Some time ago I predicted that this blog would enter a lean season, but I had no idea it would be this lean. Until last weekend, it had been almost 4 months since my last entry. There are numerous half-finished entries in the pipeline and others that are just topics that never made it passed the title stage: the 2015 8th grade class trip to Puerto Rico (the first class trip I’ve failed to document since I began this blog with a series of entries on our 2006 trip to South Korea). An epic pair of U2 concerts in Chicago, an enriching trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, the 20th anniversary celebration of the day Babs and I met, all have gone unrecorded here. It’s reached the point where I’m no longer sure what I should blog about it now that I’ve missed so much. I’m feeling like I’ll be doing pretty good if I can get my 9th annual Heroes and Inspirations entry under the wire before year’s end.
So what’s happened? How did blogging come to a virtual standstill? A lot of it has to do with early mornings:
I'm not a morning person.
I know that mornings are the most productive time of day. I know that many of the great men of history and the high achievers of our current day are early risers. But when I contemplate Psalm 127, I tend to focus on the "it is vain to rise up early" part the scripture. I find it hard to relate to people like the peppy morning folk in this song.
I listen to this song. I enjoy it, though the little spoken word at the very end is the only thing that keeps it from being just too much. I understand what she's talking about it, and a couple hours after I've woken up I can even kind of relate. But really. . .this is not me.
Rich Mullins' take on rising early resonates much more with me. While the Pathfinders might vow to "keep the morning watch", I'm more than happy to take the night shift.
My ideal situation is to never, ever have to wake up earlier than 7 A.M. But my life is such right now that getting up late is 5:30 A.M. and early would be 4. Between making and eating breakfast and getting the boys ready for school and being at work by 7:30, early mornings have been a necessity.
Of late, my mornings have been even earlier still. Recently Ezra has taken to waking up once (if we're lucky) or more (if we're not) a night. I don't know how long he's been doing it, but it's been at least a month, I'd say with only a brief respite during the week after the time changed. Anyway,he'll come bursting into our bedroom, come up to the bed and asks us to rub his back. Babs and I take turns dealing with him when he does this. When it's my turn I'll walk him back to his bed without a word or a light turned on, and rub his back to he falls back asleep. Most times, he'll be out in 10 to 20 minutes and I can go back to bed. But there are other nights, more often than I'd like, when he can't seem to go back to sleep. He's just restless, drifting in and out of slumber, tossing and turning. I know that if I leave when he's like that he'll just come bursting into our room again five minutes later. So I just stay with him. In the worst case scenarios, this can last for hours. The other night, I was with him from 1 to 3 (and this after an brief wake up around 11:30 and prior to another awakening at 4:30). On other nights, if he's still awake by 4 or 4:30 we both just get up and start our day.
It's during these times, squatting down next to Ezra's toddler bed rubbing his back, that I pray. For awhile those prayers would be articulate and lengthy, and I found I embraced the opportunity to come close to my God in the darkness and stillness of my sons' room. But lately, I've been so sleep deprived that I have trouble focusing my thoughts. My prayers are now little more than a "Jesus, help me. I'm so tired." I've even started falling asleep on the floor next to Ezra's bed (and then he climbs out of bed crawls onto my chest and sleeps there, and that is special in it's own way).
I've realized that early mornings have always driven me to my knees. I remember back in our earlier years in Saipan, back before we had kids and had no good reason not to get as much sleep as we liked. In those days I woke up, utterly deplete before the day had even begun. The only thing that got me out of bed on days like that was replaying His promise over and over in my head, "My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness." His grace was and is enough, and I think it's the early mornings that keep me cognizant of that.
Make no mistake. Most days I'm in some state of exhaustion. On the worst days I medicate with a large sweet tea from McDonalds, but I hate to make caffeine a regular thing in my life. By the weekends, I'm utterly spent, which is a big part of why my blogging output has diminished. It’s not just that my sleep deficit is so great that I sleep away the times on Friday evening or Sabbath when I might normally blog, it’s that even when I’m awake I’m so mentally spent that I have nothing left to focus on organizing coherent thoughts for a blog entry.
As weary and heavy-laden as I often feel, I need an easy burden and light load, and He gives me that. If arose at my leisure it would be far easier to go through the day in my own strength. But when I'm forced to awaken before the dawn, I have no choice to but to let Him carry me through.
In morning when I rise
In the morning when I rise
In the morning when I rise
Give me Jesus
|My boys in the morning light. This is on our way to school. Elijah has always been an early riser, while Ezra at least used to be more inclined to sleep late. Hoping those days return soon!|