bookstores.

Bookstores are one of my favorite places on earth. Every Friday as a child we would hop into our Buick LeSabre and head over to the mall bookstore. Each week I got to pick out a new book, which typically would be a Baby Sitters Club book of some sort. In 1st grade it was the Little Sister version, of which I would burn through by the end of the night and then would have to patiently wait until the next week to get a new one. As I got older I graduated to the reading less about Karen, Nancy and Hannah and more about Kristy, Claudia and Stacey. I remember just walking the aisles, touching the pretty book bindings and crisp pages, always selecting my book from the back of the shelf, as it was likely more untouched than the others. I remember always asking for a new bookmark too, but being that I already had too many, the request typically got denied. (My go to bookmark was a Little Mermaid one in case you were wondering).

Anyways, I find bookstores to be a place of comfort now. I don’t know if it’s due to the years of hanging out among the shelves or sitting at Borders for hours on end on a Saturday, but regardless, I am convinced healing happens at bookstores. Even now, I typically will ask Josh at least a few times a month if he will just go sit at Barnes and Nobles with me. (Side note: I miss Borders, like a lot.) As I type this now, here I sit, among the cluttered tables of the café, awkwardly staring at the lady across from me on her iPad as she eats a scone. (Hey lady, you have some on your chin.) I am home. I wear headphones but have the Coffee Shop Pandora mix on low enough to still hear the conversations around me. (Airlines are so overpriced …. Hey mom, can I get this book …. What time is it? Oh wait, he is asking me that, one second….)

Books are an escape for me. I throw myself into the story, often judging a book by its cover. (I have an entire shelf of ugly covered books that I have yet to read.) One relatable line is like a balm to the day. There is beauty in the stories, even if they aren’t real. (Who am I kidding, I totally pretend like they are.)

The past month or so I have been praying for God to send me a sign, a tangible sign, that this whole journey will result in a happy ending. That this road will lead somewhere and that we will be one of those couples who looks back in 5 years and tells other couples “It is worth the wait. Hang in there.”

So I keep praying. Lord, a sign! One that even I can’t refute. Preferably one so obvious that I can’t question it. A message written in the sky would be acceptable. An anonymous letter posted marked from Heaven would also be okay. Okay maybe that all is a little extreme, but I just keep begging (literally, you should see my journal, it’s nearly embarrassing) that He would make Himself known without a shadow of a doubt.

Perhaps the sign has come. Perhaps He has answered my prayer and I have been too jaded to see it. There have been moments of quiet and brief reassurance over the last month, including a 41 day cycle for me, another first and shorter than my last one by 22 days. Many would say this was THE SIGN! A tangible response that things were improving, that the lifestyle changes and naturopathic doctor was working, but instead, I dismissed it as less powerful than it actually was.

And since enough isn’t enough, I found myself continuing to pray A sign! Lord, I need more signs! More signs! I need you to help me believe!

And then I came to this verse, in the greatest book of all times, the Bible. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet still believe.” (John 20:29b) It was the sign I had been searching for – the anti sign! The sign where He whispered to STOP LOOKING FOR A SIGN and keep looking at HIM! I had taken my eyes off of HIM and began searching upon Pinterest boards, interactions and puffs of cloud smoke for a sign and in it, lost my way.

Books are powerful. One verse, one line, changed my heart again. The power of His Word is greater than anything else. This journey isn’t about looking for signs but looking to Him. It’s about believing in His character, His goodness, His promises without knowing the future. That’s where the blessings lie. In fact, the whole story of the Bible is filled with people who believed without seeing and still moved forward out of an act of faith. It’s human to want to see what’s going to happen before we move, but we are only holding ourselves back from what He has to offer.

So, in the presence of my dear friends, the books, I pledge to stop obsessively asking for signs. I pledge to have faith without knowing how this story ends. I pledge to embrace the pain, the struggles, the unknowns and never give up. With His help, I can do this!

