Morning Prayers to Whisper in Between the Snooze Button (AKA Kids)

prayers-in-the-morning

I do not understand the snooze button on an alarm clock.  I never have.

To me, sleep only works when you’re actually sleeping.

The first beep of an alarm wakes me up.  From that moment on, my mind is racing on into the day.  I’m not sleeping; I’m thinking.

Worse yet, I’m thinking without actually doing anything about the million-and-one things I’m thinking about, which is a pretty stressful way to start the day: feeling like I’m already behind.

Snooze buttons only work for people who can fall asleep in two seconds and don’t mind sleeping in batches of 5 minutes at a time.

Since that isn’t me, it’s just a way for me to procrastinate my way into the morning and procrastination super-stresses me out.

But moms don’t get to dictate their sleep habits, sleep cycle, sleep hours, sleep anything.  We’re just thankful for whatever sleep we get.

I’ve only needed an actual alarm clock a handful of times since I gave birth to my oldest child nearly 10 years ago.  I have a new alarm clock called “Kids.”

Unfortunately, this new wake-up system has come fully equipped with nothing less than a human snooze button.

Baby wakes up.

Mom soothes baby and climbs back into bed.

Early bird child runs through the house to mom’s bed just minutes later to announce she’s awake, then returns to announce she is hungry, then returns to announce she cannot find the clothes she wants.

Mom looks at the clock and realizes no one else in the whole house is awake and yet this one tiny person is relentless in her pursuit of the day.

Mom tries so hard to go back to sleep but is quickly awakened by the older daughter’s alarm clock with its shrill, rhythmic beeping that does….not…..stop……for…….five…..whole ……minutes…… because the daughter who is actually in the actual room with the actual alarm clock is sleeping right through the noise.

This is the human snooze button system that started my day.

I’ve heard so many women say that all we need to do to bring God into the middle of our day is to start with prayer, right from the beginning.  Before you get out of bed, just lie there for a minutes longer and pray for God’s hand to be on the day and for Him to help them be the best mom and wife that she can be and could He direct her steps and … and.. and….

Awesome.

But my life is louder than that.  Crazier than that.  Messier than that.

And yet, I still need His presence.  Maybe because of all the noise and rush, I need His presence even more desperately than someone who can lie in the quiet and calm of a morning and spend a few extra minutes in uninterrupted prayer.

I sure need Jesus to be right here in the middle of my mess.

My days tend to take turns for the unexpected.  The long, extended quiet time that I’ve been planning for three days hasn’t happened yet, because the phone rang, and I got a message, and the baby was teething, and…and…and….

But I read what a missionary wrote in his journal long ago:

“Poor and weak though we are, our abode is a very Bethel to our souls, and God we feel and know is here” (Richard Williams).

Bethel.  That means “House of God.”

It’s the place where God’s presence dwells.   That’s where Jacob saw the vision of the stairway connecting heaven and earth and the angels ascending and descending.

I’m reminded, then, that God’s presence right here in the middle of my life makes any situation, any morning, any messy day, any short quiet time in the parked minivan while waiting for my daughters outside of school… a Bethel for my soul.

Because God is here.

I’m still fighting for that extended quiet time.  I know it will happen.

But even on days it doesn’t, I’m learning this month to “Do Messy Faith….” to pursue His presence on-the-go instead of waiting until all the circumstances are perfect to meet with Him.  Because if I wait for perfect, then it won’t happen.

So I don’t have an hour to spend in quiet with the Bible.  I have the Bible on my phone and my Kindle.

So I don’t have the luxury of a quiet morning wake-up.  I have a human snooze alarm and I can whisper those prayers in between morning visits from my children.

Dear God, thank You for this day.

Dear God, guide me today.

Dear God, Your will be done, not mine.

Dear God, Please use me today.

Dear God, Please help me.  I can’t do it alone.

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.
Psalm 5:3 NKJV

What prayers do you whisper as you start your day?

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Find the Sacred in the Ordinary’?

 

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Dear Daughter: To Victoria

Dear blog friends and followers,

We’re on the final countdown to our baby boy’s arrival here and I’m taking the time to finish up those last-minute preparations—like double-checking the hospital bag, stocking up on everything at the grocery store so I won’t have to shop the day I come home from the hospital, and vacuuming the floor one last time so no one thinks my house really ever gets as messy as it really gets.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting some  letters to my children here–one for each daughter and then one for my son–and I hope they bless you, too.

