There are plenty of times while raising a child that, as the parent, you have control over the choices being made. One area where this does not apply is the day that your child is old enough to drop their nap. As their body grows, your child naturally reaches a point where the only time he or she needs sleep is during the nighttime hours.
Transitions and Routines
I vividly remember the endless amount of time during the newborn and baby days of our children I spent calculating wake windows to time the correct number of naps and nighttime sleep hours. Every time it seemed we had found a good balance, our little person would grow and need a schedule adjustment. And then, all of a sudden, my oldest son stopped needing a nap during the day. I should have had some idea this was coming. In hindsight, he had been struggling to fall asleep in the afternoons, and then, once he was asleep, it was a short nap, from which he woke up very cranky instead of well-rested. If you are a parent of a small baby, feel free to learn from this!
As the mom of two young children, it was suddenly quite an adjustment for me to transition from having a couple of hours without small children during the day to sometimes less than an hour. That hour wasn’t even promised to be without small children, as I was helping my son transition to having rest time instead of nap time. This was not only new to him, but it was also new to me, and it involved setting new boundaries and learning a new routine.
In the matter of one day, my small slice of peace and quiet in the afternoons had been seemingly snatched away. What I realized during this transition was that I had two options: I could be frustrated by constant interruptions and a smaller window of peace in my day, or I could adjust my expectations.
Take Heart: Jesus’ Encouragement for You
In John 16:33, Jesus gives us these words: “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I am constantly drawn to these words to help shape my expectations because of their clear direction to where I will find peace. Jesus does not just say you will have peace as His follower. Instead, He says, “In Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation” (emphasis added).
When my expectation is that I will be able to carve out peace in my day or that I will find peace that calms my latest anxieties from something I scroll past on social media or find peace from being able to fit in a workout or in completing a project that is on my to-do list, I usually end up frustrated or disappointed. And do you know what I can’t do when I’m frustrated or disappointed? I can’t “take heart.”
“Take heart” is Jesus’ invitation at the end of this verse. It’s an unusual pairing of words but “take heart” is what you tell someone when they need encouragement. If my son or daughter spends a day making poor choices, I might remind myself to “take heart”—they are learning new things every day.
Peace in the King
Amid our frustration, disappointment, and longing for peace, Jesus encourages us to take heart. What do we take heart in? Why can we be encouraged? Because Jesus has overcome this world. We can set our expectations, not in ourselves but the foundation of Christ. This equips us to embrace the events of our days from a place of grace and peace.
Parents, for those moments when you can’t seem to find a few minutes of peace in your day, when you can’t find time to fit in a workout between activities, when you can’t get the dishwasher unloaded, or when it just seems like you are being overcome by this world, take heart. Jesus has promised that He is the one that has done the overcoming, not the world. He does this so you can teach your children to do the same and to experience peace.