girltalk Blog

Dec 31

An Old Habit for a New Year

2013 at 11:57 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The 5 O'Clock Club

It’s the “Out with the Old, In with the New” holiday, my favorite time of year. Before the Christmas cookies had cooled, I was already dreaming about all the purging and planning I was going to do this week. I could hardly wait to make a new schedule, find new recipes, and buy new packs of multi-colored gel pens. Last night, I downloaded a free app to learn a new language. Portugese anyone?

But I’ve come to believe that the best New Year’s resolutions are to keep the old ones. The most important resolve is to maintain the most important habit. “One thing is necessary” Jesus told the frenetic, distracted, Martha: “Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). Mary had resolved to sit at Jesus’ feet.

For most of us, sitting at Jesus’ feet only happens if we wake up early enough to make time to sit. Which is why, every New Year, I come back to this same, old, resolution: rise early so I might sit at Jesus’ feet.

Rising early is an ancient habit, indeed, explains Charles Spurgeon:

Early rising has the example of Old Testament saints to recommend it, and many modern saints having conscientiously practiced it, have been loud in its praise. It is an economy of time, and an assistance to health, and thus it doubly lengthens life. Late rising is too often the token of indolence, and the cause of disorder throughout the whole day.

Too many “disorderly days” in 2013 have driven me back to this old resolution for the New Year. Last January, some of you may remember, I set an alarm clock outside of my children’s bedroom—a drastic measure by a tired mom. But when my cunning, lazy, self figured out a way to beat that system, I had to ask Mom to call me each morning and stay on the phone until I had coffee in hand. This new plan is working, I’m happy to report.

We started The 5 O’Clock Club for this reason: because we all need accountability and encouragement to keep this most important habit. What new, dramatic measures do you need to take in order to faithfully seek the Savior through his Word and prayer this year?

If it would help to join our 5 O’Clock Club on Facebook, or our brand new Twitter feed (re-tweet when you wake up), we’d love to have you. I suggest roping in a friend for more personal accountability. If necessary, ask them to call.

“The old proverb declares that they who would be rich must rise early” Spurgeon also said, “surely those who would be rich towards God must do so.” Let’s bring in the New Year with a prayer for new mercies to keep this old habit. May we all grow rich toward God in 2014!

Jan 14

5 O’ Clock Club Membership Guidelines

2013 at 6:49 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management | Devotional Life | The 5 O'Clock Club

It’s been so exciting to have so many of you join us for the 5 O’Clock Club! I especially love it when you post a picture or a verse you read that morning. It’s great to have friends all over the world waking up early, and I love that everyone’s goal is different. As we’ve said all along, the 5 O’Clock Club is not about waking up at 5:00 a.m. but about rising early to meet with God and care for your family. So if that is 7:30 a.m., great!

Whether you feel like you are making progress in establishing a daily habit or struggling to wake up early, we thought it might be helpful to post a few quick tips about the club:

1. Get enough sleep

Several people have asked how early we go to bed at night. This varies, depending on the person, day, etc. but typically each of us are in bed or asleep between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later. The point is, to get up early you have to go to bed early the night before. For me, I can sometimes manage to stay up late one or two nights a week and still get up early, but more than two late nights and I am seriously tired and seriously grumpy! And experiment with naps. If I get a 20 minute power nap (or two!) each day, it helps a lot.

2. Don’t get discouraged

If you keep trying and failing, keep trying. That’s how the alarm clock outside our kid’s rooms idea came up. My husband and I were frustrated because we kept oversleeping, so we decided to take more drastic action. But I know many of you still have babies waking up at night or getting sick. After nights like this, I always sleep in, guilt-free! Just try again when your child gets better or set a more realistic goal. But seeking God is worth it, so don’t give up.

3. It gets easier

It often takes several weeks of consistently waking up at a new time before your body starts to adjust. And it helps to remember this. Just give it time. Keep pushing through. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever stop feeling like pressing snooze, but after a time, you will find yourself more alert and awake in the early hours of the morning.

That’s all for now. More testimonies and Q&A in our blog archives.

See you in the morning!

Jan 9

Early Morning Memories [Archives]

2013 at 8:04 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management | Devotional Life | The 5 O'Clock Club

~Found this one in the archives the other day. From a grown up daughter of a mom who rose early to seek God. Hope it encourages all of you in the 5 O’Clock Club!


