Donated book binds women together in faith

In my thank-you note to the donor of the book I found so helpful, I paraphrased something from Jesus Calling. It surprised me when she sent me a copy of that book. While she couldn't have known, HE most certainly did!

In my thank-you note to the donor of the book I found so helpful, I paraphrased something from Jesus Calling. It surprised me when she sent me a copy of that book. While she couldn’t have known, HE did!

A few years ago, I entered a writing contest where the topic required of essay candidates was how the library had changed your life. As one of the winners, my essay touting the vicarious wisdom I have received through reading was featured in a local publication. I like the idea my reading habit could be written about and perhaps inspire others to read more. Consider this a second installment along a similar theme.
A little over a month ago, I purchased at the Salvation Army Thrift Store a really special book by Stephen Arterburn called Healing is a Choice. It’s one of those books that even if you stopped with just reading its title, would have already managed to make you think. But as is my habit, I went on to devour it. As I read, I took periodic breaks to copy quotes from it so I could continue to savor the messages that most spoke to me.
One of the passages I re-wrote in my journal for future reference was found on page 117: “You may be holding on to something you were never meant to have, or holding on to a life you were never meant to live. Adjust your expectations, embrace the life you have and discover what God can make of it – mistakes and all.” I desperately need that reminder to keep my head in today, instead of trying to re-try past or fret about the future. We all do. So I decided to thank the donor of the book.
Inside on its dust jacket was an address label bearing the name of the previous book owner. I wrote her a thank-you note that began, “Hi. You don’t know me, but you have helped me. I am writing because I bought for $2.99 a book you donated . . . . ”
Within the note, I said I’ve had a rough go of it since my husband left 16 months ago, but God has consistently placed in my path the information I most need at the time I most need it. My kids and I have been thankful and able to keep blessing others despite our own circumstances due to the generosity of others.
Note: That last line of my note was a variation on something Sarah Young wrote in her devotional, Jesus Calling, “Give thanks regardless of your feelings and receive joy regardless of your circumstances.” It is yet another strong reminder of how to heal.
I concluded my note to the book’s previous owner by saying, “Sometimes we wonder if the little things we do actually make a difference or are appreciated. I’m here to tell you they are. Thanks so much for making it possible for Healing is a Choice to make it into my hands.”
A month later, a small package addressed to me showed up in my mailbox. It was from an unknown Florida address. Opening it, I found a different book and a letter, from the previous book owner. The thank-you note I’d sent to her Michigan address had been forwarded to where she winters in Florida.
She told me what a lovely blessing my note had been to her, and said she is always in awe as to how God moves in and out of our lives and helps us in the most unexpected ways. Additionally, it had inspired her to reach out and let others know how much the little things they do for others have an impact on lives.
My kids and I were amazed by her kindness, but even more by the book she had enclosed: a leatherbound copy of Jesus Calling. “I hope it will minister to your spirit as much as it has to me and thousands of others . . . . May God bless you abundantly in your Journey with Him.” she said, adding that if I already had a copy of the book, I should pass this one forward.
Not on your life. I will give away my other copy of Jesus Calling while I retain and treasure this special one as a reminder to continue to give thanks for life’s thoughtful little gestures even when feeling overwhelmed by the bigger, scarier situations.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janet Koehler
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 10:33:41

    I just got my copy of “Jesus Calling”…See what an influence you are even from afar!
    Janet

    Reply

  2. Auntie Sharon
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 06:17:09

    You may never know exactly how much you influence others Kristy ~ The kindness you showed toward this lady has rebounded back abundantly ~ You have a new friend I’m sure. The fact that you shared your story will suggest to others to do the same hopefully. Great story of how good life is when you thoughtfully touch others….

    Reply

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