Our books are still in boxes.
Usually, when I set up a new living space, my books are the first to be unpacked. I like to touch each one, pause; if there’s time, I open a few of the pages and read a few lines. Meditate on words once read, underlined, starred, recalling back to a younger self who read with passion and curiosity.
I married a man with as many, if not more, books as I have in my possession. The fact that some are duplicate is a private confirmation to me of our perfect synchronization. Thus we are the Curletts of Many Books and at the moment these treasures are still in boxes, sitting in the corner of our basement.
One book in one of those boxes is my Ryrie Study Bible, which I’ve had since sophomore year of college, when I decided my faith needed to be my own. Lately I’ve been craving the word, and Googling each verse in question hasn’t been cutting it. My husband’s Bible is worn; crammed with pencils, notes, and memorabilia; it is held together tightly by a rubber band. I love his Bible, but at a distance.
Rather than open every one of the twenty boxes in our basement to find my collegiate companion, I instead went to Amazon and purchased a thin line ESV Bible. I imagined myself tucking it into a purse or a suitcase, something toteable. Perfect. When I read the description I realized that there would be no notes, no cross-references, no footnote exegesis. I worried a bit that I wouldn’t be able to follow these words without the guidance of scholars. (I know, I know. Martin Luther and all that. But you know, sometimes my brain hurts and I need a little help.)
So…ever since that Bible made it to my doorstep? My hungry soul has been eating it up. Chapter by chapter. Number by number. Epistle by epistle. It feels comfortable, friendly. It makes sense to me. I am understanding its words in a way I never have before. There is clarity and an understanding that has never been present with me as I’ve read the word of God.
Maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, but I have to be honest: I am surprised. This prayer thing works. Sure, in certain denominations and certain pulpits, pastors and ministers pray that the Holy Spirit will illuminate the word of God. But how many times do we do that and experience…nothing? I would venture a guess that most of you reading this know what I’m talking about (or perhaps just as likely, you really have *no idea* what I’m talking about and the idea of asking the Spirit of God to help us do anything sounds a little freaky-deaky. I don’t blame you. It’s bizarre, right? Nonsensical). But here’s the thing: I asked him to help me, and he has been helping me. Honest truth.
How did this come to be? Well, a couple of weeks ago I had an ugly cry episode (definitely not the first!) where I professed from the very depths of my being that I believe in who he is and what he is capable of doing – namely, changing me. But this time I specifically asked him to open up my eyes and ears and heart to the truth of his word.
And guess what? He is true to his word. He’s been doing it. It feels like a fog has been lifted. And it’s rocking my world.
I don’t know what to make of all of this, other than to laugh through my tears. Cathartic is the word that comes to mind. I feel compelled to write. I have a new confidence I’ve never, ever experienced before.
Could it be possible that the Lord has known, since before the creation of this world, that it would take me until October of my 32nd year to fully experience the truth of his promises? That it would take me this long to study the clues along the way?
Just now I opened a box strewn with gifts. Brennan Manning. Frederick Buechner. Madeline L’Engle. Who say: You’re forgiven. You’re called. You’re a creator.
And now: the questions remain, “What do I create?” and, “Am I worthy of the task to which I am called?”
Something is brewing. Something is being knit together. And my Father, who purchased my life with the sacrifice of his son, clothes me in righteousness and undeserved reward.
He is with me.
Thank you for being a witness.