by Jennie Heideman
Are you a morning person or a night owl? For years and years, I was a hard-core night owl. I could easily stay up until 2:00 or 3:00 am. Then, I started having kids. And, somehow, my babies did not inherit my night-owl tendencies. Instead, they took after my husband, who is an early bird. Soon, my 2:00 am bedtime did not jive with my sons’ 5:00 am wake-up time.
Well, babies have a way of turning your whole life upside down and inside out and make you do things you never thought you would do. So, slowly but surely, my sweet morning birds turned me into a morning person. And, as they did so, God used my children to show me the beauty of mornings. For example, I began to notice the beauty in watching the last star give way to dawn. I even saw beauty in feeling the cold floors beneath my feet as I shuffled my way toward the coffee machine. But the most beautiful thing I discovered was the grace of having breakfast with Jesus.
This discovery happened about five years ago while I was in the thick of early motherhood. These were the years when it seemed like I would never again get a full night’s sleep or be able to cook without a baby on my hip. During that time, I was doing a Bible study on the book of John. I was doing this study in the Spring. So the days were getting a little longer, the Pacific Northwest tulips were peaking through the thawing soil, and I could feel my body and spirit awaking after a long, cold winter. This was the scene as I began to study John 21—in the afternoons, during nap time, mind you. In case your unfamiliar, John 21 documents one of the interactions the disciples had with Jesus shortly after His resurrection from the grave.
In this account, Peter (the one who had denied Christ) and John were sitting in a boat early in the morning after a night of unsuccessful fishing. A man stood on the shore and shouted out to the disciples, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” When they replied that they hadn’t, He suggested that they throw their nets on the other side of the boat. Suddenly John realized who this man was. “It is the Lord!” he shouted. When Peter heard John’s exclamation, he jumped into the water and swam to Jesus. Once on shore, Peter saw that Jesus had already started a fire and was cooking some fish to serve with bread. Jesus then invites John and Peter to “Come and have breakfast,” and the disciples ate with Jesus.
I love visualizing the picture of Jesus cooking a simple breakfast by the sea as the sun rose. I can almost hear the crackling fire, feel its warmth, and smell the sea when I read this account of Jesus. I also love Peter’s reaction when he realized that the risen Jesus was waiting to greet him. Instead of remaining in the boat as John rowed it to shore, he jumped into the water and swam to Jesus. It was as if he couldn’t wait another moment to get to Him.
As I studied this chapter all those years ago, something shifted in my heart. Though I was already beginning to warm up to the idea of my early mornings, I still didn’t see the full beauty in them. However, after studying John 21, I realized that I have a loving friend who was waiting to have breakfast with me. In John 6:35, Jesus tells a crowd of people, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” God’s Word is our daily bread, the only thing that can satiate us, and Jesus is ready to give His Word as our sustenance each day. I realized I wanted to be as excited as Peter was to meet Jesus in the early morning. So one morning, as my toddler and baby played on the floor next to me, I resisted the desire to turn on Good Morning America after making my cup of coffee. Instead, I opened my Bible and had breakfast with Jesus.
It has been five years since that first breakfast date with Jesus. My kids are now much older. I have had hundreds of nights where I got eight hours of sleep. And, I can’t remember the last time I had to cook dinner with a baby on my hip. But one thing remains the same, every morning, as the last star gives way to the dawn, I sip my coffee and accept Jesus’s invitation to read His Word—my daily bread and the only thing that can truly sustain me.
This is an invitation He gives to you, too. Every day, Jesus invites you to spend time with Him. You don’t have to answer His call first thing in the morning (though I recommend giving it a try), and spending time with Him definitely doesn’t need to be “Instagram worthy.” But He is waiting to give you the sustenance you need, through His Word. Won’t you join Him?