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!
You keep sending us so many inspiring 5 O’Clock Club testimonies, we just have to keep posting them. This one is from 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!
For all you new 5 O’Clock Club members, here’s some encouragement from Marcia, a veteran early riser:
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.
Visit our 5 O’Clock Club page to read other testimonies of grace or join the club.
This morning we received an email from one new club member, Kristin. Here’s a snippet:
Today is the second day for me in the 5 AM Club. By God’s grace, I have not hit the snooze yet, and that is a HUGE deal for me…seriously. I was so excited about this club that I sent out the idea to the women at our church. As of now, we have 17 college girls that are joining the club and waking up early to meet with Jesus. Praise God! It’s so encouraging to know that there are women all over the place fighting against laziness and pursuing holiness. Thanks SO much for initiating this club!
“Fighting laziness and pursuing holiness” might seem to be getting harder as the week goes on. The snooze button never looked so inviting as it did this morning!
We’re not sleep experts, but in our experience, those of you who’ve just joined The 5 O’Clock Club are at the most difficult point right now. The initial adrenaline has worn off and your body is rebelling against the change. But our experience is that if you push through, it will get easier soon. Your body will adjust to the new routine. In the meantime, we recommend an extra long nap or an early bedtime!
But just because rising early (or fasting) is hard, doesn’t mean we can’t do it or that it isn’t worth it. J. Alec Motyer explains in his comments on Philippians. 1:9-11 Read it carefully. Then read it again:
“And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
“Our obedience, discipline and hard graft are not insignificant or optional. On the contrary, they are the God-intended context for growth. But something else energizes the growth till the fruit is ready for harvest: all is done through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (verse 11)….In this setting the daily task of obedience remains hard, but not fruitless. We are often neglectful, frequently failing, ever inadequate; yet the end is secure, for God is at work.”
Getting up early to sit at Jesus’ feet is hard, but not fruitless. We may fail, but the end is secure: God is at work. So let’s persevere in this “context for growth” to the glory and praise of His name!
—from the archives
Here’s a 5 O’Clock Club testimony from the archives. Read to the end if you (like me!) have trouble getting out of your warm bed each morning:
As a mom to 2 small children, I have been consistent at one thing for the past few years, and that is struggling to spend time with God. It has been a constant source of frustration and guilt for me, as I have focused on my lack of a quiet time and not the goodness and grace of a loving God. I have even attempted the 5 o’clock club before and failed miserably because of my motivations and dependence on myself.
Well, this time has been very different for me. I began rising early to spend time with God in January, so when I saw that your blog would be focusing on this for February, it was truly confirmation for me that God was drawing me into deeper communion with Him. I cannot tell you how thankful I have been for the accountability and encouragement of your blog over the past few weeks. I have more than enjoyed my times of rising early everyday and I am so thankful that God has given me His grace in this area.
My goal from the start was to get one load of laundry done and spend 45 minutes to an hour, reading, praying, etc. Getting the laundry done has been HUGE for serving my family. It is no longer a constant source of irritation…now it is a constant source of excitement.
I could go on and on about how meaningful my time with God has been (much more so than having the laundry done) but that would literally take several days. I am so grateful for what He has been showing me and the desire He has given me to pray for my friends and family. I am 31 years old, and can honestly say I have never experienced such a sweet time with my Savior! I am so, so, so, so grateful!
One more thing…I wanted to share something that has actually helped me get up in the mornings…it’s rather amusing! One of the hardest things about getting up, to me, is how cold it is! Getting out of a warm bed into cold air is no fun! I found myself wrapping up in a blanket every morning, but that often got in the way of folding the laundry or reading. Well, as sort of a gag gift, my husband bought me a Snuggie! I know, I know…A SNUGGIE?! BUT…it has been fantastic…I love getting out of my warm bed into my warm snuggie…what a fabulous invention!!! The only downside has been folding laundry filled with static while wrapped in a Snuggie…there have been a couple of times where I felt like I was being electrocuted…I guess that’s good if you’re having trouble waking up!
I included a picture of me in my Snuggie. I would have preferred pink, but my husband got blue…I think it is because secretly he wants to wear it, too!
In preparation for the new year, we want to introduce you to Julie, a long-time member of The 5 O’Clock Club. See if you can relate to her experience:
“When my sons were three years and nine months old, I reached a point of desperation. I was exhausted all the time, often getting up in the middle of the night to care for one or both boys. My morning wake-up time happened only when the boys were no longer quiet in their beds. At best, my passion for Christ was lukewarm. I was not enjoying the Holy Spirit’s presence on a day-to-day basis in my own home. Sinful attitudes such as anger and judgmentalism were at an all-time high, and my desire to fight sin was weak. I was not quick to humbly receive my husband’s counsel. I was not pursuing biblical fellowship. I felt isolated and alone. I had lost perspective on what my priorities were. In short, I was in emergency mode, and my time alone with the Lord was not in its proper place. Always so much to do—and never enough time to stop and give attention to my soul.”
