Wednesday night we had the delightful opportunity to share in a storm system that ripped through several states. Thankfully, no tornadic rotation ever came near us, but the storm roared loudly for quite some time.
The thunder rolled in while we were still at church, with the rain just beginning as everyone headed home. We got home, sent the kids to get ready for bed, and checked the radar to determine if we could send them on to their rooms or if we needed to herd them into our bed since it is much closer to our “take cover” spot. Despite the house-shaking noise of the storm, we felt confident we could send them on to their rooms with the promise that we would get them up if anything changed.
Just like that, all three munchkins went to bed and settled down easily. Each time my husband checked on them through the night, they were all three sleeping soundly. I cannot help but smile in thankfulness at this stage of life, especially considering where we were not even a year ago.
My baby boy has long had a high sensitivity to sights and sounds. I could easily tell when my son became overwhelmed by tall buildings, sudden noises, or anything related to a crowd because he would stiffen and cling. By stiffening, I mean he would lock into position and barely move an eye muscle. If I was holding him, I could completely let go and he would not fall! For years, even a little thundershower would send him into panic mode. Imagine the effect of a full-blown storm!
Then one night, something changed. A loud boom of thunder awakened us in the middle of the night. I jumped up to go check on my son, certain I would find him stiff and sobbing. When I peeked into his bed, I was shocked to be greeted by a sleepy smile.
“Are you doing okay?” I asked him gently.
“Mmm-hmmm,” came the groggy reply. “The loud boom woke me up.”
“Do you need Mommy, or can you go back to sleep?” He was almost too sleepy to answer. I kissed him, tucked the covers more tightly around him, turned his music on per his request, and left my brave big boy to drift back off to sleep despite the rumbles going on outside. My husband and I checked on him several more times that night, but he never stirred again. Now, just a few months later, he not only sleeps through storms, but can put himself to sleep even while one begins raging at bedtime.
We have moved to a new stage in life.
I remember so many other stages. There was the stage when my oldest was a newborn. She slept well and was a perfect baby until 11:00 at night when she would decided to scream. A couple of years later, her baby sister went through a ten-month stage of refusing to sleep much at all, followed by four more years of night terrors. We have endured bed-wetting stages, lying stages, fighting stages, and “push all of Mommy’s buttons” stages. We have experienced enjoyable stages, too, as we have watched our children learn, grow, and develop.
I wonder how my heavenly Father looks upon my stages of life. I, too, go through both good and bad stages. I can look back on my life and see intense struggles, remembering how it seemed I would never get past a specific perpetual temptation or develop discipline in a certain area. Now, those things are behind me and I almost never even think of them any more. New issues have taken their place, though, and the new struggles now seem interminable. But I know that these, too, are only stages. I will grow through these stages just as I have grown through every previous stage.
Are you struggling in a stage? Persevere, my friend. God is growing you through it. Even as my sweet son suddenly overcame his terror of storms as we firmly and lovingly walked him through each one, so you will overcome your struggle under the firm and loving hand of your Father.