practicing the pause

The light of a single candle can ebb the darkness out of a room within a moment. These streams of bent infrared often direct my eyes  towards the source of true light as I stare at their gleam and remember His goodness.

I sit like this in the mornings, seeking Him. I sit early, waiting for the peace to reign in my busy heart before I start the day. I wouldn’t miss this appointment for anything. It is my connection to the power source. It is the place we all need to find in our walking.  It is a place of belonging, and it has become the discipline that my soul requires.

It started with a chair, a story and a memory.

I read a story once, about a man of wisdom and time who set a wooden chair near his bed to pray each night. The chair wasn’t for him, it was for Jesus. It was a visual reminder that even though we don’t see Him, He is always there.  His family would often find him hunched over the chair in the morning, because rather than go to bed, he preferred the comfort of the  Savior’s presence, falling asleep in the lap of the Father. His was a practice of faith, employed daily, which filled his spirit and sealed the peace of  God in his heart. He made a choice to end his day talking to Jesus, fully present in prayer.

The story reminded me of the faithfulness I was taught as a child spending the weekends with my grandmother. Sunday always welcomed me with the joy and anticipation an overnight at Grandma’s house provided.  The bitter roasted smell of freshly brewed coffee wafted through the house, while the crinkle of the newspaper, as she sat snuggled in her chair, became the alarm clock of my childhood.

Drifting back in thought I remember how I would attempt to round the door frame on tiptoe quietly calculating just how to sneak past the creak in the floor, which would evidence my precipitous awakening. She heard me long before I hit that crack. I could see her smiling behind the white and black newsprint she scoured from front to back. Though she pretended to be stern with my rising, the joy shining through her blue eyes radiated love.  She would tell me much later, when I could appreciate it, of how she loved the quiet of the morning and the time to just let herself prepare for the day ahead.

These lessons touched me deep. The powerful quiet petition of a soul yearning to meet with the stillness of the Holy One creates an atmosphere of awe and wonder. I wanted a chair. I needed the connection. I longed for that simple faith.

This pause we practice early reveals the providence of preparation.

Each morning, before I can meet with my family and the unending lists waiting to be addressed, I have learned that I first need to meet with the Heavenly Father. Like my grandmother’s wise example and the touching story of the man with the chair, I have come to experience the power of giving the first part of every day,and the last, to the One who can do much with the little I give.

It seems simplistic to say that the most profound spiritual discipline in my life involves a cup of coffee,  an old rocking chair, and the quiet awe that anticipates the rising of the sun each morning.  In reality, only God could orchestrate the beauty that results from waiting patiently at His feet to be prepared for all that is to come in the day and the healing power of being present in His presence.

This discipline of practicing his presence, just by making the effort to pause and sit close to the Father, leads me to wait expectantly for His grace to show up and let His Spirit change me from the inside out.

             Be still, and know that I am God.~ Psalm 46:10


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This post is a part of a series of stories shared over at The High Calling. This week you will find a community of wordsmiths sharing stories of spiritual disciplines in their lives.  Grab a cup of coffee and an open heart, settle into your favorite chair and join us as we share thoughts and encouragement to lift you up.