From Night Owl to Morning Lark

Regularly I am asked questions that revolve around the struggle a mom has to get up in the morning at the time she both needs and wants to arise. This appears to be a common problem for stay-at-home moms. We don’t have the accountability that an away-from-home job would give, forcing us to get up in the morning at a designated time.

I believe that as stay-at-home moms we should place a priority on getting up early in the morning to begin our day. Unless we view this as an important part of our lives, we will allow many excuses to stay in bed in the morning to infiltrate our thinking. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that since we don’t have to punch a time clock at a job, we can allow our feelings and weaknesses to dictate our schedule. However, there are many problems that will come about in our lives, our homes, and our children’s lives if we don’t make the choice to be disciplined about when we get up in the morning.

One area to be hurt when we stay in bed in the morning will be the daily tasks to be accomplished. The life of a stay-at-home mom is filled with homemaking, child care, and perhaps homeschooling. These are time-consuming jobs that require us to be diligent, energetic, and efficient. When we rise in the morning, we get a handle on our jobs before they overtake us with discouragement. “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13). Plainly and simply, we won’t have the time in our days to keep up if we don’t get up and get busy in the morning.

Even before the daily activities get under way, the first area to suffer in our priorities if we don’t get up early in the morning will probably be our time in the Word and in prayer. Even though this should be our first priority, when we don’t rise before the children, we will let the urgent push the important out of our schedule. Here are links to two Mom’s Corners on the benefits of daily time with the Lord Jesus: September 2004 and November 2006.

Not only will our ability to be the moms we want to be suffer when we don’t have time in the Word, but we will set a powerful, negative example for our children as well. If it isn’t important enough for Mom to get up in the morning to spend time with Jesus, why would it be important to the child? We can’t be surprised or dismayed by children who don’t have a heart for the Lord Jesus Christ if we don’t lead the way for them by making time with the Lord of such an urgency that we choose to get up early enough to keep our Bible reading and prayer time.

We are the models for our children. They are learning from what they see in our lives. When we choose to allow excuses to keep us in bed, we are teaching our children to do the same thing. We really don’t want to teach our children to be sloths. “As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed” (Proverbs 26:14).

The mom who isn’t disciplined to get up in the morning before the children is educating her children in her ways without purposing to do so. This mom will then face an ongoing, discouraging battle to try to get her children out of bed in the mornings to eat breakfast, do their chores, and start school because they are following her example.

For the future, this mom has set a path for her children to be weighed down throughout their lives with the same struggle she has had to battle in getting up in the morning. “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 6:9-11). As an adult, a son will have to get up to go to work each day. A daughter with a family of her own will also need to start her day early. If they haven’t learned these simple disciplines of life in their early years, they will be hindered in what God calls them to accomplish each day.

How does one go from a night owl to a morning lark? I would expect that many more moms would consider themselves to be night owls than to be morning larks by nature. We have allowed ourselves to become those night owls by our personal habits. The starting place, I believe, is to admit that being a night owl is a choice and that we are only making excuses when we say it is the way we are naturally, especially if the implication is that we can’t change. We might even go so far as to define it as sin if the Lord has been calling us to get up earlier in the morning, but we are still choosing to stay up at night.

The second step is to begin to pray, asking the Lord Jesus to help us get up when the alarm clock goes off. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It might help to put the alarm clock across the room.

The third step is to go to bed earlier at night. When the children are in bed and the house gets quiet, it is a temptation to catch up on what was neglected during the day or do something we want to do for ourselves. Staying up late almost guarantees that we won’t be able to get up in the morning. This is especially true if there are babies or toddlers in the home who are likely to need some kind of attention in the night. If we go to bed early, then we are more able to be up in the night, meet the need, and still arise in the morning.

Some moms have husbands who stay up later at night. In that case, a mom could try planning an afternoon nap into her schedule so that she is receiving the daily amount of sleep she needs when she is not able to go to bed earlier in the evening. Sometimes if the wife is willing to go to bed earlier, then the husband might be as well. It could be a benefit to both of them.

Here is a testimony of a mom who, with the Lord’s help, has been able to make the transition from a night owl to a morning lark.

“This worked for me . . . I borrow my husband’s self-discipline! He works construction and depending on travel time he is up by 6 a.m. every day. As his jobs change, so does his wake up time. Right now we are on a 4:45 a.m. wake up. Ugh! It’s the hardest yet!

“When we started I asked him to wake me and ASK me to get up with him. Being in submission to him is what actually got me out of bed.

“This has benefited him as well. I also enjoy the quiet time with him in the morning because we are able to discuss the day’s events. I pack him a healthy lunch. We both go to bed earlier now, too, so he is not as tired. Before he would stay up with me and be exhausted in the morning. I really can’t tell you how much this has improved our communication and marriage.” A Morning Lark

If becoming a morning lark sounds like an impossibility to you, schedule an afternoon nap so you will know that no matter how tired you might be during the morning, you will be able to take a nap later on. If you aren’t tired, you can use that time for another project.

There are seasons in our lives when we can’t get up early in the morning, such as when we have an illness, the children are sick, or we are up a long time in the night with a newborn baby. However, for most of us, in our daily lives we can choose to exercise the amount of self-discipline necessary to get up the in the morning.

