January 2019

Sleep Training 

Dr. Rikki Permenter

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17

Over the last hand full of months, I’ve been sleep training a kid. She’s one now - she’s not a baby anymore and she really should be able to sleep through the night and she usually does… now. At first, we would rock her to sleep and gently set her in her crib and then ninja roll and stealthily sneak out of the room so we didn’t wake her up. She would inevitably wake up within two or so hours and scream until I ran to her rescue (which was usually about one minute later). Over the first few months that she slept in her own room and in her own bed she woke three, four, five, or even more times a night and I would quickly drag myself into her room and rock her back to sleep - only to do it all again maybe minutes later. After many sleepless nights, tears, and countless cups of coffee my husband had a talk with me. He leveled with me and told me that even though my daughter didn’t like it, she had to learn how to put herself back to sleep. That even though it broke my heart to hear her crying out in confusion and sorrow, the pain was necessary. The pain and sadness were helping her learn how to put herself back to sleep. Now, she (and I) are much more well rested and much happier. Through the hard time, she learned a necessary skill. 

How often are just like my daughter. We cry out to the Lord in pain, in sorrow, in the midst of confusion and sometimes he doesn’t quickly run into our rooms and fix the problem. He knows the bigger picture. He sees that the pain is necessary. The times of pain, sorrow, and confusion are teaching us necessary skills. They are helping us to become who he needs for us to be. Just like Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, we have to look at the eternal. Our light and momentary afflictions are transient. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.