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Today was one of those days.  Almost everything looked bleak, as soon as I stepped my socked feet onto the cold morning floor.

For weeks now, my 3 month old has been waking every few hours, and I can’t quite pin-point the problem. Is she hungry?  Why won’t she take the bottle?  Is she sick?  Is she overly tired?

Feeling helpless, unsure, in a fog of total exhaustion.

Contributing to this fog are my two preschoolers who have been waking in the night at all hours for various reasons; potty trips, stuffy noses, high fever, too hot, too cold, you name it.  And to top it off, currently four of the five members of our family are fighting colds.

Needless to say, there has been very little rest day or night at our home.

It must be the dead of winter…

I aim to spend time with God before the kids wake up at 5:30 each day.  The idea is to be filled before I am required to pour out.  Over the years, I have grown to cherish this time, so thankful for how faithful He has been.  Even in the mornings I have been barely present, hunched over my coffee, He has been ever-present.

As an encouragement to this sleepy mom of three kids under four, I recently joined a group called Hello Mornings.  I have been all the more excited about waking up to maximize my mornings since joining…

…but I sure didn’t “maximize my morning” this morning.

My alarm that was set for 5:15am didn’t even phase me.  Instead, I was startled to consciousness at 7am by the sounds of babbles, whimpers and shouts in the next room.  Ugh.  I wanted to throw a pillow over my head, burst into tears, and never get out of bed.  But, real life is real life, and so I grabbed my non-sleeping baby from her bed and went down the hall and down the stairs to greet the others.

My sweet husband had been downstairs softly praying, sipping coffee for a good while when I turned the kitchen corner.  I knew I looked like a mess, and I sure felt like a mess.

I plopped into my chair at the kitchen desk and started to cry.  As soon as I realized I was crying and that he was standing there, coffee in hand, just watching his wife come to pieces, I knew I had to say something.

Knowing that he’d be walking out the front door for work shortly, and that I’d be home alone with three sick kids for another long day, I blurted out “I just feel fragile.  I am not ready for the day, not ready for any of this.  I don’t think I can keep going.”  

He listened quietly (how I love this man) then laid His firm but gentle hand on my back and prayed.  He started declaring truth over my life, speaking words of hope, strength and grace.

This was his simple, confident prayer: “God, thank you that You provide all Francie’s needs according to your riches (Philippians. 4:19)  Thank you that she is walking in ever-increasing health (Psalm 103:1-3).  I declare that she is under Your supernatural protection and grace and that she abides under the shadow of Your wing as she does what You have called her to do as a mom and a wife today. (Psalm 91)  She can do all things as she is strengthened by Christ. (Philippians 4:13)”

As I agreed with those truths, received them for myself in faith, and prayed a similar prayer, I did, in fact, emerge from my fog.  I experienced a literal shift in my heart, I really did feel His tangible grace – Grace that picked me up and held me in my weakness.  Grace that shifted my eyes, my heart and the course for my day.  Grace that enabled me to walk in unexplainable joy, deep-seated peace and an unusual level of strength and patience for the rest of the day.  It’s amazing, the power of prayer.

Oh how I need my grace-giving God, I am so aware of that.

As I received grace from the Lord, it was like heavy curtains that were drawn closed over my heart were slowly opened, and hope-filled light shone through.  I was ready to continue on.

“My grace is sufficient for you.  My power is made perfect in weakness.”                        2 Corinthians 12:9