Oh my goodness, this woman a few tables down just stood up to leave and her purse strap caught under the table and she just flipped it. I can’t stop laughing. My blog concentration has officially just been broken. And I am pretty sure this guy is about to ask out the girl next to me. One more hair flip from her and it’s inevitable. Ahhhh, bookstore dramas ….

(Update: She casually threw into a story that she never wants to get married and isn’t like her friends, who wants a real relationship. This conversation is winding down quickly ….)

22 thoughts on “bookstores.

  1. Tales of a Twin Mombie says:

    I used to LOVEEEE The BabySitters Club books too…I think I read all of them! My mom would give us allowance and I would typically spend it on the latest and greatest from the series (when the movie came out, I was so excited)…books are such a great comfort and refuge. We have been going through some things lately too where I have been “sign happy” and also asking for signs..I know that sometimes there is nothing but the silence and I just have to trust. It’s at times like these my heart sings “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters..wherever you would call me..” (I just loveee that song)..thinking of you! <3

    • chels819 says:

      AHHH What a perfect song! Isn’t it hard to wait and rest in His presence? I am praying for you and the silence you are experiencing too … sending lots of love. Thanks for your encouragement!

  2. Elisha says:

    I too have asked for signs and came across the scriptures where the people wanted to see a sign but Jesus said no signs! If they couldn’t believe in him for what they had already seen then more signs wouldn’t matter. I have since stopped asking. Faith is believing without evidence. I must remember this. I sometimes look for evidence of my healing before saying I am. God wants me to say I am healed first and then evidence will follow. Love your posts girl!!

    • chels819 says:

      I agree!! Plus, He has given us all we need to believe. It can be so hard but it’s exactly what the definition of faith is! I appreciate your validation that its tough though. :) Praying for you girl! Love your posts too!

  3. Caroline says:

    I love how God spoke to you!!! He knew exactly what He needed to hear and He used His word as the sign!! That is such good stuff! PS Love that you love those Babysitter books! So many good memories from those!!

    • chels819 says:

      I ask for a letter from Him and He gives me a letter from Him …. of course! We have His Word all the time and yet my impatient heart still wants more sometimes. Sigh!

  4. Cindy says:

    High five on your cycle news! I believe you are also in the twin cities, correct? If so I’d love to hear what naturopathic doctor you are working with!

  5. amywales121 says:

    Ah! I share your love of books and bookstores! This post was so great! I too, am constantly asking for assurance and signs, and I know God is asking me to have faith without them sometimes. I’m so happy about your cycle being shorter this month! That’s good news!!

  6. Kate says:

    Oh my gosh, I love your play-by-play in the bookstore! lol Can just see it!

    I know what you mean about a sign.. I think about other bloggers who have gotten words from God or signs…and I think,’Um, God – you haven’t given me any of that. How do I have faith, then, that this is going to happen?”

    No real answer for that. So, I wait, pray, trust, ask…and then we’ll see what God does. Like you said, I think it’s having faith in His GOODNESS, whatever HE does (or doesn’t do). THAT is a TRUE journey of faith, I think.

    When I got married, I prayed for signs all the time, and HE gave me a TON of them! And I still doubted at times! (Maybe why this time I get none!)

    Just know you aren’t alone in feeling like you do, From one girl without signs to another, I’m trusting with you.

    (And I miss Borders, too! That is where my husband and I first met!!! (Tear) )

    • chels819 says:

      Oh my goodness, the bookstore dramas! I can still hear the sound of that table being hurled too!!! And love that you and your hubby met at Borders! That is such a fun memory! I still have my Borders card and will always save it as a special memory. :)

      Wait, pray, trust and ask … the path of a believer! But He tells us to keep knocking and so we will! Even when sometimes it seems like He is not home. I agree, it’s a true mark of faith – Hebrews 11:1 – without faith, what is there??

      Love you my friend and thankful for your friendship!

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