(Originally published on (in)courage).
I had about a half-hour to spend time with God.
My two children, three and six, were happy in front of a video. For now.
To be a mother is to hurry, but it was Sunday, and the sky was a swirl of white on blue. We’d recently moved back to our hometown after six months abroad. We now had a yard—green grass, an archway of bougainvillea and a lime tree.
The apartment we’d just left in Buenos Aires was lovely, but its balcony narrow, with a view of buses and a Laundromat.
Looking at the sky, I decided: I will sit outside with God. I will make a pot of tea. I will read the Bible.
I have gone through periods of my life where I sit regularly with God and Scripture, and times where I do not. Sometimes I couldn’t, because the devotional had become a litmus test I used to measure whether I was worthy.
Sometimes, it took not reading the Word for a while to remember that God is the one who is worthy.
But lately when I read the Bible, I feel like a child, learning to sit still with her Daddy. Learning the family history and realizing that I’m continuing its stories.
So I put the red kettle on the stove and turned on the burner, watched the coil grow as orange as a poppy.
Then, in the living room, I heard my children shift. One of them whined at the other.
The video would now end in twenty-eight minutes, since I’d taken time for tea. And that’s if they didn’t wander off, need anything, or fight.
I eyed the pot. Perhaps I could do without the tea? It would be faster. I would have more time with Jesus.
The guilt rose. I didn’t want to put off the Bible reading until the last few minutes of the show, squeezing Jesus into them. It was a day of spaciousness, and I wanted there to be enough time for him.
The kettle hissed at me.
Help, Lord, I said.
And in the midst of the anxiety, the answer came.
There was enough time for the kettle. Enough time for tea. There was enough time because Jesus was there with me in the kitchen as I prepared for the Bible. Jesus was there as I lifted the kettle off the burner and filled the pot. He held hands with me as I selected a tea bag. He carried me as I carried the pot and my Bible outside.
He was there, now, and I couldn’t possibly squeeze him out. Because he’s in the loveliness as much as he is in the reading of His Word.
It is hard for me, a perfectionist, to learn how to be with Jesus. It is hard for me to know this wanderer who meandered with no to-do list. The one who said, “Beautiful,” to the woman who wasted the nard. The one who kept telling his greatness-obsessed followers to become like children.
My children cannot be hurried when they are enjoying something.
I took a deep breath and sat in the blessed shade. The teapot steamed, and I found I was looking with anticipation at the Bible. I wanted to approach it with a soft heart, with a playful spirit, and with the hope that I will never need to hide from it again.
I am trying to learn to savor God’s Word, to savor the time I spend in it, and to find God in everything beautiful.