Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)
- TITLE: My Story
By Jodi Gardner
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"Hmmmmmm, maybe I will sit in the library?" I thought to myself. Oh, what a glorious room filled with chronicles of all kinds; tales of great warriors; accounts of deep sorrows overcome by love; and how-tos on everything. The smell of the worn pages on towering shelves, the sunlight streaming through curtain encased windows, and the coolness of the late afternoon spring air beckoned me to curl up with a book.
Glancing through the enchanting room, I noticed four unfamiliar books between bookends carved of stone. One stone read "Alpha" and the other "Omega." The first book was a leather-bound Bible with wear marks from generations of use. The next was a standard Dictionary. The remaining two caught my attention: a "Family Photo Album" and "My Life by God's Design."
Taking the latter two books, I moved to my papa's old high-back leather chair. Inhaling deeply, I nuzzled in to explore these strange books. First, I opened the photo album. There, I recognized pictures from my childhood, rebellious teen years, and wedding; however, the images of me as an old woman startled me. I am but 40 years old! How could this be? I recalled most of the faces; some were foreign yet seemed comforting somehow.
Unsettled, I picked up "My Life by God's Design" uncertain what I would find after such an extraordinary experience with the photo album. I read the first chapter becoming lost in the words and tenderness of each pen stroke. It was the story of my parents. Chapter two described the people God had placed in my life as a child. In my mind's eye, I saw depictions of how God had used me to demonstrate His love to others and how they taught me lessons I would need later. Smiling, I felt drawn to continue reading as if in a trance.
Each chapter exposed greater detail of who I am in Christ. It was amazing! I had never seen myself through His eyes. Never had I recognized how special I am to Him. I knew He loved me, but this was … truly heart warming. With each confirmation, scales of self-loathing shed off me as if from a dead fish.
About half way through the book, I found nothing but blank pages. Almost frantic, I flipped through the remaining sheets. Nothing! With that I noticed my old t-shirt and jeans had transformed into a beautiful white summer dress. Standing, I went to the mirror in the hall. There I saw myself as God sees me: playful, creative, inspiring, tenacious, energetic, a bit stubborn, and beautiful. Wow! What a difference from my self-image: dull, boring, pig-headed, and forgettable.
Returning to the library, I asked God what to make of "My Life by God's Design," especially the empty pages. In a loving voice, I heard "Ohhh My little girl, those pages are for you to fill. Now that you can see yourself clearer through my eyes, I want you to fill the empty spaces in your book with love, peace, and joy. How this story ends is up to you. You can continue on with blinders of guilt or shine forward as the new creation you are through Me."
With that, I returned the books between the bookends professing, "the beginning" and "the end." I leaned back in the chair as if curling into papa's lap like I did as a wee child. I hugged myself as I professed my love for God, His creations, and myself. I no longer felt aimless. I determined through prayer and obedience I would fill those pages with acts of compassion for other women who could not accept His overwhelming love for them. My story now had purpose.
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