the best gift: awake again at 3 a.m.

Why Am I Awake?

Last night, like so many nights of late, I woke up while it was still dark. I quickly ran through the mental checklist. What’s wrong with me? Am I sick? Is it too hot? Too cold? Did I hear something? Is it too bright? Are the kids okay?

For the love………….what time is it?

No, I do not enjoy being awake at 3 am. The days are long and fast paced and sleep is a precious commodity.

Yet, there I was, fully awake. Again.

As I laid there totaling up the hours on one hand that remain until the little people jump into my bed, I found myself super frustrated.

I need rest.

I shouldn’t be conscious right now. Tomorrow is going to be another long day…

And just like all of the recent nights lately my mind began to race. Before I know it I’m consumed with the overwhelming thoughts of all of the lists of every task I haven’t yet accomplished and every thing I feel isn’t going right in my life.

The recent surgery and cancer scare.

The two massively large ugly scars from ‘said surgery’. 

The rental house we live in and the mold we found in it.

The large hole that is now in my wall because of ‘said mold’.

The last 30 workouts I’ve missed.

The horrifically messy garage and how desperately it needs to be cleaned out.

The house 2 states away we need to sell.

The ever pressing decision of whether or not to homeschool.

That one child whose fits might literally send me to the crazy house.

The emails and phone calls I’ve fallen behind on.

The 10 yr. old birthday party I haven’t yet sent invitations out for.

That thing he said that really hurt and the “should have said” self-talk-conversation that I push repeat on again and again. 

The never ending extended family difficulties.

The toilets that needs to be cleaned.

The eight loads of laundry that needs to be folded.

The summer plan I have yet to put in place.

The child I KNOW needed some extra attention earlier today.

Did I remember to lock the front door?

I can feel my heart beating faster as my thoughts seem to pile on top of another. My hands become clenched and my stomach begins to hurt. My mind plays out the worst of every scenario as I fret and worry and wonder about all the what-if’s and coulda-beens and should-haves.

Truth is, in those moments, I fear it’s not enough. What I’m doing just isn’t enough. And there will never come a time when it is enough.

I’m not making the cut.

I’m a failure.

I’m awake enough to feel the condemnation yet tired enough to know I’m not thinking clearly. And then, as gentle as the softest whisper, yet as clear as a freight train that hits me like a ton of bricks…..

I close my eyes tightly and rehearse once more the truths in my soul than run far deeper than the fears in my mind….

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.…” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me…” (Psalm 23:4)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory,
the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3)

Slowly, assuredly, my feet are set once more on the firm foundation. My heart begins to move out of the darkness. My fears begin to subside. My emotions are in order and my heartbeat slows to normal once more.

There is no amount of worrying, fear, or fretting that will remedy the sickness of unrest in my heart.

It is not enough to empty myself of the laundry lists of regrets, to-do’s, need to’s and should have’s…I must direct my heart to be filled with worship, thankfulness, praise and adoration.

Jesus says He is my rest. He is my peace. In Him alone there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. And if that’s true, then why do I continue to wake each night at 3am????

Could it be that my restless nights are not a curse, but rather, a gift?


Just hang on…stay with me….

In the stillness, in the quiet, in the darkness, in the solitude….could it be that a loving Father has whispered to wake his overwhelmed daughter to let her know He’s near?

“I see you.

I am here.

I’m speaking Truth over you and my Word straight to you.

I know your days are busy, so let me meet with you here.


While I can get your attention.

Don’t be distracted anymore by all of those things that weigh you down. 

I’ll give you the grace, the ability, and the strength to handle tomorrow.

So don’t worry about tomorrow.

Today has enough worries of it’s own.

I AM what you need more than sleep.

I AM what your heart desires more than that cleaned out garage.

What is it that troubles you, daughter?

What is it you’d like to let go of?

What is it you’re fearful of.

I’m right here.

I’m listening.”

Without a spoken word I begin to share, to open up and to release my worry. I begin to hear the Truth more clearly than the lies.

For it is His kindness that brings me near.

It is His steadfast love that gives me hope for tomorrow.

It is His compassion and faithfulness that fails not.

It is His relentless pursuit of me even when I refuse slow down that breaks down the walls I put up around my heart.

It is His perfect life, death on the cross and resurrection from the dead that gives me the freedom to not have to perform.

And it is His mercies that are new each morning which gently lead me to celebrate as I watch, once more, the first sun rays pour through my window.


I wash my tired face and I begin to go about my day…but it’s different. Rather than anger filling my heart at the sleep I was robbed of, I instead think through the sweetness of those quiet moments in solitude treasuring them away in my soul as I busy myself with the mundane daily routines.

My heart feels lighter, my head is more clear…and although my body is tired, I am fully alert as I am reminded once more the joy of being loved without having to earn it. He has given me a new identity. One not found in accomplishments or failures, in appearances of having it all together, or the desperateness of realizing I surely don’t.

I am loved regardless of whether or not I hold up any end of the deal.

“Dear one, I’m here. Why are you awake? What is it that troubles you? Why are you downcast? What is it you fear?  How are you distracted? What is it that angers you?

I know it’s dark, but will you talk with me? May I meet with you?”

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings
I will sing for joy.”
 (Psalm 63:5-7)

 the best gift; awake again at 3am | meg marie wallace

12 Replies to “the best gift: awake again at 3 a.m.”

  1. Here I am, once again, 3am, wondering why I am still awake. I’m scrolling through fb and a friend has your article about being a pastor’s wife posted so I read it smiling and nodding. I’m a youth pastor and have many dear people in my life in the pastoral world. Out of curiosity I checked out your website. Thank you for your written words of truth, encouragement and love from our Lord. I needed this. Perhaps I should receive my sleepless nights as a gift and not a burden. Thank you.

    1. You’re so welcome! And thank you so much for your encouragement. I think it is so ironic that you found yourself reading that article at 3 am just as I had written about! Thanks for taking the time to reach out and share with me your thoughts.

  2. I think you live at my house. Thank you for your honesty. I love this! All pastors wife’s may be cut from the same cloth but you and I are diffantly the same pattern.

  3. Megan, interesting timing on this article. Thanks for writing it. It seems like God is speaking to many of children during the late night hours lately.

    1. Hi friend! Thanks for the feedback! And yes, I suppose you might be right about God speaking to many during the night. After writing that article I realize more than ever I am not the only one up at night with my worry and concerns. And you aren’t either. He sees you too dear friend.

  4. Well said! Let’s just say I feel all of the things listed above except you were the one to carry the needed message instead of the 3 am wake up call. Thanks for being his hands and in a spiritual place to pass the message onto those in need! Every time I read your posts I think I gotta get your number from April so we can meet up at the Lagoon or the park or just have a girls night. Keep being amazing!

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