There's a stillness in the morning that I can't find anywhere else.
Daniel is up early for work, and I hear his morning routine played out over our wood floors, and the grind of his coffee. I pull my eye mask down over my eyes and roll over, finding a new cool space in our sheets, while I wait for the sound of the front door to signal that he's leaving.
I could go back to sleep now; that restless, dreaming sleep that knows the morning bustle is not far away.
But the early stillness beckons, and my thoughts turn to God.
My socked feet play out their own morning routine as the kettle is boiled, and a tea bag dropped in a mug, all as quietly as I can muster. The kids will have drifted to a lighter sleep now that daylight has almost come, and I need them to stay sleeping for a while longer yet.
The birds start early, even before I can see any hint of sunlight - how do they know?
My hot tea sits on my lap as I open the pages of my Bible.
Open up before God, keep nothing back;
he'll do whatever needs to be done:
He'll validate your life in the clear light of day
and stamp you with approval at high noon.
Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don't bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.
Sometimes, this is my only slow until the evening tea that bookends my day. My only quiet.
And it's not because I love the hustle, but its because there is always so much to be done.
I can be mindful of my thoughts throughout the day, and stay in that posture of faith but some days it's impossible to slow my feet.
Three kids means I'm the one remembering music lessons, basketball training, birthday parties and home reading folders. That I need to get groceries, plan meals, scrub bathrooms and iron school uniforms.
In busy seasons of women's ministry my phone never stops ringing or beeping or tweeting, and I don't find much space to breathe in between meetings and deadlines.
In the middle of a uni semester I am literally the girl who runs between classes (why must they put them at opposite ends of campus?!) and juggles family with study, assignments and exams.
I have all the reasons in the day not to slow down, not to stop, to just keep going and getting everything done.
But mornings, with their fresh clean air, and the sky that slowly lights up the day - that's when I can be slow. I can linger over the words of Jesus who tells me His burden is easy, and that rhythms of grace are unforced*. I can ask for strength and peace and know that 'He'll do what needs to be done' as I do what I can in this new day I've been given.
Get out of bed, Jerusalem!
Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight.
God’s bright glory has risen for you.
The whole earth is wrapped in darkness,
all people sunk in deep darkness,
But God rises on you,
his sunrise glory breaks over you.
Isaiah 60 (MSG)
The momentary discomfort of not giving in to sleep is worth it for the peace that follows, the stillness that’s found, the invited quiet - all found before the daily hustle.
* Matthew 11 (MSG)