After our daughter was born, I felt anxious about my new role as a mom. Consequently, I was having trouble sleeping. When the baby slept, I tried to lie down to rest but couldn’t fall asleep. I couldn’t turn off the long list of chores to do around the house or the underlying fear for the baby’s health and well-being. Despite my deepest and most heartfelt prayers, I was gripped by fear.
Intellectually, I knew the problem was mental, but I didn’t know how to overcome my problem. I wanted to take a look at what motherhood really meant, to find peace. More than returning to normal sleep patterns, I wanted to feel the real ease of knowing that I could trust God day or night – to find the reassurance that God would care for this child whether I was awake or asleep.
I started with what I knew from the Bible. It teaches that God is actually our divine Parent and that He knows what each of His children needs. In the New Testament, Jesus is quoted, “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask” (Matthew 6:8).
God’s presence and power become more evident as we pray to understand and rely on God for ourselves and our family. God’s love meets our human needs, and these “things [we] have need of” are more than food, clothing, shelter, and eight hours of sleep. We need to have reassurance, peace of mind, and spiritual understanding to guide us, and these all come from God, who is Spirit.
We are all the children of God – no exception. Therefore each of us, big or small, has access to the peace, order, balance, and rest that we need, regardless of our circumstances.
I continued my prayers about what it meant to be a parent and had a breakthrough one day. It happened while I was frustrated that I couldn’t sleep – couldn’t find peace – so I went for a walk. This time, I listened wholeheartedly to God.
These words came like a sound bite: “You’ve made ‘sleep’ a god!”
I laughed and realized that I wasn’t keeping the first of the Ten Commandments – “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” – if I made sleep or any thing or person a god (Exodus 20:3).
There is one loving, just, and abundantly gracious God – this doesn’t change with the birth of a child. I wouldn’t want to, and I can’t, have any other gods beyond God. Nothing is as great as God, because God is infinite. God never yielded His control to me.
The founder of The Christian Science Monitor and The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy, writes that God is “the affectionate Father and Mother of all He creates; but this divine Parent no more enters into His creation than the human father enters into his child” (“Unity of Good,” p. 48). Her teachings explain that we each reflect the parent God. Her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” says, “God is the parent Mind, and man is God’s spiritual offspring” (p. 336).
This helped me see that I reflect the attentive, patient, and loving Father-Mother God, as the moon reflects the light of the sun. I don’t originate what it means to parent; I express the one Parent, God.
At that point, I knew that sleep wasn’t the real problem. The crux of the issue was that I needed to recognize God as the parent and that I reflect God, who forms all life, love, and intelligence, which are spiritual. As God’s child, I knew that I expressed intelligence, balance, and tenderness toward my child and to others, including my husband.
There on my walk, I continued to pray: “Show me how to be the right kind of mother – how to pray and not to worry. I want to renew my true affection for you, God. I want to pursue the things of the Spirit, not just follow what I think a mom should be.”
These prayers did renew my love for Father-Mother God. They reassured me and gave me peace. I was able to sleep that day. The complete resolution of getting adequate sleep and having a steady reliance on God for direction with parenting came gradually over the next few months.
I’m now able to sleep through the night and feel no anxiety about sleeping, because I know even if my eyes are closed, God is still keeping watch.