When I graduated from my master’s program in college, one of my friends gave me a gift card to a local Christian bookstore with a note that read, now you can buy something to read for your pleasure.
In a seemingly simple moment, the transition was made from read what I must, to read what I will. Freedom, glorious freedom, to choose what influences, entertainment, and knowledge pool I would dive into from that moment forward. It was frankly a novel idea for me as a recent graduate ready to embark fulltime into the workforce. No longer would I spend late nights studying copious notes and reading text after text concerning speech and language disorders, anatomy and physiology, the workings of the brain, nor information on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Now a choice was possible, and time, for the moment, was available.
Fast forward twelve years and perhaps hundreds of book choices later. My reading pile has run the gamut from Beth Moore Bible studies, to science, government, Christian worldview to young adult fiction, and childcare to flood geology. What does the current stack of books on my beside table say about me? What does the pile of books you are reading say about you? What literary choices are we making that speak volumes about our current season of life?
Perhaps you are like me and read an ever-growing stack of books at one time. Or, maybe one book at a time is more your style. Conversely, you might be more like a certain beloved family member of mine who tells me, you read the books and give me the cliff notes version, in which case you probably didn’t even read your required books in school much less a voluntary stack at present!
Currently I am in the initial, medial, and final stages of maybe ten books? I know, that seems ridiculous, but it is true. Not only do we have the authentic books made of real dog-eared, underlined, highlighted pages, but now we have e-versions, pdfs, and even audiobooks that travel with us everywhere making it even easier to have many books going at once.
My current stack of books includes one on Reagan, God and Government by Chuck Colson, an audio version of Eric Metaxas’ book on William Wilberforce, The Life Giving Home book by Sally and Sarah Clarkson, and A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller to name just a few. There are plenty more.
But looking at those books alone I see a pattern and a purpose in their relation to one another. My family has actively worked towards adoption since July of 2015, although our work with foster care started several years prior. As we endeavor to adopt through our state’s foster care system, we’ve come upon challenges and inadequacies within the system as it now functions. I sense a renewed sense of purpose to work within our current kingdom to bring Christ’s Kingdom to earth in the particular cause of foster care and adoption. I consider what needs to change legislatively or within administrative policies in the agencies that serve children in our state, and I often feel overwhelmed and deeply saddened. Cue William Wilberforce and his tenacity to abolish slavery in the British Colonies as read in the pages of Amazing Grace, and Chuck Colson and the limits of government and the role of Christianity in God and Government. Throw in the Clarkson’s book on homemaking to remind me and encourage me in my most important life work of making disciples of the children in our home and the Psalm 23 book to remind me of the care of the Good Shepherd, and voila, there is my current season in a nutshell.
To take this thought a step further, I would like for us to consider a few bookish questions with this quote from Dr. Jay Strack in mind: Ten years from now, you’ll be the same person you are today, except for the places you go, the people you meet, the books you read, and the things you memorize.
1. What are we reading to our kids and how does that shape them for the future that God has planned for them?
2. What are we reading about relationships with God and man that will reorient our minds towards relational unity and away from the temporal array of self-fulfilling distractions and brokenness the world offers?
3. What are we reading concerning our current scientific and political climate, and living with a Christian worldview? How are we putting that knowledge into practice to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven?
4. What are we reading to encourage our God-given art form in order to bring grace-filled beauty to the world as we mirror our Creator God?
5. What are we reading that will inform and influence our culture on men and women as image-bearers of God?
6. What are we reading that will impact the nations and the generations with the gospel message of Jesus Christ?
With these questions in mind, and a host of current and classic literature to choose from, I would like to invite you to join the conversation here in the comments section below. What’s on your bedside table? What books are stacked high and what do they tell of your future dreams, current struggles, and aspirations for the everyday? I can’t wait to hear from you!
Brooke Cooney is a pastor's wife, mother of two, and foster-mom of one. To capture the eternal in the everyday, she blogs about family, faith, and lessons along the journey at ThisTemporaryHome.com.