I asked God to wake me up this morning before an early morning conference call.  I requested 5:30 thinking that would give me enough time to turn on my computer to get the phone number and access code before I joined the 6AM call.  Well, God woke me up at …  4:22. No one I know wakes up that early.  But, I recognized the voice that was calling and I knew that time with Him would be second to none!!  So, up I sprang bright eyed and looking for a cup of coffee.  Once settled with my coffee, Bible and computer in hand I began to draw near to the Father and spent time reading the word and in prayer.  This morning, I knew I had heard God but I remember a time when I would come to Him, Bible, coffee and journal ready and would walk away wondering why I even bothered.  I wanted to hear God, I wanted to know He was listening to me, I wanted to draw near and experience Him; but there was nothing. I would leave my quiet time discouraged and troubled, maybe I didn’t have enough time or didn’t press in the right way or just didn’t measure up to being one of those God trusted to whom He could reveal Himself.  During the summer of 1997 all that changed!

At this time, I had two little girls, Bethany was 3 and Bailey was 1, and that would be the summer that changed me for the rest of my life.  I began to wake up every night at the same time… 3AM.  Now, my babies began to sleep through the night when they were 10 weeks old, they all would have full belly’s around 11 and wake again around 5 – so a 3 AM wakeup call was not from a hungry infant or a toddler with bad dreams but another sound was waking me at that time of night (I say night because if it is dark, it is still night!)  Like Samuel, I would check to see if the girls had awakened and were waiting for mommy to respond. NOPE!  Then I would go back to bed and back to sleep after some tossing and turning.  After several nights, I knew something was up so I decided that the next time it happened I would once again like Samuel say, “Yes, God, Your servant is listening.”  The 1st time I did this I was surprised to hear Him gently whisper a scripture passage –

Isaiah 50:4, 5 says,

 “The Lord GOD has given Me
  The tongue of the learned,
  That I should know how to speak
  A word in season to him who is weary.
  He awakens Me morning by morning,
  He awakens My ear
  To hear as the learned.
  The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
  And I was not rebellious,
  Nor did I turn away.

 My prayers had been for me to be able to hear the voice of God, to know when He spoke to me.  John 10 says, “His sheep hear His voice and another they do not follow.”  I wanted to hear HIS voice and follow no other.  I guess the question in my mind was, “HOW?”  I realized that morning that my 3 AM wake up call was my “HOW?” I was going to have the tongue of the learned because I was going to have the ear of the learned, God was going to open my ears if I was not rebellious nor turn away. So, I said YES to God, and my 3 AM wake up call became a time of deep prayer, reading the word, writing in my journal and most of all HEARING GOD! I heard Him tell me all kinds of things, like if it would rain that day or not.  He would let me in on secrets and see if I could keep them, He would prepare me for the time I would be mommy or wife and He even began to whisper to me about His great love for me.  I soon knew I could hear the voice of God, my Shepherd calling to me and I was following His call. 

 After about 3 months, my 3 AM wake up call with God’s sweet whisper came to an end and I had a choice to make: was I still willing to get up before my little ones and seek my Heavenly Father?    I would like to say, ”YES,” by all means I got up every morning with out prompting to seek my Father, but that would not be the truth.  I did however learn to seek Him early in the morning on a regular basis using an alarm clock to get me out of bed about an hour before the girls would get up.  Pretty soon I could not beat them out of bed so I began to let them join me in my quiet times.  Bethany would get her Bible, pencil and paper and sit quietly by my side mimicking me in my time with God.  But Bailey did not want to sit still and wait with Mommy.  So, one day at church I was asking God what I should do because it was becoming more and more difficult to have time with Him.  He told me to DANCE! Wait, what? You want me to DANCE? This was about my quiet time, not exercise time.  But, I had learned to hear the voice of my Shepherd and I knew it was Him speaking.  So, the next morning Bailey, Bethany and I got up and put on some praise music and began to dance.  The first look on Bailey’s face was PRICELESS – she looked at me as if I had lost my mind but soon her puzzled expression gave way to a smile and then we were laughing, giggling, twirling, singing, lifting holy hands and praising with loud voices as we danced.  After about a week of dancing I woke up and heard the Father say, “Now pray.” – So I began to pray and lo and behold Bailey came walking out with her Bible, pen and paper ready to have a quiet time with the Lord.  I was amazed.  Listen, Trust & Obey.  God knows what He is doing when we listen to His ways, know He is trustworthy and obey His promptings.   

 Fast forward to today – I did not set my alarm, but asked the Lord to wake me up @5:30 for a 6AM conference call, He woke me up at 4:22 – RISE & SHINE to seek His face – what a precious time.  I was filled with Him by the time the conference call came around.  God’s word is so rich, a little morsel is like a chocolate truffle waiting to be savored, enjoyed & ingested.  And yet, we can also sit at the banquet table and stuff ourselves with His word. 

 All of it comes by FAITH!  Heb10:22 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…”  Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God MUST BELIEVE that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

 I seek by faith, I read by faith, I pray by faith believing the scripture that when I draw near to Him then He draws near to me, James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He WILL draw near to you,”  whether I FEEL His presence or not.  There are days I shut the word and declare that I came by faith and I know that because I drew near that He drew near and I am walking near Him throughout the day.  I also realize that sometime during the day I will have a download straight from heaven, maybe while I am washing dishes or doing laundry, maybe while I am running errands but suddenly insight will come. His ways work and drawing near to the Father on a consistent and regular basis opens our lives to receive so much more from Him. 

 Today, you are all in my heart as I seek the face of the Father – “Salvation is free, but maturity comes at a price.”  There will be a price to pay as we continue to mature and grow in the Lord but the rewards both on earth and in heaven far outweigh the price!  “Father, I pray that every person whose faith is little or whose “believer” is broken will be restored and I ask by faith that You will put Your deposit of faith into their hearts to see and hear You as they seek Your face.  Father, Increase their faith and let them have the heart of Abraham who believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.  Help each of us to seek your face with a true heart.  I ask that those who are seeking by faith to be taken to a new level in You, to hear You in a new way, to respond to you in love and joy as they grow in revelation and obedience to You and Your word.  Thank You for all the discussion, the love and the iron sharpening iron that we experience within the body.  In Your name, Amen.”

 The girls and I still dance, lifting holy hands, whirling, twirling and having fun expressing our love to the Father. The boys have added their own expressions of worship to the mix as well.