I'm told that God often talks to us in our sleep. On nights like tonight I realize sometimes He keeps us awake for that chat. It's 5 AM and I have not been able to lay my head on my pillow. I am reminded of the women we serve who are not given pillows in prison, their hard steel bunks and thin hard mattresses with one sheet and one covering. My soft, warm bed is in the other room but God has me here, in front of my computer, talking to me.
He is reminding me of the blessing of my home, my health, my new friends, my work, my church. He has me looking around at the work piling up on my desk and the forms and letters that have needed attention for a while now. He nudges me. I pace my work and tackle today's problems today and tomorrow's problems tomorrow. I often tell Mark, "It'll all be here tomorrow to do, and new tasks besides. We can only do so much in a day."
Then I think of Lorainne and Raena and Patches. They describe their days beginning at 4:30 AM and going until lights out. They are assigned jobs; some day jobs, some night jobs. They have classes and chow and laundry and meds and a regimented schedule not left to their discretion. They are lined up and marched out. They are lined up and marched back in. Some spend hot days in the Texas sun hoeing fields and pulling up rocks for no apparent reason. Some are given jobs in the laundry room or chow hall. Some are given jobs in the boiler room and others are given desk jobs. There is little rest, little time for reading or writing their family. They manage quick letters in and out. The purpose in their lives directed by prison guards.
And I recall my days in county jail, where we were awakened at 4:30 AM, fed and let go back to sleep til chow call at 11AM. One generally tried to sleep again after basically killing time until chow at 4:30 again. Med calls in between but otherwise you were either on your bunk or at a dayroom table trying to watch a tv you could not hear. You were lined up at the cell door for chow and meds; cattle rustled up and back into the corral. No tasks, no classes, no real reason to be awake. Many women chose to be seen by medical so they could be given Seroquil or other mood stabilizers which allowed them to sleep 16 hours in a day. I remember those days of purposelessness.
But God has a purpose for each of us. In the night or day He reveals to each of us our direction in order to walk in His will for our lives. "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." (Eph. 2:16) Tonight, with no one prodding my schedule and no one directing my tasks I am alone to listen to Him. He chose to keep me awake in order to focus my attention and call me to task.
I'm listening God.