Posts tagged play
A Day To Play

David was dancing before the LORD with all his might…

2 Samuel 6:14

I got up this morning intent to work, to work hard and long in order to make up for whiling away my vacation days, accomplishing nothing.

Nothing at all.

You see, last week our family met in Lake Tahoe at a cabin of a friend— not everyone, but all who could get away for our last minute trip. I went with a list of things I could work on in case I got bored. As if the thought of long, languid days might make my hard-working ancestors turn over in their graves in shame.

I didn’t get bored.

In fact, every single minute seemed filled with something much more important than my list. Every morning I got up early, heaping blankets on the lounge chair facing a pinhole glimpse of the lake, and breathed in the beauty of the high Sierras.

Within moments, no matter how carefully I tip-toed, one or two of my Grands managed to crawl under the mound of furry throws, their wiggly bodies and sharp elbows tucking in tight. I couldn’t hear what they were giggling about but my hand on their chests felt the rumble of words. My resolve to never “plug in” my cochlear until I’m fully caffeinated didn’t last long— my six Grands are entirely unable to comprehend the thought of their Amma not hearing what they have to say.

I’m one of the gang, after all, the designated Chief Story-Teller among a tribe of avid make-believers.

Not one bored moment.

We drove home Sunday, starting in on the mounds of laundry, restocking the fridge, doing what needed doing. This week would be my catch up week. I’d get to every email, wash the windows, get all my prep for a conference done, get ahead in my writing project. I’d be orderly and organized and productive!

Which is why, early this morning, I couldn’t believe my ears. Not my deaf ears, nor my plugged in cochlear ears, but that listening-to-God part of me that senses— at least sometimes— what He is saying.

"Make this a play day!"

 No, no, no! I have work to do, catching up to accomplish. Windows to wash and words to write.

"Come! Come play in my Presence. Let Me— not your chore list— guide this day."

 Really? Are You sure? Isn’t this just me being lazy? I have too much to do, what if I don’t get it all done?

On and on I argued into the silence. I pattered into the house to make more tea and saw those spider-webbed windows, thought about that conference next week and worried. Berated my mind for playing tricks on me. Surely I’d heard wrong.

On my way down the path to my cabin in the back I heard it again:

"Come play!

I’m inviting you to dance and delight in this day. I want you, not the driven-because-you-should-be-responsible you. I want the Real You. The one I made for delight, that girl who marvels at the sight of wild blackberries hanging over the water, who relishes the smell of the lake like treasured perfume.

Come, dear one, come."

 And so I am. I’m coming.

I’m scrunching my hair into a pony-tail, slathering my skin with suntan lotion, and heading to the lake. I'll take my kayak out  and pick those wild blackberries that surely must taste uniquely delicious after hanging over the water that smells like moss and forest and fish. I'm going to play.

Because He asked. And I want to. And maybe He’ll send some rain to wash my windows for me and if not, I’ll simply enjoy the sparkle of spider-spun lace on the glass.

And next week I’ll tell the women to listen, to lean in close and hear His beckonings to play, to delight, to leave their lists and relish the One who wishes we’d be just like His children.

I think my Grands may have taught me a thing or two about that last week.

From a heart learning to play and delight the day away,


P.S. And you? When was the last time you let yourself play? Have you taken time to delight in the One who thought up summer? Might you take a moment to tell us how you played or what you wish you'd played?



Reaching back into my journal from my summer of silence…  


Yesterday I cleaned the garage.  It was a hot, dusty, spider-filled day.

And, as it was my long procrastinated attempt at sorting through my too-much stuff again, I was fairly overwhelmed with decision-making.  I’ve struggled and failed to find a matrix that works for sorting through 36 years worth of accumulation. Throw in a few childhood memories and I’m sunk.

By the time I came inside to de-cobweb my hair and wash off the sweat of a hard summer day’s work, my little cottage was filled with all manner of pretty things stacked in haphazard disarray. My grandmother’s china overflowed a table in the hallway, vintage creamware cluttered the kitchen counter, boxes and boxes of books awaited my attention.

Isn’t that just the way of life? One mess leads to another until cleaning up messes overrides the best of plans… and I think that maxim applies to relationships as much as to garage cleaning…

So when I woke up early this morning with a rare day alone on the agenda I was torn. Should I spend the day studying for that Pastor’s Conference I am speaking at in Uganda? Or… should I play house with all my pretty things and spend my day creating beauty?

I did neither.

Instead I picked up a catalogue and feasted guiltily on pictures of cozy rooms and elegant arrangements. Between sips of steaming tea, I glanced at my Bible and tried to ignore that insistent sense that I really ought to first listen to the One I’ve given my life to.

