Playdates with God: The Deep Things

It’s 32 degrees on Sunday morning when my boys leave me to go to the church. I’m the odd woman out in this family of musicians and all three of my guys need to leave early to practice with the praise band. I have almost an hour to myself before joining them to lift my hands in worship. Usually, I would welcome the solitude, drink in the quiet. But lately?

It seems when I’m alone all I feel is lonely.
I sit at the table and watch the birds at the feeder. The goldfinch still wears his winter green and the chickadees keep their caps on. My Bible is unopened in front of me. I move to the window and press my forehead up against the glass, my breath lace on the pane. Most of the birds startle away at my near presence, disappearing over the fence and into the scrubby brush of the meadow. I place my palm on the cool surface and will them to return—close my eyes and pray that this ache of the empty will go away.
I have been running from God.
Oh, I’ve kept the quiet time and read the good Book and prayed the prayers. But it’s been with one eye open. My heart distracted, my body tired—I haven’t let myself sink into His presence. I startle away at the slight hint of His voice, shying away from His near Presence into the scrubby brush of life. There is too much I’m doing wrong, too many ways I’m failing. I don’t want to dream and open my hands to it all. I want to drop everything and run.
Is that open-handed enough?
I’m still thinking about missing the mark and I wonder why do I always have to be my own worst enemy?
It was just last week I was telling my youngest how much I like to be alone. I’m an introvert, I told him. If I’m around too many people too long, it’s hard for me. I need to rest.
I get that, he said. But even when you’re alone, you’re not alone, you know.
I think about this as my breath makes tendrils on the glass.
Yeah. I know.
It’s 32 degrees and I open the door and walk out back without my coat. The birds all scatter and there’s a thin film of mist coming down. I lift my face to the white sky and I. Stay. Right. There. No more running.
The scripture in the lectionary for morning worship says, The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Cor. 2:10b)
I turn the deep things over and over in my mind; wear them on my sleeve with my heart. And I’m just about to give in to the cold when I notice someone on the ground below the feeder. It’s an Eastern Towhee and his rusty breast flashes brilliant against the snow-covered ground. He is foraging and scratching and digging—paying me no never mind. My near presence doesn’t bother him one tiny bit.
I crane my neck and move closer. His tail feathers flash white as he flits to a nearby Maple. But he comes right back and resumes his work.
He comes right back.
And I can too.

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:

And with Michelle today:


  1. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    Oh, I know, disciplines like Bible reading, praying, going to church, etc. can only remind us of God, but only we can choose to be open to the resurrected Lord Jesus to live His Life in and through us. Faith is not a matter of doing, but a matter of receiving Him in complete dependence and allowing Him to live His life in and through us. The Christian life is impossible for us to live, that is why we need Jesus to live it in us, as us and through us by the dynamic of His grace. Oh, that saving Life of Christ.
    Blessings XX

  2. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    I can relate to this Laura, it struck me last night – after I finished my upteenth book and a ridiculous serving of onion rings from across the street – why am I sating myself so? Why am I avoiding, so dearly, the empty, quiet? Perhaps it is, as always, the great Love I am afraid of and in winter, when my introvert soul feels so threadbare I feel more vulnerable than ever. And so, sated or not, I’m so grateful that HE comes back to me, again and again.

  3. Barbara Isaac Croce says

    This is so good, and just what I need this morning. Thank you. I was letting myself think that it’s all the weather’s fault, but that is a lie. Thank you.

  4. Kim Adams Morgan says

    Also right there with you, Laura. As an introvert, it is easy to get lost in the quiet and (for me) fill it with “things” that don’t matter. I have lost a little focus with all the distractions lately. Time to regroup and refocus on Him again. I don’t think this cold will leave us for awhile.

  5. Nancy Sturm says

    Oh, I can relate, Laura. It’s so easy to go through the motions and not let go. But, thank God, he waits for us, every time. Thank you for baring your soul–you’ve touched mine.

  6. says

    Oh, I love when you say things like, ” . . . paying me no never mind.” I can almost hear you reading me your words aloud.
    You know, this is the second time in recent days when I’ve been challenged to think about the interplay between loneliness, solitude, isolation, and aloneness. God seems to be repeating himself to me which means, I guess, I should be paying attention.
    Oh, and I just love the word “tendrils.” See you soon 🙂

  7. Elizabeth says

    Laura your words echo my heart and my post today. I may never get over how that occurs in love, rippling in reverberation across this community. It is a lovely and sacred song.

  8. Elizabeth Stewart says

    I teared up reading this. Loneliness has been an all too familiar companion for most of my life. As an all too tender hearted person with a big bit of quirkiness added into my personality, it seemed as if no one fully “got me”. I believe God used this to drive me to His heart, for He’s the only One Who truly gets me, Who truly sees me, Who truly accepts me just as I am.

  9. says

    I treasure your honesty, Laura. Even ministers deserve the right to tell the truth, that they too can feel lonely even in His presence. But that they can always come back too. God is so gentle and faithful with all of us. Thank you, friend.

  10. Amy Anderson says

    I am an introvert who likes time alone — usually — as well:) For me, lately, it’s that my daughters are growing up so dog gone fast. I think fear has snuck in and made me feel lonely in those moments of alone instead of nourished with the One who won’t leave me. I used to need breaks from my girls, and now I see they’re going to break from me before my own heart is ready. Also, I adore your bird time here. God uses those creatures so much. Love to you.

  11. lindalouise says

    Oh sweet friend, I think we all have those times – this tendency to wander and then find ourselves weighted down by guilt. I love you honest heart. So does the Father.

  12. pastordt says

    Yes, you can, sweet friend. I’m grateful God is patient with our wanderings and always welcomes us home, you know?

  13. Len @ says

    Nice one, Laura!
    Why do we sometimes choose to be alone and lonely when, at the very least, we could just be alone, which leads to the ideal of being alone but never alone, and ultimately, alone-together with our Great God?!

  14. soulstops says

    Oh, I have run from God, but God is so good to pursue us and to promise that we can always return to Him (James 4:8)…love and hugs 🙂

  15. says

    I think maybe you have just named a big part of what’s going on with me too, Amy. I’m so aware of how quickly time passes lately. Thanks for your tender insights. I love how you see so deeply.

  16. says

    wow this brought tears to my eyes – you write with such clarity and connecting with my experiences too. So many of us have been watching the birds this winter and learning from them. I need to pay even more attention now that I am reading more blogs about the birds. Does remind us of God’s ever presence.

  17. says

    Sweet friend, this post so resonated with me. I’m praying for God to help me to be fully present in the quiet and to open up the spaces so that He can fill the emptiness.

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