“Get Up and Grow,” Ensign, Aug. 1979, 61
It is ironic how one can give fervent thanks in nighttime prayers for many blessings and arise the next day yelling at those very blessings. But so it was for me. I awoke one morning to find myself overburdened with early morning chores because sleep had appealed to me more than arising early. The house was cluttered, the baby was crying, and my three-year-old was loudly demanding something to eat. With those incentives and an unattractive reflection in the mirror staring me in the face, I arose with a growl and a snort and a promise to myself that my children would take an early nap.
I was in a rut. I knew it, and I knew what to do about it. But the warm blankets and comfortable bed were too tempting. A virtuous woman “riseth while it is yet night,” says Proverbs 31:15 [Prov. 31:15], and the scripture goes on to tell all the many things that this woman can accomplish because she arises early. She is not a frustrated woman. There was that dreadful word—frustrated.
I really had very little to be frustrated about. I had a wonderful husband, many friends, and a beautiful new baby. My three-year-old son was also one of my blessings, but this active young soul was a very tangible challenge in my life. Yet here I stood (or sagged) as a frustrated individual. I knew that the only solution was to change my habits.
Therefore, with mind as “the master of my fate,” when the clock struck four the next morning, I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom to wash my face and further awaken my somewhat dulled senses. I talked to myself in encouraging tones: “You’ve got the will power; you are a child of God.”
I read the scriptures. I reread the scriptures. I couldn’t believe that I actually understood them the first time through. The rusty cogs of an unused mind were starting to move again. Movement is wonderful!
“Time for prayer,” I thought. So I prayed. After two whole minutes without interruption, I quit my mumbling of trite phrases and began to talk to the Lord. What an exhilarating feeling to know when you are doing something right!
With the housework quickly out of the way, I even had time for a brisk walk around the block before breakfast. This was great, as I communed with nature, exercised my limbs, and enjoyed near silence in a waking world.
As I served breakfast to my uncomplaining husband, I basked in the joy of seeing this dear man eat his breakfast for the first time in many months.
My time with the children was free of frustrating chores and thus much more delightful. I became part of my three-year-old’s activities, and I found my toddler fascinating—and not so frustrating any more. We began to plan our days together, even down to the time when we would both take naps, if I had stayed up later than 9:30 the night before. I found that generally I was not tired—my metabolism adjusted. (Others, of course, may need more sleep.)
The things I could accomplish as a wife and mother gave me the special feeling that eludes many with wealth untold—that of actually being happy. My frustration was replaced with satisfaction as I learned to “prepare every needful thing; and establish a house … of prayer … a house of learning … a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).
Although there are still days when I need a little more sleep, they are few, for I’ve found the rewards of a full day that starts early. Jill Dudley Dyches, St. Louis, Missouri