For almost thirty years now, my dear friend Nancy has inspired me by her passionate, faithful, practice of meeting with God each morning. So I wasn’t surprised when, last week, her daughter Anna sent us this testimony to encourage moms with young kids.

I keep seeing these posts with emails of moms of young children who are hoping that their children see their example of rising early to seek the Lord in his word—I want to say, keep it up, your example really can be pressed onto the hearts of your children.

I cannot remember a time when I didn’t get up every morning and find my mom reading her Bible, praying. Not only did I see the habit, but I also remember that she was always filled with joy when she was done. Some of my earliest memories was getting up before all my siblings (I was an early riser when I was really little…it’s a little harder now!) and my mom making an extra cup of tea for me, and playing on the floor while she read her Bible. (I was a talker, so she also had to train me that Bible time was No Talking time)

One of the biggest ways that I was motivated to read my Bible was seeing this example—and my mom always encouraging me that it was a friendship, a delight, and not a task. Because of this, I had an interest to know Jesus through his word at a young age. I have journals of consistent reading and prayer from age 10 on. I cannot tell you, now as an (semi-)adult, how much of a blessing this has been. It has given me a history of love for God’s word and a confidence in prayer. It has taught me the habit, and the value for God’s word. So, if you are seeking to set this example, don’t give up! You might not see fruit now, but Jesus has promised that we will reap (Gal 6:9).

Your example makes a difference—but if you feel like you have failed as an example, take heart. If you have fears for your children’s souls, fears that they will not come to be satisfied in Jesus, let your heart take courage. Remember the promises of our Lord:

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25) and “The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:3-6)

Moms: May the faithfulness of God strengthen you as you strive to faithfully seek Him. I pray that the little ones who watch you sit at Jesus’ feet will one day seek Him too!

Jan 7

Not Too Late: Join the 5 O’Clock Club FB Page

2013 at 5:44 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management | Devotional Life | The 5 O'Clock Club

In case you missed it, at the end of last week we launched a new 5 O’ Clock club Facebook page. A simple page with a simple goal: to help encourage women to rise early to meet with God and serve their families. We’ve been having such fun (yes, fun!) reading comments from different ones of you as you seek to grow in this area, especially the different verses from God’s Word. And we love to see the diversity of times that women have set as goals—all with the same great purpose.

So if you haven’t already, grab a friend and join (or rejoin!) our little club. Its not too late to make the New Year’s resolution that can make your other resolutions possible. Here are a few testimonies from club members to encourage those of you on the fence.

~Kat~

As I write, I am wrapping up my morning meeting with the Lord. In ten minutes, the oldest of my 3 small children will come bounding into the office where I have been studying and praying. Like many others that have written to you, I enjoy the warm comforts of my bed and do not enjoy getting out of it! A few weeks ago I clicked onto your blog and as I began to read the stories of women rising early and carving out that time in their day, it made me cry. I struggle with finding time to study and pray—for years my husband has been gently encouraging me to wake up early to do this, but for some reason I couldn’t do it until I saw the stories of other mothers that were doing it. Not only is it such a blessing throughout my day to have my eyes and heart fixed on Christ from the start, it is such a blessing for my five year old son to sneak up behind me each morning and see an open Bible on my lap; he usually pulls down his illustrated Bible and cuddles up with me for a few minutes. My prayer is that he would remember these times throughout his life and make it a tradition of his own! I am prone to inconsistency, so even as I write, I am praying that this will become a lifelong habit. Thank you for sharing your club and for encouraging a even a sleepy sinner like me study and pray when I would usually be in bed!

~Holly~

I wanted to share with you how joining the 5 O’clock Club has benefited both me and my husband. I recently joined in order to provide myself some accountability in getting up earlier to have some quality time with the Lord. Both my husband and I read our Bibles and pray, but the birth of our son this past year and new jobs have led to our schedules being turned upside down. The Lord has not always had the priority or quality time that He has deserved. So, now I have consistently been getting up earlier these past few days to read and pray in the living room. After a day or two of doing this, my husband (unknown to me) got up right after me and started spending this time praying in our bedroom. He later mentioned to me, “You should email that girltalk blog and tell them that your getting up early to have devotions has encouraged me to get up early and pray.” He teasingly added that he couldn’t have his wife taking the spiritual leadership in the family! My husband most definitely is my spiritual leader, and he shepherds me very well. However, I am thankful that we both now have an organized, planned, deliberate, and personal time with the Lord each day!

