I woke up at 4:30 this morning – 30 minutes before my alarm. A bit tired, but decided it was time to get up. I started my normal morning routine. First, unplug the iPhone, grab the cup of water I keep beside my bed and out to the couch where I start the day with my lover.

I love the mornings I get to get up and spend time with the one being who has been with me through every twist and turn of my life. I could not always see it, but it had finally been in the dark moments I spent locked in the isolation of my own jail cell I had finally understood his unshaking presence in my life. Since that moment, the love for my God has been the number one relationship in my life.

I do not love my God because I’m afraid of going to hell. In the darkest moments of my life, it was living that seemed like hell. My idea of hope in that moment was the slight chance in ending my own life I could finally fall into the arms of the loving God I had asked into my heart in a simple childhood prayer with my mother when I was no more than six or seven. I love my God because I have come to understand that even though I cannot see him like the people with skin on that I walk through life with every day, he is with me with unconditional love that only a perfect being can offer.

My pastor recently posted something on Facebook that worded the concept so well:

“You get to choose to be a follower of Jesus or not.
But if you choose not, notice that you are rejecting the author of all that is good; In the end, you will only have what is left when love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are removed.
After judgment day you cannot have God’s virtues without God period “

I was writing these words in my journal when I suddenly felt that I was supposed to type up my thoughts to share. I normally share much more processed thoughts, but on this particular morning I felt that someone might benefit from hearing about my daily devotional process.

After putting my water and iPhone on the coffee table it was off to the kitchen to make coffee. Some people enjoy life without coffee, but I am not one of them. Even in jail, I had relished every sip of the instant coffee I received from commissary, and dissolved into the lukewarm tap water from the sink in my jail cell.

To quote a meme I saw on Facebook recently:

“I tried starting a day without coffee once….

My court date is pending.”

…Could not say it better myself.

So, I was off to make coffee. Normally I start my devotions with my favorite daily devotional, Jesus Calling, by Sarah young. The original copy was given to me by a mentor about 15 years ago, but Diesel ate that copy. So, I now have a new copy that I enjoy reading nearly every day. I’m always amazed by how apropos its words seem to be to my daily experience.

My sister, who introduced me to this mentor, recently reminded me of something our mentor’s mother had shared with her years ago about what it means to fear the Lord. Her mom’s answer, “it is the wholesome dread of displeasing Him.” It reminds of me of the relationship with my earthy father and the love I have in making him proud and the sorrow I feel in disappointing him.

Next, I typically pick up my Bile and start wherever I left off in my current journey to read through the Bible in a year. However, this particular morning, for some reason I felt that I was supposed to start my time with journaling. Ever since an intense therapy session on Wednesday, when I had some major breakthroughs, I have been doing a lot of journaling in the time I have off from work due to Covid.

Before I do anything else, I start with the daily discipline of making my bed while the Keurig brews my coffee. It is in the small things that I feel it is important to practice the skill of discipline in my life. Nobody else sees it, and it takes 30 seconds, but something about it helps me feel organized as I start the day.

Next, I moved into my office and sat down at my desk where I have been journaling the past few days. I turned on some worship music and began to write. At some point I felt that I should stop and type what I had been writing. So, I logged into my computer and open a Word document. ”Thank goodness for the dictation feature in Word”, I thought to myself, “it would be such a pain to type out all of this after hand writing it in my journal.”

So, I picked up my headset and began reading the words into my Word document and here I am at the end of whatever I feel like I am supposed to share from my personal journal for the day.

Not sure if it was useful or TMI but ever since my felony and other sins became matters of public record, I have learned that I am actually able to have more personal privacy over the truly important matters when I am very transparent in the details that others seem to find more interesting about me.

To my soul, only my lover’s opinion really matters and he knows my heart, so I share many things openly, and the rest is for me to treasure with my God, and the closest people in my life.