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Shaped Through the Magic Hour by Jill Diaz

I have an alarm set for 5 am, but I rarely need it.

My body has become so accustomed to my morning ritual that 4:55 am rolls around and I can already taste my coffee. I am what others call a morning person, a real live human who loves to be up before dawn (don’t ask me to do anything productive after 6 am, though).

I tip-toe out of bed and grab my coffee. If my alarm doesn’t wake me up, then my subtle coffee beep that I set up the night before will.

I head to my favorite spot in the living room, the sunken in and well-worn corner of our sectional couch. The spot I spent the majority of my first maternity leave, where I have nursed both our babies, the spot where those babies who are now toddlers love to sit on my lap when they wake up and the spot I come to most mornings to spend time with God.

I have always loved early mornings, but since becoming a mother, this time has become more precious than it ever was before. I used to religiously go to the gym at this hour, but now I come here first to linger with my Bible and my coffee.

For years I was afraid of the Bible. I went to church, prayed, did the things I thought a good Christian should do. But I had no idea how much I was missing by not spending time in the word. It was not until life brought me to my knees that I became desperate enough to open it, and I have not closed it since.

Typically I will choose one book to read per month and take my time reading one chapter each morning. I have been amazed time and time again how somehow a verse will practically shout at me when I need it most.

When I was in a shame cycle and thinking about mistakes of my past, wondering if I am even worthy of God’s love, I was led to John 8:7.

“Let him without sin cast the first stone” and I cried, knowing that Jesus loves me despite my mistakes.

When I struggled with forgiveness of a loved one, I stumbled upon Luke 7:47.

“Therefore I tell you, her sins are forgiven because she has loved much, but he who is forgiven little loves little.” and I worked on my heart.

When I traumatically lost a parent during the pandemic and wondered if it was okay to hug my family, I was led to Ecclesiastes.

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every or purpose under heaven...a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing”

And I felt Him say- now is the time to embrace.

When I felt myself having a critical spirit towards others, I read Matthew 7:1.

“Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.”

I did not seek out these verses, they found me. And while I do not always have these ‘aha’ moments when I am in my bible, this ritual soothes me and brings me peace. It is a ritual that teaches me the nature of God, which is love above all else. It is simple but it is powerful.

Jill Diaz resides in Chicagoland, IL with her husband and two toddlers. In addition to writing personal essays of faith and motherhood on her blog, Blessed in the Mess, she runs her own College Counseling business in which she guides students and families through the college search and application process. You can also find her on Instagram @blessedinthemess

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