By Karen Swank
Good morning, Lord.
I roll over under the covers, realizing once again that it’s 4:30 and You have faithfully arranged our time once again. Our time. Oh, I know You are with me always…I feel Your presence more and more as time goes by, even in the most mundane of places. But 4:30 has become the most delicious of “our” places, as I cross the border from dreaming to rested, wakeful awareness, and the very first thing I hear in my spirit is Your I Am here. Little pieces of my day’s work try to invade this space, and I bat them away with a careless wave of my hand. No one, nothing may invade this sacred, secret space that is our just You and me time.
My eyes are half open, my smile deep and thank You bubbles up from the center of my soul. Here in this space I am free from all temptation to hide behind pretense. You know me. I marvel this morning at how You know me.
You know the contents of my dreams…what I recall, and what stays beyond the grasp of my consciousness. You know the places my resting mind is most prone to wander, whether in nightmares or daydreams…and You are always there, never leaving me to roam alone.
You know my every hope and real intention. I need not carry explanations into our secret place. Before You I am utterly exposed, and though You can see everything in me that hides itself so easily from the world, I am unashamed.
Here in this place, I know You more…and somehow attached to this is the truth that I know myself more as well. It is You who teach me to see the whole of me, not flinching away from the darkest corners of my heart. Gently You take my hand and draw me out of my hiding space of denial, teaching me with each step to offer myself the same grace and mercy I extend so much more easily to others. Your chiding is soft, a balm that heals even as You correct me… my child, would you condemn yourself where I would not?
Once again this morning, You give me a gift from our most intimate time…something to carry through the day with me. Peace. You place it gently in my hands, leaving me free to hold it or put it down. I may carry it, and let it touch every part of my day, even spilling out to touch others around me. Or I may lay it down and walk away. If I choose the latter, your greeting will not be shrill or filled with resentment the next time I arrive at this place. You won’t berate me, belittle me, or decide my poor choice must mean I don’t love You at all. You won’t withhold the gift tomorrow as a punishment for my neglect of it today.
My heart sings the song I have grown to adore. Lord, You are good and your mercy endures forever. The more I understand it, the more it surprises me. The less I try to earn it, the more it is settled in me. I relax into the beauty of this truth, and what bubbles up from it is change.
Change in my heart.
Change in my circumstances.
Change in my perspective and understanding.
Change in my words.
Change in my choices.
Unlike the changes I strive and struggle to achieve on my own, these changes are deep. They are less what I do and more who I am, in You. Even this 4:30 secret space is no creation of my own… You are my wakeup call for it… You meet me where I am… You arrange every detail and nuance of it. This was no plan of mine – no resolution to be made and broken. I rest in You, and You create a half hour inside my life, at a time when I would naturally choose just a bit more sleep. Slowly and slowly, I grow to understand that life in You is not about trying harder at all. It’s about falling in love, newer and deeper every day. About letting the amazement and the abundance from that love flood me, change me, and alter my world and my today.
It’s about You and me. That sounds so selfish, but it’s not selfish at all. The more I wrap myself up in You and me, the more You pour out through me, touching those within the circle of my influence. Sometimes that circle is small, and sometimes I get a glimpse of the way You widen it, and I am undone. Though I have carried no “list” into our secret space, when I climb out from under the covers, every person on my heart has been bathed in Your nearness.
It is well with my soul.
Karen is from Aledo, IL. She went to Monmouth College and studied Latin and English. She is a biological mom of two children and surrogate mom/friend/advocate for a whole host of children. She would like to meet every wounded soul that I’ve she’s ever known… as a child, before the “damage was done” so she could tell them how much they are loved.