Elusive Sleep

January 20, 2022 AM

I have created a page on the blog to hold the latest updates on Kristi’s health. You can find that here.


Bringing a newborn home is both exhilarating and frightening. We are now in charge of this little life. What if we mess up? What if we do the wrong thing? What if we hurt her? What if we can’t do it? What if…? Our stress quickly turns into restless nights and exhausted days. We can’t seem to turn it off! Feeding, cleaning, burping, feeding, cleaning, burping…you get it. Then, we experience baby tired. I mean, there’s tired, there’s church camp tired, there’s camping tired, there’s long sermon tired, then there’s BABY TIRED. Remember those days?! Or, maybe you’re right in the middle of them now?

I really had never felt as tired before or since those first few months after bringing Lily and Max home. Most couples play the game to see who can outlast the other, pretending to be dead asleep, while the baby cries and eventually screams. The one who is “it” gets frustrated and says, “it’s your turn!” Ok, I know, most of the work is done by women – as long as breastfeeding is happening, most guys are happily off the hook.

Our experience was different – we adopted. Both of our kids were bottle fed. This meant anyone could do it 😂. With Lily, we tried alternating turns. The only problem is that neither one of us got adequate rest. We both woke up grouchy and repeated the cycle each night for over a month. I then realized that I got a break from feeding, cleaning, and burping every day because I went to work. Once it hit me that Kristi was baby tired day and night, I told her I would take nights because she was taking every day.

Here’s what this did for us. Kristi got sleep. I got time with Lily. Lily had consistency at night. Eventually I was able to train her to sleep longer and stretch out the feeding times. We bonded at night. Kristi and Lily bonded during the day. Our lives fell into a rhythm and we recovered from baby tired.

Max came along when Lily was 4 years old and I told Kristi I’d take nights from day one. I was determined to get him sleeping through most of the night way sooner than Lily. I read a book from a Spanish Dr. called, “Duérmete Niño”, that was given to me by some friends and soon I had all the tools in my belt to get Max sleeping through the night quickly. At 6 weeks old, Max was sleeping 6 hours straight and eventually 7 hours. 6 weeks of baby tired paid off.

I’m a workaholic. I love to work! This is not a badge of honor, it is actually something I’ve had to “work” on over the years. I love accomplishing big projects and long term goals. It gets me into trouble because I neglect the very things that are most important because I have a hard time shutting off work.

For years, Kristi has been patiently working with me to not only see my problem, but to help me come to a place of letting go and resting. It has been a hard path – one of many setbacks and failing on my part.

A few years back, I ran across this Scripture in Psalms. It convicted and inspired me.

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”

Psalms 127:1-2

Hmmm… so I can work and try all day long and it comes to nothing? That’s not really what the Psalmist is saying. It is good to work. There is purpose in work. But it is not our whole lives. Solomon says that everything is vain. The ones who toil and labor have the same fate as those who never lift a finger. It’s meaningless.

The part that says, “for God gives rest to his loved ones.” Struck me. If I am loved, He gives me rest. This is not just sleep, but rest in my soul. I can trust that He can take care of my issues and work while He gives me rest.

Since January 3, my sleep has been interrupted. Urgent from urgent care to ER to admission into the hospital, true rest has been an illusion. It comes in fits and starts. Kristi gave me this little ring to track my activity and sleep for Christmas. I’ve been on a pursuit of figuring out my sleep patterns. I have felt like they have not been unhealthy. Since January 3, I have slept very little, and it has been inefficient when I did. I talked with God about it. If He loves me, He’ll give me rest. If He loves Kristi, He’ll give her rest.

Once we got home from the hospital on January 14, I was looking forward to being in my own bed. It was better than the hospital chair, but I was still restless. I was concerned for Kristi. I wanted to make sure she was ok and resting. When Monday afternoon the 17th rolled around and we found ourselves back in the hospital, I was running on little sleep for 14 days. We got maybe 2 hours sleep on Monday night. Then napped throughout Tuesday. We were experiencing “baby tired”.

Around 8:00pm on Tuesday, we were talking and both agreed to sleep. We turned on our noise maker app (best app in the App Store!), and within minutes we’re both sound asleep. Who came in and what happened that night, I have no idea – we just slept. 7.5 hours of sleep – in that green chair! Rest!!

Here’s the deal. I’m still a workaholic – that’s hard to do in a hospital room! There is only so much organizing, cleaning, and rearranging that can be done. I figured out what the machines do, how to turn them on and off, how to get Kristi situated just right, get her to the bathroom while connected to IVs and monitors, how to call the nurses, cafeteria, nurse techs, housekeeping, you name it. I’ve paced the room, worked on a website, planned sermons for Bethel, blogged, adjusted Kristi, worried, talked to the nurses, talked to Kristi, prayed with other patient family members, walked to the cafeteria, walked to the car, gift shop, nurses station, and up and down the hall. Last night, I was driving Kristi crazy! She almost kicked me out! I even bought a Mercy sweatshirt in the Market. I told Kristi maybe I could pick up some hours at the hospital. 😏

Rest. Jesus promises rest for the weary. He promises light burdens. He promises gentle assurance.

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.””

Matthew 11:29-30

No matter your situation or burden, Jesus promises rest for your soul. Are you a workaholic? Are you chasing perfection? Are you overwhelmed? Are you stressed? Are you tired? Like we say to our little ones as we rock them in the night, God says to us, “I’ve got this! Rest! You’re safe! Rest!”

As I chase rest, I realize that God the Creator loves me enough to give me rest. He loves me enough to give me sleep. When I don’t get enough of it, He created a body designed to shut off and recover. I thank Him for rest. I thank Him for sleep. I thank Him for eternal rest in my soul – He’s got it! I trust Him!

I’ve also discovered there is something similar to baby tired – it’s hospital tired. Even there, God says, “I’ve got it. Rest.”

Ray Rhoton



7 thoughts on “Elusive Sleep

  1. Amazing. REST, it can be so elusive wen most needed. I will add this to my prayer list for you both. You are right, God has this, has Kristi, has you, has the kids.. Praying you guys get some answers today and your souls get some rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ray I know you started blogging here to update on Kristi but your updates have been ministering to me and I’m sure many others. Thank you for the reminder that it’s all in his hands and I can rest! You two are such a blessing! Praying for your family!

    Liked by 1 person

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