Playdates with God: How to Fill up Your Arms (and your Heart)

He made the most terrible noise during the prayer and afterwards he needed a diaper change, but after our lesson when his mommy needs to get a plate of food I don’t hesitate to oblige. That’s one of the best things about our small group—I get a share in the children. As I scoop him up, I can’t help noticing how good the top of his fuzzy head smells. And how much he fills up my arms. His cheeks are two plump plumbs and his baby blues miss little of the action. He waves his arms vigorously when he catches sight of Lucy Mae and he will be sitting on his own soon. I play pat-a-cake with his feet and he is enthralled at the sight of them—the miracle of the way they join together.
The women are in the kitchen talking about dance recitals and mother’s day and the men have moved out onto the deck because their talk needs more space to be free. The house is humming with the love so I take Luke outside to see the rhododendron. He waves his arms and legs when he catches sight of the big pink blossoms and I think of my two boys, upstairs with the other bigger kids, playing some game that requires thumb dexterity.
I touch the fullness of a baby’s cheek and miss the curve of their baby faces, grieve the passing of time. The feeling passes quick with this child in my arms and I tell him about the promise I made to him, whisper it in his ear that must already be full with the sound of the honeybees drinking from those pinks. We walk around the side of the house and up the deck stairs to visit with his daddy for a moment. Then it’s back inside where mom awaits with open arms.
Mine feel so light when I pass him along and I wonder how I ever got over the empty arms. That’s when one son comes down and stands amidst all the women.
“Hi, mom,” he says, and I wonder at this tiny gift—arriving at just the right time.
“Hi, baby,” I say, reaching up to touch his cheek and he’s gone, back upstairs.

But it’s ok, because they wander in and out—these children we have promised to love and hold in our hearts and pray for and lead along with their parents and Jesus.

And my arms don’t feel so empty as I chat with Chloe and Hannah and their mothers in the kitchen.

Have you ever wondered what it must look like to live out the faith in a powerful way? I found one story that amazes me. I tell bit of it at The High Calling today. Oh, how we need each other in this broken world.

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

the Playdates button:


Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also: 

On In Around button


  1. says

    The journey of motherhood — watching our children, these tightly-woven pieces of our hearts grow and change and find their own way in this world — a beautiful ache. Our arms may one day be empty, but our hearts will forever be full. Loved this tender post, Laura! Bless you!

  2. says

    It is a joy to share in the loving and raising the children in our church family, isn’t it? To follow through in those promises made and to know that others are doing the same for ours–the body working in harmony, creating sweet music for Him. Blessings to you!

  3. says

    I love how you linked the baby with your no-longer baby.

    I watched my son and his friends play in a bball tourney this weekend, and they’ve grown so much in six years. Young men now. And all us moms, still cheering for them.

  4. says

    This reminded me of the book by Robert Munsch, Love You Forever. You reaching down and reaching up to touch cheeks. He’ll always be your baby.

    And God reaches down to touch our cheeks…

  5. says

    Laura…yes they do move in and out…and i love how our arms and hearts can still be filled holding others…I have baby toes today too….nothing sweeter. have a great monday…blessings~

  6. says

    I can feel this time going by so quickly. And as I held my friend’s baby yesterday, her bouncing feet pressing up and down in my lap, I was so thankful, too, for these arms to hold new ones, just as my own are so much bigger and much more independent now. My two boys are 10 and 8 and my daughter is 6. Can hardly believe these changes are here before I realize it, and I’m grateful for how community helps us live them so we aren’t alone. Bless you, Laura.

  7. says

    Oh, the music in that greeting “Hi, Mom”! — at any age! First you made me miss my grandkids, then that blessing came. And yes, every season, so beautiful

  8. says

    I, too, just savored a weekend of holding and loving one of my dear friend’s new babies. First, the ache.. my “baby” looked so big in comparison. When did they all grow bigger than my lap? Then the gratitude.. love how God fills our arms with ALL of His children when we let Him.

