arise, shine

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.

Psalm 37:5-7

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. 

xx

* Matthew 11 (MSG)

the every day in colour

One cold morning this week my kitchen was humming with the everyday. 
The heater was on and the kitchen blinds were pulled up high, letting in the sunshine and revealing dewy green grass and blue skies. 
The kids were dressed for school, one was eating weet-bix with honey, another was finishing the lunch packing, and Daniel was helping the other with some maths homework. 
The kitchen was finally almost clean and I was being called upon to brush hair and create braids. 
As my pink-gloved hands finished the last of the dishes I felt gratitude settle deep in my bones. 
This is it
These moments, this every day activity, these people. 
They were my dream and it’s now realised and I don’t think I acknowledge it enough.

Sometimes the dream comes dressed in hard work. The marriage relationship comes and it requires laying down of lives and the giving of forgiveness. The children come with challenges of sleepless nights as babies and then requests for social media when they get older.

I know how to acknowledge the difficulty, and the waiting, the hoping – the hard stuff that is inevitably a part of anything we do in life. But what about the recognition of the goodness that has been woven together in your life. What about the realisation that what you had hoped for and dreamed of was actually really here? 

Sometimes it doesn’t look the way we expected it to. And it’s definitely harder work than we thought it would be. But it’s here, it’s realised. Okay so maybe not all of it… but there are definitely aspects of your life that you can high five yourself – you made it, it’s brilliant, life is in this vivid colour and it is yours and you should totally celebrate! 

xx

storm chasing + agendas

I’ve been impatient lately.
I’d like to say I have a valid excuse, that our tiny humans have been too demanding; but the truth is that my impatience is generally because of my inability to lay down my own agenda. 
I thought I’d gotten the message a few months ago, when that revelation hit me.
Apparently not. My to-do list is always longer than my day, and I had lost the art of time management as I got drawn into the vortex of mindless Facebook scrolling again.

Today, as the sky darkened and the humidity rose I found myself with an afternoon free to check some of those to-do’s off the list.
The four year old had other plans.
“I know!”, she exclaimed as an epiphany struck, “Play dough!”
She could only be distracted with other things momentarily before recapping her urgency to make a new batch of blue play dough. 
I groaned inwardly took a deep breath and said, “Okay, lets make you some play dough”

Agenda dropped. Life laid down. 
Greater love has no one than this. 
And while we watched the storm roll in through the kitchen windows, and waited for the dough to cool, I thought about how amazing it would be to watch over the ocean.
So, that’s just what we did. I grabbed my camera off the bench as we exited, and left the windows open wide.

The raindrops were big and fat and we watched them fall into the glassy ocean.
It was warm, and we stayed and watched the dark clouds move in, and made a run for it just as the rain began properly.

Now, she sits with her blue play dough. I’m being coaxed over to play too.

xx