Recently my boys and I were driving back to Memphis across the state of Mississippi, in the midst of mostly eighteen wheelers on miles and miles of flat highways. As happened once before, a rock hit my windshield. (I think my van windshield attracts rocks!) At the time, it didn’t seem like any damage had been done. Within 24 hours I realized that was not the case…I had a huge crack on the top right side of my windshield! As the days have gone by and the hot summer sun is out, the crack seems to grow inches daily. You see there is something about the summer sun….yes, it brings summer fun—beach trips, pool days and cookouts. But it also can be greatly damaging if we aren’t careful…our skin can get sunburned, our energy can drain quickly under its heat, our outdoor toys and furniture can fade, and our flowers and lawns can die quickly without watering.
Stay with me. Im about to connect some big dots here…
One of my absolute favorite teachers of the Bible for women is Priscilla Shirer. Her studies have taken me deep into the Word and challenged me to my spiritual core. I can’t take credit for the connection I’m about to make….I’ll have to give that credit to one of Shirer’s devotionals (AWAKEN—I highly recommend!) And to the Bible of course.
Shirer says, “There’s something about what happens once the sun warms up. The heat of the day’s trials. The energy-stealing blaze of its pressures and events. Worries can intervene in those afternoon hours, when time is racing past so quickly, when we’re certain we can’t handle them within the amount of daylight that’s left to us. Sometimes such stresses can be overwhelming and brazen enough to melt us in our tracks, causing the strength and resolve of our hearts to weaken and disappear.”
As a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as an employee and so many other roles we as woman can have…some nights I lay my head down exhausted and stressed, knowing just like the laundry that is piling up, so are the things that are left in my day I didn’t get done. It is exhausting and defeating to think about….and sometimes I just have to give up and go to bed, so I can start again and try to do better the next day. Hours in a day turn into night. Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months and so forth. Somewhere along the the way, if we aren’t careful, life can leave overwhelming piles left unfolded, while trying to remember the purpose and importance of it all to begin with. All we know is the tiredness and the stress we feel as a result.
What is purpose? The definition of purpose is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” That seems simple enough. So what are we created for? What do we exist for? For what primary purpose do we have to get things “done?”
When I put it like that…even as I sit here typing…I’m convicted. Honestly, it’s simple. Things that seems so overwhelming in the heat of a busy day, stripped down are immensely simple.
Just like my windshield….every single day we will have things thrown at us. Things we are used to in our busy schedules and then some of those life curve balls that come out of no where. Sure we are all up for a small rock or two a day…thats to be expected. But what about those big things that hit us out of nowhere? Your Toddler meltdowns in the middle of the store. Your credit card has been compromised and won’t work. Your pregnancy test is positive and you’re crying or its negative again and you’re crying. Your tire is flat, and you are already late to an appointment. Your house is a disaster, and your kids are not getting along. Your money is tight, and it’s time to pay the bills and tithe. (and you are torn on which one comes first?) Your phone rings and it’s one of those unexpected, bad news calls about someone that you love.
Whatever life is throwing at you….big or small….are you ready for it? I don’t think we can ever be “ready” for some things, but we can be in a position of peace and purpose for each day that is ready when the heat sets in.
Lets go to the Bible—this is where Shirer helped me understand this.
Exodus 16:21 says, “They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt.”
This verse is referencing the Israelites. Everyday they gathered something called manna to eat. Manna was food that God would set out for His people, and they would collect it each morning. Shirer said, “This was a critical part of their day. An appointed activity. For they knew, once the sun ascended toward its towering position in the sky, this bread from heaven would melt away.” With this manna, God provided very practically for the their needs and they were able to feed their families. So, it was of utmost importance to grab it every morning when it was available, otherwise you would have to work on an empty stomach all day long until the next morning when it was available again.
Sure, this story is good to reference one of the many times God has provided for physical needs…but why include the part about the sun, and it melting away? I have to believe this story is meant for learning much more than God providing food for our stomachs….it’s about food for our hearts and purpose for our days.
Maybe morning to you is a relative term. You have a newborn and you are up all hours through the technical A.M. morning, and you sleep in between getting up for feedings as long or as late as that baby will let you. Maybe morning for you comes early when the kids come jump on you in the bed, and you have no need for an alarm clock. Maybe you work night shift so your morning is really the afternoon. Maybe you love mornings….Maybe you don’t…or you don’t until after your second cup of coffee. Everyone has a different outlook on what their morning looks like…but one thing we can probably all agree on, is that it is the start to your day. Its a “place of preeminence” before your busy day begins. What will you do with this time? What is your priority or your purpose….examine how you start your day and you will know. Is it your email? Your social media? The news that happened while you slept? Your kids? Your Chores?What is it?
We defined purpose earlier as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” Simply stated, we are created by God and our purpose on this earth is to glorify Him.
Whew…I’m convicted right now! I’m not always giving God the start to my day like I should…my typical day starts with my three year old crawling into bed with me early each morning and then my 6 year old jumping on me an hour later to tell me he is hungry. And morning begins…I do try to have a devotional each morning with my coffee, but it can quickly take a backseat. And when the start of your day is gone….its gone…it melts away I guess you could say…and the day only gets more busy as the sun rises. Before long, it’s dinner time…bath time….bed time and then this momma is ready for bed. I sleep, get up and do it all over again.
Relate to this?! There is hope…something I am realizing as a mom…don’t beat yourself up! You aren’t going to have an hour to spend in the word every morning. This is just not the time of life where that is possible. The devil likes to beat me up about that. MORNING is a new beginning, and you can decide what or WHO that day belongs to. When you rise….right away….start your day with Jesus…declare your need need for him. Tell him, “Jesus, pour your mercies on me today. Lead me where you would have me go and use the words you would have me to say today…as I talk to my children…as I encounter that unsaved coworker…as things come up I am not even expecting or ready for yet….Lord, prepare my heart…this day is yours.”
So SIMPLE yet sometimes so far from our minds when we wake up. Begin your day with Jesus, even if its just for a minute grabbing up that manna He has laid out for you. Declare your purpose for existing today is to love and serve Him. Maybe even memorize some short scriptures or have one written on a card right by your bed…that not even a small toddler coming down the hall could beat you to reading!
When the heat of the sun rises each day, being a metaphor for temptations that arise…sin that creeps in…worry that can overwhelm…or tiredness that can overtake you….you will be ready for it! The hottest sun or the biggest rocks won’t be able to crack you.
And sometimes when they do…remember that His mercies are new EVERY MORNING!