  9. says

    I think all moms, younger and older, can relate to your feelings here, Laura. It’s amazing how fast they grow, but it seems you are savoring every minute of it–even of those who are not your own. I do the same thing all the time–especially since my boys are almost old enough to leave the nest. Thanks for sharing such a touching moment with all of us who can relate to the beauty and the joy of motherhood. 🙂

  10. says

    Such blessing in community, isn’t there! Could just smell that sweet baby smell on the top of his head! Thanks for sharing with me today!

  11. says

    I love working the church nursery for a taste of what you so beautifully describe here. Other babies to hold helps with the ache of seeing my own grow. Babies are always a blessing!

  12. says

    I remember, when my sister came to visit with my first baby niece, how empty my arms felt after they’d gone home. Those arms remained empty for many years until we were able to adopt our children. Now they’re empty again–waiting to be filled in a new way?

  13. says

    This is so tender…
    And I also loved the post you linked to about your promise… This heart connection you have with this family and their little one– THIS is the kind of family-bond within God’s family, that absolutely moves my heart.

  14. says

    “Have you ever wondered what it must look like to live out the faith in a powerful way? … Oh, how we need each other in this broken world.”

    It seems the longer we are trying to live out our faith, the more we see that we CAN’T live out the faith in a powerful faith. Fortunately, God can live it out within us! And yes, we do need each other in this broken world — though at times the fulfillment of that need seems nigh unattainable. Again, our focus must turn to the Living Lord, with perhaps a plea for him to put us together instead of feeling ripped apart.

    You’re a very special person, lovely Laura. You see the world, and people, intentionally, with God’s light lighting your way. Have a peace-filled day!

  15. says

    What a sweet moment with Luke and with your own-not-such-a baby anymore…bless you, Laura, and your tender mama heart 🙂 P.S. I sent you an e-mail (the one listed on your blog) 🙂

  16. says

    Tomorrow my daughter will turn 30.

    Thursday morning my husband and I board a plane to cross half the ocean to Hawaii, where she and her husband are raising two little boys and waiting for a baby girl, due in September.

    Today,these words of yours move me to a place far, far beyond tears.

    Thank you.

  17. says

    For one childless woman, I have held my share of others’ little ones, taught others’ young ones, hugged others’ older ones, but never having had one of my own has grieved me many-a-year. Yet, some Mother’s Days, a precious spiritual daughter has gifted me the privilege of telling me I am as a mother to her, for which tears of blessing always run down my cheeks. May the blessings of motherhood fill your hearts to full every day.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  18. says

    These babies – such gifts to all of us. Thank you for scribing it so well, for loving this little one to the moon and back, for marking the passage of time as all those little ones grow up, move away, circle around – and bring us more little ones to love. Our last is now two and full of vinegar – which I love. But she is so NOT a baby any more. Just ask her – she’ll tell you so. :>)

  19. says

    I love this post, as a mother who’s close to adding another baby to the mix. Thank you for the reminder to cherish our children no matter how old they are.

  20. says

    Sweet post from a momma’s heart. I, too, am thankful for the stolen moments with babies who belong to another. I’ve been wondering where my baby’s years disappeared to when I think of my baby ministering in a Haitian orphanage this week.

  21. says

    There’s a part of me that’s enjoying the freedom I have now that the kids are grown. But then there’s that part of me that feels a slight pang whenever I see a pregnant mama or smell the top of a newborn’s head. I’m grateful for my grandies and community where I can get some snuggles in.

  22. says

    This is beautiful imagery. I don’t know that feeling of holding your own child, but I could almost imagine it here with your words. I just found you today and linked up for the first time. Thanks for hosting.

  23. says

    It has been a LONG time since we held babies in church, and they did at times make noise. Usually my wife just stayed in the Nursery and cared for them there. A speaker gave the ladies the sermon (if they were listening and not chatting among themselves.) 🙂

  24. says

    Beautiful thoughts on covenant… on making promises to the children and the parents of those children. It’s a sobering, thoughtful commitment, but a worthy investment. When I think upon those who covenanted with my folks all those many years ago, well, I’m blessed by their commitment to see me through.


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