I wanted to decorate all day… but I was certain that He would tell me to get to work. And so I stalled and sipped tea and wondered where to put what, feeling like a naughty girl ignoring her chore list as if I was ten years old again. Memories of sneaking a few pages of my Nancy Drew mystery instead of dusting my room came flooding back.

Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I tossed the magazine aside and picked up my Bible. How can I call Jesus my Lord and ignore Him as I ready for my day?  With a sigh I opened to where I’d left off the day before, ready to listen yet secretly wishing for the freedom to do what I wanted.

What I read… and heard, made me fall in love with my Father all over again. Because He’s not who I seem to consistently think He is: He’s not a taskmaster cracking the whip or a teacher clucking His tongue at my flakiness. He is not waiting for me to open my Bible so He can show me my chore list.

Yes, I listen for instruction. Of course He often corrects me. And sometimes He calls me to deny what I want to do in order to accomplish what I am called to complete. But that’s not the whole picture, not even close.

Here is where my morning reading took me:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.

You believe in God; believe also in me.

My Father’s house has many rooms:

if that were not so would I have told you

I am going there to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

John 14:1-3

I could fairly feel the brush of His Spirit against my soul as I breathed in His truth— He’s not mad at me for wanting to decorate my little cottage on Firwood Road!  In fact, He is spending His holy hours doing the same— preparing a place for me, a place where we can relish intimacy, a place of rest, a place of untangling troubled hearts caught up in self-imposed pressures.

His love wafted over my stringent should’s like the fragrant candle burning on my bedside table. I breathed deep— and smiled.

And so, this morning, before I get up and putter about arranging my pretty things, I want to remind you what I am just now remembering for myself. Because some of us get it wrong sometimes… and we lose peace… we miss His joy and stagger under a load He hasn’t meant for us to carry.  And then we work too hard and feel guilty because we’re crabby and short-tempered and generally hard to live with. (yep, that is me confessing who I’ve been this last week!)

This, then is truth:

Jesus is… a Redeemer lovingly restoring a broken world back to Himself.

He is… a Creator inviting you to play along with Him.

He is… a Maker of Beauty.


From a heart delighting in who He is,


P.S. Are you like me? Do you impose rigid rules on yourself that actually aren’t from the Father? Can you name a few to help us recognize them in ourselves?





I sit this morning and see the Santas on the tree.

And snowmen and glittering soldiers and even a Star Wars guardian dangling all out of place.

Matthew’s childhood hanging on.

This last born son who has brought so much joy as we’ve watched him emerge into a man. He’s home from college, stepping back into his place in our family- right in the center of everything fun.

And I grieve with the parents in Newton. Their Matthews will never come home for Christmas. Ever.

How can this be?!

And the Father knew it all when He chose to give us freedom. He saw every atrocity, felt within His being every heartbreak.

Did He cry? And bend His back with the load of grief? And isn’t He weeping still?


And the snow that falls outside my window feels like maybe He just can’t stop.

I cannot explain it, dare not try.

All I can do is hold my children close.

When impatience threatens my kindness, remember how much those mamas miss the messes…

slow down the frenzy of doing to cherish the beauty of being…

play games, read books, build legos, rock babies…

teach, encourage, correct, caress, laugh, bless, discover, relish…

And today I’ll make cookies. For my boy grown up.

From a heart heavy with grief and yet filled with grateful joy,




For this is the love of God, That we keep His commandments; And His commandments are not burdensome.

I John 5:3

Yesterday I made my list.

1.  Dust downstairs

2.  Mop kitchen floor

3.  Finish making jam

On and on the list droned the delight right out of my day.

Yet still, I had my list and it needed doing and so I did.

That’s when I saw the little Mobile Man standing at the door of my barn church.

Which started a quiet chuckle… then a laugh…which led to a full blown I love life moment as I imagined Jude or Duke or Mo or maybe it was Sunday, setting that little man there with a whole story to go with him.

And do you know what? That little man changed my whole day.

Children don’t work through lists.

They play—all day long.

And didn’t Jesus gather those play-planning kids into His lap and with twinkling eyes tell His goal-oriented, stress-driven disciples to be just like these little players?

“Like a child”, He said.

And so my list changed in that moment.

1.  Dance through my beautiful, cozy home, swinging a dust rag as I do so it’s all shining tonight when we get to pray over John as he leaves for Zimbabwe…

2.   Swish those sticky places and do a little jig of joy for all the meals prepared and people loved right over this floor…

3.  Create beauty in a jar and imagine the moment of opening in mid-winter…

4.  Discover… play all day!

I wonder if Jesus wasn’t thinking of me that day when He gathered those kids on His lap. Looking down through centuries, past history, at the stressed-out woman writing her list. Grim faced and determined to do it all.

“His commandments are not burdensome”, John said. So why am I so burdened?

Maybe because I need to be just like a child.

Maybe because He has other plans for this day.

Maybe because He wants me to play the day away…

From my heart,