Finding Joy in the Early Morning
When morning gilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When you begin the day, O never fail to say,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
And at your work rejoice, to sing with heart and voice,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
I have blessedly fond memories of waking up in the early morning to find my mother huddled in her robe, praying at the kitchen table – her Bible, study materials, and several different colors of highlighters in front of her folded hands.
I always thought she was amazing, sitting there every morning, hours before anyone else rose. I believed it was something all mothers did; that it would simply “happen” when I had children of my own, and I would be this amazing mother sitting in a chair, basking in the Glory of God each morning.
Fast forward to current day:
Up before dawn, not to study, but because our 3 year old is still coughing, and now needs a warming pack on his chest with camphor oil. Back to bed, not to sleep, but to nurse our 1 year old, so she doesn’t wake my husband up before his alarm goes off. Up again (still before dawn), to pack my husband’s lunch, and to get the milking buckets ready for chores. By now, our 5 year old is awake, and wanting to cuddle before he has to share Moma with two others. As soon as we sit down in the chair, I hear my husband’s alarm go off, and the day really gets going – kids up and dressed, making breakfast while everyone goes out to do chores, nursing a baby, and then making sure all the dirty boots and jackets don’t walk back inside for breakfast.
It’s now nearly 9 am, and time for our schooltime. And my quiet time with the Lord? Does crying out to Him for strength and patience while I’m nursing our little ones count? Does reading the Bible story for school time qualify? What about locking myself in the bathroom for 5 minutes and praying that God understands I’m trying to be with Him, but this life keeps getting in the way?
I’ve been there. What a blessed relief that God does hear and understand those prayers. But that is no way to continue a relationship with our Lord and Savior!
Here are three simple ways to begin our days seeking first His kingdom:
1) Start today. We can tell ourselves that we’ll begin that new habit after the baby is sleeping thru the night, or perhaps when the toddler is not sick anymore, or maybe even save it for that New Year’s resolution… next year. It’s far better to start today and hold ourselves to the commitment without delay. Even if our time begins as 5 minutes, gradually building to more – we should begin as soon as possible.
2) Stay interested. This is a tough one for many of us. I personally had a hard time just beginning to read my Bible every day. I would lose my train of thought halfway through my reading, and end up more frustrated because I feel like I’m wasting time. Find a Bible study program and use it. If it’s not working, choose a different one! I love the ministry of At the Well, and use their daily email devotions to jumpstart my study time. I also use various devotionals (My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers is a favorite) and materials provided by our church to round out my quiet time.
3) Find accountability. For some of us, this can happen through a women’s study group. For others, it will be a friend who needs the same support. For myself, I have a wonderful husband who is incredibly helpful in keeping me motivated. He began waking earlier than I did for several weeks, and started a pot of tea for me… just a simple act, but it encouraged me to meet his gentle challenge to wake before our children, and take the time I needed to spend with my Savior. We may not all need someone to keep us on track, but it is a blessing to have when we are first beginning our journey.
The Lord knows our needs. He is best suited to meet each and every one. We cannot commune with Him without delving deeply into His Word – and what better way to begin our day then with our Father’s guiding hand placed firmly around our steps!
What ways do you find time to begin your day with the Lord?
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Thank you, this was such an encouragement today! The right words at the right time.
Thank you! Thank you for this post. I am one who WANTS to get up early and be with the Lord, but for some reason am not able to. It seems that whenever I get up early, my littles get up with me (2 and 6 months). Not that it is an excuse, just a trial right now. I look forward to seeing any other words of encouragement on this matter!
This post was extremely encouraging. As a mother of three,(4,2 and 5 months) I am certainly in the trenches. thank you for your words this morning….
@Sarah, You are very welcome. May God richly bless you in this season of your life!
awesome post! we all have those days… i try to get up earlier than the rest of my family so i can have time to pray and read in the still and quiet of the morning. i get so much more out of it in the mornings then when i’m exhausted at night. it doesn’t always work that way… but it’s nice when it does! yesterday i said one of those bathroom desperation prayers that i could have patience with my three-year-old. the remainder of the day went smooth, almost surprisingly so. it’s amazing (and wonderful) how that works!
