Morning peace.

THIS MOMENT was a gift.
I want to cherish it forever. 

Part of me wishes I could save lovely smells in a little perfume bottle... if I could, I would keep the scents from: garlic roasting on an oven, fresh basil atop a handmade pizza, freshly shampooed hair, and as this morning proved – the cool air at dayspring. (among many others!) 

If I had to choose one of my senses over the other, smell would be high up on the list. Is that too strange?

There is something wonderfully refreshing about mornings like this. I think I will make it a habit of waking up earlier. How can I not, when there is this much morning peace? My newfound appreciation for mornings is... well, extremely new.

For the past few months, I have had a terribly hard time sleeping. My thoughts have run to + fro, causing my physical body to toss + turn. Restlessness. Lack of peace. In turn, my mornings become dreaded. No one wants to wake up early when they've hardly slept or slept smoothly in a long time.

But it's all changing.

I can only thank Jesus for the peace He has put inside me as I lay my head down and also awake. The storms of this life cannot overwhelm me, for HE is my rock and refuge. A friend of mine sent me verses from Psalm 91 at the most perfect moment. Although she was unaware of the difficulty I have at night and the fears that I feel, Jesus used her to encourage my heart.

The following verses are my favourite from Psalm 91:

(v. 1) Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

By living in fellowship with Him, I will find rest. I will find deep peace, comfort, and protection.

(v. 4) Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.

For me, fear comes in the night. The possibilities of what could happen in the darkness, when I am not awake or able to "protect" myself or my family have often frightened me. But then I read this verse, and remember I do not have to be afraid. He is keeping watch, just like it is written in Psalm 121:5, "The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade."

(v. 9-11) If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

Every time I read this verse, I get extremely excited! If I dwell in His presence and choose to trust Him with my life and my family's, then what do I have to fear? He is the Conqueror over all. We are protected!

I opened the window early and breathed. I took it all in. There was peace as I slept – no nightmares or waking up frequently. And when I woke up? It was far before my alarm threw a crazy party with its sounds. I was thrilled to be up and soaking in the stillness of the morning.

This is all such a gift. To be alive, to be breathing, to be at peace.

Like gentle whispers into my ear, I feel Him saying, "Erika, slow down." Not by taking more breaks for social media, napping, or having less on my schedule. But by taking the time to enjoy this life.

Morning, you may have just become a favored part of my day. Night? You will no longer scare me either. My Father watches over me!

"The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever." (Psalm 121:7-8)