On Monday night I walked the lonely path of a dark corridor over and over with a hurting infant in my arms. My march endured for hours. I only found rest when I stopped to nurse. The baby would drift off, eyelids fluttering, but if I made any attempt to put her down, she’d writhe in pain and begin to cry again. Her cries came from so deep inside of her it made me hurt, so I’d scoop her into my arms again and resume my nocturnal trek.
When it was well past 1 a.m., I was numb with exhaustion. That’s when I sprung a leak, and my own crying began. I asked for God’s help. I begged him to please, please let me sleep. I even asked him to give me a sign that he loved me and was with me.
I walked in the darkness, hoping winged angels might swoop down and say something like, “Be not afraid.”
But there were no signs or wonders. Just me and a baby who would not sleep.
I woke up around 7 a.m. after having slept fitfully since a 4 a.m. feeding, and I felt more than a crushing lethargy. I was angry. I felt like God wasn’t upholding his end of the bargain. Why were my prayers not answered? If God wanted me to follow his will for me and fulfill my duties as a wife and a mom, why couldn’t he at least give me more than four hours of fragmented sleep? Why did he only send his Mother to speak to children in Fatima? Where was my burning bush? Why did prayer feel more like spouting off words into a vacuum than sharing a two-way conversation with someone who supposedly knew me and loved me? And if God knows me so well, I thought, can’t he see that I’m reaching my breaking point?
I dragged myself out of bed and I went downstairs with a baby (who was now sleeping peacefully) in my arms and two hungry little ones treading close behind. I served my older girls breakfast and held the baby close. I watched her stomach rise and fall gently and that’s when I started to cry again, silent tears trailing down my face.
“God, help me,” I whispered in my heart.
And there it was: My lightening bolt, an answer to my prayer. My 4-year-old looked into my weepy eyes and began to softly sing, “The light of Christ comes shining through, and I’m so blessed to be with you.”
And I smiled through my tears, realizing I’d been looking in all the wrong places for answers to my prayer. Rather than searching the heavens for a sign, I only have to look around my own world to find God. I do not have to wait for a thundering voice from above. Instead, God may choose to speak through the voice of an earthly angel, through the sweet singing of my child. It’s up to me to listen, to open my heart and to accept the sound.