Cover to Cover

I am embarrassed to say that when I graduated from high school, I had never read a book from beginning to end. I really wasn’t interested in torturing myself and wasting time on things that I considered not the least bit fun. Needless to say, I avoided it at all costs. There were so many other exciting things I could think of doing, like going to parties, or well… even cleaning the bathroom toilet. Reading makes you think, and my mantra in those days was, “I hate to think!” What a dope. It was insurmountably stressful for me to sit down and read a single paragraph, much less a whole book. I did barely enough to scrape by in school and nothing more.

It wasn’t until a crisis early on in my marriage that I actually sat down and read my first book. Fortunately for me, the depression and desperate situation I was in caused me to overlook any agony I ever felt about reading. In my search for hope and help, I was willing to read anything to find it. (I didn’t know anything about the Lord at that time and wouldn’t have thought of turning to the Bible, but thankfully, that did come later.) A friend gave me the book His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley, and I read it from beginning to end. This was a big deal for me! One of the lowest points in my life was also a turning point for me; not only in my marriage, but it was also what sparked my interest in reading. Crazy!

One of our many book collections at home. Our family's happy place.

When we began homeschooling, I found myself reading to my daughters all day, every day. I couldn’t believe how much I was learning, even at preschool and second grade levels. I read to the girls when they were eating, brushing their teeth, putting together puzzles, coloring, at bedtime, whatever… I just couldn’t stop reading. As they got older, I read them chapter books and novels, and not only was a whole new world opening up before them, but for me too! I began to see just how much I was missing out on in life by not reading and how much there is to learn out there. I felt like a kid again! Who knew your imagination could take you places you could never go in real life? Or that you could live in a different world, if even just in your mind. And make friends with the characters, with whom you’d somehow find yourself laughing with or dripping tears on the page for. It was like a whole new adventure, and I felt as though I needed to make up for lost time. All the things that I never cared about in previous years, I was now discovering as if it had just been invented. I was teaching myself through the books I was reading, and I found out how fun reading… and thinking… actually are.

I love that I now have a Kindle, which enables me to carry tons of books with me wherever I go. It seems that those early years of learning to love books with my kids and getting in touch with my own imagination has changed me for life. It has also put a soft spot in my heart for children’s picture books and good literature. So much so, that I collect them, and someday I will put my hand to the plow and write one of my own.

I’ve read so many books since that first one, but every time I crack the cover on the next, it brings me back for a split second in my memory to when I hated reading and learning, and I remember how God has helped me to change in this area. In some of my darkest days, He helped me see the life inside of books. Being able to homeschool for so many years and reading to my kids has instilled a lifelong love of learning in them—and me, for which I am forever grateful to God.

Today, I thank God… and give Him all the glory… because I am still married, I still love to learn, I still read my Bible (and finally understand it), and I still read lots of books!

Psalm 71:17-18 (Msg) ~ You got me when I was an unformed youth, God, and taught me everything I know. Now I’m telling the world your wonders; I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.

 

2 Comments

  1. Jeanne
    Mar 8, 2011

    Julie!!! SUCH an exciting, true story! Love what you wrote and that you inspire others to read and learn. Thank YOU!

    [Reply]

  2. Kevin Adams
    Mar 9, 2011

    Hi Julie, glad to see you writing(and reading) 🙂 I’ve had a similar experience due to impatience – starting but never finishing. What a blessing we have – especially in God’s word, the most life changing read and ironically one you can never really finish!! Bless you and your family sister!

    [Reply]

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