A friend posted recently about her early morning with her young daughters and I immediately, palpably recognized her experience as the thwarted devotional time.
You know, when you go to bed early and set your alarm to wake even earlier than your adorable crack-of-dawners to spend a few moments in God’s presence, reading His Word; soaking up His peace and grace–filling up your tank so that you have something to offer your kids in the day ahead.
As you can probably guess, it didn’t happen for my friend. And if you’ve ever attempted an early morning–to exercise, to pray, to write, even just to drink your coffee in peace–with toddlers and/or babies in the house, it’s probably happened to you, too.
They’re awake, the peace is over, and your plans are thwarted.
I got up early for THIS?!
But my sweet friend–in her wisdom, grace, and in maturity–chose to take it in stride, to savor the early morning discovery and sweetness of her tiny one, and she was rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise.
With three littles in my house who all take “early to bed and early to rise” very seriously, this has happened to me loads of times, but so many times the disappointment and resentment has lingered in my heart even as I watch the pink and orange glory of God flicker and burst into flame over the horizon.
Why? How can this sense of awe and bitter resentment coexist?
You see, the sunset wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
I know many times that I was picturing discipline, focus, maybe even something approaching intellectual study–a time slot in my otherwise chaotic day that I could point to as meaningful, spiritual, and productive. But also, in my case, something that I could control. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with productivity and uninterrupted spiritual practice, and I think we should all make some time for these things in our lives.
But while we want to work for our salvation and feel like we’ve done something worthwhile, God in his glory appears in the sunrise and in the uninhibited grin of our toddlers. The God of hope appears in these moments, filling us with all joy and peace! But we have to put aside our pride, our determination to control our spiritual experience, in order to see Him there.
I’ve failed at that, pretty miserably in fact. The lifestyle of a stay-at-home (and now homeschooling) mom has often felt like a spiritual handicap, in that I am lacking the uninterrupted Bible and prayer time and sleep that I think I need. But all this time, God has been giving me brilliant, abundant gifts to sustain and grow me during this busy season.
And I’m determined to press in, to look for these gifts in all the busy corners of my life, and to let God love and teach me in all the ways I never expected.