For those who don’t know: (If you already have an understanding, skip ahead to the “bold” section.) Sleep apnea keeps you from entering REM sleep (when dreaming occurs) and eventually causes heart problems. Someone with sleep apnea holds his/her breath while sleeping which causes a lack of oxygen to the brain. At church camp one year, my “friends” (thanks Throne Together) recorded me holding my breath for up to a minute. I went for years without dreaming ’cause I wasn’t really sleeping. I used to fall asleep at the strangest moments too. I walked around tired all the time since I wasn’t really resting at night.
Since our health insurance wouldn’t cover a sleep test or any treatment, I ignored it for over 5 years. Eventually a good friend gave me a CPAP machine to try. I’ve been using it for a year or so now and it has changed my life. The CPAP gives me a constant flow of oxygen which doesn’t allow me to hold my breath during sleep. In turn, it has allowed me to sleep well again and to actually enter into the deeper stages of sleep. I wake up and remember having dreams again.
OK – here’s my question. What else keeps us from dreaming?? (not actual sleep-dreams, but imagining-a-better-future-type dreams) Does your busy life allow you time to dream? Do you imagine what life could be like if. . . . ??? Do your fears keep you from dreaming?? Are you held back by something else? Do you believe in the person God made you to be? Is there someone else who holds you back or keeps you from dreaming?
Personally, I think we all need a steady flow of down-time to really dream. We have to be intentional about thinking/dreaming/imagining. Mike Ayers, my Biblical Leadership professor, describes it as “staring-out-the-window” time. This world will keep us crazy busy if we’re not intentionally seeking out “smell-the-roses” time.
I also think we’ve gotta have a healthy understanding of who we are in Christ. How can we dream God-sized dreams if we don’t think enough of ourselves or of God? What will it take for us to begin imagining a better future?
A machine helped me dream again. I wonder what other dreams I’ve missed out on??
Last night I couldn’t sleep. I had my 40th birthday Friday and then Monday (yesterday) was told that my full-time ministry position would become part-time in January. They were clear that it was not performance related and this decision was also for all the other full-time programming people too. They said, “It’s the economy”. . . blah. . .blah. . . (After the original blow, I’m not sure I heard much more.) In the end, none of their reasoning (and by the way, I believe they have the best intentions) changes the situation my family is in. Bottom line: I would need to find another way to support my family by January.
So last night I couldn’t sleep. There were too many feelings, thoughts, prayers, and junk rolling around in my head. I just fiddled with the computer from about 3am ’til morning. Around 4am, Kasen (almost 2yrs) woke up and I heard him down the hall. He walked into our room to crawl into bed with Miranda and I. I wasn’t there. I was in the loving room “thinking.” I tracked him down and tried to put him back in his bed. He fought me on it and I was in no mood to fight back, so I brought him into the living room and laid down on the couch with him. He went back to sleep in my arms almost immediately. Then it happened. Was that a giggle? There it was again. Yep, it was a giggle. I can’t believe it. He’s giggling in his sleep.
My son was so comfortable in my arms that he could sleep deeply enough to giggle in his dreams.
Prayer: God, You are my Father. I know I’m safe in your arms. But I’m also feeling pretty vulnerable and insecure. Help me to trust in Your providential hands enough to sleep and giggle again. AMEN.
OK – he’s only 16 months, but close enough. Kasen loves tents! When we go to the Bass Pro Shop, one of his favorite things to do is to run in and out of all the display tents.
Our small group went camping at Brazos Bend this week for Spring Break so Kasen and I made a quick day trip up to spend a night with them. He loved it! His first tent camping experience was a huge success. He went on a bike ride, played with his friends, helped find a geocache, fell asleep by the campfire, and slept til about 3am. He woke up and looked around a bit then snuggled back down into his sleeping bag for the rest of the night. He was still up like an alarm clock at 7am, but it was a good night.
Side note: We did have a little scare. Kesleigh had a skin infection and we were told we might need to take her to the hospital. The good news is that the antibiotics are working. Pray for her to have continued improving health.
I’m also grateful that we were also surrounded by great, caring friends (our small group) who prayed for her and engaged in some incredible conversations around the campfire. There’s just something about a campfire that brings those things out.
When I came home last night, Kasen was asleep on the floor of the living room. I put away my things, emptied my pockets, and then went to sit on the couch to talk to Miranda. As soon as I settled into my spot, Kasen stirred a bit and opened his eyes. Half asleep, he stood up and stumbled across the floor to me. And then raising his hands, he grunted a sound that I understood. I picked him up and he fell asleep again on my chest.
