About two weeks ago I went to the library to look for a book that might help to distract me from the upcoming deployment. As I walked down the rows and rows of books, I felt a bit overwhelmed so I stopped and asked God to help me find something that would minister to my heart. After my short prayer, I walked over to the religious section, but nothing caught my eye so I moved on. Until recently, fiction hasn't really been my thing. For the most part, I felt like I was wasting my time if I didn't read something that would help me grow in some way.
Another row passed and I almost walked out of the library when a book caught my eye. I'm not even sure why, other than it had an inviting cover, maybe? The name - Sunset, and the description - The power of a family's love and the healing miracle of redemption (written by Karen Kingsbury). Hmm...sounded a bit interesting, and I thought it must be Christian fiction, so I thumbed through a few of the pages and thought to myself, what do I have to lose; if it's not any good, it's only a library book and I can bring it back. At the time I didn't notice it was a series; series #4. I thought about taking it back and looking for #1, but, for some strange reason, I felt like I was to start there and go back later. So I did.
It wasn't long before I felt this overwhelming certainty that this book had something in it I needed to hear. There was one day when I was struggling with the whole deployment issue - what if something happens to Kevin, what if I lose my husband and best friend, what if... No sooner did I get into the book that day and it talked about one of the character's grandparents, and how they loved to sing. One of their favorite songs - Have Thine Own Way, Lord. I smiled and knew God was telling me to put all my trust in Him and let Him have His way in my life, in Kevin's life, in our children's lives, and so on. I stopped there for the evening and just pondered that thought for a while.
Just this weekend I was talking to Whitney, our daughter, about the book. I told her about the song and how God used it to speak to my heart. The next day, during communion at church, the piano began to play Have Thine Own Way. Coincidence? ...I don't think so! Was it what I needed to hear again? ...I'm certain it was! God was reassuring me that it was He who was speaking to me that day.
Two things happened last night that made me think I've got to write this down:
1) Yesterday I was driving back from lunch and decided to turn on the radio - something I rarely do when by myself in the car these days, since it tends to make me want to cry, and a song from Jeremy Camp came on - Walk by Faith. I'm not certain how I kept myself composed as that song takes on a lot of meaning for me. It's a song I used with some picture videos I made - one for our son when he was leaving for Basic Training in the Air Force, and the other when my husband had finished training and I put together a video of pictures to show friends and family before we left for our first Post. There sitting in the parking lot at work, I typed on my facebook status "I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see." Last night, in the book, the song came up! I could not believe it! I told Kevin about it and even he thought that was amazing and strange all at the same time. By this time, he had heard other ways the book seemed to speak truth to me in our circumstances.
2) Last night before we went to bed I began working on something I want to send out to people as a reminder to pray for Kevin and his soldiers. As I looked and looked for the scripture that I wanted to add to it, I found myself right back where Kevin and I both tend to find ourselves in the bible when times are tough. I wasn't looking for that particular verse. In fact, I didn't think about it at all but knew there were a lot of good verses, but something new or different from our favorites might be nice. But, in the end, it just seemed to be the one I was supposed to use. It is Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
After spending time snuggling with Kevin, he feel off to sleep and I picked back up my book. I couldn't sleep and, besides, I wondered what was next in the story. Before falling off to sleep though, Kevin jokingly said, "I hope there's not a part in that book where a chaplain gets killed." I had already told him there was a character in the book who went off to war - another part of the book that I found odd in the story. Anyway, about a half hour into the book, that very scripture I just mentioned came up! I was speechless! Good thing since Kevin was fast asleep. I ended up finishing the book, tears rolling down my cheeks, wondering what it all meant. Why had so many things in this particular book spoken to my heart? I've been reminded time after time in this book that God is in control and His plans are higher than my plans.
I'm still pondering it all and not sure how to wrap my mind around it all, but I do know this - it's not a coincidence that I picked up that book and began to read it at this exact time in my life. God is faithful. Only He can bring the strength and comfort I need to make it through this next year. He will be glorified in all this, and He will use Kevin to minister and speak comfort, peace, and strength to those Soldiers. I know we are here for a purpose and I'm thankful that God used this book to speak to me in the midst of all I'm going through right now. I know the road ahead is going to be tough at times, more than I'll want to endure, but God will be with us all every step of the way. I couldn't be more certain of that right now. He used a fiction book, sitting on a book in the library among hundreds of other books, to tell me He is here with us through it all.