During the first week of July in my hometown of Battle Creek, MI our city welcomes hot-air balloonists from all over the world for a hot-air balloon competition and festival.
My girls live for this week of the year. When the balloons come to town our morning and evening schedules revolve around daily 6:30 am and pm launch times.
I remember one morning in particular. My usually slow risers paraded into my room as soon as daylight broke across the sky.
“Wake up! It’s time to go chase Sugar Bear,” they cried as their voices filled our room like a chorus of chirpy birds.
The Sugar Bear balloon is by far my girls’ favorite. With big ears and big eyes he’s easy to spot, easy follow, and follow him we do.
As my husband and I rolled out of bed, grabbed a cup of coffee, and headed for the door Aletheia could hardly contain her excitement. It didn’t matter that she was still in her PJ’s or hadn’t had a bite to eat for breakfast…we were on the hunt for Sugar Bear.
We headed for the airport, the central station where all the balloonists meet. When the cargo vans took off we followed suit.
We drove for miles into the countryside keeping the Sugar Bear van and basket in sight. Aletheia had never gotten the chance to see the balloons take off, and we knew that if we stayed close this would be a balloon hunt she would not soon forget.
Before we knew it we were standing on the edge of a stranger’s cornfield watching Sugar Bear take flight.
Sitting on top of her daddy’s shoulders, arms stretched to the sky, Aletheia waved to Sugar Bear as joy and wonder filled her face.
“Bye, Sugar Bear, I love you!” She yelled as the balloon soared above her.
It was one of those moments when joy was so thick, so rich, it almost had a texture. I’ll never forget that morning or the look I saw on my daughter’s face.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 30:5:
“For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (NLT)
Joy comes in the morning!
Whether your morning starts with a mad hunt for Sugar Bear or with work, or school, or demands from people who count on you, this promise holds true.
Joy comes in the morning but it is up to us to live in it.
I know firsthand how easy it is to wake in the morning feeling anything but joy. There are many mornings when the joy I long for is found in going back to sleep. But isn’t this sort of a waste.
Each new day dawns with fresh grace, fresh beauty. The God who loved me yesterday, loves me again today. He’s chosen to give me another morning, another day to live, and love, be His girl. He’s put air in my lungs and a song in my heart.
No matter what lies before me, He’s with me, He’s near me, and in Him all things are new.
What could possibly bring more joy than that? And this is the gift we’re given each day.
You don’t have to be a morning person. You just have to have eyes to see and heart that is tuned to Him.
I remember hearing a story about my friend’s son who loved to play baseball. Whenever he woke up on the morning of a game, he jumped from his bed and declared, “It’s game day.”
This is the passion, this is the joy, I believe God loves to see in us. When we live in the joy He gives us each morning, we love and honor Him.
So try it, even if just for a week. Make the decision to find joy in the morning. For one week, be intentional. Before you plow into your day, before God and His gift of a brand new day falls off the radar, do something to hunt for joy.
Pause at your window; look long at the beauty of the sun, the rain, the sky…
Give thanks for three specific things before brushing your teeth, taking a shower, drinking a cup of coffee…
Choose a favorite worship song or ringtone for your alarm that inspires you, that gets you up and going… (My alarm is set to a song that always puts me in the mood to write.)
Snuggle with you kids for a few extra minutes…
Give your spouse an extra long kiss at the door…
Write a note to someone you love…
Mornings can be hectic, stressful, and daunting, but they don’t have to be without joy.
Joy comes in the morning, sometimes by way of Sugar Bear, always by way of His love.
~ In loving memory of Grandma Delores who loved the balloons more than anyone and gave us many sweet memories chasing ‘Sugar Bear’ joy.
Thanks Jennifer! What a blessed reminder that “Joy comes in the morning!” To grasp hold of this promise makes each day unfold with blessings upon blessings, graces upon graces! You and your little family bring joy to me each morning!
Thanks, Mom and you always brighten mine…especially when your pumpkin muffins are involved. 🙂
How I wish I could have been there that morning to have witnessed the joy on Aletheia’s face. Priceless!!! I miss those balloon festivals.
Yes, it’s the best part of living in Battle Creek. Wish you could have been here too, I think there would have been some joy on Brownie faces as well.
Jennifer, this was a lovely post. I was reminded this morning as I was waking up (a part of my day that is really not my favorite) that I was going to choose joy. God has been so gracious even in today’s hiccups. Thanks for this post, it’s really kept joy as a choice at the forefront of my mind.
Alexis, thank you so much for your comment. I am happy to hear that this post was an encouragement to you. Thanks for reading, sweet friend!