I recently discovered a book at my parent’s house. My mother and I shared a common love of reading and she often encouraged me to take a book from the shelf. I needed a step stool to investigate the treasures on the very top shelf of the bookcase. I spied a very small book, with its frayed and worn cover from years of turning pages beckoning me to notice it. It was oddly placed, wedged between newer and larger books and would have gone years unnoticed if not for my curiosity. I pulled out the book and thumbed through the pages. I realized that I had discovered a small treasure giving me another glimpse into the mind and heart of my mother.
On the inside of the jacket she had written a note, “To Myself…a gift from God to answer my plea for power. October 12, 1979.” The margins of the pages are filled with her personal notes and quiet talks to God and nearly every page had a paragraph highlighted in pale yellow.
The book challenged her to not to be swept along with the crowd, but rather have a fixed purpose, resolutely settled upon, rooted away and down deep to follow Jesus absolutely, no matter what it may cost or where it may cut.
The little book is full of giant reminders that God is intimately aware of what we need for everyday common things. We need His power to be gracious, kind, to enjoy work, to be content, to be cheerful, to listen, to rest…and on and on.
Here is a one of those pale yellow highlighted paragraphs from the book:
“There is that mother, living in what would be reckoned a humble home, one of a thousand like it, but charged with the most sacred trust ever committed to human hands—the molding of precious lives. If there be hallowed ground anywhere surely it is there, in the life of that home. What patience and tirelessness, and love and tact and wisdom and wealth of resource does that woman not need?”
And this thought:
“I will send another Comforter, one who will be right by your side to help, sympathetic, experienced, strong; and he will stay with you all the time. In the kitchen, in the sitting room, the sick-room, with the children, when work piles up, when things jangle or threaten to, when the baby’s cross, and the patching and sweeping and baking…and all the rest of it seem endless, on the street, in the office, on the campus, in the store, when tempted—almost slipped, when opportunity opens for a quiet personal word, everywhere, every time…in every circumstance, one alongside to help…Is not that wonderful?”
I love reading the notes my mother wrote and discovering what was important to her. I may add my own quiet talks with God in the margins and begin to mark paragraphs with bright orange highlight. Perhaps one day, my children will discover it on my bookshelf.