~Marcia~

And of all the wisdom shared in Feminine Appeal, one of the single greatest practical influences it has had on me is this habit of rising early, and seeing the value and joy of doing so. Rhythms of life, with now three young children, keep changing, but this single element of my life holds like an anchor and is precious to me. It is not the habit itself that is inherently precious, but the communion with Christ that it has enabled for me and in me. Rising early is no guarantee that I will have sweet communion with Christ. But, practically speaking, rising early is the greatest guarantee that I will have time in the day for communion with Christ. And by His Grace, rising early has been a tool leading directly to that end, and thus of invaluable worth. Thank you for your continual encouragement. I smile to look over the long list of fellow women in the 5 O’Clock club. Kindred Spirits. All praise to Christ.

Jan 3

{NEW} 5 O’Clock Club Facebook Page

2013 at 3:08 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The 5 O'Clock Club

Whenever I have been a complete slacker and need to rejoin the 5 O’Clock club, I’ll ask my mom or sisters to keep me accountable. We’ll call or text each other at the time each of us wants to wake up. A little encouragement really helps with the endless excuses I create for pressing snooze!

Today we want to provide you a little extra encouragement as well. We know it is a few days past January 1st, but we thought we would still throw up this 5 O’Clock Club Facebook page to help ourselves, and any of you who want a little extra help waking up early.

It’s simple really, we’ll post our “rising early” goals and you can too. Then each morning at 5:00 a.m. we’ll put up a verse or thought. Then you can simply comment on that morning’s post with the time you woke up. You can even add a picture of your coffee mug or Bible for all to see. Best of all, ask a friend to join you and tag them in your comment for some personal accountability.

As you already know, you don’t have to wake up at 5 o’clock to join the club—just early enough to spend time in God’s Word and serve your family. For all of you who have signed up at our website, don’t worry, you’re still in the club—just join us here if you can. And if you are new to the idea, we suggest you take some time to read past posts, including testimonies from women who have benefited from the club.

See you at 5 o’clock a.m. tomorrow, right here!

Jan 2

That Crazy 5 O’Clock Club (Again)

2013 at 9:07 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management | Devotional Life | Spiritual Growth | The 5 O'Clock Club

Last night, before trudging upstairs to our loft bedroom, my husband and I placed an old fashioned alarm clock, set for 5 o’clock a.m., in the narrow hallway between our children’s bedroom doors. Then we set our phone alarms for just a few minutes earlier. If we failed to wake up to our phones, we would risk waking up our four energetic children at 5am. Talk about motivation to get out of bed in the morning. It worked.

Why in the world would we do that? Are we crazy? Maybe, but not in this case. Waking up early is the most important New Year’s resolution I have ever made or will keep making. It is the resolution that makes all my other resolutions possible. So whenever I slack off for a time, which often happens over the holidays, I resolve to rejoin The 5 O’ Clock Club.

By getting up early, I can make the most important things most important. And that means communion with God comes first:

“I earnestly recommend that [Bible reading and prayer] be in the early morning, unless there are some extenuating circumstances,” writes John Piper, “Entering the day without a serious meeting with God, over his Word and in prayer, is like entering the battle without tending to your weapons. The human heart does not replenish itself with sleep. The body does, but not the heart. We replenish our hearts not with sleep, but with the Word of God and prayer.”

Oh, does my heart desperately need replenishing every day.

The 5 O’Clock Club also serves my family. Trust me, the day gets off to a much better start when Mom has had a quiet time, made necessary preparations for the day, and maybe even taken a shower, than when I am groggy and grumpy, groping for the coffee pot as a try to field twenty questions at once. That’s just reality, folks.

Now trust me, I’ve opted out or slacked off countless times, especially when I’ve had babies or newly adopted children come into the home. A solid night sleep is essential to successfully rising early and I don’t suggest this to make anyone feel discouraged or condemned. But if you can get up early right now (even if you don’t think you’re a morning person!), consider this a friendly challenge. Just imagine what you’d get done in a day—in a year!—if you woke up half an hour earlier than you already do.

I know it might be January 2nd , but it is not too late to start. Do something crazy in 2013. Join The 5 O’Clock Club.

Jul 27

How to Stay Awake During Prayer

2011 at 2:53 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The 5 O'Clock Club

--from the archives

Dawn’s kids aren’t in The 5 O’Clock Club anymore:

Thanks so much again for answering my mail about the 5 O’Clock Club. Things have been going better. Thanks so much for the phone under the pillow idea. I have also worked on not stepping on the top step of our stairs and that helps a lot too. I have been able to get up and not wake the children this last week.

