Laura Munson sat in front of the fire. Eleven women surrounded her as she read from the book that introduced me to her years before. I couldn't take my eyes off of her as she read her own words. She removed her glasses, looked up at her audience, and taught.
“Do you hear what I did there?” she would ask as she pointed out a specific lesson in craft. She put her glasses back and kept reading.
When she was finished with the reading, she closed her book and looked up at us and smiled. I raised my hand.
“I would just like to say that it is amazing to sit and listen to these words you've written and to be reminded that it is THESE words that helped shape the way I would move through the next few years of my life. I had forgotten how influential your book was until just this moment. Thank you for sharing your words with the world.”
I wept quietly in front of these strangers-turning-friends.
Laura's reading reminded me: God uses books to teach, to comfort, and to guide me. Laura's book wasn't the first book God used and it wouldn't be the last.
I haven't read much in 2015. The 40/40 list and writing the novel have taken up most of my free time. The books I have read were ones I had included on the 40/40 list. I have a pile of books in a container in my room. When I've finished the book I'm reading, I peruse this collection to see if any of the books in it are my next selection.
I picked up The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. Two friends had loaned me the book at different times, but I hadn't read it yet. Within the first 50 pages, I knew I was “supposed to” read this book now. I read these words:
“Nothing honors God more than a big dream that is way beyond our ability to accomplish. Why? Because there is no way we can take credit for it. And nothing is better for our spiritual development than a big dream because it keeps us on our knees in raw dependence on God. Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn't just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God; it's a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.” (page 43)
2015 has become the year of the big dream. I wasn't ready for this book when my friends initially loaned it to me.
“God isn't offended by big dreams; He's offended by anything less.” (page 55)
“Okay, God, you have my attention,” I thought as I kept reading.
And then, THIS:
“Too many authors worry about whether or not their book will get published. That isn't the question. The question is this: Are you called to write? That's the only question you need to answer. And if the answer is yes, then you need to write the book as an act of obedience. It doesn't matter whether anyone reads it or not.” (page 77)
MOMENT OF SILENCE.
If I had taken this book out of the stack earlier or read it when my friends loaned it to me, the author's words would have buzzed right past my head and my understanding. I whimpered when I read this passage and choked up when I read it to my friend.
God Speaks to Me Through the Books I Read.
He uses fiction and non-fiction indiscriminately. In fiction, He uses the lives of characters to help me weigh my own life against their circumstances, conversations, and choices. In non-fiction, He shares authors' insights to move me forward. I am grateful that I am paying attention. It would be easy for all of these books to be just “good reads” and for the good stuff not to stick.
Never knowing which book will be host to God's next message makes reading a constant adventure. I just know that at some point there will be something really good and much needed waiting for me.