poem by Vassar Miller
God, best at making in the morning, tossed
stars and planets, singing and dancing, rolled
Saturn’s rings spinning and humming, twirled the earth
so hard it coughed and spat the moon up, brilliant
bubble floating around it for good, stretched holy
hands till birds in nervous sparks flew forth from them
and beasts – lizards, big and little, apes
lions, elephants, dogs and cats cavorting,
tumbling over themselves, dizzy with joy when
God made us in the morning too, both man
and woman, leaving Adam no time for
sleep so nimbly was Eve bouncing out of
his side till as night came everything and
everybody, growing tired, declined, sat
down in one soft descended Hallelujah.
I awoke exactly fifteen minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off this morning. Had the alarm been set for 5:45 then the whole house would have stirred with me, so this was especially sweet. I reached silently for the alarm to turn its control to off and felt a little body move slightly at my back. When did he crawl in? I wondered as I picked up my phone and hit my Bible App.
The light from the screen shone bright, too bright. So I squinted until my eyes adjusted to the glare. Reading through the end of Joshua, I was reminded again of all of Israel's great victories as they followed the Lord into the promised land. How many times I've seen my own life as a journey, following God through joyful times as well as strenuous seasons that required increased faith and persistence.
After my 15 minutes of quiet I turned the phone to off and heard a raspy little voice ask, "Can I please play angry birds now that you're done reading the Bible on your phone?" I laughed and squeezed him tight, then turned the phone on and found his favorite game. Just as he began to play the other two boys came into the room asking when their turns would be. Yep, 6am on the nose... and away we went.
The last four years have been nearly impossible for me to fit a regular quiet time into my days. I usually wake up before the alarm goes off because someone needs me, and then go to sleep when the last one is done with me. During the dry seasons I hold tight to the scriptures hidden in my heart but this year I finally hit a place of deep hunger... and knew I needed new sustenance for my life and my soul. But where would I fit it in on a regular basis?
That's when a friend suggested I give God the "First Fruits of my Day." I chuckled, though rather annoyed, sure that she hadn't been listening to how my mornings begin. But she went on to say that when I am awakened by the needs of all those I serve, then my time has not yet been my own. It's only once the children are fed and dressed and the big ones are off to school and the little ones are home again and settled into their play, that I might be able to deny the dishes and laundry and rest in the first few moments that are actually mine... My "first fruits" of the day.
And so I have been doing that. But it's harder than it may seem. It requires serious self-discipline to say NO to so much. Not just the crumbs on the floor or the loads of clean laundry yet to be folded and put away, it requires self-control against anything that would steal away my time with Him. Checking email or stopping by facebook to see what friends are up is my barometer to recognize when my "first fruits" have arrived.
When the children are playing and a moment's peace is mine, I find that my first thought tends to be, "I wonder which of my 'friends' have reached out to me." But as sudden as the thought comes into my head, a new one now replaces it... "there's only one relationship that deserves my first moments." And that's when I grab my phone or my (old-school) Bible and turn to where I last left off.
It's been marvelous, life-giving, and challenging to be back in a consistent relationship with the One who made me. He loves me so much more than any of my "friends" and setting Spiritual Disciplines like this helps me to love Him first, put Him first, and give Him my first fruits each day.
p.s. -- Another Mom Blogger recently wrote a post about one of her recent quiet times and what she learned there. I really enjoyed it. Visit her at: Renewing Housewives