#TellHisStory: A Playdate with God (Or How to Recover Your Joy)

October 7, 2014 | 26 comments

A few years ago, Scott and I took the girls on their first snorkeling trip. We landlubbers were overwhelmed by two things:

1 – The beauty of this whole underworld, hidden beneath the cover of water.

2 – The magnitude of the ocean, compared to the smallness of us. We were so overcome with the enormity that occasionally, we would pop our heads out of the water, flustered, so we could find the familiar sky. We’d spin around — bug-eyed with our goggles — trying to find each other. The ocean’s grandeur was just too much for us.

But, then, we couldn’t help ourselves. We had to go back for more. One by one, we’d face-plant ourselves back in the ocean. Our eyes were wide to the wonder, this underworld metallic with the glory of God. Light shafted itself through the water, illuminating silvery fish, humps of coral, deep ravines.

This had become more than a side-trip on our tropical vacation. This was a holy encounter, a brush with the sacred, a playdate with God.

Playdates with God

Sure, we can imagine God as Comforter or Savior, as Healer or Protector. Perhaps we can even imagine crawling up on the Father’s lap, where He’ll wrap His strong arms around our weary spirits. But can we imagine God as playmate? Can we imagine Him as the Father who tosses His child with joy into the air? Or as a God who whispers, “Come here. Look below, to places you’ve never seen before. I have something to show you.

Perhaps, we can play with the Prince of Peace.  We can laugh with the Lion of Judah. And we can explore the playfulness of God, even in the mundane days, long after the snorkels are packed away.

Deeper intimacy is found with the Father right here, on the playground of His creative world. It all hints at heaven. 

We perhaps need to look no farther than our own back yard to find the burning bushes, aflame with glory.

Want to find God today?

Play in the sandbox. Get your shoes dirty. Volunteer to be “it” in a game of Hide and Seek. Pretend with Polly Pockets. Be ruthless with snowballs. Go for a walk, and take the long way home. Walk a pretend tightrope through the forest. Close your eyes, and sling-shot yourself to the moon. Stand still, as the sun rises, a halo. And hear the opening notes of the song of the day, awakening.

Loosen yourself from the lists, and tumble straight into the lap of God.

Play was God’s idea. So go ahead: Make a playdate with Him. 

Maybe this is why children were always trying to get nearer to Jesus. God is not boring.

Our world is a vast and magical playground of jumping dolphins, spray-blowing whales, frolicking baby deer. It’s a world of iridescent crystal spires of ice, cloud-spotted skies, lemony leaves on autumn trees, fields turning themselves rusty before harvest. It seems that God is saying to us: Did you see what I made for you? Don’t miss this. 

So brilliant, this God. So utterly and achingly brilliant, to make a world like this. To hint at heaven, cramming beauty into the here-below.

The Bible says to have a child-like faith. I’m only beginning to scratch the depths of what that might mean for me.

Your turn: Tell us how you’ve experienced the playfulness of God.

(UPDATE: Thank you to the #TellHisStory linkup community for your patience as I wrote this post, just this morning. I was unable to write last night due to a difficult day.)

This post was inspired by a book, Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grownup World,
written by my dear friend Laura Boggess. The book released this week! In it, Laura opens our eyes to a God of joy, of delight … and of playfulness. Playdates with God
is a thoughtful and lyrical exploration of what it means to fall in love with God all over again–and to stay in love. Highly recommended!



So, what’s your Story?

A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God.

You’re invited to tell that story right here, in community with us.

Share your narratives, your poems, your Instagrams tagged with #TellHisStory, … your beautiful hearts. You are the chroniclers, the people who help others make sense of the world with your words and your art.

Story is how we know that, no matter what happens, we can get back up again.

Visit someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment. Then, Tweet about your posts, and the posts you visit, with the #TellHisStory hashtag. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.

A final note: This is a safe place to tell your stories. You don’t have to be a professional writer to join us. Story is built into every single one of us. Your story matters, because it’s part of God’s story down through history, not because you punctuated everything correctly. Deal?


For more details on the #TellHisStory linkup, click here. Share the love of story by visiting someone else in the community!

