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.
Marcia Byler Ford
I've resisted getting up early for a quiet time for most of my marriage. I've always been a night owl and did my best work after 9 pm. Once I started having babies, nursing, and just generally being exhausted, I justified that I couldn't possibly get up early as I was just too tired. I NEEDED my sleep. Then the kids started getting older and I was diagnoses with hypothyroidism, so then I had ANOTHER excuse for NOT getting up early. After all, I had to sleep because I could never be completely sure if it was my thyroid making my so tired or just (dare I even say it) lack of discipline. When I read Shopping for Time, I knew it was time to lay all the excuses aside. I snooped around the blog but couldn't bring myself to actually join the 5 O'Clock Club. I reluctantly set my alarm for 5:30 am. I had no plan, but stumbled groggily to my computer to look for a reading schedule to read through the Bible in a year. Then it hit me. Part of why I'm so rotten at being consistent with a quiet time is that often I can't find my Bible (it gets used in homeschooling, kids borrow it, I leave it in the car, etc.) or the latest devotional I'm reading...so why not see if I can do it all online. To make a long story short, I've bookmarked my Bible reading plan, a devotional I'm working through and a couple of inspirational blogs I like to read but never seem to have time for. I started a private blog of my own to chronicle what I read each day and give me a place to record my thoughts. I gave permission for a few close friends to check in on the blog and hold me accountable if I don't post anything for a day or two. So far, I'm LOVING it. I'm on day 20...and it's still hard to make myself go to bed earlier, but I'm getting better. I woke this morning at 5 am on my own, feeling great, so I'm know I'm making progress. The thought of doing this for the rest of my life is overwhelming, so I just tell myself I only have to do it tomorrow, just one more day. I now have the courage to be "official" so I've joined the club. Thanks for the encouragement.
In the past, I would usually wait to get my kids off to school and my husband off to work before having my devotions. But since making the commitment to get up earlier, I've noticed 2 things. The morning routine is one of the most hectic times in my day; but now, instead spending the beginning of my quiet time confessing how I lost my patience or wasn't expressing love to my family as I should have, I find that, having quieted my heart before the Lord, I am better prepared to face the morning rush. I also was thinking of how growing up, I would always wake up to find my mom reading God's Word and spending time with the Savior she so dearly loved. What a great encouragement it was to know that before I had even awakened, my mom had brought me before the Lord in prayer. Now I have the opportunity to be that same encouragement to my children.
If you told me a month ago that I would be waking up at 5:30 every day willingly, I would have laughed uncontrollably. If it's one thing that I'm known for, it is my love of sleep and the danger someone puts themselves into if they dare wake me up before I'm ready to get up. (I've been know to throw punches. And no I'm not proud of that. :D) As an irresponsible and undisciplined typical American teen, there is little that I do without complaining or with passion, unless if its surfing the Net or hanging out with friends. I grew up in a Christian home and my parents always underlined the importance of reading God's Word. And I knew that. And I did try to read every day. Honestly. But I always seemed to have more important things to do. I mean between school and napping and homework and watching TV shows on the computer, I was really pooped by the end of the day, which left only one option left. I'd look at my Bible on my desk, mumble "Tomorrow" and would collapse on my bed with fatigue. A couple of weeks ago, I began to feel a deep dissatisfaction with my self. There were several areas in my life that needed to be cleaned up and I needed to change several things about my attitude and relationships with people. I was easily irritated by other people, it took little to make me angry..the list goes on. When I saw the 5 O'clock Club signs ups, I just shrugged and said "Why not?" I can't say I was excited, more resigned than anything. But that quickly changed. I kept at it for a week and I could finally look my dad in the eye (who gets up much earlier for work then I do. He is the ultimate example of discipline.) Then I realized there was even a greater result. The wisdom that I read and received every day in the morning from the Bible, guided me the entire day! I especially love it when the text I'm reading has something to do with holding my tongue or kindness (the two things i struggle with the most.) Instead of the guilt that I expected for not being able to measure up to God's perfect standards and commands, I found myself delighting in them and desiring their guidance all the more. I'm truly beginning to realize the meaning of putting on the armor of God FOR battle. I'd usually only read the Bible at night, and though I have nothing against that now, I realized that putting the armor of God after a day is gone, after a battle was fought, was not nearly as edifying as putting it on at the very eve of the battle, at the very dawn of the day. And quite unbelievably the things that I have been trying to change for quite some time, stopped feeling like immovable brick walls that I had been beating my head upon. I began to have breakthroughs! For example take exercising. I despised with a passion the discipline required to exercise every day. Yet as I read in God's word about the lazy man and then successful man, and of how my body is God's temple, instead of saying that I would start tomorrow (as I had when I read the Bible at night), I began saying "YES!! I will do this today!!" And trust me sisters, I struggle getting up early. You're talking about someone who adores to sleep. I have been tempted to hit the snooze button many times already and sadly I have succumbed to it a couple times. Yet I continue setting the alarm halfway across the room, for 5:30 because the pros of getting up to spend time with God greatly outweigh the few measly moments of sleep your flesh desires instead. Praise be to God! And thanks to Him for His grace!
