Books And The Like

REALLY important question:

If the library didn’t want me to request fifty books at a time, they’d put a limit on the number of books a person can request, right?

The day I go pick all those books up will be the real walk of shame. Or walks of shame, since I’ll probably have to make more than one trip out to my car.

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Reasons To Stay Alive:

  • Watching tree leaves turn red and orange and yellow.
  • Watching flowers bloom.
  • People who look at you with love in their eyes.
  • Conversations with coworkers that make you laugh.
  • When the weather forecast predicts snow.
  • Online orders arriving.
  • Handwritten letters.
  • Long hugs.
  • “Just thinking of you” text messages.
  • Good hair days.
  • Library books.

 

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This morning I was stretched out at a coffee shop, my bottom on one chair and my feet on the other, a steaming cup of tea before me and a book in my hands- John Piper’s “Battling Unbelief”.

I have a raised-eyebrow approach to John Piper, but the book was recommended to me, and thus far has proven to be full of wise words, undeniable truth, and even–surprisingly!–some comfort.

I was reading about being unashamed of the gospel when an older gentlemen came by my table and said, “It’s so nice to see someone reading an actual book!”

We bantered back and forth about that for a while, about how I’m a die-hard actual, made-of-paper book fan, and about how he doesn’t know how to use a cell phone or how to respond when the barista greets him with a “yo!”

And then he said something I thought profound, although I know he didn’t mean it to be. He was simply referring to technology, but his words spoke to me about life. He said, “People just keep moving forward. They throw away the things of the past. They just want to move on to bigger and better things.”

I nodded at him and added, “You’re right. We have to build on the past, learn from it, not move on and act like it never happened.”

A little bit later in our conversation, he asked me what book I was reading. I don’t know if he was a Christian or not, but as I talked to him about the book, I prayed that the Lord would somehow use our interaction. Maybe he was just a friendly guy in a coffee shop, but maybe our lives intersected this morning for a reason- he, John Piper, and I talking about paperbacks and Christianity, while we indulged in our early morning caffeine, and the sunlight reflected off the dew on the windows of the coffee shop.

And the baristas fought in the backroom.

There was also the two men, one of whom I think was interviewing for a job. The interviewee called to the barista, “God bless you!” as he left. I also heard him talking about extending the same grace to others that has been extended to him in the past.

And the mother and daughter, who I stopped as they got straws for their coffee, to tell them I envied both of their outfits.

Sometimes it’s so simple to bless people. To be Jesus to people. To smile at the small child wearing bright pink sunglasses, her head tilted slightly upward to keep them from slipping down on her nose. To wave at a baby. To tell a man his dog is cute, even if the dog is barking indoors and the man looks embarrassed.

Life is such a mixture. Beautiful things, and imperfect things.

For instance, even as I overheard the coworkers bickering behind the door to my right, I prayed for God’s presence to fill up that coffee shop. I felt like I was doing something important, inviting Jesus there, encouraging Him to speak to me in that public place, among strangers with complex lives and varying struggles and beliefs.

Maybe sometimes allowing the Lord to use you is as simple as opening up your heart and a paperback.

Eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart open to receive, for these things I pray.

All Is Well

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Last week was sunny,

last night I got to cuddle an infant,

today has been lovely,

I still have two more days of weekend ahead of me,

and God is good. So, so good.

All is well.

🙂

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I spent today with Brittany.

After I woke up.

At 2:30 p.m.

But in my defense, I was up until 4:30 a.m. last night. I’m not sure how I wasn’t tired. Pretty sure it was supernatural. 😉 Or possibly it had something to do with the energy drink and copious quantities of candy I ate last night.

So, yes. I woke up this morning (read: afternoon), took some Peptol Bismol, and Brittany and I headed to one of my favorite places to buy books: The Goodwill.

Mom used to say, “Tamara, you have to give a book a chance. If by the fourth chapter you’re still not interested in it, then you don’t have to finish it.”

I know what Mom was trying to do, and I’m sure she thought she was giving me sound advice, but she was wrong. I can tell within the first few pages whether or not it’s a book I’m going to be able to get on board with. And so that’s what I spent a couple hours doing this afternoon, while Brittany looked at the baby clothes section. Inspired, undoubtedly, by the aforementioned newborn. ; )

We also hit up Metropolitan Market for some grapes and mushrooms. Because we have been craving both lately.

I bought four packages of mushrooms.

When the cashier was checking me out, she said, “You must be making a recipe that requires a lot of mushrooms!”

To which I responded, “…No. I just really like mushrooms.”

And then she tried to backpedal and talk about how, “…Oh. Oh! Oh, uh, well, they’re really good for you!”

It made me giggle inwardly.

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I have been reading The God Catchers lately, and I love it.

A couple nights ago, I came across this passage: “If you insist on retaining the rulership over your life, God will just evacuate and wait until something dies and dependency is re-created.”

Maybe I would’ve read that before as God being controlling or threatening in some way, but now when I read that, I find so much comfort in it.

I don’t want God to allow anything (even my own hopes, dreams, and plans for my life) to become lord over my life. I don’t want to do a single second of life without God’s hand in mine. Life apart from Him is not worth it. And life with Him? It’s beautiful. It’s magical and full of potential and anything but mundane. Every day is alive with possibility when I’m following where He leads. And no moment, not a single second, is lonely or scary when my heart belongs to Him. No matter what life brings, I know I will be okay because nothing will change the fact that I am His. And nothing matters as much as that.

I posted that quote on Instagram, and I wrote this caption for it: “And it’s because He loves us. Even when it hurts, Lord, I welcome anything that will draw me closer to You. Thank You, Jesus, that You pursue us. Unfailingly. Thank You that You are good and holy and that all You do is motivated by love. Thank You that we can trust You even when things don’t make sense. Help us to remember You are worthy of praise- always.”

I don’t know what God is doing in my life right now, but it is bigger than me and more than I could take credit for and it is amazing and beautiful. And I’m happy. Not every moment of every day is easy or good, but I am happy. I am so happy. Because God is helping me to trust and love Him more. And with a head and heart consumed with love for my Lord and with ultimate trust in His plan for my life, nothing can touch me.

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I was reading in the Bible the other night that God promises that not a single hair on our heads will be harmed (Luke 21:18).

But at the same time, people who love God suffer and die every day.

And so I have to ask myself, what truth am I going to give more power to:

What I see before me? The truth that Christians still suffer?
Or the truth that God promises to protect us and provide for us?The truth that He spoke and found significant enough to put in the Bible?

Which truth is going to be bigger in my life? And what it comes down to is this: Does God lie?

No, He doesn’t.

And so, regardless of what I perceive, I trust and know that He keeps His promises. Which must mean that there’s more to this life than we realize or understand right now.

Our suffering, while legitimate, does not look the same through heaven’s eyes. And I find so much comfort in that.

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