My heavy eyes slowly blink open, my head stirring on the soft pillow underneath. The dusky room swims with soft shadows. My husband sleeps next to me, his gentle snores peppering the silence.
I roll over to groggily look at the clock. It’s 5:23 am, seven minutes before the alarm rings. I know it is almost time to get up, but…
I don’t want to.
As these four words tumble from my brain, I consider slipping back into dreams, into the soft snores beside me, into a world void of responsibility and obligation. What does it matter if I get up anyway?
With a heavy feeling, I remember leaving the house in quite a disarray before going to bed.
A load of dishes sits pouting in the sink. Pop cans stick to the counter from my son and his friends staying the night. The overflowing dishwasher demands to be unloaded. The pillows and blankets strewn around the living room necessitate straightening. My water quotient for the day waits to be filled. The souring laundry needs to be switched over to the dryer – or worse yet, washed again.
And those are only the chores I should have tackled yesterday.
Today’s responsibilities still clamor at me.
Weeding the neglected garden. Baking the cookies. Grocery shopping. Vacuuming. Two appointments out. Physical therapy exercises. Lunch. Dinner.
I can’t even.
I squeeze close the condemnation forming in my eyes. “Should,” “must," and “have to” tangle around each other, kicking and screaming at me as drowning thoughts vying to claw themselves to the top of the desperate pile for a gasp of air.
Merely thinking about the staggering tasks exhausts me. No! I don’t want to get up. Who would?
The morning stalks me with pen and paper in its fingers, waiting for me to tackle its to-do list.
I could snooze the impending alarm just one time. Fifteen more minutes of sleep would surely change my entire outlook on this day, wouldn’t it? I mean, what’s the harm in dozing off momentarily? Deep down, I know I will sleep away my morning, yet I try to convince myself that it will be different this time.
Already beginning to believe the lie inside, I contently roll back into my pillow, pulling the comforter around tightly as to shut off the world with the push of one button. I’m more than ready to succumb to that slumber land calling out to me.
Come to Me, Daughter.
A voice catches me off guard. Am I already dreaming and asleep again?
Come to Me, Daughter. This warm and loving voice, tinged with excitement, relaxes into the depth of my spirit, somewhere deep within. Four simple words. These four words awaken a tiny spark in me that I thought had already drowsed off to sleep.
Come to Me, Daughter. Joy begins to radiate as a small pinpoint of light inside, slowly spreading to permeate the tiredness that I feel. The voice has my attention now. I wearily sit up.
Come to Me, Daughter. A revelation now dawns on me.
Father is calling with a beautiful invitation.
He wants to spend time with me. That incredulous thought draws open my eyelids as I hover between two worlds of consciousness. Is Father longing to have time with . . . With me?
He knows my desire to awaken early each morning, allowing me to get chores out of the way. He knows, too, that I can make it into a checklist, a way to check off my “goodness” for the day. He knows I can come in a posture of striving and in my own strength. He knows I can arrive in the morning in anything but trust. He knows things that I don’t even realize myself.
Come to Me, Daughter. He calls for the joy of himself over the obligation of early morning dishes. He calls for the joy of himself over bringing pop cans to the garage. He calls for the joy of himself over switching out my laundry. He calls for the joy of himself over exercising. He calls for the joy of himself over straightening the living room. He calls for the joy of himself over filling up water jars.
He reminds me that there is far more waiting for me this morning - my precious time with Himself!
Come to Me, Daughter. Father replaces thoughts of obligation with the joy of His presence. He settles the frantic morning pace with His peace. He relaxes the apprehension of the day with the expectation of adventure with Him. The grace of God bubbles within, waking me, grasping me, empowering me. I feel the true desires of my heart breaking free. I savor the taste of joy.
I swing my feet over the side of the bed, my toes groping around for the slippers haphazardly tossed last night. I stumble out of bed, whose soft fingers still long to pull me back in. Pulling my colorful summer robe from the bathroom door, I smile at the joyful riot of bright, cheeky flowers.
Somehow this morning, the demanding obligation has given way to new hope.
Father has transformed my perspective, and I have found my motivation. I now desire to come to Him. I long to hurry downstairs - Father is waiting!
The delight in my heart propels my feet.
I am excited to run through my tasks coming to Him at the same time. I quickly unload the dishwasher, thanking Him for His provision, grace, and early morning invitation. I unload, but really, I’m coming to Him.
I carry the slew of drippy pop cans out to the garage, thanking God for my son and his three wonderful friends finally sleeping in the long-last quiet basement. I recycle, but really, I’m coming to Him.
I throw the waiting load of wet clothing into the dryer, thanking Father for the people who will fill them. I launder, but really, I’m coming to Him.
I run through the twenty minutes of my physical therapy exercises, thankful that I have a way to allow my headaches to dissipate. I stretch, but really, I’m coming to Him.
I arrange the tumbled heaps of blankets and pillows strewn around the living room, grateful for a busy family whom I get to love. I straighten, but really, I’m coming to Him.
I slide the mason jars that mark my water count under the tap, thanking Father for His streams of living water. I drink, but really, I’m coming to Him.
At last, I have attended to all of the morning’s responsibilities.
How simple it would be to covertly slide back under those warm, cozy covers, back into the sleep that always comes so effortlessly in the wee morning hours, except I don’t want to. Now, I desire to come to Jesus. He hung out with me all morning, and now my heart simply longs to sit with him in quietness. In peacefulness. In joy. Dropping down into my chair, a happy smile and slightly sleepy sigh both inhabit the same space.
I’ve come to you.
I joyfully sit with Father, content to simply wait here in his presence. All I hear is his heartbeat. I look forward to where he and I will continue to journey today.
Father’s grace says it’s not what I do for him, but what he has done for me. Father’s grace is Christ in me – the hope of glory.
Father’s grace is God being empowered in and through me. Father’s grace is primarily about a relationship with his daughter.
Fingers that once tried to lure me back into bed are quieted with Father’s touch. It is grace that enables, not the rules and regulations of having to spend a required amount of time in his presence.
Father draws motivation with his gentle fingers of grace.
The hazy darkness outside begins to give way to a soft, morning light. A robin hops through my purple lilac bush. The feathery green grasses sway in the gentle breeze. Somewhere, a songbird greets the morning. The sun begins to glimmer towards me.
My heart is happy here, all alone, but not alone.
Somebody peeking through my window would see a lone figure merely sitting at her desk. No books. No computer. No phone. No distractions. Yet, that wouldn’t be the complete story. If you were to look closer in, you would see a Father and a daughter enjoying the delight of each other’s company. A dance without movement. A song without words. Everything needed found only in the grace of a Father to his precious daughter. Both smiling. Both quiet. Both content. Both are peacefully enjoying the company of the other.
Four words again punctuate the morning.
Come to Me, Daughter.
I’ve come to you.
Father smiles. I smile back.
Four words of grace. Just he and I. Drawn together in love.
Fingers of morning grace.
“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected
but is choice and precious in the sight of God…”
1 Peter 2:4