Early Morning Quiet

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It is an early weekday morning, and my alarm goes off. I rise quietly and think of all I have to do – there are lunches to be made and uniform pants to dry. I have articles to write and email to read, and down the hall and up the stairs, there are five sleeping cubs who, when they wake, will set my day ablaze with their frenzy and spunk and joy.

Around here, taking on the day requires a little coffee and a lot of mental energy.

On this morning, I get out of bed and head towards the laundry room. As I wonder how I will get it all done, the writing and the lunches and the laundry, I say a quick prayer for guidance and grace.

“Spend time with me,” is what I hear in reply.

I walk a few more feet, towards the coffee pot.

Please help me, I silently pray, I have so much to do.

“Spend time with me,” I hear again.

Do I really hear these words? Are they actually in my head, a real person speaking to me? Perhaps the words are simply a pull on my heart, my conscience telling me what I know I should do.

But on this morning, as I do a mental checklist of all I need to get done this day, I know the words are not from me – that I’m not making them up. Sitting still in quiet reflection is absolutely counter to what I know would work best.

In order to get the lunches made, I say to myself, you have to actually be standing in the kitchen looking for the peanut butter. I have learned that sandwiches do not make themselves.

But I’m also learning, as I get older (and want to be wiser), that the only way I can do any of the many things that are waiting for my time and energy, is to first stop and quiet myself.

Back when the boys were all little, this concept was more than I could handle. I understood, in theory, the importance of spending quiet time in prayer. But I also felt so overwhelmed by the many tasks waiting for me each day that the thought of sitting and not getting the job done seemed foolish.

However, the times that I would go ahead and sit, even for a few minutes, I experienced the grace and energy I needed to take on the day. Sometimes, when I didn’t want to slow down, I would remind myself of Mary and Martha, the women who cared for Jesus when he came to their home. Martha never slowed down either, I would tell myself, and she was an actual friend of the Lord. I can just pray on the go.

But the truth is Mary was better off. Of course both women loved their Lord – but Mary took time to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus while Martha fretted about the house, worried about the many things she had to do.

I’m beginning to realize that what is most important about daily quiet reflection is not when and how long we pray, or even where we are.

What matters is our approach to being there – to sitting at the feet of Jesus to spend time with him. Instead of sitting down with a laundry list of who and what and how I think God should handle things, I’m trying to learn to just be still.

“As the deer longs for streams of water,” says Psalm 42, “so my soul longs for you, O God.”

If we want to be Jesus to those around us, to bring God’s message of peace and love and hope to a suffering world, then we need to experience that same love in our heart. In order to do that, we have to know and spend time with this God who loves us so much. 1502″> . ,



  1. Another Martha (really that's my name) says:


  2. Yup, this is something I find myself always confessing…not having enough prayer time with God. But my hubby reminds me that we can pray all day while we work as long as we offer it up to the Lord. I’ve been offering up a LOT of diaper changes lately!!

  3. This post is interesting because the daily devotional I receive (Protestant pastor Rick Warren) has spent the last 3 days on the topic “How to Have a Quiet Time.”

    I have quiet times inconsistently at home, but to my surprise I have found my 20 minute commute to and from work (kid-free and somewhat alert!) has become a very powerful time with God for me. I pray, thank God for the beautiful fields and trees I pass, listen to music way too loudly, and oftentimes cry. It’s sort of like God comes and finds me when he knows I’m finally able to concentrate on him. It’s like I get my empty spiritual gas tank filled so I can survive all the other stuff at work and home that so drains me.

    If you are interested in Rick Warren’s thoughts on the subject you can go to http://www.purposedrivenlife.com and “Daily Devotional.” Today he talked about finding a special place to meet with God.

  4. When you quoted that scripture, it made me smile because a a friend and I were just talking about this the other day. She was pointing out how we’re supposed to “yearn” for God and she said, I don’t think I do that (or enough). And I immediately thought of that verse. It also made me realize God keeps putting that verse in my head this week. Must be trying to tell me something… Thank you for being a willing instrument of God’s. He obviously gave you those words to share.

  5. Awesome, Rachel!

  6. this reminds me of another column/post you had once – didn’t you? – about your quiet time in the morning, and one of the boys coming and just sitting with you. God works in these moments to get things done the way HE needs them to be done.

  7. I think that spending time with God is one of the hardest (but most important) things for a parent to do. I work hard at reminding myself of my priorities, and that God comes before dishes or laundry, or vacuuming or email or… I can’t say that I succeed very often, but knowing you have a problem is the first step, right? Good luck, and thanks for sharing!

  8. What a blessing to have such a clear communication with our dear Lord Rachel! In this busy life of a working-single mom I have come to terms with the fact that some days all I have time for is a quick “e-mail” to God, while other days I have time for a “sit down and talk” visit. As long as I always find the time all goes well. He is so patient with us, it always amazes me. Like the parent who is always thinking about their grown child who is off and about in the world and never writes or calls, but the parent is just so happy to just get a phone call, even if quick. They experience greater joy with a nice visit. But joy none the less.