Friday, August 21, 2015


I have a basket beside my bed that is full of books.  Unread books.  They are the books I intend to "get to" one of these days, but the pile unfortunately grows fast than I can read them.

Hello, my name is Jeanine and I am a book hoarder.

I have grand ideas as far as my ability to find time to read, but reality doesn't line up.  5 kids, homeschooling 3 of them, everyone being shuffled from one place to another AT THE SAME TIME.  Yeah, I really should start listening to audio books in the car...but the noise from the peanut gallery.  Not practical.  Not now.

So I grabbed my copy of Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae, which I am currently reading and really enjoying so far, and cast a quick glance at the others.  There is one, in particular, that I am avoiding:  The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippets.  It is about a woman who died recently...her offering to those of us who would be left behind.  Encouragement, I'm sure. Perhaps a warning?  I don't know because I haven't read it yet.  Now, I bought Longing for Paris AFTER this book, so why am I not reading The Hardest Peace first?

Because the thought of picking up that book and actually reading it scares me.

There.  I said it.  I didn't really realize it until about an hour ago, when my friend posted on Facebook that she was reading this exact book.   Coincidence?  I think not.

Do you ever worry that God is preparing you for something awful?  Like if you hear a story on the radio or TV and you pray, "Dear God, please don't let that happen to me or anyone I love."  I think that is what is holding me back...the fear that, if I let myself go there and imagine my family having to move on without me that I will have invited the worst to happen.

Yes, I know that is a dumb thing to think.  I don't believe in Karma or luck (good or bad) so to say I am afraid of what will happen if I read books like this is stupid, right?  But I have a dear friend who just got diagnosed with cancer.  Another whose child suffers countless numbers of seizures every day.  Another whose child just walked away from their faith and family and is knee-deep in Eastern Mysticism.

Sigh.  This world is beating us to a pulp.  I watched the sixth planned parenthood video and wept as a newborn baby struggled for its last seconds of life after being aborted.  A godly woman who has spoken loudly and clearly about the times in which we live, obeying her Lord regardless of what the culture throws at her, is now about to bury her beloved husband.  There is bad news everywhere.  It is getting worse by the day.  I am not naive enough to think I won't be touched by it.

So I found myself avoiding the hard books.  I tried to live as though I believe God is good and has good plans for me, but the "Fearings" (read Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard and you will understand this reference) have been chasing me down and I have been guilty of listening to their whispers in the night, of avoiding the blessing of what God will do in the midst of hard because I don't want to endure hardship.  I want life easy.

But God has never called anyone to easy.  Serving Him means I am diving headfirst into the deep-end of life. And even if I don't read that book, I'm in the middle of hard.  So I can pretend that I am able to avoid the hard stuff and not read that book...
or I can read it an maybe, just maybe, gain strength and vision for tomorrow from someone who did endure the unspeakable and has something to teach me.

Ignorance, it turns out, is not always bliss.

So, ok God.  I hear you.  I am putting it next in line.

Question:  What are you avoiding?  

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