In May 2013, I wrote a piece entitled 15 Minutes. The piece still moves me.
I wonder why I keep going back to this same piece of writing. Maybe it is because sometimes the things I write can be written every day of my life; they just keep teaching me.
In May 2013, I wrote about a typical crazy day with very little downtime. I had volunteered most of the school day teaching music and art appreciation classes. I was coaching one child’s sports team while managing another team, leaving me with emails to send and web sites to update. Although it was only Wednesday, we had visitors coming for the weekend and preparations needed to begin so food and clean sheets would be ready. Completely unimpressed by my growing to-do list, my littlest one wanted help planting seeds in the garden. This was an immediate need as all kindergarten needs seem to be. Despite the fact that we had one hour before we had prepare to leave the house for choir practice, middle’s soccer practice and eldest’s church group, I spent 45 minutes helping her plant seeds. Then with the 15 minutes I had left before I had to make dinner, eat quickly, and begin to drive, I finally had some time to spend with God.
My devotional that day has become one of my favorites.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
I wrote in my journal about what I thought this verse might mean to me as a mother of three busy little ones. To drive the business point home, the little one begged for attention the entire 15 minutes I should have had with just God. In the middle of my busy, messy chaos, I found it hard to focus on God and His Word. It certainly ended up being a very imperfect 15 minutes.
Then came the dinner, the driving of kids, and the attempt to guide 11-year-old boys on the last night of religion class for the year. On this night we were treated to the year end celebration, a night of games and fun. In the middle of celebrating, my oldest had an accident. He was tripped up during a jump rope game. He slammed face first onto the hard concrete sanctuary floor. He rose from his fall and looked right at me. I was amazed that he looked just fine after such a hard fall. Then, I watched as his eyes rolled back into his head and he sank into my arms. He moaned a little “mom” as he passed completely out. My heart broke into a million pieces. All I could think was “oh God please.”
Then, I felt calm. I felt a strength I didn’t know I had within me; or maybe more accurately, I don’t have within me. In the shadow of the Cross hung for Easter, my baby and I waited for help. My oldest’s care was out of my hands. People who knew what to do were sent to help. Within 45 seconds he was awake. And, just 15 minutes later he stood up, a little weak, but ok.
I have been told in those 15 minutes, it was my calm face that kept my baby still. My reassuring voice kept him calm. I know that he was scared; I was terrified. But, the fear didn’t overtake either of us. It was important during those 15 minutes, for him to stay completely still and calm until the professionals could deem it was safe for him to move. God can be the only reason I had the strength to remain calm. These were my 15 perfect minutes with God. I was living out the scripture in real time.
I wrote after this night how grateful I was that God took care of both of us during those 15 minutes. But, what I didn’t realize at the time was living out scripture in real time is life changing. Hindsight has revealed how this moment changed everything.
Living scripture is very different than reading scripture. Knowing these ancient words can be relevant today makes the stories come alive. I realize the human struggle to trust God and His Word is nothing new. The reason these 15 minutes still stir me is because I continue to struggle trusting God. I struggle with chaos, mess and how to spending time, even imperfect 15 minutes, with Him. I struggle with fear in moments I needing calm. But, they also remind me what it means to live in scripture. And then I stop just reading the scripture and start to live it. Trying to live scripture, even imperfectly, provides little reminders sprinkled through my struggles that He is alive and present with me each day.
There have been many moments since where I was not enough on my own; but God was enough. God has used and continues to use my ordinary life to show His extraordinary strength and the power of His Word. Hindsight reveals all His strength has allowed me to do that I could never have done on my own.