My Life’s Defining Moments
by Charles R. Swindoll
For 63 years, I have started nearly every day the same way. My wife,
Cynthia, and I get up at 5:00 a.m. We have done this for so long that we
don’t need an alarm clock, no matter what time we went to bed. First
thing, one of us turns on the coffeepot that I prepared the night before.
Then we make up our bed together, giving the coffee time to brew. When
it’s ready, we pour two large cups and clean the coffeepot. Then we
head for our favorite, comfortable chairs in our family room and begin our
We spend a good, solid hour plus talking about everything on each of our
hearts—our children and grandchildren, our extended families, our
agendas for the day, and the challenges and joys of our church ministries
and Insight for Living Ministries. That include heartaches that must be
addressed, as well as tremendous blessings from both having outstanding
staffs. Sometimes we laugh—roaring, spontaneous laughter. Many, many
other times, we cry with very broken hearts. Always, we listen. Sometimes,
we pray. Each time, we pull from God’s Word thoughts, wisdom,
comfort, and challenges for change and direction.
Except when I was serving as a Marine on Okinawa, we’ve made this our
habit almost every day—when our four kids were young and now as our
home overflows with grandchildren and great grandchildren . . . months when
our work calendars haven’t had a blank line to spare . . . exhausting
seasons when one of us has had to be in the hospital. Even when our
ministry has taken us to the other side of the world, Cynthia has written
on our packing list: “insulated coffee cups, instant coffee,
cinnamon, sugar, and Coffee-mate®.” She even packs a
little appliance for heating up the water, so we never have an excuse not
to spend that precious time together!
Our love affair with God’s Word didn’t begin when we got
married. The Bible was honored and taught in our childhood homes. The
truths of Scripture had already begun drawing us in when we met as
teenagers. Cynthia was 16 and I was 19 when we had our first date. A week
later we became engaged! Immediately, we started attending two Bible
studies a week. The wisdom of the Word captivated us.
But I didn’t have a systematic, trustworthy approach to studying the
Scriptures . . . and I wasn’t reaping the benefits of consistency.
That began to change in June of 1955 when the girl of my dreams looked me
in the eyes and said, “I do.” The two of us knew little about
life, much less marriage. We just knew that we loved each other and
couldn’t bear the thought of spending the rest of our years with
So, we married young. We grew up together. Year by year, we also grew
closer to one another and to the Lord.
That didn’t just happen. People don’t marry young and end up
more deeply in love 63 years later by accident . . . and people don’t
grow close to the Lord simply by becoming Christians. Both happened because
we intentionally set aside time to be with each other and with the Lord. We
still do to this day.
More than six decades of marriage have taught us that you can’t be
lazy about investing in each other. That’s true of any
relationship you want to flourish. Opening up and sharing takes time and
hard work. Listening, really listening, is even harder. (The
Swindolls aren’t known for being quiet!)
But the moments we’ve spent together in our family room have become
some of the most defining moments of our lives. We’ve come to see and
understand things about each other and ourselves that we never would have
otherwise. We’ve wrestled together with challenges that
often tear others apart. We’ve received direction from God’s
Word for the big decisions and the daily choices that have made up our
lives and our ministry. Confusion and uncertainty have turned to clarity
and confidence as we’ve shared our fears and talked through our
The bond we’ve cultivated with each other is deep, meaningful, and
unbreakable. The same is true between each of us and the Lord.
That bond is worth every minute of sleep lost to get up before our babies .
. . every bit of the heartache that sometimes comes when sharing honestly
with another . . . every deadline we’ve ever had to push back.
I’m a big believer in putting the urgent on hold to do what’s
important. I decided long ago that meeting and talking with my Lord and my
wife must take the top spot on my to-do list every day. The older I get,
the more I understand the difference that decision has made.
Cynthia’s and my early morning conversations are the heart behind Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? In this devotional,
I’ve included many of the topics Cynthia and I have discussed over
the years in the time we’ve set apart each day. My hope is that
through this book you, too, will start each day cultivating your
relationship with the Lord. You don’t have to do anything special.
Just spend time every day with Him. Read His Word. Talk to Him. Laugh when
you want to. Cry when you need to. And never underestimate the importance
I know life is busy. How could you possibly fit in time to sit still every
day? Here’s how: Put the urgent on hold. Do what’s important
first. The urgent will always be there. You’ll be better equipped to
meet it, if you do what’s important first. (You may even find that
some urgent matters simply aren’t “urgent” anymore.)
God has given you His Word for the express purpose of connecting with you
to change your life. I’m living proof! I don’t have an
unbreakable bond with the Lord because He called me to be a pastor. I
don’t have a deep, meaningful connection with my wife because
I’m a pastor either. I have both because God’s powerful Word
changed my life! To this day, it feeds my soul with new insight,
wisdom, and joy, flowing from passages I know by heart. Because I’ve
daily dedicated time to Scripture, I’ve yet to encounter a heartbreak
or challenge that has left me helpless. God’s timeless Word addresses every issue. Whatever may come, the Scriptures are able to help me
That kind of confidence, that kind of life-changing relationship with the
Almighty, isn’t just for pastors or missionaries or a chosen few. God
created each one of us to be able to connect with Him through the saving
grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word.
So commit today to waking up and saying, “Good morning, Lord . . .
Can we talk?” I promise, it will get easier as you practice, and
you’ll never regret it. The deep, meaningful bond you’ll
cultivate with your Savior by spending time with Him will become
unbreakable. It will be the rich, rewarding joy, comfort, and satisfaction
that brings you back together every morning.
Originally posted on readthearc.com.