I think an appropriate start to a post around World Book Day would be to give myself a big shout out!
A week ago today, I published my first book. It is a children’s picture book which was accepted by the three publishers I sent it to, leaving me to pick the contract I liked best. Read more about it on my growing website or follow its Facebook page. This is my dream come true – both publishing the book and growing my own website.
World Book Day comes with lovely memories of my children eagerly awaiting the actually date to go and spend their £1 book day tokens. The tokens would arrive from our favourite home education support group a week or two early but my two would wait until it was actually World Book Day before spending them. They never bought the book that was the one especially put together for that specific World Book Day, which only cost £1. Instead they would add their own pocket money to the token and would spend ages in our favourite independent bookshop searching until they had found just the right book. It was delightful. And came only second to the delight of discovering that my daughter had taught herself to read when she was about three years old in the “book cave” I had designed for them.
Both my two are still avid book readers even though not as much as myself. I devour books. Last year, I read over 100 different books which I posted on Instagram and I’m hoping to read as many this year. For me and for my children, and most readers I know, books are a way of not just escaping but of learning about new worlds, people one wouldn’t meet in regular life, or reading about how others think and feel which taps into how we think. For myself, I come away from a book with greater wisdom about myself and others, whether historical figures or contemporary. Books give one connection to something bigger than just ordinary life, which I think has been so important in these lockdown times.
One of my exciting finds this year has been the Shelter Box Book Club, which with a monthly subscription, sends out a book from an author from a part of the world Shelter is working in. Through these books, I am going all across the world learning about diverse cultures. To learn more about my reading over the past year check out 2020 Goals – #100 Books.
As I was pondering this and knowing I was going to be posting it on to the Godspace Light, I was thinking how I could tie in God. Well, of course, Jesus is “The Word” which actually isn’t so very different to a book. I believe each reader reads a book differently. We all dive in with our own ideas, thoughts, life experiences and prejudices and read the story through that. As I pondered this, I felt that this is what we all do with Jesus if we choose to dive into him. I do not believe we can get to know Jesus without bringing our own stuff with us. I believe that is why Jesus isn’t a static word but “the living word” because we all change who he is by what we pour into him from us, and he then changes who we are by what we take away. . . .
I also think this makes God even more amazing than ever. When I wrote my book, I had an idea not just what it meant but how I hoped people would feel about it, and what they get from it. It is only a 34 page children’s picture book but I still want to sit with each person and tell them how it should be impacting their lives. Yet God released his Son, the living word, as well as the Bible, into the hands of people. People who were going to read and interpret it through their own lens. I know we sit with God and explore his word with him but I don’t believe he ever dictates to us what we should get from him.
I believe God trusts each of us to read his Son and his Bible through who we are, through our own lens, through are own life experiences. And I think that we need to trust others to read through their own life lens and listen to what each other learns. Maybe we need to read the Bible and share what we’ve learned as we would a book club that would make a difference to our growth as followers of Jesus? We should not listen to what others are learning so we can tell them where they are wrong but, as with the book club idea so that we can learn about them, learn from them – and maybe in the process, learn about ourselves just as we do when reading a well-written novel.