When I took a long walk down a dusty path with Laura Boggess, I found myself breathing deeper in the presence of a deeply soulful, beautiful woman who seeks the face of God with childlike faith. A recovering list-maker left empty from trying to earn grace, Laura Boggess has been stepping into Christ’s invitation to come to Him like a little child—with open hands, surrendered to the Greatest Love. This journey led her to write her unexpected story: Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World. It’s the story of how God wooed her closer by inviting her to let go and revel in Him. It’s the story of rediscovering joy in her God-life. It’s the story of how she runs after the Blue Flower every day. It’s a humbling grace to welcome my brave and vulnerable friend, Laura, to the farm’s front porch today…
I am eleven years old when my mother takes us one-by-one—my brothers, my sister and me—up to the field on the hill behind our house.
When my turn comes, I sit facing her beneath the waving grasses, legs criss-crossed over the sun-warmed earth.
She picks at a piece of silvery grass, studies it as if memorizing every detail.
Then she asks if I remember from our Bible study what the word “adultery” means.
I want to say yes, if only it will take away that flat tone in her voice. But I don’t know and the disappointment in her eyes bears down heavy on me.
And somehow I know. I know that whatever she is about to say is all my fault.
She told us because she loved us, because we were all she had, and because she believed in telling the truth: that it had become too hard to love my father any more, what with his love of the drink and all.
This wasn’t what she had planned for her life.
And the disappointment in her eyes is what I remember when he sits on the edge of the couch before me, looking everywhere but into mine.
* * *
“If it wasn’t for you and the boys,” my husband says, “I would get in the car and drive. Drive away from my life and never look back.”
But we are your life, my heart cries in the empty space that words cannot fill.
And his disappointment is so palpable that I feel like a heavy millstone around his neck.
All my fault. If only I’d been a better daughter, sister, wife ….
The ghost of voices long past rise up to meet me decades later, in the midst of the darkest season.
And I struggle to hold on to what I know is truth. Because depression doesn’t strike just one person in a family, in my family decades later. It wraps its black fingers around the hearts of all those who are bound to the afflicted. It hurts the entire family.
As a mother, and in my own darkest marital season, I hold on to this: The thing I know most about seasons — is that God made them to change.
And it is in the passing through them, the move from one season to the next, that true beauty is brought forth.
In the coming weeks I would move closer to understanding why a woman would run away from a hard place—when the deep need inside of her is reflected back in the eyes of those she loves and she feels helpless to fill it.
I hold my husband in my arms and feel the emptiness and everything I thought I knew about my mother and the choices she made is cast in new light.
Where does a woman go when life doesn’t work out the way she planned? Where does a man go when the stuff of this world lets him down?
Only one Place. The Place that is a Person.
Through the dark season, I keep meeting God in this way: For three years I have made weekly dates with God to play—to step out of my ordinary and let the presence of Jesus make me brave to try new things.
This is changing me, leading me into greater joy and intimacy with my Creator, giving me eyes for the new like a child.
Even when I don’t want to, I keep our date. And these moments are the only things that anchor me through the dark season, joy in Him the only joy I have to hold on to.
God reminds me of the words I penned, words that came before the darkness.
“Could it be that coming to Jesus like a little child means more than expanding our belief—opening our eyes to wonder?
What if Jesus gave us the image of children because they are so utterly dependent on their parents? …one thing they [children] do very well: opening the hand.
Children are excellent receivers…Maybe to become like a child means to hunger. To thirst. To stand naked in front of God and the world with all my needs…”
God is teaching me a lesson I thought I already knew.
So I stand with my hands open wide, but when I do, I stand close to the One who is love.
Because when I am closest to God — I am closest to the person I was made to be.
When I am closest to God I can let go of blaming others and blaming myself and give love the space it needs to be what God intended.
These moments give me courage not only to stay —
but also to let love grow deeper.
And in the dark season — a seed is planted.
And we wait together for a new season…
to see what grows.
Laura Boggess is a content editor at TheHighCalling.org, and she writes daily about faith, family, and chasing after God and being pursued by His great love. Her unlikely story, Playdates With God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grownup World, explores how a “simple invitation to play can open our eyes to joy and call us back to an intimate relationship with God. Do you remember when you first fell in love? When you fell in love with Jesus, was it much the same? We desire the bliss of an intimate, unrestrained love relationship with God.”
Playdates With God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grownup World is the story of how a simple invitation to play can open up the eyes to joy . . . even in difficult circumstances.