One never knows what can happen when one small seed of faith is planted. The seed was offered me one fall day at a women’s retreat as I shared lunch with a lady who loved her job as a Christian book distributor.
“Why not try a small rack in your husband’s pharmacy – you might be surprised at the number of people who are interested.”
Lord, is this what you want? I prayed and the idea took root in my heart.
My husband gave me a plot on a counter for a spinner rack bearing twelve title slots. Two weeks later the twelve slot rack sprouted into a floor rack with places for forty-eight paperbacks.
Within a few months a whole store section became dedicated to Bibles, bestselling Christian books, curriculum materials and music. We were amazed and delighted at the crop of blessings it produced. Then a storm came. We lost the lease on the drugstore and we were forced to sell the inventory. Our small book-garden was plowed under by the new tenant.
Lord, we know you are the producer of good fruit. . .we trust you for
a new field in which to plant and grow. We prayed, clinging to Romans 8:28, trusting God’s providence.
Nine months later, the Lord kept His promise to work “new ground” for spreading the good news - Glad Tidings Books ‘N Gifts was sown as a stand- alone Christian bookstore. What a field of opportunity it became for us to till. A small spinner rack had increased to hundreds of square feet of Bibles, books, gifts, art and music – fertile ground for a spiritual crop.
Many kinds of people came to Glad Tidings – seekers, wanderers, lost sheep, shepherds, and saints. Some came with broken hearts and splintered lives. Most were hungry for spiritual food we offered. God yielded a harvest of blessing to them and us through their testimonies.
One such fruitful testimony came from a young, bright-eyed woman who approached me at the checkout, plopping down five copies of a small book entitled A Little Book of Hugs for Sisters.
Curious, I had to ask. “Do you have five sisters?”
“Oh, yes - that’s why this book is perfect.” She smiled, hesitating a moment. “Well, I claim to have five sisters, but we are not all blood-related. Some of us have the same father and some the same mother, yet we have become very close. Hugging has a special meaning for us.”
She proceeded to tell how the five girls first met and decided to have a “slumber party” to celebrate the 30th birthday of the eldest. Talking long into the night, they began unfolding memories – one by one the stories came, each “sister” drawing from her heart’s treasures, each contributing her unique patchwork block to the “crazy” family quilt being sewn together with multihued threads. Some patches bore bright-colored designs prompting side-aching laughter; others displayed dark patterns precipitating rivers of tears.
As the tears flowed forth from one of the girls, another reached out, “Do you need a hug?”
With a consenting nod, she was swallowed up in an embrace. Soon all five pairs of arms were interwoven, hugging her and one another, binding hearts together in a blanket of soul-soothing warmth. A tradition was born. Now, every year the “Special Sister Slumber Party” is repeated as these women re-stitch the bonds pieced together at that initial gathering. The main event of the night is always “the Hug Circle“.
“How special,” I said, as she finished her explanation.
“That’s why these books are perfect. We exchange gifts throughout the year – anything that has a ‘hug’ theme – figurines, plush animals, pictures, and now – these special little books – ’hugs’ for my special sisters.”
After she left, I thought about the power of God’s love reaching beyond circumstances - how, indeed, “He works everything together for the good of those called for His purpose.”* He sowed small seeds and nourished them into
a place of fruitfulness - our Glad Tidings bookstore, where people could find spiritual nourishment. He took a little book and multiplied its words to bless and draw together a fragmented family, sewing them together in love.
I opened a copy of the book and found these words - which underscore the harvest of hope to all of us in His family –
“Nothing can separate those bound by the power of God’s love.”*
*Romans 8:28 (NIV)
*A Little Book of Hugs for Sisters (Howard Publishing Co., 2000)
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