You’ll see posts from me while I’m really still in the hospital, even perhaps when I’m actually delivering a baby!  Don’t be too impressed.  I’m not live-blogging during a C-section or writing elaborate prose from my hospital bed despite grogginess, hormones, and people coming to take blood samples at 4 in the morning (why can’t they do that during the day when you’re in the hospital?)

No, I’ve written all this in advance and scheduled it for the days I’ll be away.  There, I’ve spilled the secret!

I’d love your prayers this week.  We should be meeting our baby on Wednesday (October 2nd).

Many blessings to you while I’m away,

~heather~

*********************************************************************************************************

Dear Victoria,

You made me a mom.  God specially chose you for that purpose and what an honor and joy it has been from that first moment I held you in my arms after you screamed and a nurse toweled you off and handed you over to me, a brand-new, uncertain, clumsy, scared-out-of-her-mind, totally-in-awe new mommy.swing

But then, I’d been amazed at you all along.  You taught me about morning sickness (and how you can have it all day, every day), about OB visits, about birth plans, about prenatal nutrition, and how there simply isn’t anything quite so miraculous as feeling a tiny life moving within your very own body.

I’ve been learning from you ever since.  As you like to put it, you “trained me” to be a mom and all that it requires, not just the walking the floor at night with an inconsolable infant, or the diapering and bathing.

No, more than that.

You taught me how to care about another person enough to murder my own selfishness on a daily basis.  You humbled me, showed me all I didn’t know, revealed all the ways I wasn’t perfect and didn’t have it all together.

Nothing in this world has taught me how to pray like being a mom, nothing drops me to my knees faster or more often than my children.  That started with you.

You still teach me now.

How to be a good friend.  How to make people a priority.  How to give generously, unselfishly, and with extravagant joy to others.

How to always give your best effort.  Many people may look at you and be jealous of your accomplishments, your God-given gifts and opportunities at church, at school, in music, dance and theater.  Maybe they’d even foolishly call you “lucky.”

I know the truth.012

I see the time you spend practicing, studying, memorizing, rehearsing, performing, and working when others rush through necessary tasks to enjoy fun and relaxation.  I know it’s never me pushing at you, reminding you, nudging you, or pressuring you.

It’s the way you set goals for yourself–like jumping rope five times in a row, then 10, then 15, then 20…..until you can whip that rope over your head and leap over it 50 times without stopping, all because you decided you would, you made a plan, you worked hard, and you didn’t give up no matter how many times you tripped and had to start over.

But the awards that sit on a shelf or hang from the wall in your room aren’t what matter.  They never are.  It’s about who you are, so much strength of character and the willingness to stand up for what’s right against all that is wrong.  It’s your deep tenderness, the way you sob at sad movies and books and have a heart so compassionately moved by the hurting, the needy, the outcasts, the orphaned.

These lessons that I’ve been teaching you, my Victoria, are ones I’ve been stumbling my own messy way through for too long.  When I speak these words to you, I’m giving sermons to myself reflected in you.

This is what I need you to know:

You are loved, deeply and truly loved.  You don’t ever need to be perfect to earn that from us or from God.  Your value is never about what you do; it’s who you are, and who you are is amazing.

We all need grace.  You’re going to mess up.  You’ll forget sometimes, make mistakes, choose the wrong answer, say the wrong thing, lose control, make a mess, and not be the best at everything.  That’s what grace is for, and when you’ve received that kind of mercy, be sure to give it to others gladly, humbly, and without stinginess.

Don’t allow worry, anxiety, and fretting to steal your joy.  You can trust our God.  He really can care for you and every detail of whatever you face.

Before you were born, your dad and I prayed for you, about choosing your name, and how to be your parents.  We prayed that God would give us a Scripture as a blessing for you, and I remember the night your dad opened the Bible next to me and read these words:

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:11-12 NIV).

We do pray this for you, for God’s favor, His protection, His blessing, and that He will fill you with gladness and a song of joy.

Love,

~Mom~

ShabbyBlogsDividerJ

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Weekend Walk, 06/02/2012

Hiding the Word:

It’s a season of celebration.

Our family is celebrating graduations and the end of the school year, ballet recitals, concerts, plays, birthdays, and the 50th wedding anniversary for my husbands’ parents.

So, on a bright and beautiful day like today, a morning of sunshine and cool breezes on the day after torrential downpour and tornadoes hit our area, it seems fitting to meditate on a Psalm of celebration.

Our verse for the week is:

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
    you cover him with favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:11-12 ESV).

Last night after my daughters’ ballet recital, families hovered under umbrellas and still arrived soaking wet to their cars.  One man stayed long after most others had left, offering to walk people to their vehicles if they didn’t have an umbrella, holding his over their heads so they could escape some of the drenching.  

