Several months ago, God started dealing with me about my time spent with Him. I’m aggressive about seeking God daily, but I never had a true pattern of consistency. I would snatch moments with Him whenever I could find a lull in my day, and my default quiet-time would usually occur at night once my kids were asleep and I had time to study His Word.
I’m just now leaving the difficult season of caring for babies and toddlers (my youngest is four), and I firmly believe that God gives mothers of little ones lots of grace: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40.11 NIV) (emphasis added). Young children are extremely helpless and need constant attention, and a mother has very little time left to slip away for alone time with God.
Gradually, though, I realized that I was sleeping through the night, and I began waking up without the cries of an infant. I could eat my dinner without having to hand-feed a child. I could enjoy a shower without having to worry about a toddler reckless roaming the house. I could sit and read for a moment without having to get up to change a diaper or clean a potty accident.
And the grace I had as a mother with babies transformed into a new grace with different expectations. God started giving me Scriptures about giving Him the first portion of my day. I read King David’s words about seeking God in the morning and the prophets’ declarations after rising early to hear from God (Psalm 5.3, Isaiah 50.4, Jeremiah 26.5). Although I struggled to get up hours before the day began, I couldn’t give up. God’s best is written in His Word, and there is power in the womb of morning that gives birth to a God-anointed day.
Finally, one morning I forced myself out of bed. I stumbled into an area of my house separated for God. I fell to my knees and cried out to God in my stupor, trying to rip the hands of sleep from my eyes. I knew I needed motivation. I had woken up for classes, jobs and babies before the sun shown over the horizon; so I had no excuse not to wake up for God. In a strong but loving voice, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “If you don’t offer the first of your morning to me, I will have to water down your purpose.”
My eyes flew open. “I’m up!” I yelled.
God has placed a system of first fruit in His design of creation. Our adherence to His Word doesn’t add to God’s character or take away from it. However, we bless ourselves and achieve God’s best with our obedience. God gives us grace through the rough seasons of our lives, but He loves us enough to urge us to live under the authority of His Word because that’s where His blessings are found. If we are not living within the beautiful parameters that He has set, God will protect us from the full weight of His glory because we haven’t the capacity to carry it.
Giving the first fruit of my morning to God hasn’t changed my relationship with Him—He loves me the same no matter my mistakes or victories; but I have seen a difference in my patience with my children, the joy I have for the day and the expectation I carry for God’s majesty. And although the results of my morning quiet times haven’t been as dramatic as my sometimes overly imaginative mind would like, I know that God is faithful. I believe in the promises found in His Word, which He has confirmed in my spirit.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine” (Proverbs 3.9-10 NLT).