I’m finding that in this season its better to spend time with God than try to do it in the morning. Due to health issues, its hard enough to get up in the morning. So I aim at doing devotions during the afternoon quiet time, and find that really works for me. Even if one child is still up its easier than having both up.
@Nola, I’ve tried afternoons before as well, and I realized that I was in need of a quiet time FAR earlier than that! 😉 Praise God you have found something that works for you!
Wonderful post! If Jesus needed time with His Heavenly Father, how can we do without? He rose early, before dawn, and was ready when the demands of the day were upon Him – ready because He’d had that time alone with His Father. When I miss a morning with Christ, I know that I’ve cheated myself out of a divine, worshipful, life-changing appointment – a time I can never get back. Each day we have to make that decision and I’m only sorry when I decide to do something else instead, never when I meet with my LORD.
Thank you for this reminder that we need daily!
Great post Meg.
It can be so hard for us to carve out that time each day when there are so many needs to be met. One thing I found was that if I didn’t have a good chunk of time, I wouldn’t study. But any study is better than no study. So now I get what I can.
It is also good to leave the Bible out so it is easy to comeback to if the opportunity arises.
@Stacy @ Delighting in the Days, You’re right – any study is better than none. I had to start with those 5 minutes, and now I’m enjoying 30+ minutes each morning. I have a whole corner set up for my quiet time, and it does make it so much easier to have everything right where I need it (so I don’t have to hunt for it and get distracted! 🙂 )
my time with the Lord isn’t always before the 4 kids wake, but i do have a great way i started working through the Bible again this year. i went to http://www.youversion.com and made a reading plan to go through the whole Bible cover to cover. the cool thing is they have a free app for my phone and i chose a year, but you can choose whatever length you want by setting you start date and end date, and it tells you what chapters you have for the day. many times i lay in bed at night and read my chapters on my phone while nursing the baby to sleep. i love the feeling of checking off my reading for the day and ending the day praying and thinking about the Word of God. i even know a few people who took on the challenge to read through the whole Bible in 90 days using a reading plan on their site. (no, i am not paid to plug them, hahahaha).
i totally agree with needing to purpose myself to having a life with the Lord and how it takes a lot more effort with kids than it did for me pre-kids. what i love is how much grace the Holy Spirit will give us to do it when we ask Him for grace. i got so weary at one point i found i had to ask Him even for grace to desire spending time with Him. but He has been faithful the whole time.
even those five minutes a day count. they count big time because it is so tempting to discount them and just not spend time at all. but once we get in the habit of stealing away for five minutes, the five become ten, then the ten become fifteen… and before we know it we are back in love with our Savior, filling our minds with thoughts of Him and our mouths with speaking of Him throughout the day. thanks for this great reminder to keep re-purposing myself towards seeking out knowing Him more no matter how crazy life as a mom can be.
@charis, I use the YouVersion on my iPhone as well. 🙂 I also have My Utmost for His Highest as an app on my phone, and use the Morning/Evening devotions too. It’s a wonderful blessing, to have a Bible, devotional, email devotions, and blog encouragement right at our fingertips. 🙂
I have often read about getting up early to meet with God. I have tried a few times but never more than a day. One morning a few weeks ago I was really feeling that I should do this but still hadn’t gotten around to it. I woke up at around 5 am with the WORST backache and couldn’t get comfortable and couldn’t sleep. I knew it was God literally dragging me out of bed! He made it so I had to. There was something He wanted me to do that morning. But no, I didn’t continue and no I haven’t had any more backaches. I don’t know why it was a one time thing but it was very clear to me the second I woke up that this was His way of waking me that morning.
