Month Four: When We Lie Down and When We Rise Up
“You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them…when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deut. 11:19
Imagine our hearts are snow-globes—little clear glass jars filled with glittery snow that falls all around a beautiful scene. From sunup to sundown, life shakes us up. All we can make out all day are quick, short glimpses of our hearts. But God gives us two very special moments each day, when all the glitter has settled and we can see clearly inside ourselves and others: when we wake in the morning, before we start our work for the day; and as we settle into our beds in the evening, when our day’s work is done. Twice a day we are still enough that our glitter settles and our hearts shine bright and clear.
Your Morning Snow-Globe
Think about that moment you awaken, when your hair is tangled, your pajamas are wrinkled and bits of leftover mascara dot your cheeks. Your mind has not yet begun working; you are simply awake. How you choose to spend those few quiet moments when you have no one to impress and nothing pressing reveals who you are at your very core. How do you respond to the stillness God designed? Do you take the opportunity to offer a simple prayer from your heart to His? Are you at peace with your soul while it is still, content to surrender your day to Him? What is your morning “scene,” Mom? Is it beauty and peace? Do you allow God to gently shake your snow-globe at the start of your day?
Or do you begin shaking yourself silly right away? Do you grab your globe from God’s hands and immediately begin ordering your day in your own way? Are you compelled to start shaking your world into place, controlling every detail from the moment your eyes open? Is your morning scene chaos and jumble? Full of Him or full of only yourself?
Your Daughter’s Morning Snow-Globe
God has given our daughters their very own proverbial snow-globes. The question is, who holds our daughter’s snow-globes? Do we believe we hold them in our own hands? Do we awaken them in ways that are convenient for us, with our own agendas, pushing them onto a path we have chosen for their day? Or do we awaken them gently and help them to seek God in the stillness of their mornings? Are we pointing our daughters immediately toward shaking themselves silly, or are we teaching them to yield to God’s gentle rocking?
My favorite way to wake my girls is to slowly open their blinds and sing a little chorus about how God’s mercies are new every morning. Then I love to lean over to kiss them and whisper, “Good morning, Glory.” I love to see their sleepy smiles and hear them whisper back their love for me. I encourage them to take a few minutes to slowly move into the day God has planned for them, and to seek His will for their day. It is a beautiful way to begin the day.
Your Daughter’s Evening Snow-Globe
The end of the day—the settling of our snow-globes—is just as important as the beginning of the day. When our work is done and we’ve walked through our days, how do we settle our daughters for sleep?
Often my mind and heart are still in fast forward when it’s time to settle my daughters into bed, thinking about all the work I still need to do after they are in bed. Or longing for the quiet and rest I have after they are asleep. I have to remind myself it is important to guide my daughters through this special time at night. It is a mother’s place to teach our daughters to gently quiet themselves and move smoothly into the stillness.
When my babies were young, I spent time nursing them down to sleep. I fed them at my breast and rubbed their soft heads; I sang over them and whispered prayers in their small, pink ears. As they have grown, I have changed techniques, but my aim has always been to love them during those special moments. Over the years I’ve taught them hymns, told them stories from my childhood, listened to their dreams and hopes, and worked through difficult issues they’ve encountered during their days. I am blessed to be a part of their settling times.
Your Evening Snow-Globe
Finally, moms, how do we settle ourselves? It’s true we have a lot to accomplish in our days and are shaken up quite a bit. But what we do with the last few minutes of our day can usher us gracefully into peaceful sleep if we are intentional. My favorite nights are the ones when we go to bed before we are ready to go to sleep. My husband and I play cards together or read side by side in bed. Sometimes we read and pray through Stormie O’Martian’s book The Power of a Praying Parent. When we take the time to settle, we are able to move past day-to-day “shop talk” into heart-conversation, which includes sharing how God was present in our days.
How do you settle yourself at night? Do you find you fall into bed exhausted, never giving yourself a chance to see how your snow-globe scene has settled? Or do you give God the opportunity to show you your own heart and set it aright? Don’t miss that opportunity; God is waiting for you each night.
[a few questions to mull over in your own heart]
- God designed a daily rising up and lying down, and He longs to meet us in those places. How have you been, or can you from now on, give time and place to Him during these?
- What specific ways can you yield to Him in the morning? Awake five minutes early? Say a prayer before you get out of bed? Use your shower time to ask Him His plans for your day? How can you embrace Him from the first?
- What specific ways can you teach your daughter to yield to Him in the morning? How can you express His tenderness and new mercies and guide her into loving Him first thing?
- Honestly, how do you fall into bed each night? Filled up with television? Dragging your tired bones into bed and collapsing? (I do that sometimes, I admit.) Or do you take the time to chat with God about your day, thanking Him for His presence?
- What specifically can you do to settle your snow-globe each evening? What ushers you into His presence, His stillness, His peace?
- What specifically can you do to settle your daughter’s snow-globe? How can you communicate to her that God wants to spend time with her before she drifts off to sleep? How can you show her He is waiting at her bedside to hear all about her day?
[storing God’s Word in your heart and soul]
Ask God to help you choose your memory verse for the month. Craft it, post it and memorize it. You will be asked to recite it with your daughter at the next group gathering.
[ideas for your mother-daughter journal]
Idea: Tell your daughter the different bedtime routines you’ve had for her through the years. Ask her if she remembers the earliest ones. Ask her which are her favorites.
Idea: Share your own childhood bedtime routines (good ones) with your daughter. Tell her about special mornings and evenings you experienced in your own childhood.
Idea: Ask your daughter how she would like to be awakened and put to sleep. Tell her how you would like to be awakened and put to sleep. (Maybe you can plan to care for each other in those ways.)
[ideas for special time with your daughter]
Idea: Put together a “Bedtime Box” full of special photographs, things she’s made, mementos from your childhood, music cd with special songs, etc. to pull out at bedtime. Use it regularly or just on special occasions. Add to it as you go along, and think about sending it with her when she moves out.
Idea: Record the two of you singing your favorite bedtime songs. Allow her to fall asleep to the recording.
Idea: Wake your daughter with a special song, music cd, or phrase. We like Steve Green’s Morning Light: Songs to Awaken the Dawn. We also like to play the special music we played during their deliveries.
Idea: Pray for God to give you and your daughter a special song to sing at bedtime. Repeat the song every night as part of your routine. We sing a benediction from the New Testament; I believe the tune and the words are now engraved on their souls.
Idea: Have tea in bed with your daughter. In the morning, or just before bed (make sure it’s decaf), bring in a beautiful tray of tea and cozy up to your daughter in bed. Ask her what’s going on in her mind and heart. Then simply sip and listen.
[what comes next]
After you read the teaching and choose your memory verse, use the questions, ideas for journaling, and ideas for carving out special time with your daughter as God leads. Remember, discipling is not checking off a list, it’s developing a relationship. If you are hosting the next group gathering, make sure to schedule your planning session for about two weeks from now. Your leader will email the next Participant Guide and Hostess Guide to you.
Oh, Lord, you hold our every moment in Your hands. You planned for special new beginnings with each sunrise and tender mercies each with each dusk. Thank You for creating these precious times when we can see hearts clearly, as You always do. Use these times to align us with Your heart and Your plans for us. We love you so dearly, and we want to live in close communion with You each and every day. We praise You in the name of Your Son, who experienced the blessing of drawing close to You each morning and evening when He lived on earth. Amen