I can imagine God covering us with “favor as with a shield” in a similar way.  How it’s all about his grace and kindness to us. How it’s self-sacrificing.  How it offers us more perfect protection than any umbrella off the shelves of Wal-Mart.

Now that’s something to celebrate!

Weekend Rerun:

My Two Cents

Originally posted on May 9, 2011

 

With beach season approaching, I’ve been thinking . . . I’d like thinner legs.
While I’m placing orders, I’d also love to have wavy hair with no streaks of gray in it.
No glasses would be nice, too.
Yes, then I’d look really great . . . not at all like me, but great.

Fortunately, I don’t really like the beach, so I don’t dwell on these issues for long.  It’s dangerous really to look around at other people and compare ourselves to them, not just physically, but spiritually, too.  While I’m baring the deepest, darkest parts of my soul with you, I might as well honestly admit that I struggle with this at times.

For me, the trap comes primarily when I’m reading.  As a lover of words, I tend to fill every available minute with reading of some kind, even if it’s just five minutes while standing in a line.  And as I read, there are moments when I think, “If I could just change myself in this way or that way, I’d be better able to serve God.”

I don’t have the impact of this woman, the poetic mastery of language like another, the scholarly education like her, the testimony of this woman or the vast Scripture memorization like another . . . When it comes to spiritual matters, I confess I sometimes want to swap out parts of me for what looks better, not really out of jealousy or pride, but just because I long to give to God the best offering possible.

For most of us, our deep down motives are pure and true.  Out of a desire to worship and give glory, though, sometimes we glance to our sides at the offerings of others and feel we fall short.

What about you?  Have you ever looked around and wished you prayed like her, knew exactly what God called you to do like him, knew Scripture as well as she did, or had the same spiritual gift as a friend?

The eye in the Body of Christ wants to be the foot or the hand wants to be the mouth.  Imagine the Body of Christ as a Mr. Potato Head—now how silly would we look?  Unfortunately, when we eyes spend all our time trying to be feet, the Body of Christ is blind and clumsy, tripping all over itself.

“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20). 

Your gifting, your passion, your past, your experiences are all uniquely packaged together by God to form you and mold you into the vessel of His choosing.

And all He asks is that we raise our hands to release what He has already given to us:
the fullness of the talents He has bestowed
and the passions He has stirred up deep in the fires of our hearts
the issues that make us raise our voices as we step onto soapboxes
the service that we wake in the morning excited to perform
the experiences from our past that soften our hearts and make us tender to those hurting in our midst.

Our arms heavy-laden with all that we have received from Him, we then lift it all back up in worship.

We’re the only ones at times looking around to compare the gift we bring to the presents of the other worshipers.  God isn’t sifting through the gift table, shaking packages and estimating value or peeking at the cards looking for the names of the gift-bearers.

It’s just us—watching the gift table and shifting our gaze with embarrassment when another attendee brings in a cumbersome package wrapped in paper all silver and topped with a ribbon so fancy.  Then another lays on the table a gift bag filled to overflowing, tissue paper barely covering the treasures inside and we want to take our gift back.  It’s not enough.  Not for a King so worthy.  Not for a God we adore.

The widow in the temple, though, knew that true worship simply meant giving all that she had, sacrificially placing her “two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents” as an offering to God (Mark 12:42).

Others had given more, even ostentatiously so.  “Many rich people had thrown in large amounts” (Mark 12:41).  She could have watched from the corners of the temple in shame at the earthly value of what others gave and walked away clutching her cent pieces, confident that God would despise a gift so meager.

And yet, she didn’t.   And nor did He.

She gave.  He noticed.

He called His disciples over to learn from her.  Men who would eventually be asked to give up everything—even their very lives—-learning how to give sacrificially from a pauper widow almost lost in a crowd of those richer and more important than her.  All because she “put in everything” when she gave to God.

What two cents are you laying at the altar?  Your spiritual gift, your ministry, your service to your church, your sacrifice for your family, your care for another, your laying aside of personal dreams, your causes, your secret encouragement for a friend.  It’s being a hand when He made you to be a hand and being an eye when He asked you to be the eye in a body of Christ that is so dependent on every organ.

Your two cents is a gift precious to God; He only asks us to give what we ourselves have been given.

As I finish up today, I’m listening to Paul Baloche sing Offering.  I hope you take a moment to worship with me.

Offering
by Paul Baloche

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You’re due
O Lord I bring an offering to You
I bring an offering to You

**********************************************************************************************************

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King