The Power of Play


Madonna and Child-Titian

Parenting will teach you so many lessons about God.

Tonight was a particularly fun family night. Since being home-bound due to the car accident and lack of vehicle, my friend brought me to the store earlier today where I was bound and determined to buy a couple of water pistols for the kids to play with in the pool, along with a tiny Nerf pistol. When my husband got home from work, a full blown war broke out! The kids were spraying us with their water guns, we were chasing them, teams were formed, hiding places were sought out and foam bullets were flying!

It was so much fun. Adrenaline pumping, kids bonding with their parents and happy memories being made to overcome the sad ones from the last year.

It was the most family fun we had had in a very long time.

But I have to give you some background information on my son before I can go on with this story. My son has been chronically ill since he was about 8 months old. He is almost two now. He has recovered tremendously but still has a way to go, but something about all this playing today made me realize a couple of things about our baby boy.

Since he has been so ill, he has slept a lot because of not feeling well. He has also learned how to be a “lone survivor,” so to speak. He has severe food allergies (which was a major driving force for the research for chapters two and three in my book, that along with the chronic insomnia I had for 3 years), so he has learned to hear, “no” a lot when it comes to foods that he cannot eat.

And he’s surprisingly very compliant with this. But I am sure it has taken a toll on him emotionally, not being able to be included in some of our foods.

Don’t get me wrong, as a family, in solidarity for our little guy, we have given up all sugar, milk, cheese, all grains, and about 95% of the foods he cannot eat. (Between my husband and I, we have lost over 100 lbs because of this.) But there are times when we slip in some coconut flakes, (yeah he can’t have that) or another one of his forbidden foods because, well, I really, really like coconut!

Knowing what I know about how food can bond people together, I know he feels isolated in this regard and tonight as I was putting him down to bed, I realized how much he has not let me hold him recently. It’s like he just wants to be left alone and just wants to act like an a big boy already. But my maternal instincts went off and I knew this was a defense mechanism and not him ready to be “all grown up” before 2.

For the last several weeks, he would squirm and not let me rock him like I used to do before bed. But tonight, something came over me, the Holy Spirit I think. When I picked him up and he started to fight me, I said, “no” very firmly, in my best I-am-not-kidding-around-mom voice.

He cried. And cried.

But then within seconds, he melted into me. He just molded into my shoulders and hugged my neck like he used to.

And that melted my heart, feeling him molded to my embrace.

I started singing to him and then God spoke to me through this.

He showed me how many times in my life I want to hide in my cave, do what I want, act like I got this thing called, “life” and that I don’t need His love, hugs and holding and that I can do this on my own.

He showed me that in my pain of feeling rejected or left out, I start to isolate myself from Him. I start squirming when He wants to hold me. I don’t just stop and let Him love me.

And that’s when He has to get firm with me and put a stop to my self-harming isolation and hesitance from Him. That is when He must “lay down the law” and remind me that I can’t do this world, this life, parenting, writing, being a wife, being a friend without His love.

As I sang my little song to my son about how much he needed my love, God was reminding me of how desperately I needed His. As I whispered sweet love notes in my son’s ear, I heard God telling me, “Be still and know that I am your God who fights for you.”

So, as I try and get over my frustrations of not having a car, the desperation of selling our house and the isolation of being stuck at home, I do know that after tonight, I need God’s love more so than my son needs my love and I know my son needs my love a lot.

Because without a parents’ love, a child won’t have a sense of self-worth, a sense of being needed or any desire to love anyone but themselves. The same way I can’t go on squirming to get out of my Father’s arms because without surrendering and forgiving God, (yes, I have been mad at a God for a lot of what has happened in our life recently) I can’t really have a sense of self-worth, a sense of being needed or a desire to love anyone else.

Alas, on I go, to sit, ponder and let this message sink into my heart and work on forgiving God for all that has happened in the past year, to stop squirming and let Him love me again.

But then I have to trust Him again. And that’s always been man’s biggest challenge.


Photo Credit-


One thought on “The Power of Play

  1. John 10:10… you’re not paranoid if they really ARE out to get you… you’re learning how to fight the right enemy, how to see through the Lord’s eyes (as victor, not victim) and how to take your rightful authority as his child. You’ll be fine. You’re God’s warrior. Better than that, you’re his treasure!


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