There is something about an early morning that stirs joy in my soul. Knowing that the previous day’s load has been shifted and my attitude changed by God through the night, provides my heart with the assurance that there is new mercy present. It’s the time when Josh and I can sit with one another, reading separately and praying separately, and experience worship in that. Then we can come together and join in prayer before the day’s laboring begins. Believe me, it’s not always easy to get these mornings. It’s a fight to go to bed on time, especially when Josh has classes, sermons, teaching to prepare for and I have free time to actually read, craft, exercise, or do chores. But we aim to maintain it, even if we have our “off days” and sleep in thirty minutes later than intended.
[If I haven’t mentioned it before then let me do so now: the last thing I want this blog to be is an “aiming-for-transparent-but-not-really-the-case kind of blog -that would be rooted in self-righteousness and seeking the approval of man- that’s NOT why I blog. I blog because I desire to be sincere with struggles within my heart and everyday life. I want glimpses of my sanctification to be proof of God’s goodness and power in transforming me into the image of his Son though I deal with sin daily. I hope to point to my Light, the One who transforms my thoughts and desires my affections. THAT is why I am writing.]
Returning to the gift of stillness experienced before dawn – let me state a strange habit of mine, one that I picked up my first semester of college: I pace while reading. Thankfully this doesn’t annoy my husband or else I would have to simply reside in a room and satisfy my pacing/reading there. It isn’t necessarily a nervous habit or a feeble attempt for exercise (well most of the time it isn’t), but it is more so a way that I am able to comprehend the words I am reading in the Bible. I can use my hands while walking to read something over again and articulate it to myself. Even in the stillness, I experience much joy in walking and reading. It’s something I actually love to do and did so today while Norah napped and Josh tended to the youth during the afternoon. God uses this little habit to physically prepare me for the day, get my heartbeat up, excitement flowing as I couple it with His living words.
Stillness is again experienced after lunch is eaten and babies are fading into their naps. I can pull out my work computer and begin chiseling away at the to-do list I have for that day. Due to the nature of my work, I have the freedom and ability to listen to podcasts, music, or my audio bible during work time. Piper often rekindles gospel truth while I work and God uses that to change a heart of a sometimes sleepy grumbler. I especially enjoy searching through DesiringGod’s sermons for those focused on biblical womanhood. Paul Washer, John MacArthur, Matt Chandler, Tim Keller, and a few others occasionally grace my ears as well. In this stillness, I am not pacing like in the morning. I am doing what I usually don’t like to do, sitting, just sitting. However, work becomes worship when God uses the above to remind me of justification, atonement, and the overarching theme of God’s goodness and love heard through song, sermon, or Scripture itself.
Norah has drifted into her night’s rest. Josh is usually studying or reading. I attempt to wrap up chores so that the morning will be a fresh slate on the household management end. I can now dive back into the book that I’ve been reading or return to God’s Word for an overview of my morning read with a commentary to accompany the journey. Oh blessed stillness. It feels good to have that breath of fresh air. Sometimes just sitting is wondrous. Lighting a candle and just sitting. Maybe thinking about the day. Maybe trying to clear my mind altogether. Often times praying for grace. Looking forward to a night’s rest – especially if the day has been difficult.
Right after Norah was born, a dear friend of ours was struggling with anxiety, so I found a sermon from John Piper on the subject and listened to it during a morning run. That sermon has been transformative in my trusting in The Lord. It mentions how even in the fact that we as humans have been designed to require sleep demonstrates the submission and trust required to let our troubles rest and physically do the same. We can’t function without sleep. We were never meant to. God uses this time to transform us. Attitudes can be renewed. Bodies restored. Minds prepared. We are called to rest in The Lord and not worry. Though I shared this with my friend, I know that it was a life-changer for me, someone that has struggled with not sleeping enough in the past.
Putting one’s trust in God to provide the rest both our body and soul need is something I consider in the stillness after dark.