It’s early morning, 5:38am to be exact. My over-tired eyes have only been closed for a couple of hours, when I hear my alarm ringing next to me. I reach over to mute it, but my hand runs into something. Barely able to open my eyes, I see my two youngest sons silently staring at me, just waiting for their mama to wake up.
This was not part of my plan. Don’t get me wrong. I adore my sweet children to pieces. But there’s a reason I’ve set my alarm to wake me up so early even though I barely got any sleep. And it did not include…taking care of requests and needs from two small ones at such an early hour. No, this mama has her own detailed list of requests and needs, but in a nutshell, my greatest need is this:
I need Jesus every hour of every day, but I’ve come to realize that the time I desperately need Him most is first thing in the morning.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33
If my day begins without seeking Jesus first, then the enemy has a wider opening to squeeze through. He can begin chipping away at me first thing in the morning and chances are, he’ll have some success. Why? Because I haven’t FIRST protected my heart, and the only One who can do that is God.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23
Notice, King Solomon does NOT say, “When you have time to seek God today, the Protector of your heart, please do.” No, he says, “Above all else…” which means it needs to happen first thing each day or else I will spend the whole day operating from a deficit, instead of an overflow.
When I am face to face with a screaming three-year-old or witnessing a big kid tantrum from an 8-year-old whose attitude has seen much better days, I better have my cup filled to overflowing or those amazing children might just get sucked into a pit right along with me. And on those days when I wake up early after pulling an all-nighter with a sick child…I certainly need Jesus to fill my heart up or the warning lights in my mind will begin to siren, letting me know this mother-ship is about to crash and burn.
I’ve done it. I’ve made it through entire days and weeks without seeking Jesus first thing in the morning. But those were not victorious days. They were littered with bitterness and resentment, even yelling and anger. On those days, I knew I was standing on the battlefield unarmed and tragically unguarded.
So how do you make the time to give God the first fruits of your day when you’re exhausted, or your mornings are filled to the brim with motion, trying to get yourself and the kids ready for the day? Or perhaps you have children, like mine, who wake up before you, no matter how early you set your alarm for.
No matter what our mornings look like, we must resolve to seek Jesus first, clothe ourselves with the armor needed to protect our hearts and minds, and then be steadfast and unwilling to waver. If we are told there is a need to “guard our hearts,” then we know there’s a reason.
Our hearts are worth protecting against the enemy’s fiery darts and evil schemes because held within them are words that will either speak life…or speak death. Our hearts are the wellspring of life and able to bless others beyond what we can imagine, but only if we are intentional with our time. We must stop caving to defeat every time our mornings feel hijacked. We need to know that THAT is truly a part of Satan’s overall plan…to cause us to unravel and to feel self-conscious, defeated and unworthy, all while sitting hopelessly at the bottom of a desperate pit.
But we must also know that THAT is NOT God’s plan for you and me. Thriving is definitely what God has in mind for our day. No matter what circumstances are in front of us, facing them with a spiritual cup that is full and a heart that is guarded by Jesus first thing in the morning will make all the difference!
Our God is completely for us and will honor our efforts to seek Him each morning, no matter what that may look like.
So, that morning when my 3- and 6-year-old sons were right there waiting for their too-tired mama to wake up, I resolved to NOT feel resentful or defeated. Instead, I slid out of bed, hugged my boys, slipped on my slippers, put on my robe, grabbed the biggest mug of coffee I could and sat down in the middle of our play room floor with my Bible, journal, and pen in my lap while two little boys played right next to me.
My “comfy Bible study chair” beckoned me, but I knew that leaving my boys to their own devices would end my time with the Lord too quickly. It wasn’t perfect, but it was sweet and rich. And then I felt prepared to walk by faith through the rest of my day.
Oh, what a difference the discipline of early morning time with the Lord has made in my life. Our children get to experience this blessing every bit as much as we do, because when our mom-hearts are protected, their hearts are protected as well.
Have you struggled to spend time with God first thing in the morning? Will you share what your early morning quiet (or not so quiet) time with the Lord looks like and how it has blessed you?
Megan @ Devotional Motherhood