. the night when fears show themselves. when my insecurities flare up an alarming amount. and when i’m in the little yellow house with three babes asleep upstairs because their youngest sister was brought to the hospital since she’s not doing well.
i feel awful.
it’s then that i’m reminded of the Presence that’s always with me. ah. such comfort is found in His arms.
and as i ready for bed i whisper the old prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. May angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light.”
there’s still comfort in those simple childish lines. i tell myself to go to bed — and remind myself that He’s got everything under control. His hands are big enough for all my burdens, worries, and failures.
and i’m so thankful for that.