I love books. Love, love, love books. To look at them, hear and talk about them, collect and share them, and of course, devour them with my mind.
One of my fondest memories of plowing through a big ‘ol stack is from fifth grade. My parents had given me a boxed set of all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books for Christmas, and I spent the two weeks before I had to go back to school lying on our olive green and harvest gold plaid sofa reading them back-to-back. Those were the days!
Today, I can’t read as voraciously, as the responsibilities of adulthood – and more to it, parenthood – have changed both my priorities and my schedule. Nevertheless, this year I’ve been doing a Reading Challenge with some friends, and have so far read 16 books in a variety of categories. It’s been an intellectual joy to read James Michener for the first time, and to rediscover authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tennessee Williams, whose works I hadn’t laid eyes on in decades. I’ve also read some popular new authors, like Garth Stein and Mitch Albom, and others I think have written modern classics, such as Sue Monk Kidd.
But the most interesting development for me during this little “challenge,” has been that I may not complete it, due to the fact that I can’t stop reading the other books which I’ve found feed me. I’m talking about spiritual reading – by authors like Stasi Eldredge, Ann Voskamp, and Allen Hunt. Their books redirect my thoughts to the higher plane. The place where I am called to live, and move, and have my being.
These authors also send me reaching for God’s Word, because they continuously point to the Source of their souls’ joy, and the more I grow in faith, the more I want to read His words myself.
I have always sensed that there is something more powerful about the Bible than any other book, and that’s probably why I avoided reading it for nearly 35 years. Simple verses here and there, taken out of context, were like sips of water on the tongue. Non-threatening. Ephemeral. Enjoyable for a short time.
But eventually I had bigger questions that only Love could answer. So, when I finally stopping wading in to the Bible only to my ankles, and instead dove in and spent real time swimming around in it, I found it is indeed powerful. Life changing. Living. And best of all – more satisfying than I had EVER imagined.
And my journey into this fascinating tome – the amazing depth and breadth of God’s love story to each of us told through many authors over thousands of years – will never end. For new discoveries can be made every time it is opened. It speaks on the topics of….well, everything. Just today, I happened upon this passage, which prompted me to write this post.
Truly, people have and are writing books about everything imaginable. “Of the making of books there is no end.” It’s a colorful, gorgeous world, which begs to be celebrated in the written word. But my flesh grows weary without the sustenance of the Lord. And I am called once again to consider the books with which I spend my time.
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LOVE this Gretchen! I am absolutely with you and the love of books. The journeys they take us on and the beautiful (and sometimes not so beautiful) worlds we are allowed to enter. I am wading in the Bible, trying to jump in and swim. I can always go deeper. Thank you for guiding and being an example of what that looks like.