Playdates with God: Now Sanctuary

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I am reading the chapter again and I am highlighting and taking notes and wondering and I run out of time. I get up an hour early to write the post but it’s not early enough because these words jump out at me: Thanks makes now a sanctuary. Those words jump out at me and grab my heart and it pulses with ingratitude and busy and it gasps for the sanctuary of now.
My hands feel heavy on the keyboard and the still, small Voice calls. I leave the computer. Go to the bay—the place we often meet. I press my forehead to glass and see that the morning sky is cotton pulled thin and the sun is ripening behind this veil. I hear the robins soothe with morning song and watch a rabbit nibble clover in the front yard. 
I close my eyes and let beauty make an imprint on my soul. 
Thank you, I whisper. Thank you.
But it’s not enough and this I know so I pad soft and quiet up the stairs—to the sleeping places. And there he is with those long lashes resting on cheeks. His legs reach the bottom of the bed now and he’s rolled on his tummy, as always. My fingers itch to touch a cheek, to stroke those thick locks that never behave but I know that this time is not for touching…just seeing.
I do. I see him. I see him and the words he told me last night—about not knowing what to be, who to be, what he wants.  What I want from him.
The ache sits heavy inside of me—all that I want for him. 
Happy, I had whispered to him in the dark. I only want you happy. That’s all.
To be thankful in the now, I must let go of expectation. Of all that I want. 
…here-time asks me to do the hardest of all: just open wide and receive. (Ann Voskamp, OneThousand Gifts).
I can’t make time stand still–can’t stop boys from growing or hearts from hurting with that growth. I can’t fix all that is broken in my tiny world. And when I try? Worry. It’s worry what fills the moments when I get out my toolbox and start tinkering. 
All that I have is this moment. I open wide and receive. And I am thankful. 
…When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here.I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment…(Ann Voskamp, OneThousand Gifts)

Over at The High Calling today, we are continuing our discussion of Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavor. Join us?

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.
The Playdates button:


  1. says

    You transport me to your sanctuary every week, Laura. And through your eyes I see a sleeping child/man, just as I have growing up in my home right under my nose. I want to fix his hurts as well, but like you’ve said, we must embrace the moment and not run ahead of God. Comforting thoughts that have so much more weight coming from a fellow-mom.

  2. says

    I just finished reading Ann’s book a couple of weeks ago (I was a little late to the party, I guess…). Thanks for the reminder to see Him in the now by slowing down and thinking about the blessings. 🙂

  3. SimplyDarlene says

    Oh, how easy it is for us to get out the ole toolboxes, huh, miss Laura? This glimpse of how you love your man, what a treasure.


  4. says

    Thankful that as we stop in the “now” it really is much easier to grab the joy He holds in His palm waiting for us. To see His goodness in these little moments, the blessings surrounding, that is a gift in and of itself, isn’t it!

  5. Diane | AnExtraordinaryDay says

    Ann’s book. Your response to it. I understand. A year ago I journeyed with it and through it and now I am considering picking it up again. It was life-changing to me. I love the tenderness with which you approach your son and feel his angst. Though not blessed to have my own children, I have worked for kids for years. I hope you don’t misunderstand. My prayer and hope is/would be not for a child’s happiness. But, to fully follow after the Savior. And get wisdom. The rest will come.

  6. says

    Oh, no misunderstanding, Diane. I want this for my boys most of all. This particular conversation was just centered on a tough emotional time. So difficult to watch our children hurting.

  7. says

    Never too late to this party, Lyli! I like the way gratitude points me back to the now. I think anything that makes me think deliberately about the greatness of God has the power to do this pointing. It’s how Playdates with God was born: a desire to delight in Him now.

  8. says

    Thank you, Beth, you are so kind. They grow up so quickly and I know we are not seeing the last of the growing pains. Opening my hands to God in this matter. Hard as that can be.

  9. says

    You highlighted so many of my favorite lines from Ann’s chapter… captured so many of my heart thoughts, too. And then your words- always making me look to Him and inspect my heart at the same time. Today it was this that will stick with me and sharpen me— To be thankful in the now, I must let go of expectation. Of all that I want. THANKS.

  10. Diane | AnExtraordinaryDay says

    Though I can’t feel like another mother….I sense and imagine what you must be feeling. Oh if we could wave our ‘magic wands.’ [hugs]

  11. says

    i try mightily to remember to stay in the moment – with gratitude. All too often my mind is whirling ahead to the next thing, the new worry. It is in the now that we find His grace and peace – it is sufficient. There will be more in the tomorrows He is holding in His hands.

  12. says

    Laura…my heart needed to hear these words. It’s so hard when you love them so much…how many times have I wanted to take her thorn? And to give thanks in the midst of her heartache? But there’s blessing in the release…in thanking Him even for the hurt that makes her need Him more. This post is beautiful. Thank you. Love, K

  13. nance says

    it’s hard to let go of the expectations that go in line with the world economy and other such things on that list of expectations that grows bigger by the day. i look at the high school agenda that my daughter has to deal with and all of the classes, and compare them to when i was in high school, eons ago, i know, but, i would not make it through as it is now. i don’t see how the young people deal with all the pressure. my youngest is not fairing too well. and really, i can’t blame her. so, as her mom, i need to see clearly, and the thankfulness now is a very good thing.

  14. says

    Those same words, “Thanks makes now a sanctuary” jumped off the page at me, too. I’m right there with you. Your picture was amazing, and powerful for me too. Almost didn’t read anything else because that said it all! 🙂 Thank you for encouraging my heart today! Hugs, Michelle

  15. kingfisher says

    “I must let go…of all that I want.”

    How appropriate to my life just now. And when I have to give up what I want, I confess that too often I do it grumbling. I say the words to ask God to help me be content in all things, but—

    May he soften and strengthen and cheer our hearts on the journey through this crazy messed up troublesome world. May we hold tight to the promise that one day, there will be no more tears, no more regrets, and we shall see him face to face, for all eternity.

    Blessings, Laura

  16. Betty Draper says

    Not sure where my post fits in with your theme…but God said send it. I so enjoyed your post. I think I try more to enjoy the moment then I did when my children were young. Ministry seem to always catch us behind on something. Cannot make up for lost time but we can redeem the time NOW. I put our prodigal son in the waters of God love daily just as Moses was cast into the water in the reed boat. God had a plan which no one could see at that time. He has a plan for our son too…trusting Him as we watch and pray and love and enjoy the moment. Great post…blessings

  17. soulstops says

    “cotton pulled thin”…giving thanks today for your writing, and for your friendship…and yes, expectations can cloud our vision of today and of Him; I can relate…praying for you, sweet friend 🙂

  18. bluecottonmemory says

    I’ve discovered that this age, this is the hard part of mothering. Fixes are not easy. Life isn’t always better after a good sleep. It is the hard part where only faith grows – our faith through prayer, that God knows your son’s struggle – because He put everything in Him. God is not surprised – He planned for this moment. The hard part is being a mother in this growing journey and letting God take over! Blessings to you, Laura, peace and comfort. Just remember our prayers can go where we cannot:)

  19. Jen Ferguson says

    A thousands times “yes.” I am learning that in order to be transformed, I must give up all those expectations that just seek to mold me to the world.

  20. says

    Sighing in the space of this sanctuary, this space, right now, as I receive the beauty of your words–the wonder of your seeing. We can’t make time stand still, but we can stand still in time to see–every moment sacred.

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