On a crisp autumn morning one year ago, I drove to Kalamazoo, a little town in Michigan, on my way to present a workshop at a Children’s Ministry event. Nestled in the back of my car were two boxes holding treasure: hot, off-the-press copies of my newly published children’s book, Love Letters from God.
That autumn day would be the first time I would sell my book; the first time I would read a story out loud to an audience; the first time I would sign the inside cover; the first time I would meet Jess.
She was young, and quiet. We didn’t get to talk much. She was in her second year of children’s ministry. She listened intently. She made notes. She asked questions. And she bought a book.
She would tell me, later, that she didn’t have much money that day. But a little voice inside whispered that she should buy a book anyway.
Who is it for? I asked, as I always do when I sign the book.
Jess didn’t know. Perhaps she would give it to a niece, or perhaps she might use it in her children’s ministry. She left, with the book tucked under her arm. Inscribed on the inside cover, I had written the words: May the one who turns these pages be blessed.
And the rest of the story belongs to her….
Well later that day, my husband and I had a sweet surprise. We had been trying to get pregnant for a few months, waiting on the Lord’s timing… I was a few days late – so off to the store I went (to buy another pregnancy test.) Sure enough, the Lord’s timing had arrived. We were almost in disbelief. To be honest, my husband didn’t believe me right away. We were so excited!!!
Lo and behold, God had wanted me to purchase “Love Letters from God’ for my very own son, Josiah! What’s so cool is that this book walked with us through our entire pregnancy. Mr. Josiah and I read the stories together over the next 9 months as we waited to meet each other. I would flip through the pages, usually reading one or two stories at a time. We would talk, and pray together – I’d fill in the blanks with “my precious child.” I’d describe to him the pictures on the pages (that’s the Art Teacher in me)…
I remember one specific day, maybe 21 weeks in – I read “The Little Boy Who Listened.” We had just found out we were having a son and we couldn’t for the life of us decide on a name… I’d ask my little man what he wanted to be called, I pleaded with the Lord to give us the perfect name… My husband and I just couldn’t decide. It seemed that the pressure was too great! I read this story about 3 times, all in a row. Something about it stood out to me. It was the last paragraph:
“What a wonderful night for Samuel!” It read. “God knew his name. As the candles flickered and the shadows danced, a happy little Samuel closed his eyes and finally fell asleep.”
It was that paragraph that brought peace to my heart — God knew my son’s name, just as he had known Samuel’s name! I opened my bible and highlighted Isaiah 43:1: “I will send for you by name. You belong to me.” My son, my Josiah, was already named by my Father in heaven, and soon, very soon, I would get to meet him and know his name too!
My husband ended up naming our son, Josiah Thomas, just moments before he entered this world. He said God had just put it on his heart! It was, and is, the most perfect name for our little one.
Here we are, 11 months later, and my little man can just start to see. We flip through the colorful pages of the book, and talk about the love that God has for him, and for me, and for our friends and family! It’s something very sweet. “Love Letters from God,” was just as much a gift for me, as it was to my son!
The inside cover of my book is signed by Glenys: “May the one who turns these pages be blessed.” We were blessed. We are blessed, by the truth on these pages, and with a beautiful son!