For months we have the one kid struggling with sleepwalking. When the rhythm of regularity changes, the episodes ensue. I find him wandering the house caught between R.E.M. sleep and wakefulness. He will walk, run, pace and cry. I have even caught him leaping over imaginary obstacles! In this state he is often overcome with fright and intense emotion in the most heartbreaking kind of way. His seeming wakefulness allows me to converse, but my motherly questions and suggestions do not penetrate. He responds only from the realm of nightmares where he finds himself stuck.
I have tried asking him questions. I have tried telling him to get back in his safe, warm bed. I have tried telling him he is okay. I have tried telling him he is just dreaming. I have tried shaking him a bit. I have even put him in the bathtub to attempt to jar his flailing to reality. In this case, my natural attempts feel flimsy.
Last night he stood rigid, resistant and fearfully crying at the edge of the dining room. I felt desperate. Here I am physically – all heart – and he seems unreachable. The pain of the present moment can press in with agony.
In my own fatigue, I simply wrapped my arms around him and did not issue any directives. I held him. I leaned in and said one thing; “you are so loved.” I awkwardly managed to lower my gangly 10-year-old at the dining table bench. I pulled him gently close, resisting the stiffness. I began to sing over him; “Jesus, Jesus…like the fragrance after the rain…kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there is something about that name.” His body relaxed in my arms and a smile spread sure and warm across his face. He returned to his familiar, warm bed.
It may not be his last challenging season that brings about taunting nightmares. It may not be the last time he is stuck outside the realm of wakeful consciousness. It may not be the last time all my best practical efforts seem to render ineffective. But I can hold him sure and steady in love. I can sing over him and invite the perfect person of peace to convert his soul. Not a one of us mothers can actually save our beloved children in our own natural strength. The person of Jesus, tender and real, brings salvation. We are called as vital handmaids – to offer our lives as living sacrifices; to breathe through labor pains in our best of efforts. But ultimately our fiat is a container, a conduit of grace, for the perfect person, the prince of peace, Jesus to come.
Will you enter in prayer – rise to the mind of God with me? Maybe you have a toddler, teen, adult child, niece or nephew that you see is stuck and all your trying is not getting through. Maybe it feels like your best nurturing efforts go unseen. Maybe the best of your wise directives seemingly go unheard. Will you hold your beloved child in prayer? Will you sing Jesus over them? I will be singing with you; the song of Jesus’ unchanging love.