Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stay Awake

When I was 8 months pregnant with Hope and desperate for a nap, three year old Luke began his terrible twos.  I needed more than his one hour nap so tried to "rest with my eyes open" on my bed during the day, but Luke took full advantage.   Whispering "Mommy, you go sleep," he marched with his yellow Little Tikes chair to David's chest of drawers to climb in search of treasures: buttons, coins, pens, and a pocket knife.  "Luke, don't climb up there. You might fall, and you don't need anything up there."  "Mommy, you go sleep," he commanded as he picked up the yellow chair and marched to the bathroom in search of more fun toys: dental floss and shaving cream. 

Two months later, I was a sleep deprived mother of a precious but colicky, RARELY asleep (day or night) one month old and a cabin fevered three year old.  Hope and Luke feel asleep at the same time one miraculous day, so I followed everyone's advice and took a nap.  I have no idea how long I slumbered before the door bell rang.  Luckily, I was on the sofa and didn't walk by Luke's bedroom before answering my once locked carport door on a freezing January afternoon to find no shoes, no coat Luke, our golden retriever that stayed in the yard with an impossible to open gate, and a 75 year old neighbor, who lived three houses down, proudly bringing my son home.


No matter their age, we watch over our children whenever possible hoping to protect them from life's hurts.  If there was a way to watch them 24 hours a day, seven days a week and keep them safe, we would.  A difficult realization for parents is that this isn't possible.  I tell these particular stories to share my favorite Bible verses.


He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:3-4 NKJ


Israel's terrain was very rocky and unsteady, but the Psalmist realized God steadies his foot.  The Living Bible says,  He will never let me stumble, slip, or fall.  If he will not allow my foot to be moved, why am I tripping, slipping, stumbling and falling so often? Why isn't my walk continually steady?  To keep children from falling, loving parents carry them, hold their hand, give them rules to follow,  issue a warning,  and eventually tell them NO, but sometimes they don't want to be carried, hold hands,  follow rules, heed the warning, or hear the word NO.  God doesn't allow, consent, our fall.  We let go.  Sometimes, however, we're pushed by others.  Whatever the reason for our fall, His hand is there to steady us again.

Some translations use "watch over" instead of "keep," but I like keep
             I like this. I'll keep it.
He's a keeper.
I can't give this away; it's a keepsake.
Keep this somewhere safe.
My grandmother used to say she was keeping house.  She was taking care of it.
God keeps me.  He keeps you.  He's awake and gives us a warning when we climb in our yellow chairs and reach for the knife that He knows will hurt.  He doesn't sleep when we wonder off in the cold.  If we ask Him to go with us, hold our hand, carry us, He will.  If we go unprotected, if we don't heed His warning, if we let go of His hand and stumble, He's awake to pick us up when we ask.

I'm a big fan of naps and an even bigger fan of a full 8 hours at night even though I can't keep anyone or any situation when I'm asleep.  After 18 years,  I still think about what could have happened to Luke while I slumbered.  Maybe this is the reason these are my favorite verses.  I know He doesn't want me to fall; in fact, He is my firm foundation.  I know instead of slumbering, He's keeping me.  

He who keeps you is not asleep,