I am not just a Christian in addition to being a wife, mother, blogger, coffee-drinker, chocolate-lover, and list-making-obsessed individual. Instead, it is because of Christ, that I am able to be all those things in the first place. It’s kind of a big deal. That’s why I wanted to talk about this special part of my morning routine.
Oh, and prayer. Even some Bible memorization if I grab the chance. It really, really makes a difference. The days I skip it, I notice. Things just don’t flow right. I’m not content with the work of my hands. Like the Israelites of old, I’m human and I forget. I forget the whys, and the reasons, and the purpose for everything on my to-do-list. Instead, I turn into a mechanical machine just doing what I need to do that day to survive and forgetting the bigger picture. Sometimes I start to drown in the pool of my OWN expectations or ideas, instead of resting on Christ’s.
First of all… why? Why is something so small, something I could do in ten minutes or less, so life changing?
Let me start at the beginning. Seriously, the very beginning. As a Christian, I acknowledge God as the Creator of everything. He created the majestic and large-scale solar systems and ecosystems and the smaller, but complex digestive systems, cellular systems and atomic particles. Everything he made, he made with a purpose and a reason.
But it doesn’t stop there. You see, if I believe that he’s the Creator of everything, then he also created ME. And not just me, but also my husband and each child I carry and am allowed to train. And like everything else in creation, I believe I was made with a purpose.
Granted, for some things in Creation, that purpose may only be to entertain… Such as this funny looking fish here.
But we can hope for a more noble calling, I suppose (it helps to be made in God’s image).
So if God went through all that work, planning, and detail, why am I here? What’s my job? What does God want me to do with the hours in my day and with the working hands that he gave me?
The good news is that God hasn’t left us in the dark. The one who has been faithful to give us a fully alive world on its axis, has given us a way of communicating with him. He has left this way of communication open. He is our Father and he made us as his CHILDREN. Think about the pleasure you receive when you see your little ones growing and mimicking what you taught them. God is the same way. He delights in us and desires us to delight in him. As we train up our children and help them learn about the world, so it is His pleasure to teach us, communicate with us, and help us grow.
Parenthood is a marvelous parallel. When our toddlers screech and cry for that popsicle instead of talk, we stop them and teach them how to use their words to ask nicely. Likewise, when we have been yelling at our husband or children, God sends his Spirit to give us pause and help us communicate better. When our toddler gets frustrated and throws his block castle-in-progress into pieces on the floor, we mothers encourage them, comfort them, and help them build a better foundation. So when our goals of a perfectly organize house seems so far from ideal and we are tempted to just burn everything down and start over, so God’s Spirit comes to us to comfort, guide, and refocus us on our priorities. When your toddler whaps his brother over the head with toy hammer, we are there to discipline and restore friendship. So when we hurt others, God’s Spirit is there to convict us, lead us to repent, and restore the trust that was broken.
Being a parent really makes God’s relationship with us make so much more sense, and not just on the disciplining and training fronts. Remember when your baby came up to you with wide eyes and open arms, desiring to be held just because he loves you? Do you remember how that warmed your heart and made everything worth it? So God loves it when we come to Him, not because we want anything, but just because we love him. Do you remember how that surprising “Thank you, Mommy for ____” from your preschooler made you smile. So God loves it when we thank him for his hard work and efforts. It’s easy to love someone you trust, someone that’s always been there for you and provided for you, even in the darkest moments, like that time you fell off your toy firetruck and scraped your knee. Show God that love in return.
God’s love for us goes even deeper. Do you remember seeing your baby’s perfectly formed fingers and beautiful smile and thinking: “Wow, I made that. That kid has my genes running through him and it’s never looked so good.” Do you remember when he put on Dad’s boots, found the car keys, and informed you he was going to drive to the store? Do you remember the feeling of delight when you realized he was aspiring to be just like you? So God has a similar sense of pride in his creation. He loves it when we aspire to be like him, even if our accomplishment for the day is a new laundry system instead of a solar system. We’re still copying Dad.
So what does this have to do with your morning routine? Well, how would you like it if your child never talked with you? Or if you never spoke to your child? What kind of relationship do you think you would have? Not a very healthy one. Communication is vital. How else will you enjoy each other? How else will you learn how to grow and live to life’s fullest?
God has given us His Word in the Bible. It’s direct from him. It tells us why we’re here. It tells us how we should live. It tells us how much God takes pleasure in us. It has God’s words of comfort, rebuke, encouragement, delight, guidelines, and so, so, so much more. It has documented history on how he trained up the children that have gone before you. Your generations’ older siblings. Learn from their mistakes and accomplishments. Learn from your older siblings and understand more of your Father through their relationship.
The Bible is HOW we communicate with the Father. Without it, you’re living life orphaned, figuring our things on your own through trial and error. It doesn’t have to be that hard. It’s not what we were made for.
Likewise, prayer is also important. That’s how we communicate back. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long prayer closet session. Just start your day off with a “Good morning, God. I love you. Can you help me with my life today? How can I serve you better?”. Ask him for wisdom, ask him for energy, ask him for direction, ask him for patience as you make silly, toddler mistakes yet again. Then open that Bible and see what he has to say back. Start at the beginning and read it cover to cover. Then do that again.
If you’re up for totally diving into God’s word, I heartily recommend this One Year Bible (which I use and love!):
It has the entire Bible divided into 365 sections for easy daily reading. Reading the entire Bible is the best way to get a full picture of the God that made you, loves you, and gives you reason to live.
As you read, understand that God doesn’t often speak in direct sentences (Kelsey, here’s the cure to Gabriel’s sleeping woes) though He is straightforward on many other things. But through his Word, you can gain insight into how he cares for his children throughout the centuries. By seeing how God has fathered his children, we can learn to parent ours in a similar fashion.
God also provides encouragement through His Word in other ways. After all, if he can free his people from slavery in Egypt, he can set you free from your habits with anger. If he can raise his friend, Lazarus, from the dead then he can rise me me up from that couch where I’ve been morning sick and energy-less for months. If he can bring comfort to Stephen as he was being stoned, we can trust him to bring us peace as we take our last breaths. If he can take Saul’s hard heart and turn him into Paul, the fearless missionary and defender for the faith, we can pray for our corrupt politicians and know that no situation is too hard for him to fix if he desires to.
I encourage you to read SOMETHING each day, preferably in the mornings since that prepares your mind for the day much more effectively. If you’re new at this, aim for a chapter. If you find yourself with a few extra minutes, start ‘hiding God’s word in your heart’ so you can carry God’s word with you even when his book isn’t open in front of you. Write down the verse(s) you want to memorize on a notecard and put it above the kitchen sink so you can refer to it throughout the day.
When I was struggling with a sulky attitude, I wrote down “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22”. It’s amazing how much harder it is to feel sullen about dishes when that’s hanging above the sink.
Happy Bible reading!