catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 9, Num 9 :: 2010.04.30 — 2010.05.13


Morning snuggles

My favorite time of day is when the sun’s first pink light crests above the trees. As my children stumble out of bed and with eyes still full of sleep, heads still full of dreams and fuzzy hair sticking everywhere, they come find me. We snuggle in my bed or on the couch enjoying our companionship before we begin the day. Sometimes, we talk about the dreams they had, or how magnificent the previous day was, or what today’s schedule holds. Other times, we sit in silence, their little heads resting on my chest and their arms wrapped around me. I enjoy the placidity of the moment and the gift of one more day.

One morning, as the light streamed in through the windows and lit their fuzzy blonde heads, something deep stirred within my spirit. Up to this point in my life, my mornings had been distressful. As a night owl, I have always labored to get up and moving in the mornings. It’s as if my brain finally awakens after dinner and my most creative and energized moments occur in the evenings, when the clock says it’s bedtime. I’ve tried everything I know to retrain my wiring and failed. I finally learned to work with it.

In college, I scheduled my demanding classes in the evenings. In the work place, I scheduled meetings after 10 a.m. And after forcing down a plate of runny pancakes, my husband informed me that he is quite happy to eat cold cereal for breakfast.

Even though my family, friends and co-workers were accepting of my morning debilitation, I was encumbered by guilt. I feared that God was quite displeased with me.

The importance of morning “devotions” had been hammered into my spirit since the time I could read. My well-meaning church and Christian school leaders insisted that our days would give God the most glory if we “met with” Him prior to engaging with the world around us. Verses like Psalm 5:3 haunted me: “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice. In the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” If King David, who wrote this song and was called a man after God’s own heart, felt the necessity of meeting with God in the morning, then I knew God must be so aggrieved that I did not do the same.

So I set my alarm. I didn’t just set it, I moved it to the other side of my bedroom so I’d have to get up and walk across the room to turn it off. I went to bed earlier and earlier. I showered and dressed before “meeting with God.” I did jumping jacks. I sang songs. I tried everything to get my brain in gear and get my “God-worthy” face on. It rarely worked. My mom would knock on my door and ask why my alarm had been going off for half an hour. If I did get up, I’d sit and stare at the same sentence for twenty minutes, unable to unearth a deep spiritual truth that might propel me through the day. I’d try to pray and fall asleep. In short, I was a miserable failure in the morning devotions department.

In my adulthood, I found a kindred, night-owl-spirit in my father-in-law. He’s been in full-time ministry for over 35 years and it didn’t appear to me that God was dissatisfied with him. We had many late-night conferences about morning devotions and whether or not it was a commandment from God. I hadn’t been able to find it in the big ten commandments, or under the weighty language of the book of Leviticus. I felt the guilt ease a little.

But there was still a tiny nagging in the back of my brain that I might be less-than to God, that maybe I was missing an important key in my relationship with Him.

On that beautiful spring morning while the sun’s rays lit my two fuzzy-headed children, something clicked. I began to realize I had my morning concept of “meeting with God” wrong from the beginning. God doesn’t require a serious pious face in the morning or want me to sit down and do “business” with Him. How ludicrous would it be if my children believed they had to get dressed, comb their hair and brush their teeth in order to make themselves presentable to me in the morning? They’re my children, and I’m thrilled that their morning’s first desire is my presence.

The lesson penetrated my soul. How much my Heavenly Father must relish me coming to Him in my groggy, disheveled morning state. I didn’t need to put on a “God-face” in order to seek Him in the morning. I didn’t have to be completely alert and ready to receive some deep, theological truth. He desires me just as I am. Groggy, fuzzy-headed and with sleep in my eyes, I’m still His child.

Now, rather than avoiding God in the morning out of shame, when my eyes open, and before I move, in my heart I greet Him. “Good morning, God. Thank you for waking me up!” My mind may review the blessings of the previous day, or my heart may still be troubled with a lingering issue from the prior day. I may even fall asleep again, imagining that my head is resting on His chest. But before my feet hit the ground, I turn my heart to Him with love and appreciation for one more day. It’s nothing much. And yet it’s so much. I don’t pray for world peace or lay my zillion cares before Him. I come in simple quiet and out of gratefulness because I love Him. I love being His child. I just want to spend my day in step with Him.

When the morning madness hits and life turns crazy, I can rejoice because He is in my life, and I don’t have to walk alone. By recognizing that truth first thing in the morning, I find my foothold for the day. It’s His day. He’s my father. I’m His fuzzy-headed child that He cherishes, even in my disarrayed state.

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