It was 4:00 in the morning, and like clockwork, Charlotte started screaming.
Confession: Todd usually gets up with her in the middle of the night. Another confession: He usually gets up before me with the kids in the morning. One more confession: He does 98 % of the laundry and more than half of the housework. I have other confessions but I will save them for a day when you might not decide to hate me because I have such a great husband.
Anyway, last night when Charlotte started screaming, instead of her normal “please come get me and rock me back to sleep” sound, she was wailing. She went from dead asleep to sounding like she was desperately afraid in about 4 seconds. I opened my eyes and sat still for a second because sometimes she goes right back to sleep.
“Mommy! Mommy! MOOOMMMMYYY!!!!” I jumped up. Because that’s me she’s calling. And she isn’t just upset, she’s wanting me. And who can resist answering that need?
I jumped out of bed and walked toward her room. Right as I turned the doorknob, she let out another piercing scream, so she didn’t hear me walk in. We live in a house that has creaky doorknobs and pockets of the floor that you learn to step around if you’re trying to be quiet. I know where they are. I didn’t make a sound.
It surprised me that she wasn’t standing up in her crib and bouncing, because she usually does that when she’s upset.
I know. Because I know her.
She was so worked up that she didn’t even notice that I had gotten right up next to her crib, and that I was actually leaning over the white wooden bars while she was flailing around. She was sweaty, I could tell from her little wet head. She was digging her fists into the mattress and rolling her legs around kicking the sides of the crib. And she was more upset than I have seen her in awhile.
I prayed for her. I rebuked any Satanic spirit that might be influencing her, I prayed for peace and for rest. I did it quickly, and I waited just a moment more.
She was still scared. Still unaware of me.
Quietly, quietly, I started humming, “Hush little baby, don’t you cry…” It was just enough to make my throat vibrate. Too quiet for her to take notice, but she must have sensed something in her half-awake state, and she calmed a little. I started to reach over the crib but I didn’t want to wake her if she was going to go back to sleep. She didn’t even need to know I was here, just felt enough in my presence to know she wasn’t alone. I kept watching her though, and I noticed that although she was still upset, she wasn’t looking at the door. She knew that one of us would come in and get her, but she cried to the corner, so distraught that she didn’t lift her head.
And in the middle of the night, while the wind howled around Nashville and the rest of my babies slept, I wondered how many times I have done this.
I call Him, because I know His name.
And He answers, because He has always knows mine.
I am lost in the wreckage, trying to get my bearings, and while I can’t even lift my head, He whispers throughout the madness…I am here, love. Rest.
I snuck in when you thought it was over. When you thought it was impossible. And while your back was turned and the world was upside-down, I came near to you. I have seen you wrestle with your pain, shout in anger, and kick the sides of this life until the bruises reminded you that you could even feel at all.
And somewhere, sometime…many in fact, I bowed beside you and sang. And when you thought you couldn’t get to me, I reminded you that I always, always come to you.
Hush little baby…
I stood in the moonlight and let Him fall on me. Have you ever done that? Because it’s pretty spectacular. I read my Bible, of course. And I love to listen to music, to be in community, and all of the other gifts of this world. But every now and then He speaks and I know that even when I leave the moonlight I’m never going to forget the mercy that spoke in the darkness.
She stirred again and I reached over and touched her back. Gently, gently.
She felt me, jumped up, and scrambled for my arms as if I might leave without her.
I never would, you know.
And as she lowered her head into my neck, I settled into the rocking chair and she was out before I even sat.
There were no words exchanged. Just the truth that exists between a parent and a child in the middle of the night. And it says the same thing it always has.
You didn’t know I was there, but it doesn’t change the fact that I was.
I heard you call me and I came.
I sang over you, prayed over you, loved you from the shadows.
Hush, love. Hush. Another day is dawning soon and we will meet here again. Around the squeaky floors I have come to know so well. And when we do, you will remember why it is that you called me in the first place, so long ago.
And if you listen to the stillness, you will hear me. Anywhere, anytime.
Can you hear Him?