What The Books Did

January 31, 2021
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Listen while you read: "Have You Any Room For Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

Galatians 5:22-23a – But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person's life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (ERV)

Over twenty years ago, my husband's studies in contemporary philosophy had pushed him into ceasing to believe, and the abuse of our sons by their choirmaster had convinced me that the church, which we thought we knew, didn't exist, and that we had been deluded about our faith. No longer in a church fellowship, I fell into lingering despair from which there seemed no way out. This was a dark time, yet God continued to draw us back to Himself.

Taking out two mortgages at a period of low interest rates, one day we managed to buy a house in a smaller town where prices were lower than in the big city. We had everything that we owned in a small van and all our books in a huge rented one. Since I'd completed an apprenticeship in bookselling, we decided that since our new house was in a downtown commercial district, I could open an out-of-print bookshop on the bottom floor.

I'd prayed about starting such a little business, though it wasn't likely to make much money. But it meant that I could be home with the children when they came back from school while I was employed at the same time. My husband's work as a guard in a federal penitentiary supported us well. With time on my hands between customers, I began to take a look at my life. Life is fragile. Handle with prayer, someone said. I was being drawn back to God through the shop and through many of the books waiting on my doorstep every morning when I opened the business: Tyndale's The Life Recovery Bible, Max Lucado's Grace For the Moment, anything of Eugene Peterson's or Annie Lamont's, and countless others, all of them often in well-thumbed condition.

I returned to faith and found a church home and the daily fellowship of the Spirit as books came at me just when I needed them. Gradually, through that reading, the full list of blessings from the Spirit, which today's passage from Galatians promises, came to me.

Although everything seems to be going digital, it became obvious to me that committed believers who share their faith in print will reach others for Christ over and over again. Let's make sure that we have a good supply of Christian tracts and books to spread around.

Prayer: Dear Father God, thank You for sending the light of Your Spirit into our darkness. May we not grow weary in the work of love but rather gather jewels for our crowns above. May a Christlike spirit be ours on our faith journey today, with the grace of Jesus abounding wherever we go with Your Word. In Your Son's name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <rise370@gmail.com>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great story of encouragement, Rose.

    Thank you Rose for the very fine telling of your growing and expanding faith.

    Thanks, Rose. I, too, went through such a period years ago after a divorce. It’s good to be back!

    I’m so thankful you found your faith again as your messages are very moving and I’m sure touch many, Rose. May God continue to bless you and your family!

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey and encouraging us to read some of those special books.

    Thanks, Rose, for sharing your faith journey with us. We frail, fragile, believers often stumble on the smallest obstacle in our path, but God is always there to catch or retrieve us. Blessings.

    Good morning Rose,
    I just read your devotional for today and am wondering if you have your bookstore still.
    If so, I might have some Christian books to donate to it.

    Rose, I have followed your devotionals for many years and always appreciated your thoughts, stories, and insights. I just wanted to let you know that your time of sharing has been appreciated.

    Greetings Rose,
    Good to hear that you returned to faith and had a church family again. Thank you for sharing this story in your life and many blessings to you as you continue to write inspiring devotionals. Faith in our Lord truly brightens a light in our lives!

    Thank you for today’s devotional, Rose, and for devoting your “other” life’s work to the written and published word. I say “other” as it is obvious your primary life’s work was to your family.
    Thank you too for your poetic prayer at the end.
    May you stay safe, Healthy and keep writing.

    Hi Rose,
    It is so nice that you share so honestly about your life. It helps me to remember that others can benefit from my experiences. It is amazing the books brought you back to God with his help and his always being there for us. Forgiveness of us by God and by us for others, makes life so much better. Thanks for sharing part of your story.

    Dear Rose:
    Thank you for that riveting and deeply honest devotional. I, too, love the fruits of the Spirit as you list them from Galatians. Thanks again for sharing,
    Many blessings.

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey and encouraging us to read some of those special books.

    Dear Rose,
    What a great devotional! It’s true that books add so much to life. I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. A special joy was going – though rarely – to the lovely brick library in the big city, sitting in the children’s corner, thumbing through books. The school library was my favorite haunt as well. I enjoyed your story. I know a little bit of this, but I learn a little more about you with each devotional! I’m in the throes of moving, and this will entail offloading the greater percentage of my shelves and shelves. It will be sad to say goodbye to some of most of these old friends, but there’s always the library!

    Dear Rose,
    I read your story as if it was happening before me and was moved to pray for all those now who are faltering due to failures of others they believed were trustworthy. I prayed for those in leadership, for integrity and reliance on Jesus. I am SO GLAD God provided just the right resources for you just as you needed them and were ready for them. I, too, have experienced and continue to experience His tender care in an amazing way. I marvel and rejoice with you. I pray for His provision for others. I pray we can be part of that provision. Thank you for your faithfulness in telling your story. I am not sure where your husband and sons are now in their journey with God, but I place them, as I know you do, in His merciful, healing hands.
    God bless you and keep you.

    Thank you for today’s devotional, Rose, and for devoting your “other” life’s work to the written and published word. I say “other” as it is obvious your primary life’s work was to your family.
    Thank you, too, for your poetic prayer at the end.

    Inspiring story, Rose! What the Books Did, appearing in PresbyCan.

    The Lord can be very persistent in trying to reach someone, especially if the person has drifted off course. How fascinating that he put such books in your path, a bookseller. He uses the method that asks you as an individual.
    Thanks for sharing this inspiring story.

    Hello Rose, thanks for sharing your devotional today. I am always encouraged and amazed at the walk through life that people share and how Almighty God who loves them pursues them until he brings them back into a loving, close, and worshipful relationship with him.
    Be blessed and encouraged to soldier on, your devotional was a delight to read this morning.

    It was reading a secondhand CS Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” that my husband came to faith after many years of pew-warming, a very different path from mine.
    Praise God for books, old and new that can communicate with words in minds that are receptive, to open them to the “Word”.
    I’m sure you have more than one copy of that book in your store – so many people I know start it and can’t grasp the concepts Lewis was conveying. My husband found Immanuel through reading.
    Don’t know if you still have the store, but these days there is a hunger for “something more/missing” in lives that have been forced to “be still.”
    Once again, your words are life-giving.

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