Occasionally, I find myself sort of drifting…working down my lists of To Do’s, moving from one task to the next, kissing children on the heads, and listening to the details of my husband’s day. Doing all of the things that need to be done, but not really engaging. Existing rather than living. It is a constant truth in my life that when I find myself in that place, my real disconnect is with God. I’ve stopped checking in with Him, stopped bringing my days to Him, and stopped giving thanks to Him. It’s rarely intentional, just the busyness of life distracting me, but the impact of going it alone will always make itself felt eventually.
When I begin to recognize the emptiness that has crept in, I know just what to do. I have always known what to do and it will forever baffle me that I manage to forget it time and again. (I relate strongly to Paul in this, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:18-19)
What I know to do is to start my day with God. Sounds super easy, right? If you think so, then you are clearly a morning person and I will try to forgive you for that. I am not so much a morning person. As previously stated, I am a huge, HUGE fan of sleep. My children are morning people (I occasionally wonder if they may all have been switched at birth) and we start most days with them dragging me from slumber by jumping on my back and breathing their morning breath directly into my face. It’s lovely. And not particularly conducive to “quiet time” with God.
But if I wait until later in the day, my busy, noisy life continually pulls me away from any attempt at a quiet moment with God. So when I find myself in this place of simply existing, of missing Him, I start setting my alarm. I haul my protesting body out of bed and into some shoes and I walk out my front door and down the street to a nearby pond. The walking keeps me from falling back to sleep (which would almost certainly happen if I sat down and tried to read my bible!) and getting outside gives me a chance to revel in the beauty of God’s creation.
I remember one morning, the first morning in that particular attempt to reconnect, the sun was beginning to rise, but the skies were still mostly dark, the world was quiet, and the pond was still. I sang a few lines from children’s bible songs.
"Good morning, God! This is your day. I am your child. Show me your way."
"This is the day! This is the day that the Lord has made!"
I prayed quietly aloud, thanking God for the gift of this day, and offering it back to him, handing over the reins, promising to follow His lead. I gave thanks for my husband and children and prayed for each of them and for my interactions with them that day. Then I said "Amen" and turned around to head back home.
I discovered, to my incredible delight, that the sun had risen behind me while I prayed towards the still dim sky behind the pond. I literally walked into the light as I returned home to start my day. It was beautiful and I was reminded that God's light and love are always there. We need only to turn around and receive them. And oh, what a beautiful thing it is to receive God's love, to be surrounded by His beauty, and resting in His care.
I cannot say that I continued to set my alarm for all of the days that followed. Eventually, as it always happens, a child woke me up one too many times or I stayed up way past my bedtime, and then chose to snooze when the alarm went off. I am constantly trying new and different ways to connect at the beginning of my day. It looks different in every season, with every change in routine, and with every new phase of childhood. What remains the same is the truth that when I give myself the gift of time to connect with a God who so desperately wants to connect with me, His incredible beauty lights up the entirety of the day that follows.