Sleep: Interrupted {The Grove: Sleep}

I moved my family back to SE Asia two weeks ago. I’m also 28 weeks pregnant. Let’s talk about sleep deprivation, shall we?

Jet lag. Body aches. Hard mattresses.

Construction noises. Dogs barking. KIDS.

Friends, there is almost no amount of money I wouldn’t consider paying to fly my pregnancy pillow back across the ocean to me. My biggest regret in post-Christmas packing is that I didn’t leave more puzzles and Shopkins and books behind to make room for that beloved pillow.

Kidding.

But really. The loud music was blaring early this morning from the construction site next door, and I beat my bed with a loud sigh of surrender and determined that it was time to start the day. This, of course, was after I considered how I could pour water over my back wall onto the radio producing the unrighteous decibels.

I give in. Precious sleep is a luxury one does not necessarily get to claim as a basic human right (though it should be).

***

Do you want to know the ironic thing about the lack of physical sleep I’m getting back here across the globe? My spiritual health has been completely reset.

We were hardly beginning to unpack when I wrote in my journal, We arrived back in country two days ago, and already I feel refreshed and focused to live on purpose.

What is this about? How could a place that robs me of deep physical sleep also make me feel so alive?

I’ll speak candidly. Our time in the U.S. last year was necessary as we were finalizing our daughter’s adoption paperwork. There really was so much good that came from the five months we enjoyed there.

But living in a large faith community for the first time in three years took its toll on my relationship with the Father. I woke up each day thinking about how I could satisfy my flesh rather than having a hunger to be filled with the Spirit.

I became laterally dependent — on family, on friends, on Sonic — to get me through each day. The thing I love most about living abroad, though, is the necessity to live upwardly dependent — on God and His Spirit to pour out over me.

This time back in my home overseas, I’m thinking a lot more about how we will be moving back to America for good one day. And my greatest fear is that I will land in a situation that allows me to be too comfortable.

The word that is on my heart recently is INTERRUPTED. I desperately want to live a life that is being interrupted…by communal culture, by people in need, by my own lack of power or ability to make things of God move in a place.

So while we may long for a nice set of hotel collection bedding complete with a cushion-top mattress and children who miraculously all sleep twelve hours each night, I pray that our community will be constantly strengthened by the joy that comes from living a life of upward dependence.

May we rejoice in the interruptions…within our home and outside our home…relishing in the fact that people are drawn to be near us and be comforted by us. May the Spirit that fills our souls pour over and out into the souls of our families and neighbors, however many times our days are disturbed. Because it’s then we’re led to look upward.

What have you been reading and processing this week alongside our theme, SLEEP? What does this word make you think of as you consider your current walk in life? I can’t wait to chat with you in the comments. Thank you for being here! 

~~~

This is The Grove and we want to hear from you! You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.


Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesSleep. You can add yours!

6 Comments

  1. Hadassah January 27, 2017

    This week my sleep has been interrupted. My family has come down with the flu, and if it isn’t my own coughing that wakes me and keeps me up at night, it’s the opening of our door and the crying of my youngest who then wakes up my oldest! Needless to say, I’m longing for a good night’s rest and have been able to relate on so many levels with this week’s theme.

    In my morning worships, I also found a verse about sleep. Proverbs 3:21 says, “My child, hold on to wisdom and reason.” And it continues in verses 23-24 saying, “Then you will go on your way in safety…When you lie down, your sleep will be peaceful.” I’m asking the Lord for wisdom to know how to best combat the illness that has taken over my home, knowing all along that the sagest advice is that I can and should rest in Him. Lord, help us all, no matter what is assailing us, to peacefully rest in You, day and night. Amen!

    1. Lauren Pinkston January 28, 2017

      Weeks with sickness are no joke, Hadassah. And sleep deprivation turns us into people we may or may not recognize. I love the clarity you still have through the difficulty of this week, and appreciate so much the verse you shared here. Praying now for your family to be healed and for your normal to return to your home!

  2. Michele January 27, 2017

    Oh, that gift we have of being dependent on Him on the field! I love that- and really struggle with the inevitable dullness I feel spiritually after a few weeks in America. I’m really praying about how to avoid that dullness now that I’ve committed to spending a quarter of each year there helping family!

    On the topic of sleep- there’s just so much! I didn’t really have that ‘revelation’ that it is not a right until maybe my 12th year in Asia! Not that I complained about all the noise at night and wee hours of the morning. I can add to the list above the drinking parties outside my house, the call to prayer or all night chants, the clanging bell to wake the children in the hostel where I stayed for three years.. I learned to sleep through a lot of noise, but I really only gave myself 5-6 hours a night for many years. But if I needed a nap or had taken a morning to sleep in and someone came to my door, I found it so hard not to ignore them or be grouchy. I finally realized they NEVER seemed to care if their snooze was interrupted by even a casual visit. Relationship wins over sleep in Asia.

    Somewhere around my 40th birthday I realized I needed more than five hours a night. And when my ministry focus became prayer I also learned something about sleep- I can do almost anything with little to no sleep if I have to. I can teach a full day of lessons- maybe not the best ever, and I may not be the happiest teacher ever, but I can do it. But in order to sit and pray, I’m gonna have to have a good night’s sleep. Lately I’ve come to wonder how much of this call to focus on prayer was just about getting me to learn to rest! The more I learn, the more I want to shout it: “REST, sisters- REST! It’s not as idealistic as it sounds- It can be done and it really works!”

    1. Lauren Pinkston January 29, 2017

      Michele,

      I am having serious technology issues! I’ve responded to you three times with no luck from my internet to actually post my comments. So sorry it’s taken me so long!

      Your words here are so good and steeped in experience and wisdom. I’m glad you’re a part of this community to share all your years of living overseas and working cross-culturally has taught you…we can really benefit from that!

      I am so impressed that you were able to function so well for so long with only 5 hours of sleep each night. I’m even more impressed that you are tender to this season and the space you’ve been given to rest. I hope your new commitment to serving months at a time in the States is refreshing…I know that the ministry of prayer is MASSIVE and one we can’t grow the Kingdom without. Thanks for your dedication to this work! <3

  3. Ashley Felder February 12, 2017

    Catching up here…

    This paragraph: “The word that is on my heart recently is INTERRUPTED. I desperately want to live a life that is being interrupted…by communal culture, by people in need, by my own lack of power or ability to make things of God move in a place.”

    So convicting! I’d much rather NOT be interrupted! Have my plans just as I set them! I had a rough re-entry from our month in Thailand last week. It was one shove after another, too many cutting in line… but then, after I had planned to have a chai latte (that I JUST discovered for the first time anywhere outside the US!) at Starbucks in the last airport (we live far from them), I go there and they’re out.of.everything. No chai, no decaf coffee, not even black tea! I left there in a huff. My poor hubby. I look back now and cringe at my immaturity. Really, all that rude behavior in front of my kids over a cup of liquid?! (Perhaps liquid gold in my opinion, but I’ll tackle that later.) May I quickly learn to embrace interruptions and blown expectations! And I mean quickly…we thought we started teaching classes in 2 weeks. We found out a few hours ago that we start at 8am tomorrow! Haha

    I’m going to read your words over and over until they sink in. I think He has something for me here. 🙂

    1. Michele February 12, 2017

      Oh, Ashley, the two weeks turned into tomorrow thing! So been there! Praying for much grace for you this week!

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