I have been a Christian for 20 years, I have had devotions consistently, but never consistently early in the morning. This morning as I sat with my Bible in my lap and listened to the silence around me I understood why the morning is so sweet. No disruptions or thoughts of what to do next--just worship my lord and saviour.
Hi, girls! By the grace of God I rose early yesterday and today to spend time with my Savior. It has been sweet. The "spot" that I have chosen to spend my time with God is at the end of my dining room table where I am pretty well "blinded" to anything else in my home that could cause a distraction. The only thing in front of me is a piece of artwork on the wall. When I sat down at the table yesterday, I looked up and read the verses of Scripture that are on that artwork:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
How kind of the Lord to remind me that if I do not abide in Him, I will accomplish nothing! But abiding produces MUCH fruit.
Yesterday, as I proceeded through my day, God brought 2 significant "sovereign deliveries" into my day that prevented me from accomplishing what I had hoped to get done. However, when I went to bed last night and was sharing with my husband about the day, I told him that even though my "TO DO" list was far from done, I found great joy in the fact that I DID accomplish the MOST important thing in the day . . . sitting at Jesus' feet.
Thanks for the encouragement you provide!
Grace to you,
I have been putting off getting up early for years now. At first I was chronically sleep deprived, and later had sleep issues resulting from my body being out of sync. But now I am sleeping well, and I love it. Too much. About a week ago, my 8 year old said, "I love reading my real ESV Bible. I should read it every day." I responded, "Well if you do it first thing, you'll never get distracted from that good desire." Pang. Guiltily I figured I would have to put that on his school schedule instead, since I am not up to help him.
This morning, as I sat during my 5 o'clock club meeting with the Lord, I was praying for my boy, asking God how to lead him gently toward his own desire, without it turning into a "check off the list" thing like his math or spelling. I prayed, "Lord, show me how to encourage him to read his Bible."
And guess who popped out of his bedroom at that VERY second? My little buddy! He is an early riser, but this was particularly early at 5:45. And I was able to say, gently, "I am reading my Bible. Would you like to?" He grabbed his Bible and sat quietly next to me.
I realized, it's very difficult to encourage others to commit something to the Lord, when I have not done so. And how sweet and easy the encouragement flows, when I am the visible, real example.
It's not about my kids. It's about Jesus. But I know God set that up for me today so I could see His glory revealed and be encouraged in my weakness.
For the past three weeks waking up in the morning has been a HUGE struggle! Each night I would dread the thought of having to get up the next morning. I would complain to my husband and ask if I could call in for a mental health day. I even asked him if we could skip church last Sunday just to get some extra Z's! I kicked around the idea of joining the 5 O'Clock Club all weekend, thinking I would try, and probably fail, to get up on time on Monday morning. I told myself I would just try it out, but not really go through the process of registering. Well, this morning, by the grace of God, I got up at 6:30 am! I spent some much needed time with my Savior, got ready for the day, greeted my husband with the perkiest good morning he has heard in a while and was even early to work! It was GREAT! It's after 4:00 pm now and I am still feeling refreshed. I can't wait to meet with God again tomorrow morning. I am confident that he was totally at work this morning dragging me out of bed and it will only be with his help that I will be able to do it for the rest of the month. I am so excited for this and for what he will teach me in the early morning hours. Thank you all for sharing this great idea with us and for all the encouraging words.
