I drove six hours on Friday to meet my friend Kelly and help lead a retreat she planned in her community. We would be meditating on and exploring this idea of coming to God as a little child, but I really had no idea what God had in store for us—for me.
The weekend was a living, breathing object lesson, as I moved back and forth between the grown-up world and the world with Kelly’s four children. It’s been a long time since my boys were small and God was reminding me how beautiful and messy life is when young ones are around. But also, he reminded me how different children are from one another and how the good parent recognizes this and foster’s each child’s individual gifts. So many times during the course of the weekend I felt like an observer, watching as Kelly and her husband did the hard work of parenting with grace. These moments (of feeling like an observer) didn’t last long, though, because the twins (who are four) were constantly courting me, excited about the new playmate in their house. I think my favorite moment was standing in a little closet in the dark with Kelly, Isaiah, Levi, and Solomon so we could see the glow-in-the-dark pieces on the puzzle I brought for the kids. That is, until right after when Solomon fell down the stairs and the house was filled with his pain-filled cries. He gave us a scare but it all turned out ok.
It was a gift to stand on the outside looking in, to notice how—with children—each moment is full and alive. The young ones have no trouble staying in the present, getting the most out of the right-here-right-now.
At the retreat, we talked about how play is part of God’s design for us—how our bodies and our brains work better when we have a rich play life. The women who came shared their beautiful hearts so openly; I was honored by their trust. Once again, I was struck by how unique we all are, how God longs to honor the qualities in each one of us that make us who we are. The ways that we play, the ways that we meet with God—these are as varied as our fingerprints. And that’s ok. One thing we discovered is that as grown women, we often feel guilty about playing. We seek permission, excuses, reasons to play. But when we make play a regular part of our life, our hearts are fed and we are able to live as those invited to the feast. Everyone around us benefits.
There were so many beautiful moments this weekend. I met some new sisters and felt embraced and cared for. I’m still processing all the ways God spoke. I hope to share more soon. For now, I feel like Philip, after he baptized the Ethiopian eunuch. Remember? The scripture says, “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.” Philip reappeared in a place called Azotus. I have no idea how far Azotus is from where Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch, but I wonder if it might be about a six-hour drive.
Every Monday I share 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 God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.