In September I embarked on a very challenging journey. A challenge with thousands of women around the world, to Maximize Your Mornings, by starting the day with Bible Study, Prayer and Exercising, for 90 days.
Let me start with a confession: I don’t wake up early in the morning to spend time with the Lord!
After having had 8 babies (and even before), I wasn’t always in the routine of giving the best time of my day - early mornings - to the Lord. The main reason, because early mornings isn’t MY best time of the day. I’m a night person, I’m not a naturally ‘early bird catches the worm’- kind of a person. Add to that countless nights I had to wake up for my babies, and I could very easily excuse myself from not waking up early to spend time in the Word and praying.
In September I learned about the Hello Mornings Challenge over 90 days. I immediately entered the challenge - it was only minutes before entries would close! I sensed the Lord was smiling on me and I was in anticipation, like looking forward to a ‘date’ with the Lord.
My excitement increased when I received the group list during which 1 700 women from more than 15 countries were divided in 105 groups. The ladies in each group would be accountable to each other to check in every morning.
Now since I’m not an early riser, I not only missed out on special time with the Lord, I also missed out on a smooth running morning. I would wake up as my children wake up, obviously the little ones first. The baby would call and be put with us in bed, and I would enjoy some more snooze while baby was nursing. Excellent excuse to stay in bed longer, isn’t it? The little ones would rise one by one, and all depending on how the little ones behave and how long it takes for them to get irritated with Mom in bed, I would be forced to get the older children out of bed. I need my cappuccino, and Christo his expresso, before we can face the day and that is one of the older children’s first chores of the day. But since Mom and Dad don’t model early rising, the older children aren’t early risers either. So getting them out of bed is a mission in itself, which drive me up the falls. In the meantime it is becoming late, Daddy has to get at work in time, my oldest son is actually ‘scheduled’ for some study with Dad before breakfast and the little ones are now really irritated due to low blood sugar levels, all due to a sloppy morning routine.
This was the point where I got persuaded to do the Hello Morning Challenge, together with the Maximize Your Mornings eBook, which challenges moms to stop waking up TO their children and start waking up FOR them.
Now rising early for your children isn’t just a mindset, though it is a good beginning point. In my case my sloppy morning routine, was due to a sloppy evening routing! Oh, I love the quietness after all the children are in bed. This is when I can write blog postings without interruptions, read my favourite blogs and take care of e-mails, but it results in getting in bed way to late. And that brings another bad habit, not having time with my husband. I would be on the computer even before he return from putting the older boys in bed, and then he would get on his computer and by the time we shut down our computers it is way to late for sharing in each others’ day.
About 14 years ago we threw out our Television, due to the un-productivity of just sitting in front of it and change channels every now and then. But with my current evening routine I was quickly falling for a similar bad habit. Being on the computer all night long, under the impression I’m doing something, but actually my time was stolen by an empty space.
I fell for the lie, that my husband and I were spending time together while we were on our separate computers. I remember the many peaceful evenings, before we had our own laptops, we would read, each his own book, but chatting to each other in between, discussing interesting or controversial issues in our books. I thought we were still there. My wise husband showed me the difference between us ‘being together’ on our computers in comparison with ‘being together’ reading uplifting books. On the computer we are actually in conversation with the world out there… Even though I’m busy writing in pages, an e-mail will pop up and I will open it, or I’ll get a FB comment and hop over to FB or I’ll read one of my favourite blogs, start reading the comments and before long I’m in a secluded world of my own, often not even able to hear when my husband talks to me, or when I do hear, I just quickly have to finish this… or that… You get the picture?
So to get back to Maximize Your Mornings, I had to change my evening routine, to get to my morning routine. I didn’t open my computer (as the next obvious thing to do) the moment my children were all tucked into bed. I wait on my husband and we got back to basics. I even got to read a few books over the past three months, which filled my evenings with peace. I’ve noticed I’m almost in a rush when I get on the computer in the evenings - no winding down.
So we got in bed earlier, put out the light earlier, and I was able to wake up earlier. What a refreshing time of the day! How could I ever have thought I’m not a morning person? I love the quiet of the early morning; the freshness of a new day; looking forward to the peace as a result of spending time with my Lord. The anticipation of His revelation through His Word: the crying out in desperation, focused prayer - knowing my Lord is listening; the time to journal again, spilling out my overflowing thankfulness to His faithfulness in my life and openly share my heart desires with my loving Father; or just be at the Feet of Jesus, some days no need to say something, some days nothing left to say….
Over the past 90 days I got addicted to my early mornings. Even when I don’t get enough sleep at night, due to sick children or an occasional late night, I’m still able to rise for my appointment with the Lord. I remember listening to a teaching CD of Evangeline on Motherhood, and she passionately declared, “I’m in a love affair with the Lord.” Oh, how I desperately longed for such a relationship with the Lord. I’m not there yet, but I can sense moving into a new season with my God.
The Maximize your Mornings Bible study covered the Fruit of the Spirit. Wow, did the Lord change my heart and believes and engaged me in serious battles with the flesh - what a journey. But that is what it is all about.
And my nursing time with the baby? That was often my biggest challenge for early morning quiet time. Since I’m very easily distracted, I argued that it would not be worth it. How could I focus with a baby crawling all over me? I did try in the past.
This time was so much different. Maybe the planned bible study with the Hello Mornings was the reason; maybe knowing thousands of women all over the world was awake with me; maybe the accountability to my group motivated me. Maybe my changed attitude made the difference. At least once a week baby Michael would wake up the moment I sat next to my Bible. I would pick him up, and just kept on with my Bible Study, journaling, prayer while nursing. It was amazing how he didn’t distract me.
And my morning routine with the children? It still sometimes run wild, when I get carried away in my Bible study, or get a revelation or just don’t want to leave the peace at Jesus’ feet, BUT I leave the room also with Jesus’ peace inside of me and that influence my behavior (most of the time :-)).
The 90 days of Fall Hello Mornings Challenge (LOL - in the Southern hemisphere it was spring, but I can live with that) has just come to an end - BUT the 2012 Winter Hello Mornings Challenge is NOW up and running!
And here is my challenge to all my South African Blog Readers: We were only two South Africans in the previous Challenge. Can we change that for the next challenge? Can we put South Africa on the map and join thousands of women around the world in leaving sloppy mornings behind us and reach out to maximize our mornings for the Lord’s glory? Greeting the morning with a smile and start waking up FOR our husbands and children?
When you join the challenge, you can choose three possible ways to check in each morning. Either by e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. Depending on what method you choose, and what time zone you are in, you will be divided into a group. Let’s have at least a couple of South African groups? Our challenges are so different from those of women in the rest of the world. For a start it will become a bigger challenge to wake up, when the night’s start to become longer, with the opposite happening for women in the Northern hemisphere.
Please sign up today for the next Hello Morning challenge, which will start the 15th of January. I did…
Hope to see you in one of the many South African Groups. Call if you have more questions or need help with registration!
With much love