Next Sunday, March 10, marks the beginning of our next community outreach. All are invited to donate gently used children’s books and young adult books which we will distribute throughout our community to children and teens. We are partnering with Support for the Kids, an organization that assists children and teens in foster care as well as children who need support for food, clothing, and school supplies. Support for the Kids delivers donations directly to each child.

As I eagerly began gathering up books to donate, I began reflecting on the power of the written word in my life. My early memories include sweet afternoons listening to my mother read to me followed by memories of my learning to read with Dick, Jane, and Spot. Hours and hours of my elementary and teen years were spent reading my favorite books over and over again and anxiously awaiting the delivery of new books to our school library. My allowance money was spent exclusively buying books – many of which I still have today.

In my faith journey, the written words of scripture introduced me to words of life and love, mercy and forgiveness, hope and strength, salvation and deliverance. I have been brought to my knees and had my heart pierced, with words revealing the greatness of God, the love of Jesus, and the faith of so many of the followers of Christ who came before me. As I encounter life’s struggles and questions, experience God’s goodness, and seek to follow his call, I am thankful for the written accounts revealing God’s love and care for his people in their brokenness and his presence and deliverance in their lives. For Abraham who followed God without any hint of where he was headed and then doubted God’s ability to fulfill his promise. For Joseph who spoke rashly to his brothers and was sold into slavery, but whom God did not forget. For Gideon and Moses who were afraid, yet received God’s strength. For Ruth and Jonathan who showed their loyalty to family and friends in the midst of great loss. For David who loved God passionately, but who struggled with coveting. For Peter who acted before thinking, but recognized Jesus, saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And then there are the words of Jesus, red-lettered in my first Bible. Words that continually deliver me from my sin and shame, my pride and fear, and fill me with his love and forgiveness.  His words are powerful; they are alive and they continue to speak to me, drawing me to him and challenging me to grow and embrace a life of freedom, fullness, and trusting in him.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33:20-22

Penny White
Author: Penny White