by Gloria Furman
Everyone in our home who is under four-foot-tall tends to go a little bananas around 7:00pm.
A wise friend often reminds me that the days are coming when the tables will be turned. Someday I will have to convince my children to wake up and get out of their beds. Those days seem so far away.
Little children tend to feel most vulnerable at night. It’s dark outside, the activity of the house is winding down, and they hear the bedtime no-more’s refrain. No more sippy cups, no more snacks, no more games, no more toys, no more cartwheels…
And then, cue the chorus response of bedtime one-more’s. “One more book?” “One more sip of water?” “One more hug?” “One more kiss goodnight?”
By God’s grace the Holy Spirit’s fruits of patience and gentleness swell and ripen in these times. God gets the glory for giving me the strength I need to be kind to my children when I feel most hurried or annoyed at the end of a very long day. And in times when I squelch the Spirit and produce rotten fruit because of my sinfulness, he then graciously convicts me of my sin and gives me the grace I need to apologize to my kids for my hastiness, insensitivity, and unkind words. Bedtime is a maturing experience for all of us.
I assure my children of my presence. “Mommy is only going to the living room and then I’m going to sleep in my bedroom. I’m right here.”
I leave them reminders and things to help them sleep. “Here’s Judson’s sheriff and spaceman, here’s Aliza’s rose pillow, and here’s Norah’s unicorn… and wombat… and bracelets… oh, and dolls. I left your music on the timer and the bathroom light is on in case you need to go.”
I give them extra affection to show them I love them. “Another kiss for you, and you, and you. And another hug for you, and you, and you. Ok, and more round—here we go!”
Even so, the sniffles and protests may crescendo. I repeat one last verse of reminder for them of God’s presence and his fatherly care. “You can go to sleep with confidence because the Lord never sleeps and he is taking care of you. Even the darkness is as daylight to him so he can always see you. If you feel anxious then you pray to God and tell him all about it because he loves you so much and he can help you.”
But ultimately I have to leave. I have to give one last bedtime kiss, say one final good night, and close their door.
What would my kids think is way better than all of these external assurances of my love and care for them?
An internal, abiding one. In their room, specifically. “Mommy, why don’t you stay longer? Or sleep in our room?” They are most assured by my ongoing presence.
This bedtime cacophony is a glimpse of grace that reminds me of how God cares for me.
One of the Holy Spirit’s ministries to me is to calm my anxious fears and give me peace and security when I feel uncertain of God’s care and love.
The sealing of our soul for God is an effectual, unimpeachable work of the Spirit. For various reasons there are times when believers do not feel particularly close to God yet we remain in Christ because of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence. The Holy Spirit doesn’t tolerate any “flat mates” when he takes up residence in you. His “tenancy” is permanent. If you are in Christ then the Spirit’s presence is your assurance that you are adopted into God’s family, sealed and marked for your heavenly Father forever. The Spirit is God, and his unalterable, effective work is an objective reality that can neither be negated nor confirmed by my subjective emotions (Eph. 1:13-15) nor threatened by any unclean spirit.
Surely our hearts are emboldened by the reminders and evidences we see of God’s love for us all around us. We see God’s common grace, his divine providence, and so much more!
Even when we feel like we’re going a little bananas because of this or that feeling of uncertainty or vulnerability, we can enjoy the abiding, internal assurance we receive from the Holy Spirit (Isa. 59:21) who pours out God’s love into our hearts.
What lengths the Lord has gone to so that our uncertain hearts might be comforted by his love!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Gloria (@gloriafurman) is mostly from Texas. In 2008 she moved to the Middle East with her husband Dave to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three fun kiddos and Gloria enjoys serving the ladies in her community as a doula. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway 2013).