playHow to Play with a Baby

“What happened to your knee?” my daughter Laura asked.

I glanced down and noticed a red, raw spot on my left knee. “Carpet burn, I guess,” I answered with a shrug. “Abel and I have been racing up and down the hallway.”

“Oh, you poor thing!”

What can you learn about God while playing with a baby? #BGBG2 http://wp.me/p7W1vk-ec“Naw,” I replied, “anything to hear his cackle!” Therein lies the truth. I’ll do anything to get a two-toothed grin, a chortle, or a cackle out of my eleven-month-old grandson.

We race up and down the hallway on our hands and knees (he almost always wins). I disappear around doorways (still on hands and knees), and say, “Boo!” when he pokes his head around the corner.

We go for long walks outside (rain or shine) and we talk about all the beauty God has created. When Abel starts to fall asleep, I twirl around and sing “This is the Way the Lady Rides.” (Laura’s new neighbor’s must wonder at the sanity of that crazy lady cavorting around the road wearing a baby on her front…). When we arrive back home, my knees ache.

He babbles nonsense sounds with adult intonation, and I babble right back. When he clicks his tongue, I respond in kind. We blow raspberries. I build block towers and scream in mock horror when he crawls over and knocks them down.

He crawls into my lap and we read books. Then he crawls out of my lap and reads books on his own. When nap time rolls around, I feel exhausted—both physically and mentally.

This is the reason I run marathons, exercise, and stay healthy—so I can play with my grandchildren.

Another Kind of Play

All that play makes me think of my heavenly father. According to Psalm 37:23, God delights in us, his children. He doesn’t just delight in an, ‘Oh, how cute’ sort of way, either. God delights in every detail of our lives. And that means play.

Sure, studying God’s love letter brings him delight. But as a grandma, I delight in the presence of my grandson—he won’t write letters for years to come. To get close to him, I enter in to Abel’s play. Does God want any less for us?

I like to think of the great outdoors as God's playground. #BGBG2 #fmfparty Click To Tweet

I like to think of the great outdoors as God’s playground. When I venture out, I go to play. I stop to smell flowers. I squat down and search for four-leaf clovers. Bird song arrests my progress, and I pause to listen for my friends.

When I go outside, whether to hike, bike, run, or bird, I go with the intention of spending time with the Creator. I leave my ear buds at home. My to-do list stays on the desk. A funny thing happens, though. As I play in God’s presence and delight in his creation I hear the unchained rhythm of his grace. I discover that I have more energy for my lists.

The rest that comes from creation play creates space in my mind for deeper thoughts. Click To Tweet

You don’t have to wait for a sunny day. Throw on a raincoat and enjoy the patter (or pelting) of rain on your hood. Stomp in puddles and giggle at gulls. Breathe in the fragrance of wild roses, and watch worms wiggle.

Know that God delights in you. Yes, he wants your devotion in the form of prayer, study, and service. But he also wants you to take time to bask in his love—to play with him in his creation.

Go ahead and twirl in the confidence that he delights in us and every move we make in his presence brings a smile to his face.

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21 Comments

  1. Dear Anita, in addition to the inspiration of playing with a child, and playing as God’s Child, this is an extraordinarily and beautifully written post! Thank you for sharing some of your sweetest joys.

  2. Anita, I so loved reading this post! As a Mimi, I have literally rubbed my knees to the point of raw and bleeding crawling around 🙂 And it was worth it! This is a beautiful analogy. Our God wants us to just spend time with Him, just to be with Him. Grateful in several ways to have read this post!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Learning to LeanMy Profile

  3. You know I love this. I became a grandma at 47 years of age and I have had rug burns, sore back, aching knees, sunburn, windburn, grass itching syndrome, eye pain from reading clouds and kudzu, and I wouldn’t trade one pain, one discomfort for the memories made with my grands – they are two of the best things that have ever happened in my world!!! I know you agree. Keep running marathons, Grandma, the best is yet to come! (((xo)))

  4. I loved this! Especially this aha moment: As I play in God’s presence and delight in his creation I hear the unchained rhythm of his grace. I discover that I have more energy for my lists.

  5. Love this glimpse of you as Abel’s Grandmother! Playing with children causes us to do crazy things huh? Especially those who capture our heart and soul from the minute they are born. What a beautiful gift!

  6. Loved, loved, loved doing this kind of thing with my grandkids when they were little. Now they’re 16, 14, and 13. Instead we play Skip-Bo, Phase 10, and Uno, go bowling and to the beach. The relationship we built when they were young carries into their teen years. I am blessed.
    Debbie Putman recently posted…Week Six of Retirement: ReflectionsMy Profile

  7. Dear Anita, the granddaughters are here (9 and 3), and tomorrow we head off to Des Moines for a weekend of fun. Couldn’t help thinking of you and that adorable little guy. Some of our biggest blessings come in small packages, don’t they? Enjoy! (The knee is healing, but getting impatient to be able to do all I want to. Thanks.)

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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