Ugly Mug

This ugly coffee mug makes an appearance in both of my books. I imagine it will continue to appear in every novel that the Lord equips me to write.

I was looking through my old family blog today and came across this post. It seemed fitting this morning…

“Simple coffee mug you say. A little homely even. Sturdy enough to serve it’s purpose, nothing more.

An ugly brown mug.

To me this mug evokes tender memories. In every sepia soaked memory of early morning life in my growing-up years, I see my father sitting in the quiet, flooded in warm light from a nearby lamp, this coffee mug in hand, Bible open in his lap.I still find him that way if I happen to be in his home or have him in mine in the morning.

Somewhere along the way, I snatched this mug from him and use it as often as I can. I wrap my hands around it and savor the warmth and the memories. I sip my coffee in the wee hours of morning, fight the bleary fog that is masquerading as my brain and wish I would be as faithful in my devotion to daily time in the Word as my Father is.

I am seriously lacking in that area.

Not that I don’t want to soak in uninterrupted, quality time with my Savior–I do. It’s just that these little people of mine? They hear me pull back the covers of my bed. They hear me tiptoe down the hallway. They stir the moment my glorious coffee maker permeates the air with her wonderful scent. They know when I crack open the pages of my Bible.

And then they pounce.

I’ve discovered my only hope for a quiet morning is to begin at 3:33 am.

OK, so I’m exaggerating some. Most mornings I wake to someone staring at me, or whispering, “We’re hungry!” (Seriously? I have to feed these monkeys!) I set three alarms to be awake before them and still I push snooze and snore through every one.

But now–more than ever–I realize how important it is to make this the most important purpose of my day. To take advantage of the gift that’s been given to me: God’s Word, right here for me to read. To ponder. To know. It is essential to living life to the fullest. It is also essential to giving my children hope and a future.

These little ones are watching. And my actions will speak volumes more than my words.

They are paying close attention. Soaking up everything like sponges.

I have to evaluate what is more important: for them to catch me sleeping, or catch me entrusting my day to the Author of all my days?

They are watching.

Is it more important for me to have a clean home or a clean heart?

A perfect execution of discipline or a sincere and patient offer of grace?

A few more moments of sleep or a purposeful choice to offer my desires, hopes, and thoughts to the Lord for their sake, even if it means less sleep?

They are watching.

To quickly and efficiently whip up a 5 star meal, or slow down and enjoy little hands in the kitchen?

My prayer is that they will have their own coffee mug memories.

That they will know that Jesus is the most important element in my life; and theirs.

That He is good. He is God. He is so important that words can’t begin to describe the importance of Him.

Maybe an ugly brown coffee mug will help.”


B.D. Riehl is the author of, The Earth is Full, available here.


And The Heavens Are Telling, available October 2014



2 thoughts on “Ugly Mug

  1. What a nice tribute to your dad’s faithfulness and Godly example! As far as the ugly mug, do you know where it came from? It kind of reminds me of some of the pottery that was made back in the early 80’s, when they used ash from Mount st. Helen’s after it blew it’s top! You never know.., that mug hold stories of it’s own!!

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