Play as a Spiritual Practice (A Guest Post and a Giveaway)

“I hate my body,” he said, as he curled up in pain on the couch. “I don’t know why it gives me such a hard time.”
I looked at my son and felt a twist in my stomach; that helpless feeling I am beginning to know so well. I sat down beside him and smoothed the hair back from his forehead, pressed my lips into that mass of red locks.
Later, we would end up in the ER, awaiting surgery. Again. His third in a year’s time—more than his mother has had in her lifetime.
Some seasons, this broken world sweeps like a tidal wave over our neat little lives, leaving so much debris in its wake. All our carefully laid plans are strewn about like flotsam, and we are left feeling the same—unmoored, wrecked.

During such times, it would be easy to give in to despair. 

I’m guest-posting over at Jen Ferguson’s place for the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood! Will you join me over there? She’s giving a way a copy of Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World.

I’m blogging for 31 days with the Nester on:

Together is the Best Way

This morning, I’ve been counting blessings.

Sleeping in my own bed is one of them. So is making coffee in my very own kitchen—enjoying a cup of my favorite brew slowly. Taking Bonnie out, usually an annoyance is making my heart sing today.

The past couple days, we’ve been in the hospital with one of our boys—an unexpected emergency surgery under our belt and now the tired from a week of worry settling in.

While I was waiting for my boy to come out of surgery, my wise friend Lane messaged me. She’s been reading Playdates with God and is part of our Facebook launch team.

“I read your chapter on Super Soaker [that’s chapter six] this morning,” she wrote.

“You know, our enemy, the accuser, the liar, is so much like that pesky squirrel. Satan wants to grab what’s not his.

As a mama & now grandmother, I know how hard it is having aching children/grandchildren. For me, doubts and worry can creep in fast and steal what’s meant for the beauty of the songbirds, so to speak.

In the middle of such trials, I sometimes can choose to stay in worship, rather than worry. Not always, but sometimes.

Reading about your super-soaker-squirrel fighter, I thought of how much this weapon is like fighting Satan off.

We zap him with what he doesn’t expect and we go forth, in your words, ‘feeling the presence of God powerfully…’ with laughter as our companion.

Perhaps in this day, in this moment, you can do in the hospital what you did that morning with the obnoxious squirrel…zap the enemy and laugh.

You know what I mean? Just keep your eyes on Jesus, then, when necessary, zap the enemy of his stealing/conniving ways, lifting your eyes off of Jesus just long enough to take aim, then turn right back into Jesus, laughing.”

Just another reason I need to read the book I wrote.

And I have been. Re-reading. Because I need reminded, as I say in chapter ten, that the power to overcome death does not rest in my hands.

I love hearing how Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World is impacting you as you read. I’d like this space to be a place to share any posts or thoughts inspired by the book. Just link up below or join the conversation in the comment box so we can join in, visit, or share.  The official release date is October 7, but folks have already been receiving their pre-ordered books. So let’s share here and walk this walk together. Together is the best way, after all.

Your Invitation

While I was at work on Tuesday, the postman quietly slipped my author copy of Playdates with God into my mailbox. I’d been seeing pictures of it posted on Facebook—the publisher had sent out complimentary copies to all of my endorsers. The first one surprised me. In a good way. So I was expectant. I checked the mailbox each day. I checked around the mailbox. I checked in the usual spaces packages are sometimes left. Finally, I sent off a little message to my publisher, feeling green around the ears.

It feels strange to see pictures of my book online when I haven’t held it in my hands yet!

The dear man was so apologetic. He overnighted my copy. But I knew I’d be working the next day and the scene I’d imagined so many times—you know, the one where the doorbell rings and the mail carrier lovingly hands you the manila envelope and you waltz around the kitchen with the thing before opening it to thundering applause from your family? Well, I knew that scene was beyond my grasp. Instead, I came home exhausted from a long day at work to find the manila envelope on the table where my husband left it when he got the mail.

There was no applause when I slit the crisp crease of the envelope (though I may have waltzed a little). But it made me so happy.

Many people compare birthing a book to birthing a baby, and there were times when it seemed this process did have a life of its own. There were times it seemed the thing was testing out its lungs, crying out until I cradled it a little while. And there was painful labor and a growing through it all. But the end product did not appear all at once, all wiggly and beautiful and whole. No, the birthing of this book has felt more like creating a painting—it evolved bit by bit, pieced together by shadow and light, born of an image in my mind.

I’ll tell you more about that story on the release date, which is October 7. But if you like? You can read more about the book here. Or here. You can pre-order it here. And my friend Christy (thank you, Christy!) has made some beautiful graphics to share (below). I’d love if you would.  It’s Saturday, the first slow day to celebrate and I’m glad to invite you to this little party.

Because this art was made with you in mind.