“What makes a good teacher a good teacher?” I asked my second grade students.

Some described the character of an excellent educator: “Nice, truthful, helpful, loving, responsible, respectful, patient, joyful, has the right opinions (not having bad opinions of people), and a good example.”

Others focused on the training and talents which produce a superior teacher: “Goes to college, knows how to teach, knows how to discipline (at the right time, giving consequences, letting the kids know that you still love them), good memory, makes good decisions, smart, observant, creative, and finds ways to make learning fun.”

A few provided adorable advice: “Pays attention to papers when grading, writes fast (for when students make lists), knows how to tell time, comes early and not late, and stays wake.”

Good to know: stay awake when teaching!  That last piece of advice conjured up visions of chaos.


We all know the drill: stay awake during work, sleep at night. Not everyone can sleep soundly. Some endure restless nights.

Mothers who have children with mental illness (MI) sometimes stay awake—all night. Too many nights. Praying or pondering. Wondering or waiting. Listening or crying.

Chris is a young adult. But I still have trouble falling asleep when he’s out. Sweet slumber eludes me amid tormenting thoughts. Where is he now? What is he doing? How is he acting? Are people being kind to him?

I fight those thoughts with prayer: Dear Father, protect Chris from anyone who would seek to harm him physically or emotionally.  

How can a mom turn off mothering? By turning it over to the One who never sleeps and leaving it in His hands.

“He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:3-4)”

Sometimes I fall asleep praying for Chris. Other nights God’s promises comfort me.

“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” Psalm 119:148

Do details of life with MI stalk you during the night? The Psalmist tells about his trouble: concerns which hounded him all night.

“When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. (Psalm 77:2-3, 11-12)”

Has MI rendered you inconsolable like the Psalmist? Follow his example and meditate on God’s past faithfulness. Reflect on His power and love.

Thoughts of His help translate into praise.

“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:6-7)”

Are you literally afraid to go to sleep? Fearful of what might happen during the night. Picture His divine protection.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)”

God promises to give you peaceful rest.

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:24)”

Maybe anxiety plagues you during your waking hours. Psalms assures you of His consolation.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:19)”

Dear Father, turn our restlessness into Your perfect peace. Help us leave our concerns at Your throne. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Be still and find rest in Him as you listen to ‘Still’ by Hillsong.

2 thoughts on “Sleep

  1. Dear Vicki,

    Just read this and the timing is always Gods!! Had a very rough phone call with Keith today and one very very long one a few weeks ago. I thought he was dying on the long call I had with him. Of course, he didn’t remember much… and I told him no, as usual, you don’t but you leave the walking wounded behind.

    Not like your Chris but same as many many years of restless nights, not knowing if he was alright. He has come close many times to death.

    But what I am thankful for are the scriptures you quoted; I am going to read them again and again tonight. I know I have to turn him over to The Lord but as a mom, you know how really hard that is to do. I am always waiting for the phone call. I have gotten so so many in the past.

    Too tired and in pain to write anymore. But thank you and God for HIs perfect timing.

    I am so so weary that my soul hurts so much for so many years. I am so sick now, as you are, and the energy and stress this takes is overwhelming. I think, once again, I can’t do this anymore. But I do; I really am losing faith that he will ever change.



    • Dear Patty,
      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had several difficult phone calls lately with Keith. So I’m grateful those verses comforted you.
      Our lives with chronic illness are made more challenging by the instability and uncertainty of MI. There’s NO WAY we’d be able to face the turbulence and throbbing without the One who calms the storms.
      Truly our journey is bitter-sweet.
      We hope our sons will change (improve). And find rest in the promise that God will never change.
      We feel we can’t do this anymore. And look to Him who is able to provide what we need.
      We’re so weary that our souls hurt. And receive comfort from the Holy Spirit within.
      Rest peacefully, dear friend.

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