When I was a little girl I used to have the most terrifying nightmares, every night. It got to the point where I would do anything to be able to avoid sleep.
My parents, not knowing about the nightmares, thought that I was just trying to stay up late. So they made the rule that if any of the children were going to stay up in our household after bedtime they would be put to work. When this tactic didn’t work to get me to go to bed, like it did my older siblings, my parents knew that something was wrong.
When I told my mother that I was avoiding sleep because of my nightmares, she asked me if when I prayed at night, I asked the Lord to watch over me while I slept and asked for him to send me good dreams.
Where prayer had been a constant part of my life from my earliest years, and where my prayers always covered many things, I had never thought to ask the Lord to give me good dreams.
I still remember that evening all those years ago, when I confided in my mother about my nightmares. It will forever be ingrained in me how after our conversation, my mother knelt down beside me, and while encircling me in her arms prayed to our Heavenly Father in my behalf. She asked Him to send His angels to protect me and to give me good dreams so that I would not have to fear sleep. That night was the first night in weeks that I slept in peace.
Years later, as a young adult, I again experienced trouble sleeping. This time, bad dreams did not keep me awake. It was the realities and responsibilities of adulthood which weighed so heavily upon my mind and heart.
Again, my wise mother knew something was wrong. When I told her what was on my mind, she asked me if I had taken my concerns to the Lord in prayer. I had, but I still couldn’t stop thinking about them and so I could not get to sleep easily. When I told her this, Mother pulled out her scriptures and read me this,
“Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” Alma 37:36-37
What I needed was Faith. Not just faith to take my concerns to the Lord, I needed faith to then hand them over to Him completely. I needed to trust that He would take care of them. Once I learned how to do so, my nights were once more filled with peace despite the added pressure of being a single adult in this crazy world. And then, come morning, I found myself naturally feeling/expressing my gratitude to the Lord for watching over me and my concerns so that I could sleep in peace.
(P.S. When you wake in the morning after giving thanks to the Lord, don’t take all those concerns back on you shoulders, continue in faith that He will carry them for you as you travel the course of the day.)