"The reading life is like one of those potent graces bestowed by fairy godmothers on princesses in old fairy tales,
the sort to help a young heroine grow in all good things, to love life in its fullness and beauty, but also to make her
strong in resisting the forces of evil stepmothers or wicked fairies already gathered round her cradle." Sarah Clarkson - Book Girl
I’ve been working through a virus the past few days. It takes alot to keep me in bed but I’ve gladly not left this sanctuary of rest and healing since Monday afternoon! My sweet daughter brought me gentle foods with a rose on a tray, my son read to me, hubby fetched and carried as well as working on a big deadline, and my devoted dog was constantly by my side (either that or she just milked the access to my bed!). The physical wrestle was hard but the love and care made all the difference. My heart goes out to everyone living with chronic pain or facing an illness today. There is not always someone to touch our forehead with concern, or bring a meal with a flower from the garden, but know this, that God sees you and cares for you so deeply, He is with you in your pain just as He was with Jesus in His. You are deeply loved.
How does this relate to my poster you may well ask? As I’ve been quarantined here I’ve of course had time to stop and savour things at a slow pace. Among other things, I’ve been following the book launch for Sarah Clarkson’s new release, Book Girl. I joined the launch team several weeks ago and was given the opportunity to preview the first four chapters. This virus has been
coming on for a few weeks and I have struggled with energy to read so I only finally finished the preview last week. I can’t wait to get my physical copy and read the rest! Friends, you need this book, you need books, you need many books! You may be poorer in pocket but you’ll be richer in spirit 😂
Stories have the power to change us; our thinking, the way we see ourselves, others, the world, our circumstances, God. The story of Jesus back in 1997 changed my own life forever and has changed the lives of billions through the centuries, it's no wonder they call it ‘the greatest story ever told’.
As our bodies flourish and grow through good nutrition, so too feeding our mind, heart and imagination on the right kind of stories is instrumental to a flourishing, thriving heart. I will never forget when I first read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. My view of God was radically enlarged. I was gripped by grace, flooded with forgiveness, suddenly the sacrificial love of God was made more real to me through the stories of Michael and Angel. I found myself weeping with joy while my heart moved into new freedoms of feeling loved as I was. Friends, if you have not read this book, Amazon awaits you!
When we believe we are part of a bigger story, an eternal narrative, though the shadows of this broken world fall across our path, hope lights a candle in the darkness. But how can we have hope if we have not a dream of a better time to come? And how can we dream if we have not nurtured the capacity of our imagination? When we believe 'this is it, this is as good as it's going to get', we can never see the potential for change. Disarmed, disempowered, we drift on as victims of circumstance and the narrative around us.
I think we are the 'Ugly Ducklings' of this world, we are inherently beautiful, imago dei, yet the voices around us would have us believe we don't belong. Friends, we are swans who fell into the wrong nest!
If this is you today, let me encourage you to start listening to kindred voices which tell a more beautiful story to your heart. Voices which draw you to a better version of yourself. When you look into the reflection of a story which shows you who you can become, you too will cry, "I'm a swan, I'm a swan"!
Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson
When you hear a riveting story, does it thrill your heart and stir your soul? Do you hunger for truth and goodness? Do you secretly relate to Belle's delight in the library in Beauty and the Beast? If so, you may be on your way to being a book girl. Books were always Sarah Clarkson's delight. Raised in the company of the lively Anne of Green Gables, the brave Pevensie children of Narnia, and the wise Austen heroines, she discovered reading early on as a daily gift, a way of encountering the world in all its wonder. But what she came to realize as an adult was just how powerfully books had shaped her as a woman to live a story within that world, to be a lifelong learner, to grasp hope in struggle, and to create and act with courage. She's convinced that books can do the same for you. Join Sarah in exploring the reading life as a gift and an adventure, one meant to enrich, broaden, and delight you in each season of your life as a woman. In Book Girl, you'll discover:
how reading can strengthen your spiritual life and deepen your faith,
why a journey through classic literature might be just what you need (and where to begin),
how stories form your sense of identity,
how Sarah's parents raised her to be a reader--and what you can do to cultivate a love of reading in the growing readers around you, and
20+ annotated book lists, including some old favorites and many new discoveries.
Whether you've long considered yourself a reader or have dreams of becoming one, Book Girl will draw you into the life-giving journey of becoming a woman who reads and lives well.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers