My earliest childhood memories are of sitting on my bed with my dad reading Bible stories to me. Some how he could make the Old Testament Stories come to life in my little mind. I loved listening to him read. I couldn’t wait to go to school so that I could read too.
Soon those stories grew dull and old. A I grew older I found other things to read. I took trips to Neverland with Wendy, and jumped into the Wardrobe on more than one occasion. I still read my Sunday school lessons but more out of duty than interest.
As I started junior high, reading became my life. I read everything I could get my hands on. The kids at school called me bookworm and library geek. But I didn’t care… what they didn’t know was that I went to far away places. I solved the mysteries, helped the heroines find their one true love, and always shared in the happy endings.
Soon my world revolved around what author I was currently reading. My summers were spent reading. While other kids were out swimming or playing, I locked my self in my room reading my next adventure.
My mom didn’t care if I read all the time, as long as my grades were good. My lessons were done really fast so I could get back to my books. She had no idea how much of a fantasy world I lived in. I could read three to six books a day depending on whether it was a school day.
I wanted to go to all the places I read about. I wanted to do all the things the characters did. I wanted to be them… to be anyone but me. Soon the books weren’t enough. I started making up stories in my head as I laid in my bed, and couldn’t wait to continue them each day. You see I was lonely… lonely and sad. I felt inadequate in the real world. I wasn’t beautiful or popular. I didn’t have any real friends, just my books. It never occurred to me that the isolation was the problem.
My parents thought I was a good kid and reading was my hobby. They never realized how engulfed I was in being anyone but me. They never thought to tell me that life, real life didn’t always end happily ever after.
Then one day it happened. I met a boy who made me laugh. He was a rogue, a bad boy, but weren’t all those heroes in the books rough around the edges until they found the right girl? I became determined to be the right girl. My life without books began. Nothing I ever read had prepared me for the next phase of my life. It was full of pain, heartache, and terror.
My children were born showing true love. Yet I still felt inadequate and alone. My “true love” turned out to be a mad man, a wife beater, a drug addict and a criminal. I was too ashamed to tell anyone, so I lived in fear alone.
Years later I found myself a confused shell of a person, widowed with two small sons. My “rogue” had lived by the sword and died by the sword, murdered for drugs.
I went back to my parent’s, with my sons and a broken spirit. I functioned day to day but had no hope, no clue of who I had become. Those dreams of long ago had disappeared and were forgotten.
One day, out of sheer boredom, I picked up a Bible. For the first time since childhood it came to life. God opened up a whole new world to me. A world where I was loved, truly loved. Amazingly, it became apparent that Christ died for me. He felt my pain. He knew my shame and He wanted to give me a life full of joy, gladness, and peace.
I also found that, unlike the many books I read before, the Bible was a real living story that continued to live in every reader. It lives and breathes life into readers by turning them into doers for Christ. Unlike books that take you to places temporarily, it takes you to eternity forever. The peace and joy it gives makes you a doer, as you share it with others.
I am thankful that God took me on this journey, and that I have become a doer and not just a reader anymore.
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