We’re so glad to hear God is helping your kids to sleep and you to wake up.

But, says Dawn, “I have one remaining problem—how to stay awake during prayer. (I have tried praying aloud—well, in a whisper—but somehow I still fall asleep.) But you have encouraged me to think creatively so I am sure I will find the answer.”

We’ve been there too, and here are a few things we’ve tried—

- Pray while you exercise. Mom used to prop her prayer list up on the treadmill console and pray while she exercised.

- Pray in the shower. From an idea Mom gave me, I printed my prayer list, put it in a sheet protector and taped it to the wall of my shower. I had some of my best prayer times there—although our water bill probably went up!

- Pray on a walk. When Tori was a baby, I would sometimes walk around the block with her in the stroller. This idea doesn’t work with toddlers though.

- Pray as you pace. This might not work with light sleepers in the house, but Janelle gets up and walks around if she feels sleepy during prayer.

- Pray after you wake up. Sometimes it helps me to pray after an activity that really wakes me up—taking a shower, emptying the dishwasher, etc. My husband goes running before his quiet time.

- Pray after coffee (or caffeinated beverage of choice). The 5 O’Clock club runs on coffee.

- Pray before you pray. Ask God for grace to stay awake and pray!

Hope those simple ideas get you started. We’re confident God is eager to help all of us grow in prayer.

Feb 17

A Husband Joins the 5 O’Clock Club

2011 at 3:34 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The 5 O'Clock Club

I love this email from Holly:

I wanted to share with you how joining the 5 O’clock Club has benefited both me and my husband. I recently joined in order to provide myself some accountability in getting up earlier to have some quality time with the Lord. Both my husband and I read our Bibles and pray, but the birth of our son this past year and new jobs have led to our schedules being turned upside down. The Lord has not always had the priority or quality time that He has deserved. So, now I have consistently been getting up earlier these past few days to read and pray in the living room. After a day or two of doing this, my husband (unknown to me) got up right after me and started spending this time praying in our bedroom. He later mentioned to me, “You should email that girltalk blog and tell them that your getting up early to have devotions has encouraged me to get up early and pray.” He teasingly added that he couldn’t have his wife taking the spiritual leadership in the family! My husband most definitely is my spiritual leader, and he shepherds me very well. However, I am thankful that we both now have an organized, planned, deliberate, and personal time with the Lord each day!

As always, you (or your husband!) can join here.

Feb 8

Early Morning Memories

2011 at 2:28 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under The 5 O'Clock Club

For almost thirty years now, my dear friend Nancy has inspired me by her passionate, faithful, practice of meeting with God each morning. So I wasn’t surprised when, last week, her daughter Anna sent us this testimony to encourage moms with young kids.

I keep seeing these posts with emails of moms of young children who are hoping that their children see their example of rising early to seek the Lord in his word—I want to say, keep it up, your example really can be pressed onto the hearts of your children.

I cannot remember a time when I didn’t get up every morning and find my mom reading her Bible, praying. Not only did I see the habit, but I also remember that she was always filled with joy when she was done. Some of my earliest memories was getting up before all my siblings (I was an early riser when I was really little…it’s a little harder now!) and my mom making an extra cup of tea for me, and playing on the floor while she read her Bible. (I was a talker, so she also had to train me that Bible time was No Talking time)

One of the biggest ways that I was motivated to read my Bible was seeing this example—and my mom always encouraging me that it was a friendship, a delight, and not a task. Because of this, I had an interest to know Jesus through his word at a young age. I have journals of consistent reading and prayer from age 10 on. I cannot tell you, now as an (semi-)adult, how much of a blessing this has been. It has given me a history of love for God’s word and a confidence in prayer. It has taught me the habit, and the value for God’s word. So, if you are seeking to set this example, don’t give up! You might not see fruit now, but Jesus has promised that we will reap (Gal 6:9).

Your example makes a difference—but if you feel like you have failed as an example, take heart. If you have fears for your children’s souls, fears that they will not come to be satisfied in Jesus, let your heart take courage. Remember the promises of our Lord:

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25) and “The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:3-6)

Moms: May the faithfulness of God strengthen you as you strive to faithfully seek Him. I pray that the little ones who watch you sit at Jesus’ feet will one day seek Him too!