Playdates with God: Bread of Life

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My mother always told me I am an old soul.

“You were always so serious,” she says. “Even when you were a baby.”

When I was six months old her mother—my maternal grandmother—was diagnosed with breast cancer. And she had to wean me from her breast for the struggle of it—the hard work of balancing the care of a newborn and that of her dying mother.

So maybe it’s not so strange that my first memory is that of hunger. I was three years old, watching mother try to feed four children with flour and water and a loaf of homemade bread. It was all she had. I still remember the acrid smell of scorched flour that permeated the kitchen as she made a pasty gravy to bind pieces of bread to our stomachs, glue to hold down the hunger pangs.

The hunger remained like a soft ache when the bread was gone. All these years later, after two children of my own and a life well lived into, the hunger still remains. It seems I carry a yearning with me always.  The hunger keeps me serious, keeps me tethered to the old soul inside of me.

But this hunger that I was founded upon? When it stirs deep within me? It also keeps me tethered to Jesus. This season of new life—living into Easter—it reminds me that he is the Bread of Life.

We go to Jesus to be fed. To the Bread of Life, to the Christ; isn’t this where I must let my yearning lead me? Do I dare to embrace this hunger as invitation? And when I trust the Bread of Life to feed me, do I trust enough to let go of worry about that gaping hole inside of me? Do I trust enough to make room for joy?

Jesus tells us that unless we come to him like a little child we will never enter the kingdom of heaven. For me, that means letting go of the way I have always been, letting my old soul become unfettered and free. It means inviting play into my time with God. My grown-up play looks different than the play I engaged in as a child. Some days I invite God to come with me to an art museum, or a concert, a hike in a local state forest. Some days, we simply sit together and read. But I have resolved to make this a regular practice: once a week, I plan a playdate with God.

And the years are beginning to peel back as this old soul learns what it means to have the faith of a child.

My playdates with God? They have become a way to set the table and feed this hunger inside of me. This the only way that hunger can fill. When I let it awaken me to the moments of completeness in this aching, yearning world—to the joy of Christ breaking into this life again and again.

This is how hunger feeds. This is how hunger makes a very good beginning.

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. 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.We are trying a new linky widget, friends. I pray this one might eliminate unwanted links. Again, please forgive me for last week’s extra visitors.

Laura Boggess

Playdates with God: Sharing the Story

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In the past couple weeks I’ve been grateful to participate in two book signings. I learned something new from each one of them—about myself, about God. I don’t know quite how to articulate those lessons, except to say how humbling it’s been to lift my art before these people. I told one friend that I feel like a beggar, holding out my bowl for a few lifegiving coins.

I’ve discovered that the local Christian Book Stores are carrying Playdates with God, but mostly I’ve had to call around to ask other stores to stock it. Some of the local shops agree to carry it on consignment, but the larger stores, like Books-a-Million will order it from the publisher.

It’s been surprising to see which stores share in my excitement and offer help generously. Some have never returned my phone calls, though I have followed up repeatedly. I think it has something more to do with the quality of the staff more than any company policy. I’ve found that in those places where books are dearly treasured and the staff themselves dip into writing, I am made to feel more welcome. One young clerk at the BAM in the Barboursville Mall said to me, “We love writers!” Her eagerness to help after many telephone calls that yielded cold rejection made me want to weep in gratitude. It’s hard not to take these things personally and let discouragement crowd out joy. The experience has made me resolve to help others as much as I am able. How tenderly we hold the works of our hands and hearts.

Last weekend, I was at Empire Books in Huntington and I was grateful for something that happened while there. My husband had set me up with one of his smaller amps and a microphone so that I could read excerpts from Playdates with God.

For the most part, everyone continued shopping and milling about the store as I read. A few people came by and sat down to listen, some stood nearby and I could tell they were paying attention by the way hands would still over the stacks. One young man approached me after I read the trampoline story and introduced himself. He shook my hand and told me he loved jumping on trampolines—naked. I assured him that I was fully clothed when I had my adventure.

But my favorite? Two little children who were shopping with their mother. This little boy and girl were standing in the checkout line behind mom when I began reading. It was almost like a magnet drew them over to my little table. They both left their mother’s side and floated to me, stood right in front of me, keeping their eyes fixed intently on my face as I read. They were my best listeners all afternoon. I’ve never seen such concentration. I was reading from the chapter on Sabbath and the little girl was especially enthralled. Their mother finished making her purchases and stood by the door watching her children watch me. When the children realized it was time to go, the little boy nudged his sister and ran off to mother’s side. But the little girl? She lingered. Finally, she backed away from me, toward her mom, never taking her eyes off of my face until she reached the door and left.

I saw so much of myself in that sweet child’s face. Her presence was a gift. God used her to remind me the beauty he has entrusted me with—the loveliness of sharing a story.

I’ll not forget that any time soon. But if I do, I know I can trust God to send a sweet reminder once again.

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:

Laura Boggess