I love mornings. It’s easy to forget that when it’s chilly in the house and being so comfortable and warm under blankets makes escaping them nearly impossible. I especially love early mornings. Before the sun rises. I love the headlights and streetlights, the calm that seems to have settled over everything during the night, the crisp breath of a new day, a new opportunity to learn and love and grow. I love the sound of a shower being taken, the washing machine running, the dishwasher’s quiet sounds; the house slowly waking up to a new day. I enjoy sitting down in my favorite chair, if the sun is up, or at our dining room table, if it isn’t. I get excited as I set out my pile of books and journal and all the rest that comes with my time with God. I begin wondering what I will learn today and how God will speak to my heart or answer a prayer. I always expect that He will.
I begin with a prayer, even though I haven’t always. I am finding that my heart and mind draw closer to Him quicker and I hear better if I do. I have an order that I follow nearly every day – daily devotional book, daily Bible reading, one chapter in the Book of Mormon, a Conference talk, and my studies book. I write in my journal as I go, making note of the things that touch my heart. I don’t listen to music or watch tv or do anything else during this precious time. The tv part is a challenge for me most days. I am a news junkie and I particularly like the Good Morning America crew. 7:00 seems to be right about the time I am getting ready for my time with God, which also happens to be right when GMA starts. This morning, as I was again trying to decide how I was going to manage both, I decided to compromise with myself. While I gathered my pile of books and moved them to where I was going to be (they tend to travel throughout the house with me during the day), I turned on the tv for the top stories. I took a little extra time and also made myself a mug of hot water with lemon and honey, which I think I might make a regular part of my morning ritual. Then, I shut the tv off and knelt down to speak to the Lord. My mind was quieted, my heart let go of cares, and I focused a portion of my prayer on those people whose lives were affected by newsworthy events. I feel peace and calm as I begin my studies.
This morning, as I was studying, I was thinking about our oldest daughter. She has become a tea drinker. For her recent birthday, we bought her an antique teapot and I passed along two of my special pieces that I knew she would love just as much as I have. My grandmother, Lucy, gave me a set of her china while I was still fairly young which has tiny yellow flowers and gold decorations. I have a set of eight, but we have not used them. I passed one on to her so that she would have something from my grandmother, who I adored. I also gave her a dainty and fragile teacup set from my grandfather’s girlfriend, Mrs. Rice, who had a beautiful collection. She kept them in a curio cabinet behind glass. I remember going to their house and admiring how beautiful they were. I’m sure I pestered her about giving me one, or maybe even threw a fit and cried, but she generously let me pick out two that I could have for my own. One of the teacups was broken a few short years later, but the second set has remained intact and this is the one I passed on to Nichole. What a blessing it was for us to then find a case, which must have been intended to store CDs, but each compartment fits a cup and saucer set as if it was made for that purpose. I made room on a kitchen counter for the case so that we can all enjoy her collection. I love to see my children enjoy things that are uniquely them.
I was thinking about her newfound love of teas and the variety of cups and saucers we saw while out looking for her very first one that she picked out. This particular new part of her has also affected me. This collection of dainty, truly feminine, but solid and sturdy and practical containers reminds me every time I look at them how much I wanted that set from Mrs. Rice because of their beauty. There have been many things I have wanted, even longed for in my life. Many of which haven’t occurred or have been out of my control because it would mean controlling someone else. As I was looking back over some of my previous notes during my times with God, I came across a quote from a favorite book – “Made to Crave.” The quote says,
“It is good for God’s people to be put in a place of longing so they feel a slight desperation. Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we were made for. When we are stuffed full of other things and never allow ourselves to be in a place of longing, we don’t recognize the deeper spiritual battle going on.”
I know that a longing for a beautiful set of teacups isn’t necessarily what this quote is about, but it could be. There is something about this quote that brings me back to Matthew 19:20-22, which relates Christ’s interaction with the rich young man. This young man came to the Lord and told Him all that he had done that was righteous and good, and then asked, “What lack I yet?” The Lord gave this young man the most difficult answer for him – sell all that you have and give it away. The young man left sorrowing, this was the one thing that stood between him and his relationship with Christ, but he couldn’t part with it. It was uniquely his challenge. I’m pretty sure teacups won’t be the thing that keeps someone from a relationship with God and His Son, but what other insignificant things do we allow to get in the way? Good Morning America? A warm bed on a chilly morning? Memories and guilt of a potential past misbehavior like throwing a fit because you wanted something that someone else had? Not being willing to apologize when we are wrong? Stuffing our days with distractions? I will be pondering this question (and listening for inspiration) as I go about my day and trying to be observant of any thing that I refuse to give up that stands in my way of a closer relationship with my Savior and His Father.