It was about four in the morning a few weeks ago. Somebody else was up. I don’t remember whom—some nights are an endless round of bad dreams and can’t sleep and lost buddies and maybe the odd wet bed. This was one of those.

Typically at this point in a bad night, I start to do the math, calculating when I went to bed, who woke when and how long it took me to get to sleep afterward, how long I have until I absolutely have to get up, and how abysmal tomorrow might be if I do get to sleep the rest of the night. I try to have a good attitude for the kid currently wanting the mama, but I start to get a little stressed and grouchy about it all.

But this night, something else happened. I can only imagine it was the Holy Spirit having mercy on this tired mother, because the words popped into my heart from seemingly nowhere. (They certainly didn’t flow from any virtuous thoughts I was having, up again for the fifth time.)

I trust You to give me what I need.

It’s that simple. It’s basically a rephrasing of the first verse of Psalm 23, but in the dark that morning, it changed my heart. Where there was stress and anger, there was simple acceptance. I’m trying to come up with an adequate picture do describe what happened in me, and the closest I can come is a baby, starting to freak out, who settles as soon as her mama picks her up. My rest was quick and complete, and I went back to sleep, not for the last time that night.

In the weeks since, the phrase keeps coming to me in weird moments. When the kids are all making awful noises and I am pretty sure I’m about to lose my mind, I trust You to give me what I need.

When a delayed flight meant we missed a connection and we had only a couple hours to sleep before catching the flight that would get us there only an hour or two to spare before my father-in-law’s memorial service, I trust you to give me what I need.

When we don’t know what our housing situation is going to look like over the next several months… I trust you to give me what I need.

There’s no denying we need things. When Psalm 23 talks about sheep and a Shepherd, it assumes we understand that sheep are about as helpless as creatures come. There are NEEDS. But the shepherd knows what those needs are (far better than the sheep do) and is equipped to meet them (again, far better than the sheep). The comparison isn’t especially flattering to us, but it’s not inaccurate.

I’m grateful for the Shepherd.




Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

Join the Conversation


  1. Oh and one other thing…regarding doing the math about quantity of sleep, I never used to wear my watch to bed, but I started doing so this year. It has a stop watch on it (it is digital). So every night when I go to bed, I start my stop watch to facilitate easy ‘doing the math’ about how much sleep i have gotten when being woken by a child… 🙂 Thanks again for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have a baby who needs a lot of help going to sleep some night. Sometime in the last six months, as I was helping him to go to sleep, I found myself praying “thank you God for giving us the strength to meet these little boys’ needs.” Sorta focusing on the privilege and respnsibilty we have been entrusted with. It helps me sometimes. Sorta similar to your prayer. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your prayer, Robin. I’m at a different life stage. My nest emptied completely when my husband bailed out. Your prayer sounds like a better way to tackle 4 am wake-ups than Xanax! (BTW, where in Alaska do you live? I have family in Wasilla.)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: