Today as I came out of the dressing room from trying on clothes I heard someone call my name. They had a distinct voice that I knew instantly from childhood. It was the now grown version of a little girl who was a family friend and whom I had sometimes babysat while her single parent mom worked.
I knew her face at once, her beautiful skin like coffee with a heavy dose of creamer, the most perfect set of full lips, and twinkly almond eyes. What I also saw was layer upon layer of pain and destruction. This did not come as a surprise to me as I knew some of her story and now standing in front of me the parts I had missed lay open before me like an abused book-pages bent, missing, torn, jacket and hard cover long gone and spine struggling to hold together what pages remained.
The book that was her life started like every other, carefully and wonderfully bound together by God in her mothers womb. Pages brimming with potential for everyday that was to come.
13 For You made the parts inside me. You put me together inside my mother. 14 I will give thanks to You, for the greatness of the way I was made brings fear. Your works are great and my soul knows it very well. 15 My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret and put together with care in the deep part of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw me before I was put together. And all the days of my life were written in Your book before any of them came to be. Psalms 139
But like books lives are not created to sit on shelves, but rather for their story to be told. In a world that was not fallen and laboring under the curse that is sin every book would be a delightful page turner- full of light, love and all things beautiful. There would be no tragedies, no murder mysteries, no horror stories. Everyone that handled the books would handle them with great care and respect in awe knowing there was only one book in the whole world like the one they had the privilege of holding in their hands. The librarians entrusted with their care would take that responsibility seriously and see to it that the books and those allowed to read them would be treated with respect and that any book that was damaged would be sent to the author to be repaired and those who damaged it be fined or banned from the library if necessary.
That’s not to say the book was expected to appear as if it had never been read. In fact the author had just the opposite desire for both the book and those who encountered it. Everyone knows the wear signs of a well loved book- it’s pages have been written in, favorite parts highlighted and read over and over, dedicated by the author as a gift to others, the cover shows signs of having been carried on journeys, the pages no longer crisp and unopened now swell more open allowing you to turn the pages with less resistance.
But as I was saying, we live in a fallen world an imperfect library, with imperfect books, imperfect librarians, and imperfect readers. Today
the book standing before me that had once been intact with every chance in the world ( even a fallen world) of being a best seller could now barely be navigated. Chapter 1 her childhood had abruptly ended and her chapter on innocence had been completely ripped out when her mother the librarian in charge of her allowed her stepdad to systematically molest her. The chapter concerning faith and God’s love for her were all blurry and smeared because her mother and stepdad who had helped to write some of these pages had spilled the bile of their selfishness on them and tried to wipe it off with their own filthy rags. When she tried to refer to these pages all she felt was pain and confusion.
Others came along and ripped out parts and rewrote them to fit their own desires. This left an ugly mar in her book and when others would see it they would either shun the book and give it a bad review, pretend it wasn’t there, or see the book as invaluable and abuse it and show disregard for it as if there was another one like it then discard the little book and move along to the next book. Others who meant well tried to dust the book off or tape it up, but they did not understand what other readers had done and how the librarian had turned her head, even waited for the stepdad to get out of prison and welcoming him back with open arms into the library, despite what he had done to the book and what he might do to other books.
How the little book wished her story would stop taking such horrid twists and turns, how she had longed to know what had been written on the rest of the pages of her childhood before they were stolen from her, she wondered what her original story carefully laid out by her author had looked like before others had made so many revisions. How she longed to be treated and handled with care like she saw happening to other books. She felt inferior to the other books she saw in the library, sometimes they aided this by their treatment of her, they would move over when she was re-shelved by them, snicker with the other books while she sat alone on the shelf. Mostly the only books left around her where ones in similar condition to her, there was some sort of comfort there, they were all damaged, they had an unspoken understanding of how they came to be that way.
No one saw her value anymore. The abuse and disregard continued despite the fact she was a one of a kind book. The book became more and more damaged now only consistently checked out by those who were looking for something to abuse. They wrote vulgar words on her pages, empty promises, deceitful lies, manipulative twists, and used her however they saw fit.
She had tried fixing her cover herself, writing some chapters that she thought would make her more appealing but her damage was so extensive and her story so baffling to even her they usually ended up making no sense and leading to more heartache and a sense of hopelessness.
The saddest part of the story may be that the little book now saw herself as no more valuable than those that handled her with such disregard- thus she began to treat herself with the same contempt. Instead of people taking her pages she began to just give them away. The memory of what her author had originally written seemingly would never be known.
So there I stood in the store, hard bound, pages worn from being loved on, repairs so seamlessly made you would barely know there had been any prior damage, looking at the little cover less book, spine exposed, gaps of pages gone… why had she called out to me from her hellish little shelf in the library? What did she stand to gain? Had the pages in her book of our childhood memories together somehow survived? I don’t know why she called out to me but I’m thankful that she did. Why? Because I love books, and I know the author of hers, He also wrote mine and yours too for that matter. I know Him well enough to know that with every page ripped out of her story he wept for the little book. He knows everything that goes on in the library of life and by His just nature and according to His author agreement concerning the book He will make all things right in the light of eternity. Everything that happened to the little book, and everyone who was responsible for its care- every librarian, every reader, even the little book herself will have to give account to the author for what they did with the little book.
On that day when He reaches the page where I ran into the little book in the store, I hope it will read something like this…
The well loved, hard bound book rejoiced at seeing the little book after such a long time. She embraced her tattered pages and listened as the little book told how she came to be in such bad shape. The Hard Bound book also read the pages that lay open that the little book did not want to talk about. She was not repulsed in anyway by the little book but she couldn’t help but see her not as she was but as she could be, as one day she believed she would be, as she had known her in the brief moment that was their childhood. After she listened to the little book, she reached out in compassion and gently caressed her pages, the hardbound book seemed more like a paperback as her eyes filled with tears as she told the little book how sorry she was for the injustice and abuse she had known. She then reminded the little book that her story had been written in her authors heart and despite the fact that she had been all but destroyed in the library, her story still existed in His heart and that He could re-write it
if she would allow Him to. The hard bound book encouraged the little book to no longer give away her pages, to hide herself from those that would use and abuse her-she reminded her she was still valuable as she was one of a kind. Finally the hard bound book gave the little book one more hug and her phone number and told her she would help her in anyway possible and promised to contact the author constantly concerning the little book and her condition. The hard bound book knows in her heart of hearts the author will make sure to repair the little book, to re-write her story and make all things right in the light of eternity. I know for a fact he did not write her story to be a tragedy…
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I know that He can repair her…
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
Are you missing some pages? Did others attempt to re-write your story? Did you give away pages you wished you hadn’t? Do you wish your book could be made whole again? Did your librarian fail to protect you? Have you contacted your author about the damage- He is the only one that can make the necessary repairs. It is my prayer that you will be made whole, that when your book comes to a close and they all do, that despite the library, the librarians, and the readers that your story will be everything the author intended it to be.
Finally, Little Book if your reading this, when I looked at you today with the eyes of my heart, my spirit, I didn’t see a stripper, a prostitute, an addict, an unfit mother, I saw page after page of potential- may God the author of your life reach down and rewrite your story.
2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
If this post has made you feel like an open wounded book and you need someone to talk to I encourage you to cry out to God, those who you can trust and to speak with a professional who can help you gain perspective on where to go from here. If you don’t know of any resources I recommend Focus on the Family
Today I am Dreaming and Scheming of your book being made whole,