More recently I have been feeling that I should be getting up early to meet with Him but I just can’t seem to wake up. I try to go to bed early but there is so much to do after my twins finally go to sleep that before I know it, it’s midnight or later. I am the kind of person who NEEDS 8-10 hours a night or I literally wake up hating life. “I hate my life” is my morning mantra. I’m in pain, I feel nauseated, I feel like my eyes are glued shut and I am miserable. So why God keeps nudging me to get up early is beyond my understanding. But jsut this week I went to a new church to visit with a friend and a woman giving her testimony talked about getting up early to meet with God and then the pastor challenged the people at the service to do the same. Last night I opened up my bible to Mark and started reading. It talked about Jesus rising before the sun to meet with His Father. then I read a devotional that talked about the same. I get on the computer today and this is the first email I read. Somehow I don’t think it’s a coincidence. It’s like God is inviting me gently but urgently and I am resisting because I feel like I am going to die when I get up early. It’s been winter here in my heart and in my spiritual life. I can only pray for the strength to get up tomorrow and do this. He is going to have to be my crutch because there is no way I am doing this in the natural! If you read this, will you please pray for me? I can use all the “wings” I can get. Thanks for this post.
@Elizabeth, You are absolutely in our prayers. 🙂 I should have added to the post – my husband and I are in bed, and mostly asleep by 7:30 – 8 pm. We need those 10 hours of sleep too! 🙂 My husband has graciously encouraged me to leave whatever “needs” to be done for the next day, until the next day… and while I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink every night, it does happen, because otherwise the most important aspect of my life – my walk with the Lord – fails miserably when the alarm goes off.
I needed to hear this today. With a very-early-rising toddler and a 1-month-old baby, I don’t really have much hope of getting up before the kids.
But I have found the last few days being intentional about my own bedtime and setting an alarm in the morning have given me at least a few minutes that aren’t rushed in the early morning. I think I need to put my Bible by my bed so I can do my reading during that time (which usually also involves nursing the baby)…. right after I do my reading for today.
@Anitra, I continue to nurse during my quiet time… otherwise our 13 month old will wake my husband up. 🙂 It’s an added blessing to be able to enjoy a quiet moment with her, and with the Lord.
I needed this! I started off the year reading my bible in the morning while hubby got ready for work. Then I started reading another book at night that consumed my interest, and that I’m currently reading over again, morning and night. I’m a little behind on my reading plan but to be honest I think the reading plan wasn’t the right one for me. It was spiritually draining, not enriching. I like the advice about moving on and finding the right devotional. I also really like the link someone provided for youversion.com. They have some interesting devotionals! Thanks for getting me excited about this again! The memory of your mom praying was really inspiring!
When I started making myself go to bed early is when I was able to consistently wake up early. Now (sadly, especially on the weekends) I wake up early without an alarm.
During those days when our twins wake up early or we are sick, I just try to find a pocket of time to read/pray throughout the day. Sometimes it’s while in the playroom with the twins and other times it’s before bedtime.
The thing I have to remind myself is that there might be days where I don’t do well and that is every reason to start fresh the next day and not write off the week or something like that.
Thanks for this reminder! I am in the process of reading the Bible in 90 Days with http://www.momstoolbox.com – but I’m not sure what I’m going to do when it’s done. I have gotten into such a habit of reading my Bible EVERY DAY (although not just in the morning) that I know it’s not going to just stop. But I will have to figure out how restructure my time into daily study, not just daily reading.
This could not have been a more timely post. I was just crying out to the Lord yesterday in the car as I feel so far away from Him recently We are first time parents of a 5 month old who still wakes every 3-4 hours at night so I’m struggling with doing my devotions (at night or in the morning). Precious time to sleep seems sooo much more important (although I know it is not. )
When I don’t spend daily time with the Lord in His word I am not the same person. The friut of the Spirit quickly shrivels up without water.
Thank you for encouraging me to start over – even with 5 minutes.
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My children are 3 and 4, so having a quiet time in the early morning is getting much easier than when they were babies and small toddlers. One super helpful thing we’ve done in our family is that we have a rule that the boys don’t come out of their room until 7am. We put a large digital clock in their room, taught them what “7:00” looks like, and enforced the rule. This way I know that as long as I wake up early enough, I’m guaranteed that alone time before the boys get up for the day.
There are so much to thank for every morning.. the very moment i open
my eyes, i’m soo thankful for it.
I enjoy reading your article, so much inspiration.