It is old and of no marketable value. There are no outrageous monthly insurance premiums attached to it or the cure for cancer hidden in it, yet it saved my life. I have had a few bibles in my lifetime none of which I’ve ever really glanced through. They were full of words I didn’t want to hear, as it would only confirm how much I sinned and enjoyed the freedom to do so, free of guilt.
I don’t really recall the day mom gave me her old black, leather bound bible. I was an adult, struggling on my own, far from the comfort of my mother’s arms. She saw it I am sure beyond the smile and lie of everything is fine. Knowing there was nothing else she could do, but pray and leave it in God’s hands; she gave me her old bible.
She received the bible in May of 1969, when she still went by her maiden name. In it I found little notes from me and my brother, doodles we made during church, I’m sure. The pages are yellowed with age and as I said it is of no value. That is if you look through it with a blind eyes and an empty heart.
For years it sat in my room, in the back of my mind, never to see the light of day, as I wandered in darkness. The fall lasted for years; from one mess to the next. How bad did things have to get before I surrendered? A time or two I begged God for help, a God I didn’t know. I started opening the bible blinded with tears, gasping for goodness from God, reassurances that things would be okay and the moment it was, the bible returned to the shelf; under the bed, or in a drawer.
Once I hit rock bottom I opened that old bible again. This time I didn’t see its age or question the scripture… for at the bottom I finally found faith. This time I started reading through it desperately wanting to hear God’s voice, wanting to build a relationship with him, aching to connect with the one that saved me, forgave me and loved me for all the horrible I was… he loved me.
As I grew in faith I still struggled to hear God. Praying for guidance, the next steps, scraps of wisdom. It was in my mom’s bible I begin to hear God, in verses she had highlighted years ago. Verses she had written in the back of her bible and turned to over and over in her life, I was now turning to. Her bible reads like a map and time-line of her journey to and with God. There isn’t a chapter in the bible that goes unmarked and at the time she had no idea she was leaving me stepping stones to God.
What were her worries or struggles at the time I don’t know, but I know she sought God to ease them. I know she praised God during the good and bad days. I know she waited on God to use her even when she didn’t understand. I know she carried the pain of a rough life with her, but surrendered it to God. I know God spoke to her in the book of John, as every other verse is highlighted. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.” John 5:4. On the last page, scribbled in her handwriting, the wisdom she consumed from God’s word and answered prayers.
I’m thirty-four years old. The old bible is forty-seven years old. It saved my mother and has seen her through long hours and dark days. It now saves me, fulfills me and comforts me just as it did her. It is through God’s grace that I have been saved. It is through my mom’s actions, words, and bible that led me to God. I often hear her say, she wasn’t a good mom or wished she could have done this or that better for us. As I child I never saw her flaws or bad days, she was that good at keeping us safe and happy. As an adult, miles from home, not even knowing it, she continued to keep me safe and quietly leads me to God. I will forever be grateful to her, the woman that raised me with so much love, with so much courage, who first placed me in God’s arms.
“For thou hast delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.” Psalms 116:8