I came across this post in my journal from a couple of years ago, but it’s message still rings true to me now.
I’ve always struggled to understand why we have to ‘consider it all joy’ when we fall into various trials (James 1:2). In my experience trials don’t equal joy. They equal anxiety, stress and worry. That was until I gave birth to my baby daughter.
Since becoming a mum I’ve been overwhelmed by the love that wells up inside me for her. I find myself gazing at her when she’s sleeping and laughing at her cute giggles, even when changing her dirty nappy at two O’clock in the morning! Sometimes I could cry I love her so much.
Alongside this overwhelming love I have for my daughter, I’ve also been overwhelmed by the responsibility I have as a mother to provide for her needs and give her the opportunity to grow up and mature into a young woman of God. Everyday I’m faced with these challenges of how best to look after her and I’m constantly leaning on God and asking Him for wisdom.
One such challenge has been trying to get her to settle down to sleep at bedtime. For the first few months of my daughter’s life she has had her night time feed and quickly dropped off to sleep. My husband or I would then put her in her cot and have the evening to ourselves. But over the last month or so, every time we’ve put her into her cot she’s started waking up. We would then pick her up and rock her back to sleep only for her to wake up yet again as soon as we put her back in her cot. Some nights it would take us four or five tries before she would eventually stay asleep. It was then occurring to me that Mairi, my daughter, was going to have to learn to fall asleep on her own. Even at four months old, she was going to have to start growing up!
Leaving Mairi to cry herself to sleep was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do since becoming a mum. My heart would break as I would hear her wail and all I wanted to do was run into her room, pick her up and cuddle her. I had to go to God and ask Him for the strength to be able to allow her to learn this important skill. When I did this God reminded of the verse, “ My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” James 1:2-4. Not only was this situation a trial for me hearing my baby cry, but it was also a trial for Mairi being left on her own to cry herself to sleep. However, in leaving her for a short period of time she would then learn to fall asleep on her own allowing her to begin to grow up and become more independent.
Once I received the revelation that putting Mairi down for a sleep was an opportunity for her to mature, I actually started looking forward to and getting excited about nap times and bedtime. I considered it a joy that Mairi would get the opportunity to begin to grow up.
Now, I understand that not all the trials we go through in life are as small as the one I’ve illustrated here. God allows us to go through much more challenging situations such as the loss of a job, divorce or the death of a loved one. It’s often difficult to find ‘joy’ in these tough situations. It may even feel as if God has left us when going through these difficult times. But God promises that He will ‘never leave us or forsake us’ (Hebrews 13:5). Mairi may have felt all alone as I left her to cry herself to sleep, but I was actually just at the other side of her bedroom door ready to go in and reassure her when I felt it was getting too much for her.
God is our Father, and His love for us is even more perfect and complete than my love for Mairi or any other parent’s love for their child. In all the trials we face, God is with us. As we trust in Him and remember that He hasn’t left us or forsaken us, then we can grow stronger in our faith giving us a deeper and closer relationship with our loving Father.