Playdates with God: Sunday

On Mother’s Day I get up early and drive to the outskirts of town. I find the little white church where I will worship and I pull up to that ancient dogwood. I am ushered inside by an elderly lady who hugs my neck in the parking lot. In the sanctuary, I find my helper and she puts a glass of water on the pulpit for me. There is a shimmering stained glass window behind the choir loft—Jesus in reds and golds.
I tell my helper about the Phoebe I saw earlier in the week and we move to the window. We lean into the glass and there she is—mama Phoebe—sitting on a leafed out branch to welcome me. It feels like I am home and she flits away, job well-done. But there is a mother robin feeding her spotted-breasted baby on the walkway and my helper tells me about the time they saw a bald eagle fly over their steeple. We sigh into the window and I know that this is the real worship of the day—this standing together and sharing stories. We wait for the others to arrive and the numbers are small enough to greet each person one-by-one and I am embraced by smiles and stories and I feel God’s heart beat with each hand I clasp.
“I’ve just moved back here,” one dear woman says. “I grew up in this church.”
“I have five children,” another tells me. And she ticks off each on one hand. “My phone will be busy later.”
She glows and sits alone in the front pew.
Another tells the story of the stained glass window and speaks of a time when these pews were filled and children ran its center aisle. But things are different now and though the numbers have dwindled, there are no ghosts that haunt this place. Love is still alive and well here.
After worship they want me to stay for a cup of coffee so we sit around a table and they ask about my children, invite me into their story. I cannot stay long, I have to cross over the river to give another sermon. They hug me out the door, tell me to come back soon and I sit behind the wheel for a moment and thank Jesus for the gift of the morning.
And as I back out of the parking lot I see her—mama Phoebe come to say goodbye.

Over at the High Calling we are on week two of a new book discussion today on The Life of the Body: Physical Well-being and Spiritual Formation by Valerie E. Hess and Lane M. Arnold. Will you join us? It’s a great book about how the choices we make for our bodies impact our spiritual life. 

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:


  1. says

    “Love is still alive and well here.”
    And where Love is, there is God. I’m glad that sweet little church experienced both with your presence, Laura. Happy Mother’s Day.

  2. mamaabby says

    Ahhhh…I am out of touch, but you are preaching a lot these days?? I live your journey a bit vicariously because God took me off that path and put me on another…one I embrace with joy as you do this!! Much love dear friend:}

  3. says

    Laura, this is such a fine story of love and God’s call to each of us…to love one another. I am glad there are no ghosts there. My mind and heart so desperately want to wrap around a church that is filled with love no matter how small. I felt like I was with you. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  4. says

    You are the great observer of life and all that God creates, Laura. So we sit here at your feet and drink in all that you’ve gathered. It is a feast … a feast on the magnificence of God’s love and His many gifts to us. Yes, even the gift of the mama bird. 🙂

  5. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    There were you feel and experience His love, you can know our Lord is present! The people were amazed after Pentecost that the believers had such great love for one another.
    Blessings and love

  6. kingfisher says

    Such great experiences of love you are having, Laura, ministering in little country churches. Your heart is so open to beauty and worship. So glad you got to see the Phoebe bird and the Jesus-window and to share in the lovingkindness of the people. So glad you chronicled your journey, for us to share.

  7. says

    This story reminded me of my grandparents church — except they were all elderly and Hispanic. Such a sweet fellowship! They wrapped themselves around my 12 year old self and loved me. Happy memories!

  8. Linda Chontos says

    Oh Laura, I just love these posts. I have soaked them in deep. You touch my heart, and I love you dearly.

  9. soulstops says

    How tender to share and receive His love with those dear saints in Christ…Lovely like you, dear Laura 🙂

  10. Laurie Collett says

    beautiful, Laura! A mother’s love is the closest to God’s love that we will ever experience on earth. Thanks for hosting & God bless!

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