[badge url=’https://jenniferdukeslee.com/tell-his-story/’ title=’#TellHisStory – a community of God/’s storytellers’ image=’https://jenniferdukeslee.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/tellhisstory-badge.jpg’]


by | October 7, 2014 | 26 comments


  1. Arabah Joy

    Oh Jennifer, my heart goes out to you for the day you’ve had. Saying goodbye is so hard. Praying you rest well tonight and cling to Jesus each moment, each breath. {{Hugs and prayers}}

  2. Lisha Epperson

    peace to you Jennifer and His promise of sweet sleep. so sorry for your loss.

  3. Cheryl Smith

    Oh, Jennifer! I am SO sorry!! I am praying for you now. God’s peace be with you, dear one.

  4. Amanda Conquers

    Just wanted you to know I’m praying for you, Jennifer. Comfort in the shelter of Father’s embrace.

  5. Anita

    I’m so sorry for your loss. May the Holy Spirit draw near to you and comfort you.

  6. Candace Creates

    Praying for you, Jennifer! I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Many blessings to you and all involved.

  7. JViola79

    Praying for you during this time. May His comfort & His presence be with you!

  8. Katie Reid

    So sorry Jennifer. Praying for peace that passes all understanding and strength to face the day for you and all those grieving.

  9. Dawn

    Praying for His heart to mend your own and for comfort to be as close as the very next breath. Bless you!

  10. Becky Keife

    Wishing I could reach through the screen and close the gap between California and Iowa and give you a big long squeeze. I’m so sorry that you had to say goodbye. Between losing Alyssa two weeks ago and my grandmother going home to Jesus on Sunday, this tender place of joy and pain and grief is so very close to the surface for me, too.

    I’m proud of you for not writing last night. Yes, of course we will all come back and read. The God who made you Preapproved is more concerned about your heart than a writing schedule. Take care of that precious heart of yours first. Plenty of time for words ,if and when they are ready to come. Much love, friend.

  11. Sybil Brun

    Wishing you much restorative rest and closeness with your Father!

  12. Karrilee Aggett

    Praying for you, my friend!

  13. Monica Sharman

    I hope today is not as difficult as yesterday.

  14. Laura Boggess

    Jennifer, this makes me smile. Yes, play was God’s idea! And I love reading about your playdate with God. Thank you for sharing about the book. I’m so grateful.

  15. ro elliott

    May you feel the God is all comfort holding you tight!!!

  16. Alia_Joy

    Love you, friend. Praying you feel his peace and comfort with you today.

  17. Anita

    Oh! I LOVE snorkeling (but I hate swimming and water in general) and seeing a whole new world under the sea. And while I’ve never thought of doing things outdoors as a ‘playdate’ with God, I can totally understand.

  18. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    I’m so sorry to hear that you had a rough day. I hope that all is well now. Thanks for the link-up and for the reminder that Jesus called us His friends. He’s not some big, judgmental, scary guy in the clouds. He is our friend. What a blessing!!

  19. pastordt

    So sorry for the loss of your godmothers, Jennifer. And I love this post. Thanks so much.

  20. Brenda Lynn

    In the midst of sadness you pen such a beautiful picture of this His world that I can nearly hear Him (and you and her and them over there) giggling in play. You’ve lifted my heart. I’m so sorry that your’s is heavy right now.

  21. Lynn Morrissey

    Jennifer, I thought you were just having a “bad day,” but scanning the comments, it seems far more . . . that someone passed away? You have my love and prayers. This is a beautiful post…exquisite, really. God plays, but He also comforts, holds tight and close. May His nearness be palpable. May His presence be your strength. You are in my prayers.

  22. Mary Hill

    Hi, I am so sorry for whatever you are going through. I am praying for you. I was so moved by this post too. I want to be a playmate with God. So moving and inspiring. Thank you for all that you do to inspire women everywhere.

  23. saltshakmk@msn.com

    Bless you, milady, in your grief, as you still pour out to others with such enriching words and images. May you know His comforts in this time, and make playdate moments as you renew.

  24. June

    This was a beautiful post, Jennifer. God often speaks most eloquently through our grief. Praying for you.



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