Playdates with God: A Softer Kind of Listening

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Two days before we left for our family vacation I twisted my foot into a black and blue throbbing mess. I was walking with Bonnie who, in one of her fits of stubbornness, slipped out of her collar and began to run away from me. In a panic, I moved my foot the wrong way and felt the sickening pull of soft tissue fold over an unyielding scaffold of bone. I spent the afternoon with my foot elevated and iced. The next morning found me in the emergency room waiting for an x-ray.

We were relieved to find it wasn’t broken but when I asked the white coat about activity level (“I’ve always heard it’s good to walk on a sprain, right?”) he said “no.” “You need to stay off of that foot as much as possible. And keep it up when you can.”

This would change my seaside experience considerably. The sea has always been a thin place for me—the place the noise in my head quiets enough to hear the tender endearments God whispers every day, unheard. Each morning we awaken by the ocean, I rise before the others and wait for the sun to rise and then fall into the blue of the sea. I write the names of the people I love in the sand and pray for them as long tidal fingers wash clean my scratchings. Then I comb the beach for shell surprises, walking freely in the soft light of morning, studying all that mother ocean leaves behind as she pulls with the moon.

I began to grieve the loss of this time before we even began our journey south. Sitting on the couch with my foot above my heart, I whined to my boys, “I won’t be able to have my morning beach walks!” They both sat down beside me, wrapped their arms around me and each other and said, “I’m sorry, mom.”

And the mood was set. A different kind of thin place. A slower, softer listening—and finding God in the faces of others. We had so many God-sightings. Amazing how that happens when I slow enough to look. And toward the end of the week I was able to walk some short distances without too much discomfort. Blessings upon blessings. An ocean full of gifts.

It’s a shame it all has to be interrupted by the need for shoes.

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.

Laura Boggess

Playdates with God: The Ferry Boat

The island floated alone on the horizon—a tiny blip of land cradled by miles and miles of ocean. The faint glow of the lighthouse’s lens circled around and around, blinking welcome and drawing all eyes. When the ferryboat arrived we piled in, a skiff jumbled with different faces and colors and stories. The journey over was enchanted, complete with miles of uninhabited beaches, shimmering water and wild ponies.  
This family vacation felt like paradise, especially when I looked into the shining faces of my two young sons. My little guys were like coiled wire, ready to spring at any moment. Exploring the lighthouse grounds, combing the beaches, jumping in the waves…the only regretful part was that it had to end…

I’m over at The High Calling this morning, sharing one of my favorite vacation memories. And, yes–I’m home from Haiti! I slept in my own bed last night, hugged my sweeties close. Bonnie is asleep beside me on the couch right now. She was so happy to see me that she kept biting my face–little love bites that she couldn’t seem to help. I can’t wait to tell you all about my time with the people of this beautiful country. Right now, I’m having trouble finding the words. But they will come. Until then, read about another island memory? Join me over here today for the rest of this story. Bondye beni ou.
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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:

Playdates with God: Souvenir

I found it on my last prayer walk by the sea—dipped in a bed of shell fragments, the tide carelessly lapping over. The boys and I had not had too much luck finding treasures from the deep—the surf was too rough and most of the shells were broken into tiny translucent bits of sea glass. But there it was winking in the sunlight at me: the shape of a heart uncovered and laid bare. And I knew this was my gift, for this was how our time by the sea felt to me this year.
So many deep places revealed and washed clean.
I picked that sea-stone up and gently tucked it in the palm of my hand. And when we packed to head back home, I put it in my wallet for safe keeping. All along that long drive back to West Virginia I kept getting it out to feel its rough places—rub the cool dimples.
But when we returned home I forgot about it.
There was unpacking and the restocking and jumping into back-to-school preparations. The heart that had been unearthed by the tilling of the sea was buried once again.
It was in the kitchen when my heart remembered. The kitchen, that place I spend so many moments of my day—hands dipped in soapy water, measuring out sustenance. This time it was tomatoes. We returned to the plants bending heavy with so many of those plump red fruits. There were peppers too, so I decided to make more salsa and I was roasting and chopping and listening to the same music we listened to when we drove toward the shore and my heart jumped in recognition of this feeling.
Freedom.
How could my heart forget its Sabbath lessons so easily? That as soon as I step away from the place of rest I step away from the warm nurture of love and trust and peace and joy? Suddenly I understood the kindness of God in his command to keep Sabbath.
Eugene Peterson says it this way:
…There is a large, leisurely center to existence where God must be deeply pondered, lovingly believed. This demand is not for prayer-on-the-run or for prayer-on-request. It means entering realms of spirit where wonder and adoration have space to develop, where play and delight have time to flourish…(Working the Angles)
I have my regular study time. My regular prayer time. But if I am not setting aside time to regularly wonder…the lessons of the sea will be forgotten—churned under in the tides of the everyday shoreline.
I got out my wallet—unburied the heart-stone once again. I made a place for it on the sink—right beside the dishsoap and the scrubby.
This souvenir does not belong on a shelf. 
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:

 

Sharing with Laura Barkat today also: 

On In Around button

Beach Music

We drive 530 miles to say goodbye to summer.

Though the heat lingers, morning light comes later each day—reminding us of this revolution we are on…the way time tilts us forward. My family and I try to freeze the last moments of summer by traveling to the edge of the world. We leave our everyday behind and holiday at the seashore.

I feel time slow while we are here, but it never stops the onward march. Vacation is a deep inhalation in the respiration of life. I let my lungs expand, feel my diaphragm lift tall.

The days are filled with the scent of sunscreen and a kaleidoscope of blues and deep greens. We jump waves until our legs are unsteady. We build sandcastles and collect sea shells. We manage to still time in photographs and video…but the moments that remain most vivid are the ones impressed upon our hearts.

[join me over at Highcallingblogs.com for the rest of the story…]

photo by Kelly Langner Sauer, used with permission.

missing you…

Daydreaming…
by the sea–
that’s where this week
is finding me.
so if I don’t return 
your call, when you stop by
now you don’t have 
to wonder why!

Visit Melanie (if you miss me) and learn a little more about my running life! And here’s something fun to do tonight! Bring your own tea…