The Stillness of Morning

Today, I did something that defied logic. I mean, it went against every fiber of my being.

I woke up before dawn. On purpose.

I don’t even have a dairy animal! I just determined to wake up before my children.

Initially, I set an alarm for 5:00am. I went to bed at 9:30pm, and for whatever reason, baby #4 decided that was simply unacceptable. Baby kept me awake until about 10:30pm, so I moved my alarm back to 5:30am. That seemed a reasonable compromise.

When 5:30am finally came, I hadn’t slept well; between hourly trips to the bathroom (thanks, Baby…) And bizarre dreams (thanks, hormones) my efforts to take magnesium and drink lavender and passionflower tea before bedtime proved virtually fruitless.

I snoozed until about 6:15am, and then I finally had it in me to climb out of bed. I grabbed a sweatshirt from the closet, tried to soundlessly tiptoe out of my room and down the hallway to start a pot of coffee.

Coffee in hand, I slipped quietly outside to the back porch.

Darkness.

Stillness.

Quiet.

My foggy mind took in the chilly, early morning air, the cricket songs, the stillness of the still-sleepy outdoors. I watched as the sun began to peek over the hills beyond the cattle pasture to the east of our homestead.

The cricket songs faded as the first birdsongs began. I heard the neighbor’s rooster crow, and then the wrens were the first birds to wake in song.

Slowly, everything brightened and morning came in full.

What I can’t get over was the peaceful quiet of dawn. Who knew, right?

I know it’s in Scripture repeatedly; rising before dawn, while the rest of the house sleeps to meet with God before demands of the day pull us in every direction. And yet, I haven’t been able to cultivate that practice of early morning rising. I’d hear people tout the benefits and my heart would break; how did they manage? Why is my body so constantly exhausted? Why don’t my children sleep like everyone else’s? I wrote it off as something idealistic that I may never achieve.

But today, it happened. It’s as if God knew I’d need that 20 minutes of peace.

The one year old woke screaming at 10 minutes to 7:00am, and my daughter and oldest son were already awake when I went in to quiet their brother. I took my youngest son back outside with me and we managed to steal another 10 blissfully quiet minutes before we went in to start breakfast.

Chaos soon followed. Tantrums, crying fits, arguments from all the children… My bleary-eyed husband shuffled in from the bedroom and did his usual morning routine (which seems a lot to me like aimless wandering as he jolts himself awake, but I’m sure he has his own rhythm and rituals.)

But I still had that experience of peaceful stillness and blissful quiet to draw from as I faced each conflict and confrontation. There was no anger. No impatience. Just a stillness of spirit.

I thank God for that answered prayer today, and pray He continues to cultivate His peace in me.

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