Today, I'm delighted to host a dear friend, author Laura Boggess. Laura and I met a few years ago as editors for The High Calling. Ever since then, she's been one of my favorite people; someone with whom I wish I could spend more face-to-face and heart-to-heart time. :)
Recently, Laura published a beautiful book, Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grownup World. Laura's writing pulled me in immeditately and held me--to the last paragraph--with its lyricism and grace. As I said in my Amazon review, "[PWG] is thoughtful, whimsical, lyrical and honest. Extremely well-written, it's also a quiet manifesto on reawakening our souls to wonder. I savored every word."
I'm proud to call Laura my friend. Her love for her Savior--and people--shined through this book. I'm honored that she allowed me to ask her a few questions about the book and her writing.
Q: What is your all-time favorite playdate with God?
It’s so hard to choose just one! The most daring would definitely be when I went to Haiti with Family Health Ministries last June. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a girl who likes to keep two feet on the ground. I had never been out of the country before, and really do not travel that much in general. But when this opportunity arose, I felt God whispering into my spirit that it was time to step out of all of my comfort zones! It turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and brought me closer to the Lord in so many ways. It also brought some new relationships into my life that I am very grateful for.
But a playdate with God needn’t be anything quite so extreme. In fact, most of my playdates rarely involve leaving my neighborhood. A playdate with God is more a heart state than anything else. When I agree to meet with God this way, I am making a deliberate effort to keep my mind focused and present with God. He becomes my only companion and because others cannot see him beside me, it becomes a very intimate encounter. Almost like a secret rendezvous. Some of my favorite, more down-to-earth playdates include going for a run, reading poetry out loud, visiting a local museum and being brave enough to take my sketchbook with me ... simple things like that.
Q: You talk quite a bit about discouragement. What ways does God bring you encouragement when you're hurting?
It has been a difficult couple of years for our family. My husband has battled depression and though we are not quite on the other side of that battle yet, we’ve only just begun sharing with others and talking openly about our experience.
Honestly? I don’t know how I would have made it this far without my playdates with God. There were days when my mind would not focus clearly enough to even sit down and read one tiny scripture. Prayer became a lament, a plea for release from this season of darkness.
I know God rejoices when we come to him with our struggles, but for me, it began to feel like I was spinning my wheels helplessly. When I began to make these playdate times my prayer, God began changing my feelings of hopelessness to surrender. It is amazing the peace that comes with a fully surrendered heart. And though it didn’t make the depression go away, it allowed me the space I needed to be a praying force for my husband and my family.
Discouragement is part of the human condition. It’s the very rare life that is awarded all it wants and desires. Trusting that God has a better plan than I do is easier to do when I am in rich relationship with him. Why should our relationship with God be different than any other relationship? It takes time to develop trust and intimacy.
Q: I'm not a whimsical person but the idea of exploring my whimsical side is intriguing. What would you say to someone like me, who is interested in "playdates with God" but feels hesitant?
I would say to start small. Letting go of the schedule is a difficult thing to do in our culture. Set aside an hour to start with, or a couple hours. Think back to your childhood. What was your favorite type of play? Did you enjoy coloring or painting? Riding your bike? Playing and decorating your dollhouse? Try to identify a parallel activity that you can undertake in your grown-up life. If you enjoyed being outside as a kid, try taking a walk in a local park. If dolls were your thing, was it in the nurturing that you found joy? How about volunteering at a local animal shelter or at a hospital nearby? Some people have a hard time giving themselves free time and it works better to make their playdate a formal arrangement. Is there a class you might enjoy? Painting, photography, poetry, woodworking? The key is to embark on the journey alone. In this way, God is your close companion. It’s very tempting to find a friend to do these things with, but only when you spend time alone with God will your relationship grow deeper.
Q: What are you working on now?
I just started working on a Bible study to go along with my book Playdates with God. I’m hoping to finish that up soon and offer it as an eBook somehow. I’m also re-working a novel I wrote a few years ago. Not sure where that is going but it’s been fun revisiting it. My blog is an ongoing labor of love, and I’m always doing something for The High Calling.
On the ministry front, I am preparing for a few speaking engagements coming up and am in process of choosing a new Bible study for our women’s group. Life is busy and full and beautiful. Even the broken parts.
I’m grateful for all the opportunities God has placed in my life to share my story and my life.