I want to strongly encourage each of us to arise in the morning at a reasonable enough time, teaching our children to do the same. Ask the Lord Jesus for the strength and grace to follow through on your desire to get up and get going. Please don’t allow any excuses to keep you in bed in the morning. May we be women who want to spend every minute of our days in service to the Lord Jesus.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Balaam Rides Again

This week Joseph and John worked alongside a number of other men pouring the basement floor of our house. The owner of the business doing the concrete work is saved and had asked if our boys could help because he was shorthanded. He said he had also spoken with his men, and they would be careful of their language. It wasn’t something I would consider for any great length of time, but for a portion of a day and considering I’d be around some of the time, I agreed.

At one point while I was observing the progress of the work, one of the men spoke with me briefly. He was very complimentary of the boys and asked what we had done to raise boys like that. I said there were three very important aspects in our child raising. First and foremost is the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives. Second is the Word of God. Third is that the children don’t watch any TV or movies.

He looked at me and said, “Now that is pretty incredible. No TV! It makes sense though.” This man is a believer and knows many young men who are believers. He saw something different in our boys. I’m the first to say that we are nothing special. However, removing bad influences from children is very important so as not to quench the Word working in their lives.

Sunday I had another conversation, and it was somewhat similar. I was speaking with a gentleman who has lived a few more years than I have. He expressed his concern regarding how worldly some believers were that he had had contact with the previous week. His heart was deeply grieved about it, and he wondered why our children weren’t like that.

I had roughly the same explanation for him. When I attributed credit to the Lord Jesus, being in the Word daily, and NO TV, he started scratching his chin and said that had to be it. He began comparing his now-grown children and evaluating a period of time when he didn’t have a TV to later in life when he did. He said he could see a remarkable difference, now that he was thinking about it.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places” (Numbers 33:50-52). As I read this passage recently, I noticed how the Lord was very specific in His instructions for when they conquered Canaan. They were to drive out the inhabitants, destroy their pictures, their idols, and places of idol worship.

Pictures are very powerful in how they can influence, and God said the Israelites were to get rid of the pictures. God knew the effect it would have on the Israelites, and that is why the pictures were to be destroyed. Those pictures would have been nothing compared to the sizzle of today’s TV programs. Yet God said to destroy them because He wanted to protect His children from being pulled to the world.

That is why my heart breaks for families who choose to watch TV or movies and think that it won’t harm them. Our world is in love with flesh, and today’s clothing is designed to show off as much as possible. From my discussions with parents, immodesty is pandemic in the churches. Why is there not an outcry about it? I’m confident it is because that is what is being portrayed on TV, and since that is the norm, everyone is willing to accept it. If the immodesty was to go beyond what was on TV, then there would be an outcry, but as long as it goes no further, it is accepted.

A while ago, I had another startling reminder of the power of influence. I had some interactions with a few young, homeschooled adults whom I had not seen in years. Previously, they had been conservative in their dress and behavior. Yet, their appearance and actions had now changed drastically, and in my opinion, were very worldly. How could this be? It is all about the influence in their lives.

For these young people, it had to do with the others with whom they were interacting. The change didn’t happen overnight, but in time, they had begun to look like their friends. We can be sure that our children are going to want to emulate those by whom they are impressed.

TV, subtly but definitively, grabs the hearts of our children. That is one reason why the TV is such a powerful influence. There is a reason why advertisers spend billions of dollars for TV ads. They work! They influence the people who watch the commercials. The same is true regarding the TV shows themselves. Children identify with certain stars and then want to wear similar clothes (or unclothes), adopt similar hairstyles, and model their speech and actions. The parents then wonder what happened to their child. Why does the child no longer listen to Mom and Dad?

As we travel we meet families who are not worldly, and their lives radiate the Lord Jesus. I haven’t asked every one of them, but for those I’ve asked, they don’t watch TV or movies. Is it a coincidence? I don’t think so. Getting the Beast out of the home is a wonderful first step, and it will take courage. With the Beast out, it is important that you are in the Word as a family every day. Structure your evening around your time in the Word. It will become the best time of the day.

Be cautious even if you don’t watch TV and movies in your family because, vicariously, through friends who do watch it, your children can be pulled to the world’s standards for clothing, entertainment, attitudes, and heart focus. If you have chosen to eliminate the influence of a TV in your home, but your children are spending time with those who are following the world’s path, they may still be significantly moved that way as well.

Balaam couldn’t curse the Israelites (Numbers 23:11), but he wreaked havoc on them by suggesting the Moabite woman lure the Israelite men away. “Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD” (Numbers 31:16). Seeking pleasure did what an army couldn’t do. In Numbers 25 we see that 24,000 Israelites were killed by plague because they followed after the Moabite women and were led into idolatry.

In the same way today, the children of the King, those who are to reach the world for Jesus, have been effectively slain or hamstrung so that there is no power. TV and the worldly, entertainment mindset it promotes, such as Super Bowl games, pizza parties, bowling parties, ski trips, lock-downs, and movies, have won the hearts of God’s people. Yes, Balaam rides again.

Posted in: Dad's Corner