I was working as a model/actress. One summer, I was hired by 3M, to do a skit with a fellow actor at a trade show. I played the role of a nurse who assisted in surgery, demonstrating their new surgical prep product. The skit was fun and humorous and we pulled in some nice sized crowds. I was having the time of my life traveling around the country with this client. This was just one of the many clients I was privileged to travel with for similar types of corporate presentations. My life, at that point in time, had been very carefree...not a worry in the world.
Evenings were filled with some of the most fascinating restaurant experiences, all on the company tab of course; accompanied also by the most interesting conversations with fascinating individuals. Somehow, one evening, the conversation turned to the subject of purpose and goals and the question of what would we want to have written on our tombstone. At the age of twenty something, I thought this was a bit too heavy for me so I answered with a flip Scarlet O'Hara fashioned answer -"I'll think about it tomorrow...tomorrow is another day!" Then my serious follow up ... "But I just want peace in my life".
I look back on that latter comment and realize that it was really poignant...not in an "I'm so spiritual" way...but more of a subconscious, yet deep-rooted desire for God. I believe He was tugging on my heart. Perhaps I was thinking that even though life was so fast and fun and carefree, it would eventually have to slow down and I might want to think about getting serious about life and figure out what I want to do when I grow up...not to say that hmmmm years later, I've got it all together...sometimes I feel like I still have so much growing up to do. The child still lives inside of me!
After the convention was over, I returned home to Chicago and life was back to it's fast pace and I was up to my usual...one gig after another, a date here and there (mostly where?), and still a bit of a question mark tucked away in the far, back corner of my mind as to where do I go from here and when will that "peace" arrive?
A few months went by. I arrived home to my apartment and my doorman said I had a large package waiting for me in receiving. It was a great big box...from my boss on the 3M gig...a gentleman I knew on a business level only. Accompanying the box was a sweet note from this man about how God had placed it upon his heart to send this package to me and that perhaps, "in this box, you might find the peace you are looking for". I was both curious and, honestly a little hesitant to open it, but...I did. When I discovered what was inside, I realized I wasn't ready for it! Not ready for peace?! Imagine that! So...I tucked it away...untouched...for years!
Fast forward...In a moment of loneliness one day, I glanced to the box tucked neatly into the corner and decided to open it and take a closer look at its contents. Waiting inside was book after book after book, and...a Bible! First I read a book called "Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics Ask" by Josh McDowell and some of my own skepticism's were being resolved. I then started to read the Bible...a Psalm a day, from the suggestion of a friend who said it would be a great way to start until I learned how to use it a little more effectively. I worked my way through the box, reading one book after another, discovering that I was finding a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment in the pages.
During my exploration, I discovered a thin paperback which had appeared to have been really used...a small, tattered book with worn, ragged edges.
I thought, "this one must be good...it shows signs that its pages have been handled many times." The title - "A Closer Walk/A Spiritual Lifeline to God" by Catherine Marshall (from the intimate journals of America's most beloved inspirational writer!) "Well", I thought, "Looks like a good place to start...the title intrigues me...has to be good as worn as it is...over 20 million books in print...plus it's a really small paperback...looks easy enough to get through!"
Don't you just love the workings of a small mind?!!
I can now tell you that it did not take long for me to understand why this little book was so worn. Inside its pages lies so much wisdom! Catherine shared her journey as a writer, as a Christ follower, as a real person who struggled with illness, worry, doubt, impatience, and heartache. This little old book was written decades ago. It's tattered, yellow pages, still applicable to life today!
It was within this little book by Catherine Marshall that I was finally able to begin to learn how to understand the Bible in a deeper way...a more meaningful way...realizing that it applies to my life and meets me right where I am...because it is God speaking to me through His written word!
Catherine's transparency brings her to the reader's level and, as a result, it feels like she is sitting with you, sharing her experiences, which interestingly line up so well with mine.
This person, from a different era still touches me today. It seems that every time I pick up this priceless treasure, I learn something new or I'm reminded of what I need to do in order to BE with God...and Catherine showed me how to comprehend the word as if Jesus was speaking directly to me!
Through its ragged pages, worn and abused, still wielding power, this book speaks to me (just as Jesus was worn and abused when they nailed Him to the cross. He, raised again, is wielding power and He speaks to me. He is the same yesterday, today and forever); and Catherine, a lady of a different time continues her purpose in my life as she mentors me still.
Peace was found in a great big box of books, sent to me by a gentle man with a heart for God.
God bless his soul and I thank God for the prayers and the deeds of the faithful!