I stayed there and held him. I prayed over him and tried to savor the moment – thinking, “I want to be able to recall this moment when he’s 16 and yelling about how much he hates me.” I thought about how it felt to have him wanting to be in my arms. I felt for his heartbeat and listened to the way he was breathing. I took a mental photograph of his sleepy eyes when he realized that I had come home and I filmed his stumbling walk across the floor.
I love my boy and I loved that experience yesterday.
I know he won’t always want me so close, but I’m already realizing how difficult it will be to allow him to grow up. I’m praying that my mental photography and videography will help me make it through the tough times that are lurking in our future.
Take some mental photographs today of the people you love.
Kasen wouldn’t sleep tonight. He was too distracted. He went to bed fine, but then woke up around 2am. Miranda rocked him. It didn’t work. I walked him. It didn’t work. When you start rocking him, he normally closes his eyes and rests and soon he’s asleep. When I walk him it’s the same way, but tonight his eyes were wide open. I watched on as he studied my shadow as it flowed across the ceiling. Then he looked for the source of the gentle hum coming from the computer and although it was dark, he tried to make out the images in the frames on our wall. Almost like he thought it was morning and time to get up. I walked him again and by about 2:45am, he was finally back to sleep. Now it’s 3:35 and I’ve been wide awake since then.
Anyway, I’ve been up tonight thinking about God. I wonder how many times He wants me to rest, but I’m too distracted looking around at all that fills my life? How many times has He walked me hoping that I’d just rest in His arms and feel comforted by His presence? I wonder how often I have been resting with Him and then been distracted in such a way as to miss out on His real blessings? I wonder how often I have imagined that it was time to be finished with my time with God when He had more for me?
Lord, help me rest in You without distractions.
My nephew Tyler was a little shy about his relationship with me and so he did something interesting one night. We were riding in the back of the car from an evening out to dinner or something and he pretended to be asleep. You see, he understood that if he were asleep when we got to his house, that I would carry him in and tuck him into bed. Out of the corner of my eye, I had seen him watching me, so I knew he was awake. I loved the fact that he wanted that moment with me enough to pretend to be asleep.
I wonder if Jesus felt that way with Nicodemas in John 3? Nick was embarrassed or scared for anyone to know he wanted a relationship with Jesus so he came to Him at night. Do you think Jesus felt the same way I did when Tyler pretended to be asleep to so he could have a special little stolen moment with me? I wonder what I could do today that would make Jesus feel that way again?
OK – Here’s the second story in my series of “Stories I Need to Tell.”
I am happily married and hope to one day have children of my own, but for right now the closest thing to that for me is my nephews. I have three – Tyler, Tucker, and Tanner. When they were younger (Tyler was maybe 4 or 5) they would get really excited when Uncle Teve (that’s what they called me) would come into town. I lived about 4 hours away so it was a rare treat to get to see me – besides that – I’m the only uncle that they have. I think one of the reasons they liked it when I came in town was because I would play dinosaurs with them. We’d crawl around on the ground growling at each other and wrestling a bit like we imagined dinosaurs did.
Anyway, one particular trip, Tyler wanted to sleep with his Uncle Teve. Of course I was honored by the whole thing. When the time came for him to go to bed, I readied myself and he snuggled up next to me. I had my arm stretched out to one side and he got right up in there and layed his head on my shoulder. It was beautiful! We talked a little and said our prayers and then I watched him as he fell asleep on my arm. This was a new and really cool experience for me. I treasured each moment ’cause I knew it probably wouldn’t last long, and it wouldn’t be that long before he’d grow up and not want to be near me like that. Tyler just laid there and rested – he felt comfortable there next to me and treated me as if he belonged to me. As I relished the moments, I soon realized that my arm was beginning to hurt. There was this pain working it’s way up my arm and a simple adjustment would probably fix it, but I didn’t want to disturb Tyler or waken him. As the pain grew, I fought through it to cherish more time with him. I continued for as long as I could until it felt like my arm would just fall off – it probably wasn’t very long ’cause I’m a wimp, but anyway there’s the story.
Here are my thoughts on the whole thing. I wonder how many times God wants to cherish a moment with me and I just ignore Him or never even make it into the bed to be next to Him. Tyler truly was excited that I was there with him and wanted to spend every moment he could with me – Do I treat God like that? The pain that I “fought” through to cherish that moment with Tyler was nothing in comparison to the pain that Jesus endured on the cross for me. Does the Lord take pleasure and joy in me like I did with Tyler? What does that mean for me? How should I respond to that kind of love? Do I rest with God? Am I comfortable with Him? Do I treat Him like I belong to Him? How can I give Him moments like that?