DARLENE FRANKLIN: FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME

DARLENE FRANKLIN: FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME

Darlene Franklin is both a resident of a nursing home in Moore, and a full-time writer.

By Darlene Franklin

How do I rest in God in a situation where drama occurs daily?
Five minutes at a time, that’s how
I lived for many years with a daughter who suffered from borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is characterized by pervasive instability-moods, relationships, self-image. As her mother, I felt like she was a black hole that sucked me dry and spit my bones back out.
I struggled for twenty-four hour periods I could call good. Hours were easier to come by. Some days I settled for minutes. If I waited for a perfect day, I was doomed to disappointment. So I relished whatever time God’s love broke through the clouds.
That experience came to mind when I asked a cousin how she had survived the death of her mother and the breakup of her marriage, a month apart.
Her answer was profound “I.dont.know!” She begged God to bring her husband back, but she knew God never deserted her. “It wasa time of waiting and toughing it out, sometimes five minutes at a time.”
Each of her answers rang a bell deep in my heart
Resting in God didn’t mean the absence of difficulties. Both Jan and I tried to tell God how to fix the problem. Perhaps you do the same.
What changed was we knew where to take our problems. Only God knew every detail of every day. We talked to Him about we wanted, because only He could bring about that miracle.
In the process, we learned something else: we trusted God because He never deserted us.
Intellectually, few of us have a problem with that statement, but experience gives the knowledge weight. I sat in the balcony of my church, mouthing the words of praise songs, unable to sing because I was crying. Before and since, I tune to Christian music when in need of a praise fix.
In that holy, wordless place, God held when I fell apart. His constant, loving presence carried me through the years following my divorce, my son’s teenage troubles, my daughter’s lifelong troubles, the double whammy of my mother and daughter’s deaths, and more recently, my failing health.
My cousin learned a similar lesson when her teenage son nearly died in a traffic accident. After three days of the continuous bad reports, she told the Lord that He could have Macon. She not only thanked God, she also “drew a ‘line in the sand.’ Did I truly trust God?” Giving her child to Jesus was the hardest thing she had ever done.
She returned to the ICU late that same night, expecting nothing. A nurse looked at me and tilted her head as if she was puzzled. “He seems to be turning a corner.” Macon clung to life. Later she learned at that very hour a circle of nurses was holding hands and praying for him.
Friends and family continued to visit, all bringing a message of hope. Macon lived.
Powerful. Impossible. I can’t do that, we might say. That will never happen for me. I could never pray like that. A lot of her peace grew because during her divorce, she had already learned that resting in God sometimes meant toughing it out, sometimes five minutes at a time.
Life in a nursing home involves a lot of waiting, and I hate it. Lately God’s given me tons to write. I have plenty of time … if I felt better. If I didn’t need an aide to move my meal tray so I can set up me computer.
Of course, help comes eventually, but I still have to wait. Perhaps it’s time to make use of my old kitchen timer.
When I’m counting the grains of sand in the hour glass, it runs in a continuous supply in heaven.
Early in the morning, I pull the call light. “Just five minutes.” Half an hour later, no one has responded. I remind myself that God’s measuring cup is as full as ever. As the clock winds down to noon, I think, “Still five more minutes?” In the mid-afternoon lull, I tell myself, “it’s only five minutes.” By the time I’m ready to head to sleep, I pray, “You’ll keep me for five minutes.”
God gets me through the day, five minutes at a time.