By LIBBO HASKINS CROSSWHITE
Real talk. When my first column includes the line, “Is today the day that people are going to be able to tell that I have 100% absolutely NO CLUE what I am doing with these two human beings,” it’s real hard to come up with a second piece for Modern Motherhood.
As I desperately searched for an area of my life in which I have any remote knowledge, I remembered a dear friend of mine that I haven’t seen in awhile—SLEEP!
You will be hard-pressed to find anyone that loves sleep more than I do and I am sincerely devoted to my craft. My proudest moment—other than bringing two children into the world and winning a pizza eating contest in college (another story for another day)—was when I slept 23 hours straight after cheer camp in high school. Sleeping is indeed my spiritual gift. Of course, motherhood totally rocked my world.
I can still very vividly remember the first few nights we had our daughter, Mary Thomas, home. After finding out the hospital had no return policy, it left us no choice but to fully rely on God’s strength and large amounts of caffeine to survive the first couple of months. I would hear the monitor, pray that it was a dream, let her make up her mind if she really wanted to cry, count to 25, lose to Clay in a paper-rock-scissors battle to see who would get up, then begin the process of dragging my potato sack of a body out of the bed and across the house to Mary’s room to check on her. Half- dazed, half-teary eyed, fully longing for sleep.
Until it happened. Croup. If you know what I am talking about, you know the fiercely horrifying noise that your small child can make when they have Croup. If you don’t know what I am talking about, consider yourself warned. Half barking seal, half trumpet—it’s absolutely the worst noise for a first-time mother. Clay and I still laugh about the first time Mary got the horrifying cough. I leapt out of bed in one full swoop and ran full speed across the house screaming, “I’m coming, Mary!” in this weird, deep, slow motion voice. There was nothing that was going to stop me from getting to my child. Only after making Clay Google “barking seal cough” did we realize this is actually a real thing that happens to more people than just us. Whew.
Something about the middle of the night turns our kids into these terrified, screaming individuals who can only be comforted by the ones that created them. And let’s be honest, it’s usually mom. It is in those intense moments our babies are scared, confused, and feel alone, that they cry out. They have no choice but to do everything they can to see the face of their comforter and be embraced by the one that calls them child.
The other night as I was doing round two of midnight cries with my little Russell, it hit me. The only reason that motivates me to get up, when every bone in my body wants to stay back in bed, is the love I have for my children and that love is only a fraction of the way that Jesus loves me.
For many of us, it has been a difficult season of understanding why bad things happen—why we lose those that we love or why we lose ones too young or why bad things happen in this world far too often. Earthly answers for “why” oftentimes don’t seem to exist. So, we are left with one option—to cry out. And not just a half-hearted cry out. A Croup, Jesus-we-need-to-you-to-run-across-the house-and-save-us kind of cry out. We are His creation and it is in those moments of intense sadness and confusion that all we can do is look to the heavens for comfort. Cry out to our Heavenly Father—the one that longs to hold us close.
We must and can only find relief for the world’s tragedies at the cross. Our tears are not falling on deaf ears, because as much as we love our little ones in the darkest of the night—our God is bigger. Our God holds the brokenhearted near. It is when we shift our focus off the brokenness of this world and onto the cross that we see that bigger love lived out.
It seems like lately the only thing that makes sense anymore is the cross. The only thing that makes sense is to plead for the God of creation to rescue my broken, sad, confused and scared heart. Revelation 21:4 promises us a day with no more tears. A day with no more sorrow, or death, or mourning or pain. A day when our Creator wraps us in His arms and takes us away from the darkness.
Remembering, albeit clinging to, that promise is the only thing I can do, that we can do, as we long for our Creator’s embrace in the darkest of night.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay live in Brandon and attend Pinelake.They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 2 years old and a son, Russell, who is 6 months old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.