When I was a little girl we lived in the country. My mother had befriended our neighbor. She was in her early 80s and was a scrapper of a lady. She was a lot fun. Friendly, warm and inviting. She was like the grandmother I never had. Ms. Fry lived in an old farm house that was filled with stuff. Stuff that captivated me.
I remember her having a huge garden. She'd allow me to help her. After working in the garden there was always a glass of milk and a snack waiting. I truly enjoyed this lady.
Some days I would go over by myself and spend the entire day until Mom called me home for dinner. She was very giving and she would go through all her stuff with me. Showing me this and that. Until one day she opened a cabinet and I saw them. A stack of little red books. I had never seen a red Bible before. Had no idea they were Bibles until she shared with me. She even let me hold one. From then I knew I wanted one. But I too knew it would be wrong for me to ask her if I could take one home. So, I kept that secret to myself. Hoping one day she would give me one.
A few hot summer months passed and we had new neighbors move in across the street from us. A family that had four rambunctious kids. Two boys and two girls. I became friends with them and had to introduce them to Ms. Fry. I had told them how much I loved her and how she was a good friend. But something happened I wasn't ready for. She began inviting them over. They began spending more time there than me. I was hurt. I didn't understand. Yep, I was jealous. After all, I thought of her as my grandmother.
On one afternoon we were all there visiting with Ms. Fry when she opened her cabinet and to my amazement she pulled out the Bibles. I knew my hope had come true. She was about to give me a Bible. Maybe even the one that she allowed me to hold. Only she didn't. I stood there excited. Anticipating the feel of the little red Bible in my hand. Only she handed all four out to the neighbor kids and I was left standing empty handed.
I went home that evening heartbroken. I didn't understand. I don't think I even shared my wound with my mom. Every thought went through my mind. I was only a little girl, but yet I remember this as if it were yesterday. Was I not good enough? Did she not love me?
Later on I found our family Bible. Mom kept it under a table in our living room. I never remember her reading it. I think she just collected information in it and kept special photos inside. But I would pick up that huge Bible and sit on the couch cross-legged. I had no idea I was reading the Word of God. Didn't know what the red print meant. But I had a feeling. The same feeling I had when I held that little red Bible.
Years later I would look back on those times and wonder. God knew me even though I didn't know Him. He knew my name and He too knew my heart. Even as a young girl, a tree climbing tomboy, He loved me. I still get that same feeling today when I pick up my own Bible. Isn't He simply amazing?
I don't know why Ms. Fry gave everyone a Bible except me. Maybe she thought I had one. Maybe she knew something I didn't. Maybe she knew the little neighbor children needed them. I don't think she knew I was hurt. I hid that. I too never did share with her that I would have loved to have one.
What I do know is that God was drawing me near to Him. I wouldn't come to know Jesus as my Savior until years later when I was twenty-three. I love knowing that He had a plan for my life. I never did get that little red Bible I loved so much. But my home is filled with many Bibles now and I have been blessed to give away many Bibles to the children I have taught over the years. Best of all I have been blessed to place a Bible in the hands of each of my children. And this Nana has a Bible for each of her grandchildren.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13