An Excerpt from Playdates with God

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I’m excited to share an excerpt of my book, Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World at Cherished Magazine this month. Below are the first couple paragraphs of one of my favorite stories from the book, the trampoline story. If you’d like to read the rest, click this link to sign up for a free subscription to January’s entire issue. All you have to do is enter the coupon code “LAURAGIFT” in the registration form.

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It all started with the trampoline.

The day was white with February dawning and I stepped out into it—thick wet flakes falling one by one from a thin gray heaven and pooling on my skin, wetting my hair and making me blink. It was the in-between time, with the holidays well behind us and spring still six weeks away.

Walking in the snow has always been cause for celebration, but this day? Winter was tired. Icy fingers stroked my bones and when the season’s melancholy seemed to reach its deepest ebb…I heard them. Children’s voices calling through the snow. Their laughter echoed—sliding between those big wet flakes through the neighborhood streets until it found a home in my waiting ear. I followed the echo through the yard, across the street, and found its source at the house behind. I peeked. Two boys—soaked to their skin, jumping on a trampoline. As I watched those boys frolic and giggle and slide onto their backs on that trampoline in the snow, something moved inside of me.

To read the rest, click here and enter the coupon code “LAURAGIFT” when you register for your free issue of Cherished Magazine.

Playdates with God: Anniversary Giveaway!

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This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. 

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When the idea for Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World was conceived, I was a busy mom, working three part-time jobs, trying to figure out how to honor God best with my time. I wanted more of God, but also to be a better mother, wife, worker-person … I was looking for a way to bring my spiritual life alive again, but also to find the road where my faith and my ordinary could meet.

Over the years, I’ve discovered the more I give myself to God, the more he meets me where I am. By setting aside time each week to have a “play date” with God, I’ve opened the door of my life and welcomed him into every moment, every ordinary nook and cranny.

Yesterday, Jeff and I dropped our boy off at his dorm to resume the school year. Our long weekend together was rife with sickness—a yucky virus for him and a terrible cold for me. On the bright side, cleaning up vomit is a little easier when all the senses are deadened by congestion. It was hard to drive away from his pale face, a fresh supply of immodium and pepto tucked into his hands.

Parenting in the almost-empty nest is a tricky business—knowing when to step in and when to step away, always being available but giving space to grow, advising these boys in the ways of the grown-up world. I was commiserating with one of my mentors about this last week. She has two boys who are similar in age to mine. “I find I’m parenting in deeper ways,” she said. And I liked this way of framing it.

I think this is a good descriptor of how God parents those of us who continue to walk with him over the long journey. He takes us deeper if we are willing. He never takes his hand off our lives but trusts us to keep moving closer to him.

This weekend, I couldn’t help noticing all the ways my son has grown in maturity in these short months that he has stepped into owning his life. I can’t help thinking this is God’s design for us—to keep growing, keep learning, never stop exploring this beautiful world he created for us. This is what Playdates with God is about: growing, always, always moving closer to God, never settling in one place in my spiritual life.

Today, I am celebrating the one year anniversary of the release of Playdates with God with a little giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment for a chance to win. If you share about the giveaway on social media, let me know in the comments and I’ll give you and extra chance for each share. The giveaway package includes:

1 copy of each:

Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World by Laura Boggess (of course)
Derek’s Story by Laura Boggess (one of my novella’s for tweens)
Every Little Thing by Deidra Riggs
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (book 1) by Ransom Riggs (Who is a Kenyon alum)
When Godly People Do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore

2 copies of:

Thirty Days of Bible Study for Busy Mama’s: Colossians 3 by Pam Forster (one for you and one for your girlfriend!)

1 pair of snowflake earrings from Nature’s Precious Gems that I bought at the Kenyon College bookstore yesterday. (in honor of the snowy trampoline play that inspired my promise to play with God), AND

a couple other little trinkets/goodies for fluff.

Thank you for one year of Playdates with God! This community inspires me to keep my promise to God through all the love and support you leave in this space. You all are a joy and a gift. I’ll announce the winner in next Monday’s Playdates post.

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.

Almost Empty

Playdates with God: Childlike

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In the grown-up world, if I am to believe God the way a little child does, it is implied that I must employ suspension of disbelief—a term first used by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817 in his work Biographia Literaria. In an attempt to recapture the imagination of a world held captive by the new science of the industrial revolution, Coleridge reintroduced fantastical elements into poetry—writing of visions and beings from the spiritual realm that had long been abandoned in favor of more practical imagery. Suspension of disbelief implies that to go along with a storyline, I should ignore certain aspects of the plot that are seemingly impossible. In this way, I look over what I know to be true—what my eye sees—into the greater narrative of the story … Maybe, [to have faith like a child] instead of suspending disbelief, we need to practice expansion of belief. Isn’t this the way of a little child? To open the mind wide enough that the huge presence of the impossible can fit inside? Children don’t suspend disbelief. They enter into belief with the whole of their being…” ~Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World

In our small group last night, we talked about the difference between being childish and childlike. We watched a video about recapturing wonder in our faith lives, and it fed my hungry heart.

We always start our small group with a check-in. We go around the room and everyone gives a little update about what’s going on in each of our lives. So before we entered into this conversation about being childish verses being childlike, we listened to stories about work and play, aging parents, dealing with teenage angst, new puppies, and adjusting to the almost-empty nest.

It’s a beautiful thing, a sharing that bonds, a great practical way of staying in touch with the big things going on in each other’s lives. But I couldn’t help noticing that the real checking-in happened later in the evening. After we watched the video and discussed its finer points, after we prayed and everyone piled their plates full with yummy food—that’s when the real connections were made. People huddled together in the living room sharing stories from every day, folks wandering out to the deck to watch the children jump on the trampoline, someone ruffling the hair of another one’s child.

We put our lives on hold and make a choice to enter into these holy moments, and in the end, these are the moments we will remember. These are the moments that expand our belief and wake us up to the knowledge that God is here. He walks among us.

In her book Deep Play, Diane Ackerman says, “There is usually a boundary or door at the edge of deep time.” We have to choose to cross the threshold. That is what planning a playdate with God does for me—invites me through the door into holy time. “What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves,” says Emily P. Freeman in her book Simply Tuesday. “but the presence of Christ with us in the midst of them.”

Trouble is, too often I walk right by the doorway that will lead me into the kairos time—the holy time—because I’m too preoccupied with handling life on my own.

Last night, I wanted to ask my friends about the last time they let their belief expand. When last did they make room in their crowded lives to believe the impossible? When was the last time I did? When I make room in my life for time to wonder at the unlimitlessness of God, all my worries fall away.

And the impossible takes shape and form and is no longer unattainable.

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