Morning Routines

When my second son was born, God put a song in my heart: “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.” I thought it was just to set my mind aright for those newborn weeks when sleep is at a minimum and “morning” often starts at 3am. As the year wore on, however, it became clear that God meant more for me in that song.

I’ve never been a morning person. If I could, I’d sleep late and nap often. With my first child, we trained him to wake every morning at 7am, and I never got out of bed a minute earlier, savoring each cozy moment. Three years and a new baby later, I found myself insisting on the same schedule, trying to protect my sleep. After a while, I realized I was tense on a regular basis, short-tempered with everyone by the end of the day, and just generally not enjoying motherhood. It was one particularly early morning when I was up with the baby that God reminded me of the song of his birth. As I hummed the melody to my boy, I considered what the lyric meant. 

I certainly knew I needed Jesus to care for my boy in the wee dark hours, but what about the other mornings? I wasn’t rising in the morning until the boys did, and by the time they were in bed at night I was so drained I could barely hold a conversation before I fell in to bed myself. This meant that my entire day was about taking care of others, and without the right preparation, I was wearing out quickly. I found myself reading the words of David that day, “Listen to my words, Lord; consider my sighing. Pay attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for I pray to you. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you and watch expectantly” Psalm 5:1-3, CSB. I needed to change the way I was ordering my day. That started with a prayer that God would help me come to love the morning instead of dreading it. I needed God’s sovereign power to change me into a morning person, to make me eager to rise before my boys so I could come before the Lord, to ready myself for the day ahead.

There are numerous other benefits to getting outside and getting morning sunshine; it helps regulate our circadian rythms, which in turn helps improve insomnia. And improved sleep helps just about every mental health problem in the book! Similarly, getting yourself on a daily sleep/wake routine helps regulate all of the systems of your body. Sunlight exposure triggers the development of vitamin D in our bodies and can increase serotonin, helping to improve symptoms of depression. So while I found the spiritual benefits of waking early and spending time with the Lord the most rewarding, the practice really improved my total wellness, body, mind and spirit.

It is a sign of God’s love that this wasn’t a hard transition for me. I exercise, I have coffee and read my Bible, all before I have to put on my Mommy-hat. This simple change has revitalized me, given me physical and mental energy to keep up with my boys, and keeps me grounded in the unfailing love of my Savior. Just give me Jesus.

Photo by Scott Webb on

This was published in part in Lifeway Journey magazine in September 2018.

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