In emergency mode. So much to do. No time for the Lord. Desperate. Alone. No doubt every woman—whether you are a mom, a student, or a businesswoman—can identify. We all want to be consistent to sit at Jesus’ feet. And yet it can seem impossible to find a slot in the schedule that we can maintain.
Dramatic action is needed. Enter the 5 O’Clock Club. For many of us, the only cure for our starving souls is to wake up early—or at least earlier than we currently do. It doesn’t have to be 5 O’Clock to join the club, just early enough to secure a regular time to sit at Jesus’ feet.
Here’s Julie again:
“I knew I needed to wake up earlier, but I kept telling myself that I’d never be able to do it. I dreaded the thought of failing yet again. Then it occurred to me that I made time for other things I considered important such as grocery shopping, showering, doing my makeup, eating, date night with my husband, spending time with friends. Was my love for God truly my highest priority? The realization: MY daily schedule was not reflective of a heart set on seeking God first. I needed to take radical measures. If I was going to have consistent and quality time with the Lord. It would need to happen before the rest of the family was up and before the day was rolling. If I waited until the boys always slept through the night or until everything was ideal, it would never happen.”
The consequences of a lackluster spiritual life and the advantages of rising early to seek God finally motivated our friend Julie to take action. She began having her husband nudge her awake and having a friend call her:
“Here we are, three years later, and I’m still waking up early—which for me is quite a miracle. I’ve never once regretted the days I’ve risen early. The boys are not five and three, and I am still aware of my desperate state, yet more aware of God’s grace. Having my early morning time with the Lord doesn’t eliminate my sin or guarantee the day will go as I have planned. But having received fresh perspective and vision, the day starts more peacefully. I now have a much richer understanding of the gospel of grace that transforms me, and I love Christ Jesus more today than every before.”
What a transformation! From desperate to dependent, from sporadic to consistent, from anger and anxiety to peace and perspective, from lukewarm affections to growing love for Christ—only because, by the grace of God, she chose to rise early and sit at Jesus’ feet.
So what radical measures do you need to take to consistently sit at Jesus’ feet? Maybe it’s time to join our crazy club! Together let’s develop a habit of rising early that can last a lifetime.
—from the archives
Because this is the time to start to thinking about New Year’s resolutions, we want to remind you about our clubs.
The 5 O’Clock Club is for those who want to rise early (it doesn’t have to be 5 O’clock, that’s just the name of the club) to meet with God.
The FAM Club (Fast A Meal) is for those who want to fast one meal a week to pray for a family member’s salvation.
At our club pages, you can put your name on the rolls, share testimonies, and read about God’s grace through these spiritual disciplines.
Many of you are long-time members of one or both of these clubs. Or maybe you’ve let your “membership” lapse. But all of us need reminding and refreshing. So for the next few days we’re going to post encouragement to rise early to sit at Jesus’ feet and to bring unsaved family members before his throne of grace.
As you read, we hope you’ll prayerfully consider joining one or both of our clubs this year.
The beginning of summer might seem like an odd time to remind you about the 5 O’Clock Club. But if “Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer,” what better way to spend the season than by rising early to meet with Him?
Holly sent us this funny story of her recent—and rather unusual—enrollment in the 5 O’Clock Club:
Girltalkers, I love the idea of the 5 O’Clock Club, but my new baby was keeping me up most of the night and just couldn’t handle the toddler plus the baby without a bit more rest. Well, when my baby’s birthday rolled around and I was rested again, I was entered into your glamorous 5AM club without making the decision myself. Now I can say that the LORD has faithfully wakened me every day for about 2 months. I haven’t set an alarm once! This morning I woke up and thought, “Well, here we go again” I stumbled down the hall and made the coffee and dove into the Word. When I finished reading (maybe about 45 minutes later) it was still sooo dark outside and looked at my watch and it was only 4:30. I had wakened at 3:30 and just assumed it must be around 5am. With the coffee already in me, there was no chance of going back to sleep. Lots of prayer this morning .... lots. Mostly centered on pleading for a miracle to grab a nap this afternoon! Next time I’ll remember to check my watch! Holly
For more (new!) testimonies and encouragement to join the 5 O’Clock Club (or the FAM Club) this summer, check out our clubs page.
(P.S. The links on our club pages are a little out of wack right now, so you’ll have to scroll down the page to find what you’re looking for. Sorry for the confusion. We’re working on it.)
Over the weekend we reached a milestone: 1000 members of The 5 O’Clock Club. Our 1000th member was Julie from Elmwood Park, IL. We didn’t offer a prize because we never anticipated this many members; but we think a prize is in order. So Julie, we’d love to get you an ESV Study Bible.
We’re most encouraged by what 1000 members represents—God’s grace at work in the lives of so many women to want to rise early to seek Him. We pray you are encouraged too!
Great news—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.
Yeah! We’re so glad to hear God is helping your kids sleep and you 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.”
Been there too, Dawn. Creativity is certainly called for. 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 often goes running sometimes 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 you grow in prayer!