Good morning!

I am so sick of reading about sleep.  Infant sleeping is one of those things that everyone has an opinion about, and everyone has a different opinion about it.  Some say naps of 30-40 minutes is normal.  Some say anything less than an hour is a 'disaster'.  Leave your baby to cry.  Don't leave your baby to cry.  Put him down while he is still awake.  Do whatever you can to get him to sleep.  Try a swing.  Don't use a swing.  I just got a sleep book that is 500 pages long.  What kind of cruel joke is that to a new mom?

Every day, and particularly these days, I've been thinking about something that I read recently.  I can't remember where it came from, but the gist of it is this:

"If you want to be a better parent, study the Bible.  
If you want to be a better friend, study the Bible. 
 If you want to be a better wife, study the Bible.  
If you want to be a better _____ study the Bible.
etc. etc."

I used to think that reading certain books would make me smarter.  I've come to learn that books will only make you smarter if you learn to apply something that you learned or really connected with.  Otherwise it's just crap filling my brain that I will forget in five seconds (sometimes I do a test on myself and try to remember what I learned on the last page.  I almost always fail - maybe that's why I turned to young adult fiction in the past few years!)  And now that I'm a parent, I've got to read parenting books, right?  If my baby's having trouble sleeping I need to read sleep books.  But it's so easy to get caught up in other people's opinions about what you should do that you forget -or sometimes already know in the first place, in which case it was a huge waste of your time!- that not everything can/will work for you. I just finished a book called Grace-based Parenting by Tim Kimmel.  It was the first and maybe the last parenting book I'll ever read (except that I already ordered another one of his!)  It was so great because it shows us how to guide our children like God guides us as his children (i.e. with grace).  After all, He is and was and always will be the only perfect parent!  The book is not a 1-2-3 step "do this" program but it is a good, hard challenge to look at the work God's grace in our life and how to extend that to our children.  It's taught me about grace more than anything.  If I want to know how to be a better shepherd of my child, I have to turn to the Bible to understand how God shepherds us.

All that being said, I've been trying to turn to the Bible for sleep help.  I've looked up all the "sleep" verses in the Bible...111 references, to be exact.   

Psalm 127:2: "He grants sleep to those he loves." 
Psalm 4:8: "I will lie down and sleep in peace."

Not exactly the helpful tips I'm looking for, but they're good prayers right now.  The more I read the Bible the more I realise how there really are all of the answers in there!  I realise that it's taking a few liberties with the verses, but here are a few examples that are relevant to me at the moment:  

Should I leave my baby to cry:   Isaiah 58:9: "Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."  Thank goodness we have a God who responds to us when we cry!  

Babywearing:  Isaiah 40:11: "He tends his flock like a shepherd, he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.  He gently leads those that have young." 

Schedule feeding vs. on demand feeding: John 6:11-12: "Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.  He did the same with the fish.  When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, 'Gather the pieces that are left over.  Let nothing be wasted.'"  

Whether you think they're out of context or not, I think it is amazing how relevant God's word to us is.  Then, now and always will be!

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