Giving in to New Rhythms

In my imaginary world, my daily quiet time looks a little like an Instagram post—the day’s first light shining on my clean kitchen table where I sit with a perfect, steaming hot cup of coffee and Jesus, my Bible, and heart open and alert.

The problem? I am not a morning person.

I learned my first year in college that any class before 10 a.m. was a risk. After college I learned that the second shift at a newspaper suited me just fine. Later, having babies did not “change” me—as if changing diapers and sunrise feedings would permanently change my internal clock.

In fact, during the long season of raising my little ones I confessed to a group of ministry colleagues that my daily quiet time consisted of saying prayers and listening for God during the many feedings, diaper changes, and bouts of fussiness in the middle of any part of the day or night. The men gasped as if I had blasphemed. The single women looked afraid. The only other person in the room who nodded in understanding was the other female married-with-children colleague.

Breastfeeding actually doesn’t come easily or naturally to every mother, but for the most part, after the initial awkwardness, fear, and confusion on the part of everyone, baby and I got the hang of it.

When I think back, breastfeeding really was a metaphor for my spiritual life and the spiritual practices I have been learning throughout my life. And in that rocking chair and hours of nursing three infants through their first year of life, many prayers and hours of listening to and for God happened.

I am learning to surrender and trying to find joy when my body wakes up at three in the morning.

It wasn’t close to picture perfect and it wasn’t a rhythm or image of spiritual life I had ever been taught—yet it was true, transformative, and a uniquely feminine experience.

A lifetime of struggling to schedule my spiritual life correctly is slowly, painfully, surprisingly falling into a rhythm that once again reminds me of how I, as a woman, am created in God’s image.

Not unlike those long days and nights with a fussy infant or sick baby or cranky toddler, I find myself entering into another season of life impacted by what my female body does differently and uniquely different than a man’s. My body is starting to shut down the baby-making season and as a result sleep does not come or remain deep or sustained as easily. There are times when I can sleep through the night, but there are others when I wake up repeatedly for no other reason than that is what my body is going to do.

And so I am learning to give in to these new rhythms of my body, just like I did twenty years ago.

I am learning to surrender and trying to find joy when my body wakes up at three in the morning.

I am trying to assume God has something in that moment and to listen—if nothing other than taking a few minutes to say a prayer, to give thanks, to acknowledge my dependence.

I am learning to give in to the abrupt alertness this “not a morning person” is experiencing when I wake up with night sweats, and I am learning to embrace an opportunity to press into a new reality that is messier than my imaginary world where my spiritual life is picture perfect.

And I am surprised and delighted that despite not being a morning person, I can still learn to embrace something new, something uniquely female, something that God is inviting me to live into—even if it is in the morning.

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About the Author

Kathy Khang is a writer, speaker, and coffee drinker who works with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA and attends Libertyville (Illinois) Covenant Church with her family. She is one of the authors of More Than Serving Tea, a book that addresses the intersection of faith, gender, and ethnicity from the perspective of Asian American women. She has a weak spot for nail polish, books, and writing utensils. She blogs at morethanservingtea.wordpress.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you Kathy for your words of truth. I can relate to your experiences, as a woman, in the God designed stages of life!

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