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Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grownup World Paperback – October 7, 2014
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From the Inside Flap
Do you remember when you first fell in love? When you fell in love with Jesus, was it much the same? Did you spend countless hours poring over Scripture? Did sleep suddenly seem mundane as you rose at pre-dawn each day to meet with him? Was every sunset an expression of his love and did every sermon hold a secret message just for you? Isn't this the place we all long to return to within our spiritual lives? We desire the bliss of an intimate, unrestrained love relationship with God.
"Playdates with God" is a story of how God woos us back to our first love. Biblical and contemporary stories explore how God uses various human experiences and sensations to draw us closer into deeper intimacy with him. It's the story of how a simple invitation to play can open up the eyes to joy . . . even in difficult circumstances.
About the Author
LAURA J. BOGGESS is a content editor at TheHighCalling.org, and she blogs at lauraboggess.com, where she shares stories about faith, family, and chasing after God. With a master's in clinical psychology, Laura works in a medical rehabilitation hospital in West Virginia, where she resides with her husband, Jeff, and their two sons, Teddy and Jeffrey.
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Laura and I are different people. If I'm honest, I needed someone different from me to tell me these things. Every time she quotes one of our great predecessors in the faith my response is the same: “Why, of all the brilliant things they've said is this what you're quoting.....oh.....OH! Okay, I never thought of it like that.” My mind looks like a library: there's plenty of stuff in there, but it's not the most exciting place to be. Laura's is like a garden: it's refreshing and experiential. This is also reflected in her flowery prose and heavy use of vivid imagery.
Every Christian is called to have a relationship with God. For those of us who deign to study theology, it can feel like online dating: spending a lot of time at the computer learning about someone without really getting to know them as a person. This is why I needed Laura's book. Not because of the overwhelming number of footnotes and citations from well-known and trusted sources, but because Laura has a heart for God. It's pretty widely accepted that a lot of pastors and theologians forget to love the Lord our God with anything but all our mind.
Laura's book is very story driven. Every point comes with an anecdote, a snapshot of her life at that time. She also personifies every part of nature she interacts with in these stories, telling us what they said to her. It's very accessible and shows that she has really mastered the imagination and wonder side of childlike faith. It occasionally gives me pause, because my brain simply doesn't work that way, but she integrates it well and it is consistent with her thesis. This is not the easiest read for dusty old legalists, but it is something we should read because it is good for us.
Ultimately, I'm list-oriented, but working on it. (you'll get that joke if you read the book, which you should) All of you Pharisees out there who know about God but wonder if you're missing out on knowing Him, you need this book. If you've ever laughed out loud with joy at the marvel of Creation, and are wondering how to do that more often, you need this book. Heaven knows I did.
Yet it happened; different aspects of tennis served as a metaphor for certain aspects of my spiritual life (Scripture memory, focusing on God, acknowledging sin, forgiving quickly).
Bread-making, too, has been part of my spiritual life. I've associated kneading bread dough not only with a particular Psalm I memorized, but also with verses in Habbakuk about rejoicing in hardship.
And again, with hiking. One summer we went on backpacking in autumn at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and that, like the tennis and homemade bread, helped me grow in intimacy with God.
On one of these hikes I decided to start photographing flowers from behind. Did you know that the backs of flowers are just as interesting and beautiful as their fronts? As I noticed this about flowers, I thought of how God values the beauty of the hidden person. I thought of how God delights in and rewards secret acts of righteousness. It made me want to be like the back of a flower.
Laura Boggess helps me understand that when I play tennis, or make bread, or hike through the Sangres and position my camera behind a Columbine, it is a playdate with God--and these playdates doubly enhance my relationship with God. These playdates both rekindle and cultivate my love for Him to make it "the love that endures--the excitement of new love and the security of old love all twined together" (Playdates with God, page 111).
Since 2008, I've been reading Laura's words (on her blog, lauraboggess.com). With her lyrical, tender voice, she always stirs a deep part of my inner life and makes connection with my own ponderings, struggles, longings, and celebrations. Laura's book is new, but her living-out of the book's message is not new. For a long time now, she has been intent on noticing and embracing every moment as sacred. And I'm going to be one of her playmates.
One of my favorite excerpts:
"The stories we tell ourselves matter. When we are able to communicate the wonder God drops into our lives, others are drawn into our story. And when our stories hold rich tales of intimate times with God, people will want to step into that bigger story of the gospel. What better story to tell than the one Jesus lived and died for? Are you letting the gospel story lead your internal narrative? Am I? Because when we do, it will change our focus. It will change our lives. When we live our story in tandem with the narrative of the gospel, God is given the place in our lives that he deserves. And spending time with him becomes the most important thing."
- Laura Boggess, Playdates with God, 123-124.