Be Not Afraid

Joy Comes in the Morning

I love sleeping in.  (Correction:  I used to love sleeping-in, pre-John Paul that is!)  But even in these days of very early mornings, I’m often able to sleep in until a little after seven, as my sweet husband feeds John Paul in the morning and hangs out with him downstairs until he has to start getting ready for work.  I am so grateful for the extra time my husband gives me to sleep-in.  But lately, I’ve found that waking up to dirty breakfast dishes and a cranky baby almost ready for his first cat-nap of the day wasn’t starting my morning off on the best foot.  I too would quickly become cranky and frustrated, and would send Mike off to work with a grumpy, admittedly half-hearted, “Have a good day.”

So, I’m going against my night-owl nature and trying to go to bed earlier so that I can wake up with my boys and enjoy the early morning.  For on the somewhat rare early mornings I have experienced in my life I have seen how the first rays of sunlight bring a unique beauty, and create scenes that are not repeated during any other time of day.  Only the first rays of sun can make the world glow as if on fire: Wyoming Sunrise

As I sat in my armchair reading the Psalms this morning, my husband and John Paul bonding over “Sports Center,” I remembered cherished mornings with a wise friend who always took the time to savor moments in early morning.  Juan* and I lived together at L’Arche (an intentional community where people with and without developmental disabilities share life together), and I often helped him bathe and dress in the morning.  Amidst the hustle and bustle of getting ready, Juan always managed to find moments of peace.

When I would enter Juan’s room in the morning, he would always already be awake.  It amazed me how patiently he would lie in his bed, his eyes wide open, looking at the world and bathing in the morning sun.  He looked at peace and in no hurry to be anywhere but exactly where he was.  Juan’s physical disabilities make it impossible for him to move himself from his bed.  If he wanted to jump out of bed and start each morning by meticulously organizing the blocks, or “bloques,” he’s had since childhood, he simply couldn’t.  Still, every morning he seemed content to lie in the sun and wait, as if the stillness were his choice.  And each morning I spent with Juan I thought of this:  be still and know that I am God.  I have no doubt that Juan is connected to God in the quiet morning moments.

I long for that same connection with God.  It’s what my soul aches for and my heart beats for.  I am made for it.  We all are.  And yet I so often reserve spending time with God for mass on Sunday.  But is not God always with me, within me, above me, and below me?  And so I am trying to be more present to the constant presence of God.  Which is why, this morning, I refrained from sleeping-in, doing the dishes, getting a start on laundry, or watching the morning news.  Instead, I merely sat, read the Psalms, and basked in the presence of God.

And while reading, I stumbled upon this wisdom:

4 Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
5 For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.  (Psalm 30:  4-5.)

No matter what the trials were of the previous day, the sadness we might feel in our hearts, or the anxieties racing through our minds, joy comes in the morning, because wherever we are, God is with us.  My friend Juan knows this and lives this truth so well, and how beautiful and wise is his assurance in the unending grace of God!

My prayer for you today is that regardless of whatever darkness is in your heart when you lay down at night, you might find joy in the morning, in the dawn of a new day filled with the promise of God’s love and grace.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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9 comments

  1. I love this post! So beautiful; it made me smile & brought tears to my eyes as well.

    Thanks to you, my friend, I will make this line my intention today: “…to be more present to the constant presence of God.”

  2. Thank you for these words of blessing and for your prayer. You were the last link ahead of me on Ann’s list today, but the timing is providential. I’d never heard of L’Arche before outside of Henri Nouwen’s books, yet here you are, and our pastor just this morning assigned my husband to read a Nouwen book for their next mentoring meeting. (“In the Name of Jesus”…do you know it?)

    Grace and peace to you in Jesus.

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment! I believe God reaches us in mysterious ways, too. 🙂 I hope you are able to learn more about L’Arche and possibly even visit a community! It is such a wonderful, welcoming, real place. It’s so funny that you mention “In the Name of Jesus,” because I haven’t read it and just bought it! Henri Nouwen’s writing has often stirred my heart, so I’m looking forward to this particular book.

      Thank you again for stopping by! And peace to you.

  3. So important. I’m in the process of learning the same thing. I never considered myself a morning person, but when I started my new job I made it a point to carve out some time in the morning to eat breakfast, relax, and center myself in quiet before going to work. This means getting up earlier, but I’ve found it to be worth it. You’re right; there’s something unique about the mornings, and something important about not missing the first lights of day, either physically or through the eyes of the people you care about.

    I’ve started reading “My Utmost for His Highest” in the mornings because Oswald Chambers’ writings about God and the Godly life are just so challenging and clear. I’m glad you’re finding God’s presence in the mornings as well! I look forward to many, many more mornings with God – and wish the same thing for you 🙂

    • Lisa, I pray that you have been able to grow closer to Christ in your morning time-and that your new job is going well!! I’m sure it was quite an adjustment!

      I’ve never heard of the book you mentioned-I’m going to check it out! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Kristin

    Ali, I thank God for speaking to me through you and your blog. As I type this, it is evening, and I just had a conversation over text that made me “weep”. It is sadness full of pain from hurting a loved one and despair from not knowing how to make amends. In my anguish, my soul cried out to God, but I still am faced with a tough situation all of my own doing. I found comfort in the Psalm you posted and your words about “joy in the morning”. God is good, gracious, and full of mercy, and I will certainly be smiling tomorrow morning thinking about you and God’s goodness in my life. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing!

    • Oh Kristin, your words are so beautiful, as always. I am so thankful that God spoke to you through this post. I am so sorry for your sadness. Please know that I prayed for you as soon as I read this message, and that I continue to pray-that you might find hope amidst the darkness. I pray that God will lead your heart and mind in the right thing to do, and that He will bring you peace.

      Thank YOU for sharing-your strong, beautiful faith is inspiring!!

  5. Pingback: Crying Out With Thanksgiving, Every Day | Be Not Afraid

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