Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cry It Out

Elijah is my sweet baby boy and only 8 months old, but a lot of training has already been going on in his life.  Actually, since about his second week of life, because I chose to take a parent-led approach to raising him, based on the Baby Wise series of books.  After seeing other moms implement this approach with their children, I was sold, and can see the Biblical implications of such training.  (Please visit this blog to learn all you could possibly want to know about the Baby Wise approach!)

No matter what your philosophy of child-rearing, I hope you will read this post with an open mind.  Even with an 8 month old, I have already learned so much more about God from the opportunity he has given me to be a parent.  My goodness - the love I have for that tiny baby boy is almost more than I can handle some days and just puts me in awe of our Creator who loves me so much more than I can imagine. 

A part of the Baby Wise approach is establishing a good sleeping pattern for your child, which can involve allowing your child to cry it out sometimes while training them.  (This is where I may lose some of you...but please hang in there!)  In the beginning of our sleep training with Elijah, there were nights when I knew he wasn't hungry, he didn't need changed and was just waking up out of habit.  This was when I knew I was going to have to lead him as a parent.  It wasn't easy, but I had to let him cry it out some nights until he could learn to put himself to sleep.  I wanted to "start as I meant to go on" (which I've either read from Baby Wise or the Baby Whisperer), meaning that I did not want to have a 6 month old that needed rocking/a pacifier/a bottle getting him back to sleep. 

By the time Elijah was about 10 weeks old, he was sleeping 8 hours at night.  Now he sleeps 11 hours at night, consistently.  He is happy with our routine and knows what to expect each day.  We eat, play, and sleep in that order!  It also keeps me sane...knowing what to expect as a framework for the day.  (Check out a Baby Wise book if you want to know more). 

I tell you all this (even though I know it can be controversial) because of a great way this has illustrated God's love in an even bigger way to me. 

On the nights that I would stand right outside of Elijah's room, wanting so badly to intervene and pick him up, I had to keep reminding myself of the ultimate goal: good sleep!  In the big picture, I wanted Elijah to sleep well and transition through sleep cycles on his own so that he could get the best sleep.  On those nights, it seemed so crazy to hear his cries and not respond, so I had to rely on the Lord for strength.  In those moments, He showed me that He is always right there listening to my cries when things aren't going the way I want them to or something has hurt me so badly.  In my view of things, it seems crazy sometimes that God can't just fix things to be "good" for me right then.  But God has the big picture.  He knows what I need and knows what is for my greater good and His glory.  God's sovereignty is so hard to wrap my brain around, but I'm so thankful that He is in control.  I am calmed by that realization, not offended by it. 

Are there areas of your relationship with God that have been hurt by questioning why He didn't come pick you up when you were crying?  Confess those to Him today.  He already knows your pain and knows what is best for your growth, to lead you closer to Him.  Allow God to do the work that He wants to do in your life - to bring you to the ultimate goal He has for you. 

Psalm 56:8 says, "You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle."  What a good God He is to care about even the tiniest aspects of our lives.  He knows about every tear we shed!

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Don't allow Satan to challenge this truth in your life.  Read Romans 8:28 and rest in a God who loves you so much and has a specific plan for your good and His glory!

What are some ways God has revealed a greater understanding of Himself to you through your children?


Talia said...

love it. i, myself, didn't do baby wise but have a lot of friends that did and really love it. however, i did take the "cry it out" approach. bryce slept through the night at two weeks and kael at 12 weeks. it really is a wonderful thing for them to get a good nights sleep and for us as well!

great post!

Jeni Sinclair said...

Maybe you should write a book (since you have so much free time, heehee)...I LOVE this post. I'm so proud that you're my sister :D Much love!