Years ago I began getting up before everyone else in order to spend time alone. In a house of six, it is tough to snag alone minutes. When you are the only one up and you hunker down in your favorite spot you can ignore all of the have-to-dos for a few minutes and do the things you always want to do.

However, eight months ago, I stopped spending the time on me and began giving my first of the day to the Lord. It wasn’t easy giving up those minutes, giving up the break of dawn writing time, giving up doing whatever I wanted to do without demands on my time. I knew, though, as good as this time felt, as productive as I was as a writer, as much as I loved this early morning time, there would be something better if I relinquished my will.

So instead of clacking words, I began reading scripture. It has been a life-changing decision. Instead of hunkering down alone each morning, I spend the mornings with God, investing in a relationship, forming a friendship.

At age seven, Sam knows this power of getting up before everyone else in order to snag some alone minutes. He writes in the morning. He reads in the morning. And now he is starting to pick up scripture and pray in the mornings. I’m reminded it is what we do as parents, not what we say that makes the biggest difference in the lives of our kids.

Yesterday morning he went fishing in his pajamas. I stood above him, on the porch of my in-laws’ new house, and snapped a few pictures. He looks so alone, the lake big and the trees big and the sky big and the mountains big all around him.

“Do you like being by yourself in the mornings?” I asked him.

“I’m not by myself, Mom,” he said. “Jesus is with me.”

Then before I said anything else, he added, “It is easier to hear him when I’m quiet.”

Isn’t that the truth? Perhaps it’s not so much about being alone, but about being quiet. The world crowds in and screams in my ear. It wants me to hear this and listen to that. It wants me to believe little things are pressing and it is essential to do one more thing and then another thing right now.

But I’m learning what is essential: loving BIG. When I’m bogged down by tasks, I’m missing the purpose. When I’m stressed about things, then I’m not loving people as well as I can.

So I step outside, surrounded by the big lake and the big trees and the big sky and the big mountains and I remember that I’m small too. I throw my arms open wide and I listen and I know: He made me small so through Him, I can love BIG…even bigger than the lake and the trees and the sky and the mountains.

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  1. After our time together at All Write, I think about your mornings, your special time with your son. There's a book here to share the power of those minutes “alone” for writing, reflecting, praying and sharing with a son.
    This is how I think about you now,

  2. Ruth, you have discovered what's important in your life. It is this knowledge that sustains you as you navigate the choices each day. Your children are learning through your example. You do love big and your love carries through your words reaching all parts of this amazing world.

  3. I have recently gone back to my time first thing in the morning reading, praying and journaling my way. I have a wonderful friend who wakes at 4:30 and has done this for 30 years consistently. Her life and walk bears much fruit. I also know that she goes to bed earlier too! I love this line, he made me small so through Him, I can love BIG. I feel that way out in the mountains this week…amazing love, how can it be???? xo

  4. Captivating, Ruth. I'm blessed by reading this post and am invited to consider how I spend my precious alone time… Thank you for nudging me. Beautiful picture; beautiful example of a live well lived.

  5. By finding that space early in the morning, you also get the gift of those moments watching Sam “become” the sweet person he is, Ruth. What a loving story to share with us.

  6. I loved to read this. I always wake up very early and drive to school at 5.30 when I work. Often I read the newspaper first and hurry through some scriptures but I also want to spend time and investigate in a relationship!
    Thanks for inspiring me!