Mar 2, 2009

When God Speaks

This morning at work, I was talking to a friend and shared with her part of my weekend. I had debated writing about it here, mainly because I am just so grateful and humbled that I've had a hard time imagining how someone could be so kind and generous!

Ultimately, I feel that not sharing this story would be like not sharing a wonderful gift from God - and why wouldn't I want to share that?!

My Saturday started with a list of errands.
-Fabric store
-Post Office
-Dollar Store
-Ann Taylor (donate your old pants, get $15 off new pants, even sale ones!)

I started with Petsmart, hit up the Dollar store, and headed to the post office. I don't check that box too often and there's usually a pile of circulars and other random pieces of mail. When I opened the box, I had a couple of regular envelopes, a small padded envelope, and a package pick-up notice. I tossed the circulars in the trash bin and walked out the door with the regular mail. When I got to my car I realized I still had the package pick-up notice in my hand. Classic "me" thing to do... I ran back in and handed it to the clerk, fully thinking that we'd gotten something from Uganda. When I saw the box though, it wasn't from Uganda at all. It was from Amazon.

My first thought was that the package pick-up slip had been placed in the wrong box (despite clearly having my Box# written across the front). Second thought was I didn't order anything... then, I immediately knew what it was. When I was looking for my Bible study workbook I'd found one on Amazon. I swear I cancelled that order! Err... they sent it anyway. Sigh. I told the clerk I didn't order that and cancelled the order... we cracked the box, thinking surely it would be sent back. But when we peered in, there was what appeared to be a big book. Wrapped. A present?

It was a perfect rectangle in smooth, blue paper, with a thick, white ribbon. The clerk encouraged me to open it. (We're still peeking into the brown box at this point...) Now, I have been browsing for a particular book for a week or two and this was the exact same shape as that book. I told the clerk I might have an idea of what it was. Again, she encouraged me to open it. I couldn't. I told her I would probably cry if it was what I thought it could be.

I walked out of the post office and hopped in the car. I stared at the brown box, then carefully took the gift and studied it for a minute, completely baffled. This has to be... I opened it. It was! Not only was it, but it was leather. It was beautiful. Someone sent me a Bible. And not just any Bible, a Bible that I have been looking at for a while thinking that I needed so that I could better understand what was going on in the scripture that often goes above my comprehension. Who would have done such a thing? The note was signed simply, in Easter code. ;) I stared at that Bible for the longest time, practically sobbing by now.

There is only a small group of people from whom this could have come -- I would have to do a little research! I immediately called my sister. Still sobbing, mind you... I was, and still am, so shocked (and so touched!) that someone would do such a thing! When I was in Walmart, I called D to tell him... and of course, started crying again. I did manage to keep things a little more controlled this time - I didn't want to completely lose it in Walmart!

When I got home, it's silly, but all I could think was, "Jesus loves me."

The thing is, my special friend (later I found out, friends!), is someone that has never met me face to face. This amazing gift was from a person that lived far, far away. And at that, someone that has only known me for a short period of time. How amazing is our God to bring such kind, caring, and generous people together?!

This Bible, my wonderful gift, came at a time in my life when I have been eagerly searching for God. I know He didn't leave me. But I need Him. Oddly enough, in Bible study this last week, hunger and thirst was discussed. We were to compare that with the feeling of hunger for God. What feeling is that? Oh, I can tell you. It's what I had in me until only recently. I joined Bible study at a time that couldn't have been more perfect. Now, mind you, I am a bit immature in my relationship with and knowledge of God, but I am learning. Dare I admit that I didn't even know it was "permissible" to write in a Bible!? I'm Episcopal we we don't really use the Bible as a book in church. We have a Lesson that is printed for us, but no one really brings a Bible. At least, I've never seen anyone with one. Except the big one that stays at the front of the church (and has no marks in it, by the way!). I love being Episcopal! I was born and raised that way. But... my church doesn't really have a lot for people like me, i.e. young, single, professional. The only groups at church are for couples, older people, or moms. I am none of those. Well, Nola might argue but... let's be frank.

I even went so far as to look into going to other churches. But a little part of me felt like I was "cheating" on my own church. That's another post though...

This Bible, this new, beautiful, gorgeous Bible means SO much to me -- it is from two beautiful, kind, caring, generous people who have humbled me and have inspired me. Each and every time I look at or open this Bible, I will be reminded of those two special people. Inside, I taped the card that accompanied my Bible. I saved the ribbon that had been tied around that smooth, blue paper, and cut it into two pieces making it into a bookmark that will forever stay in my Bible.

There is another ribbon. The one that serves as a page marker in all Bibles. The ribbon in my Bible just happened to be placed in the book of Ezekiel. I decided to read those pages... on the left hand page was the middle and end of chapter 36. So I started reading chapter 37, on the right hand page.

How much more loudly could God speak?!

Ezekiel 37: 1-6

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "O Soverign Lord, you alone know."

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendones to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin, I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'"

Now, if this isn't God speaking then I really have a lot to learn... but I'm pretty sure He knew exactly what He was doing when He marked this page.

Because my Bible is the amazing study Bible that it is... I am able to read further into this scripture.

"The dry bones represented the people's spiritually dead condition. Your church may seem like a heap of dry bones to you, spiritually dead with no hope of vitality. But just as God promised to restore his nation, he can restore any church, no matter how dry or dead it may be. Rather than give up, pray for renewal, for God can restore it to life. The hope and prayer of every church should be that God will put his Spirit into it..."

I'm not saying that I was "spiritually dead" nor do I think that my church is "spiritually dead," but this Bible has arrived at a time when I needed rejuvenation in my personal relationship with God. I need personal renewal from church - from God.

How great is He to show these words to me? And how great is He to bless me with friends who care so much about me and my spiritual growth with God? I can only hope that one day, I too, will be able to help lead someone closer to God in the way the my kind, remarkable friends have done for me.

On Sunday, I had to work my second job for a few hours, and I found myself wanting to take my Bible with me - fully knowing I would have no time whatsoever to read it! Today, I took it to work with me. I didn't have time to read it, but I did take it out to look at it! My Bible makes me excited to read God's word and eager to learn more about Him! It also reminds me of His love for me through the most wonderfully, incredible friends!

Part of me is still boggled, speechless, overwhelmed, and just amazed that someone would do such a thing for me ... but I know that He is bigger than what I can perceive.

I am blessed, truly blessed, to have such amazing friends. Thank you.


Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

What a special gift you received. Relish in the feeling an answered prayer...

Opus #6 said...

Great post. Isn't it interesting how every time you read the words they come with an even deeper meaning. The Bible speaks to us in our youth, middle age and old age. Amazing.

brittanywest said...


Suz said...

what a great story! Thanks for sharing!

KC said...

That was cool Gin.... it just shows you that God is hears you...even in the times you dont think he isnt listening!

Domestic Goddess said...

Congrats on the Bible, and thank you for sharing that story, God is good...ALL THE TIME!!!!!! And write away in that Bible, it is so fun to stumble upon the same scripture that you wrote about and relive that same moment again. My Bible has become so much more than a Bible to me and it sounds like yours is already too!!!!

pippasmum said...

What a wonderful story - I have tears in my eyes. I am sure you have blessed those who have sent it to you. I hope it reveals blessings to you all of your life!

pam said...

What a wonderful thing to have happen.

Abbie H. said...

LOVED that story Gin!

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub