It is not unusual for me to awaken early each morning. I go to bed with the chickens and rise with the roosters…well…if I lived on a farm that would be true! And all who know me well, know not to call me past 9pm because I’m probably already in bed and fast asleep. It’s humiliating to say that my body has an automatic built-in timer and there are physical signs that accompany my shut down mode. It’s the glassy-eyes, sagging upper lip, and red nose that give it away. I often get a little embarrassed that it’s so obvious! I’m pretty sure inherited it from my mother! When I first entered the Barron family, laughter would fill the room when one of my “new” family members would notice my red nose, as conversation would last well into the evening hours! It’s okay! I’ve learned to live with it. My friends on the other hand, were not clued-in to the shut down ritual when the sun would set and they were just getting cranked up at the many choir retreats, game nights, and/or evening meals that we shared. I politely tried to excuse my need to leave or slip away without being noticed. My closest of friends have now learned my involuntary routine and grant me grace when I have hit my time limit.
Over the years, I’ve learned to prepare myself for those events that take me well into the late hours that are completely past my bedtime! A lot of it depends on how I have awakened that morning, paced myself throughout the day, psyched myself up, and made a conscious effort to not get grumpy or “turn into a pumpkin!” (as my friend Kathy calls it!) Unprepared late nights followed by long exhausting days have proven that I can often be quite a bear! Neither a pretty site nor a warm and fuzzy feeling toward others, I’m sure! I’ve learned to gain strengthen and overcome long evenings by praying a lot, sacrificing my routine, and making a plan! Preparedness! A conscious effort!
The last few weeks, I believe that the Lord has awakened me. My early 5:30 mornings have slipped into 4:00 and 4:30 times. Honestly, I’m not happy about it and often try to go back to sleep; but, there are times that the waking is so strong that I have to get up. My mind jumps to the conclusion that God has something to tell me, something important to say, to show me! So, quietly I slip out of bed and stumble down the stairs, light my fresh linen candle, and plop on the sofa or porch love seat. I love burning the clean scent. The aroma and ambience from the glowing candle seems to transport my soul into a silent contemplative state. It is here I rest. I wait. Like the hush of a rising mist over a moonlit lake, my mind and spirit quietly settles and waits for the Holy Spirit to encamp. Deep within, my soul awakens and I silently speak the words, “What Lord?” As the candle illuminates my quiet area, I expectantly wait and ask Him to illuminate His purpose for my awakening. There are times He questions me about my behaviors and attitudes, and sometimes, I am prompted just to spend that time in prayer, praying for others. Other times, He speaks as the Lover of my Soul and divulges personal and encouraging messages to me through sweet whispers of Scripture that resonate in my heart. Then, there are times that I believe that He simply wants me to just sit with Him…to be with Him in the majesty of the morning when the sun rises. It is oft through His creation that His character and beauty is displayed and I feel like He just wants me to enjoy what He has fashioned just for me! It’s like a special love gift and He delights in my response to it. I believe it’s one of the ways He shares His heart with me. So early mornings have become important to me and I treasure them…when I am obedient to arise! Unfortunately, my flesh is strong and there are times that I miss His call and turn back over and pull the covers over my head. When I give into flesh and purposely skip those special times, I’m sure I miss out on a blessing. It does sadden me and I am repentant, but I am also grateful for His loving-kindness and faithfulness to pursue me again. Just as I have devised a plan to stay awake when I am called upon to engage with others past my bedtime, I must devise a plan to positively respond to the LORD and wake up! Bottom-line is that I must sacrifice my routine! It all stems around making a conscious effort, creating a plan of action and depending on God’s strength because I am weak in every form!
Kathy and I just recently took a night away to begin working on our upcoming event in November. In the planning stage of our overnight stay, I was so anxious because I realized that our lifestyles are totally opposite! She’s the night owl and I’m the earlybird. After all these years of rooming together at retreats, this doesn’t bother her one bit and she is so sweet about my early rising, but this time, I knew it would be challenging for me in the small space where we stayed. This was also during this same season when God has been awakening me in the earlier hours! I knew I had to construct a plan to slip out quietly the next morning and not to awaken my sweet friend. I went prepared and God faithfully provided an electrical socket on the porch for me to plug in my Keurig coffee maker. I knew I didn’t want to miss my time with the LORD on the porch, sipping coffee, meditating, and reading His word. But I also didn’t want to wake up Kathy making coffee at 4ish! That morning, sure enough, I was awakened. I had set up everything the night before so all I had to do was quietly slip out of the door and onto the porch. It was a glorious cool morning! As I anticipated His arrival, I was reminded that He is always there! He was waiting on me to come with an open heart. The LORD and I shared our secluded space and He began to pour over me with His mighty words to encourage my heart. I had made a conscious effort to overcome the obstacles that I knew would arise. My action plan worked but I still had to sacrifice my routine by the earlier hours! I am learning to awaken myself to His pursuit. Not just in the physical sense of waking up, but also in Him awakening my spirit for relationship, instruction, and His purpose for my life.
During the preparation for each Restore event, I find that God teaches me best when I fully experience our God-given theme and the Scriptures that Kathy and I plan to teach. You’ve heard the old saying, “If you live it, you can teach it” or “Experience is the best teacher?” Well, that seems to take place for me for every time we have an event! As we met together, prayed, discussed, researched and sought God’s will for the day-away, He unfolded a beautiful title and plan for the day: Awaken to the Pursuit of the Bridegroom ~ Our Position, Divine Passion, His Purpose
I’m finding that I am continually awakened by our LORD…even when I am awake!
There is a deep desire within my heart to share this day with you. We want to provide a place for you to meet with Jesus, the One who tenderly loves your soul. I fully believe that He wants to meet with us in a powerful and unique way on November 12th. Because of the past events of statewide flooding and so many of our homes damaged, we know it is difficult for many of you to even feel like you can take a Saturday off! There is still so much left to do. Believe me, I get it! But remember my first paragraph and how I have to plan, psych myself up, pace my day, make a conscious effort and sacrifice my routine to commune with my friends during a time that really isn’t the best opportune time for me? You may feel that this isn’t your best opportune time to break away. May I challenge you to reconsider? If the Holy Spirit tugs at your heart, I urge you to make a plan and depend on God’s strength. Our flesh is so weak and coupled with over-whelming tasks; it will be easy to let this day slip by! Awaken to God’s pursuit! Join us in discovering more about our position in Christ, divine passion, and His purpose for our life. It will be a day rewarded by your sacrifice. Come away with us and let God awaken your heart so that you can be refreshed and restored!
"My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away..."
Song of Solomon 2:10
Looking forward to joining you November 12th!
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