The Joy And Help Of Steeping In A Good Book

coffee

If you had the opportunity to sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea with anyone, who would you choose? What would you ask them? What things could you draw from their experience that would help you do life better?

Books are the link to making this possible.

Books allow us to meet with someone we’ve never met to hear what life looks like from their window. It’s like finding a cozy corner in your local coffee shop and opening your ear to hear what’s weighing on their heart. What they share can often be the exact thing we need to help us face our current struggles with hope, not fear.

I am currently reading a book by Joni Eareckson Tada titled, A Place Of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty. If you don’t recognize her name, you may have heard her story. She was in a diving accident at the age of 18 that left her paralyzed from the neck down. She has spent over 40 years in a wheelchair, but this hasn’t stopped her from living life to the fullest. Despite all her hardships and pain she has managed to start a  ministry to those who, like her, live life in a wheelchair. She provides wheelchairs for free to the disabled in 3rd world countries who have no means to buy one for themselves. She is an accomplished artist using her teeth to hold the paintbrush. She is also a popular speaker and author who knows how to tell a story by using colorful words to paint a vivid picture that lingers long in the mind.

However, her words are also haunting. She speaks from a place I have never experienced–constant, unbearable pain. Yet her faith and trust in God is stronger than anyone I’ve ever known. It’s a compelling read that I encourage all who are in need of encouragement to read slowly and thoughtfully. It will challenge you. It will bring tears to your eyes. It will warm your heart, and it will make you think. Much like an afternoon conversation with a good friend.

book

Here is a portion she shared with me this morning about her talk with a fellow friend and NASCAR driver:

Some time ago I asked Dan about Dale Earnhardt’s infamous 2001 crash, which took the NASCAR icon’s life…it’s obvious Dale couldn’t pull out of that plunge toward the wall. His speed and the trajectory of his car just made escape impossible. I asked Dan if that kind of thing happens often on a speedway.

“Oh yes,” he said, “Guys in their cars get in a spin, get bumped, and they see that wall coming at them. But I’ll tell you one thing they don’t do, Joni. They don’t look at that wall! Their natural instincts tell them to, but their training tells them to keep their eyes on the track and steer out of that spin. You see, if they look at the wall, they’ll freeze. Your body just reacts; it can’t help it. But if you look down the speedway and steer toward that open space, all your nerve endings are concentrating on that, not on bracing for an impact.”

That’s the way we are in our human nature. We fix our eyes on the trial that looms immediately before us, allowing ourselves to become gripped with fear. We say to ourselves, This is impossible! I’ll never get through this. I’ll never find a way through. I’ll never recover. I’d better brace for an impact, because it’s going to be a hard, hard hit. AHHHHH…

But after listening to Dan and his race-car wisdom, I realize that the key is to take your eyes off the wall and start concentrating on the future and its opportunities (steer for the open space!), rather than on the present dilemmas that freeze us into impotence…

…Little wonder the book of Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and the author of Colossians says, “Set your heart on things above,” and the Gospels say, “Lift up your head, for your salvation draws nigh.”

It just may keep you from hitting the wall!

This one analogy has done more to help me today than anything else could. It has caused me to lift my eyes upward and outward, instead of looking inward and downward. Maybe you’re facing a difficult time. If we could sit and have coffee today I would love to help you look towards the open space of your current situation and hopefully help you avoid a crash. You don’t have to focus on the wall.

This is the power a good book has on those who take the time to sip each word and let it penetrate deep into the heart.

What are you currently reading, and how is the author helping you change your perspective? 

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” 
― Charles William Eliot

I invite you to follow what I’m reading on GoodReads.

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Write Your Story

Touchstones are everywhere in movies, in songs and in books. It’s something that touches your heart because you can relate to what’s being shared.
Whenever I come across a touchstone I know because it usually makes me cry.

I just heard a song that affected me in such a powerful way. It’s a new release by Francesca Battistelli, titled Write Your Story.

No matter what we’re going through what a comfort it is to realize God is faithful to write His Story on our hearts. I’ve posted the lyrics below with a link to the song in the title.

May God encourage you today with touchstones of the heart.

Write Your Story

They say
You’re the King of everything
The One who taught the wind to sing
The Source of the rhythm my heart keeps beating

They say
You can give the blind their sight
And You can bring the dead to life
You can be the hope my soul’s been seekin’

I wanna tell You now that I believe it
I wanna tell You now that I believe it
I do, that You can make me new, oh

I’m an empty page
I’m an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won’t You write Your story on my heart

Write Your story, write Your story
Come on and write Your story, write Your story
Won’t You write Your story on my heart

My life
I know it’s never really been mine
So do with it whatever You like
I don’t know what Your plan is
But I know it’s good, yeah

I wanna tell You now that I believe in
I wanna tell You now that I believe in
In You, so do what You do, oh

I’m an empty page
I’m an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won’t You write Your story on my heart

Write Your story, write Your story
Come on and write Your story, write Your story
Won’t You write Your story on my heart

I want my history
To be Your legacy
Go ahead and show this world
What You’ve done in me
And when the music fades
I want my life to say

I let You write Your story, write Your story
Write Your story, write Your story

I’m an empty page
I’m an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won’t You write Your story on my heart

Write Your story, write Your story
Come on and write Your story, write Your story
Won’t You write Your story on my heart
[x2]