I'm currently working through a Bible study by Beth Moore called "Living Beyond Yourself". We're exploring the fruit of the Spirit, and I am trying to let every single word of it speak to me. So, when Beth challenged me during week 6 (about Patience) to wake up one day before dawn, go outside, and "lift up the day's needs as the light begins to dawn and the sun rises", I was ready for this wonderful and refreshing new way to spend time with the Lord.
Daylight Savings Time had just ended (or begun, I have no idea except that I got an extra hour of sleep), so the timing was pretty good. At 5:22 a.m., I woke up (without even an alarm) and shuffled into the living room to find my Bible. The dog was eager to have an early-morning companion, and I realized that I would get no peace until he'd been fed. So, I fed the dog.
Then I pondered my instructions. My Bible study had suggested that I go out into the backyard and face east ('cause that's where the sun makes it's grand entrance). After pondering my east from my west, I determined that I could not, in fact, see the sun from my backyard. I had no choice but to go out front.
I shuffled back to my closet for a bathrobe and socks. The dog was finished with his breakfast, so I invited him out front to roam around while I prepared to spend some quality morning time praising God for a new day.
In order to find the perfect lawn chair, I had to move a ladder and several riding toys. Once my lawn chair was set, and I had Bible, pen (and coffee, did I mention the pot of coffee that I brewed?) in hand, I turned to a few scripture verses that had been given as a starting point to consider this new day.
By the light of the garage, I read Genesis 8:22 - "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." I was quietly reminded of God's perfect control over the balance of the world around me. Day and night, sun and moon, in perfect rhythm. "Lord, thank you for a new day!" I began... before I thought of a question...
"Lord, what time exactly is the sun going to rise today?"
I hadn't really considered it before, but I suddently wondered if this whole Daylight Savings time change meant that the sun now rose around 8am. Because I wanted to be totally o.k. with it but I also kinda wanted to know if I needed a more comfortable lawn chair. After all, it was just shy of 6 a.m.
I will honestly tell you that I considered getting up from my chair and checking the internet for the approximate "Sunrise Time". And I will also share that I thought better of it and sat myself back down.
Lamentations 3:22-23 said, "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."
As I pondered this passage, I prayed for my family. For a fresh dose of His mercy for my day. For many things that were already threatening to weigh me down and control my thoughts before the day had barely begun.
But - I feel compelled to be honest - I was having a hard time getting to a place of stillness, of quiet, maybe like I was just getting in the way. The prayers I lifted up became more dutiful than genuine and I spent only a few more minutes in the chilly breeze.
Having almost convinced myself that the sunrise was hours away, I snuck back into the house and opened the blinds of three big windows in the front room. Settling comfortably into the sofa cushions, I re-opened my Bible.
Seconds later, a sweet morning voice called out, "Mommy! Hi Mommy! What are you doing in there? Why is it still dark outside?"
I pulled my sleepy son up into my lap and we faced the windows. "The sun hasn't come up yet" I explained. But it will, I thought, as I recalled the words found in Genesis. "Let's watch it come up together!" "OK... let's do that!"
So, I sat on the couch that morning with my child and talked to him about our Great Big God. About how He makes the sun come up in the morning and the moon rise at night. How each morning is a brand new day. We thought of all the songs we knew that mentioned the sun or the morning or a new day. I managed to croak out one verse of "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!" He wanted to sing a song he learned on Noggin.
In those precious morning moments, I marveled at God's PATIENCE with me - driven by his unfailing mercy. I took the words of Lamentations personally. The faithful love of the Lord (for me!) never ends! His mercies (for me!) never cease. He loves me enough to challenge me to spend time with Him in new ways. And then He mercifully gives me the most beautiful options when I just can't get my "go-outside-for-quiet-time" act together. His mercies for me are new every half-hour!
I have since shared two more precious mornings of watching the sun rise with Drew as we sit snuggled into the couch cushions - staring toward the east - in awe of our Creator who puts on a spectacular display every morning (at 6:46 a.m. EST, by the way!)