Well, being 15 and still in school, life can be pretty hectic for me. I want to have a quiet time every day, but sometimes I sleep in, due to staying up late the night before doing homework. The Lord convicted me that I needed to put my time with Him first. Before anything else, even making my bed. So, I'm doing the 6 o'clock club (because 5, well that's a little early. :)) because I know that I need to give my first fruits to the Lord and not anything else.
As a girl, I have permanently ingrained in my mind the picture of my mom and dad either sitting with their Bibles open or on their knees in prayer. This was extremely influential in my own view of personal quiet time with the Lord. It showed me that their walk with the Lord was a priority. For years, while living at home I would try to wake early and do the same. Now after having two little boys who like to wake up early I see even greater practical importance to this practice. About two years ago, my husband and I committed to waking up at 5 (or 4:45 to get up and situated) each morning to seek the Lord. Our quiet times had become sporadic and inconsistent and this concerned us. The decision to wake early has been such a blessing to us both individually and as a couple. God has truly drawn near to us as we drew near to Him. We want our boys to forever remember how important it is to start the day off at the feet of the Savior. We need him desperately each and every day. Thank you for encouraging us in this discipline.
My husband has been quoted as saying, “The 5AM Club is the greatest thing for our marriage!” After reading Shopping for Time, I have adopted this habit and it HAS been so good for our marriage. I currently work outside of the home, so the only time I seem to be able to care for our home is briefly after work…if we don’t have a home community or date night. When I get up, I’m able to read, pray, plan and care for our home before I even walk out the door to go to the office. When I’m done at 5pm, I’m ready to come home and give my husband my all…not my left-overs.
Only by God’s grace (and my sister-in-laws calls each morning) am I able to get out of our warm bed and get my day started off right. Sitting at Jesus’ feet first thing sets the tone for my day, leaving me still joyful and energized after a long day at work. I get to focus on my man instead of the dishes and that makes him happy. The sacrifice from 5:00 to 5:05 before the coffee kicks in becomes well worth it when my husband feels like he gets my full attention at night.
I am a single woman who has been out of college a few years and am just trying to figure out what that should look like while all my friends are walking down the aisle. :) I have jumped on the 5 O'Clock club bandwagon. It has given me such sweet time in the morning with the Lord and productive time to straighten the house up, etc to serve my roommates (hopefully one day a husband). This morning was the first morning that it wasn’t painful to get out of bed – haha! I think my body has finally adjusted!! I am so grateful for your rich wisdom that I can prepare NOW. If He wishes, I want to be a wife and a mom that is practiced and delights to rise early to serve a family. I am PASSIONATE about family and the roles of a husband and wife and being a mommy! Even if that doesn’t come, I can be a helper, a keeper of my home and can pour into children at my church! He is good. Always.
The first thing I did was "join" the 5 o'clock club! The time I have in the morning with just me and the Holy Spirit and His written words have been invaluable to me. At first it was difficult but now, when the alarm goes off, I get a little feeling of joy and excitement to get out of bed and get started. I know that it is the Lord who provides that motivation because I am being faithful to keeping time with Him a priority. I like to look at it as getting dressed and ready for the day before I physically get dressed and ready - I'm getting my heart prepared for the day and putting on "the full armor of God" (Eph. 6:13 - "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." It makes me a better wife - my husband wakes up to me with his breakfast, lunch packed and a kiss out the door; my kids have a mommy that is showered and prepared for the day with a heart that has joy, patience, and is ready to love tenderly. And for me, I have the house ready to go and the day planned ahead of me just waiting. Sure, I am a little tired at night but that actually works out well because I am ready for an early bed time with my husband. Rising early along with a couple of other things that I have started have got me on a much better track and able to serve my family in the way that God wants me to.