The past few weeks has been very off routine for us with everything we've had going on with my mother in law, the funeral, the snow/ice closing roads, me not being able to work, etc. Not to mention my sister's move to El Paso, my parents driving cross country with her to help her settle in, and all the drama Little Miss and I have had with the dermotologist. (Ps - my stitches are out, my wound is healing, I'm investing in $15 scar cream that says to apply 3-4 times DAILY!!! and so far so good...but its just this funky mark on my leg I doubt will ever go away completely. Oy.)
My Little Miss is like her mama and thrives on routine. She's used to having a schedule, used to a concept of normal, used to seeing her nana 2-3 times a week, etc. Instead this week has been a blur of babysitters and Mama gone more than usual, then all of a sudden Mama AND Dada home more than usual, but no Nana's house and no getting out and about because of the weather. It's enough to throw her into more tantrums than usual, and enough to have her suddenly clingy to me at bedtime and naptime.
We've never done the co-sleeping thing. When she was very little we'd nap sitting up together in the chair, and we shared a bed on vacation in Gulf Shores last September because it was the only option, etc. But she's always been happy and content in her bed (crib) in her room and that's been something we've stayed firm about.
But because of the upheaval, every time I've gone to put Little Miss in her bed this week for nap or bedtime, she cries, sobs, wails, begs me to stay, uses creative stall tactics, the works. "Don't leave mama", "mama I need you", "mama I wanna sleep in your bed". It's really hard to stay firm but I refuse to start a bad sleeping habit at age 2 1/2 when we've made it thus far so successfully!
So I decided to get creative too. The other day I started telling Little Miss that if she felt alone or scared in her room, she could talk to God and that God was always there. She knows God from prior conversations, from church, from us talking about God making the moon and stars, from bedtime prayers, etc. So she understood. But she didn't get why she couldn't see God. She kept asking if He was hiding. I said no, God was there, she just had to talk to him even though she couldn't see him. She thought about that a while, but we kept struggling to make it clear. Finally, I said "well why don't you pretend that you can see God and talk to Him that way?"
She shook her head with such force her hair bounced. "Noooooooo! I don't want a pretend God! I want a real God!!!!!!"
I just sat back and stared at her, eyes wide, my heart heavy and suddenly light all at once. How true is that? How many times had I cried the same thing silently in the dark? I WANT A REAL GOD! I've wanted a God I could see better, trust more, hear more clearly. I wanted a God to fix it, heal it, ease it, erase it. I wanted a God I could understand. A "real" God.
But then that would mean He wasn't the real God at all.
My definition of real had somehow started easing, in the midst of tragedy, toward fake.
Sometimes its easy to let our faith play pretend, to go through the motions of make believe without fully participating. I committed right there in her room that I was going to focus on the REAL God and quit doubting, quit lamenting, quit whining, quit trying to understand. Quit trying to expect God to be something He wasn't.
Because He's SO much more.
After gathering myself, I quickly assured Little Miss that God is very, very much real. And in that moment I FELT the truth of that statement more than I had in a long time...
Blessings in the dark.