I’ve been to the library twice this week. After bringing home an entire bag full of books the first time, my oldest daughter announced, “Oh, mom, I finished those. Are you going to the library any time soon?”
Yesterday, my daughter brought home a Scholastic flyer from school with books everywhere circled. “For my summer reading list,” she said.
I bought each of my girls a tower of books for Christmas and by spring break they were languishing from lack of reading content. Now I’m collecting material for their summer lists.
We have almost the entire set of Magic Tree House books from when my older girls were little. But my first grader just will not read them. Will not. Despite all my coaxing and assurances that they are just plain awesome.
She does, however, ravenously devour chapter books in several brand new series that we don’t already own. That means, of course, that we have new books to hunt for and collect because she doesn’t want the ones we already have.
But I definitely can’t get rid of the Magic Tree House books because, after all, they are awesome and my son might enjoy them.
Not only do we have physical books in every crevice and cranny of our home, we’ve got an audio book going in the minivan. We were 28 minutes away from finishing the book last night and we had a 12-minute drive home from ballet.
I took the long way home. Yes, I did. Then, we sat in the minivan an extra four minutes just so we could get to the end. No way were we going into the house with four minutes left in this story.
Night after night, we have to threaten our children with punishments for reading too long. They always have “just a few more pages” before they can possibly put the book away.
Once, when my oldest daughter was in first grade, I thought she had gone to bed so quietly one evening. Her room was silent. But then, when I did my sweep around the house before I went to bed at 11:00 that night, I discovered her hidden behind her door, book in one hand, flashlight in the other, still reading.
I’ve often felt like one of my chief responsibilities as the mom to my children is to keep them continuously supplied with reading material, and it surely is a job.
So, when a friend tells me this week about a local classroom where some of the kids live in homes with no books, I let that sink deeply into my soul.
Yes, I knew that some children don’t have their little names penciled into the front of any book covers. , and they have nothing at all to read before bedtime.
But I need the reminder. Because I can take our personal library for granted and I can fail to truly value these books for the treasures they are.
And I can forget to be generous, sharing with others out of our own plenty.
Then, this morning, I read in Psalm 119:
My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times. (verse 20)
My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word! (verse 25)
I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame! (verse 31)
Is this true of me? Am I consumed with longing for God’s Word? Am I desperate for the life He gives me through Scripture? Do I cling tightly to His testimony as if I’m holding on for dear life to the greatest treasure of this earth?
I realize I take far more than access to books for granted.
I have undervalued God’s Word. Sometimes, I just stop treasuring it. I stop treating quiet times like holy spaces and act like I’m just doing a homework assignment instead.
I’ve read about children who walked 20 miles because they heard a missionary in their area had Bibles available. Believers in some countries choose to buy a Bible instead of buy food. In Asia, Christians share pages of the Bible with each other, memorizing the words so they can carry God’s message in their hearts and minds even when they can’t hold it in their hands.
What I need is the reminder that God’s Word is life and it is breath to me. It is the sustenance I need and the food of my faith.
The Divine makes Himself known to us in the written Word.
Truly valuing God’s gift radically changes the state of my heart. I learn from the Psalmist–to desire it, to cling to it, to long for it…and then to share it with others who may not have heard.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches (Psalm 119:14 ESV).