One of the things I have heard some Embrace Grace girls say sometimes at the beginning of the semester and when they are first opening their eyes to this God they have never known is, “Isn’t the Bible just a book full of rules?”
It’s hard to put into words how much God loves us – but His love is HUGE. He loves us SO SO much. He left us with something tangible as a Father to His children, to guide us and help us for our whole life on earth, where we can really know how much we are loved, valued and cherished. Just like we love our children, and we help guide them with love and some “do’s and don’ts” He did for us on a way larger scale. The Bible is a book of Love. Every word in it was written from a Love that we can never fully understand completely the vastness, of His relentless love for us.
My 18th and 19th year of life, I was a full time, live-in nanny for an awesome family in Dallas. It was a great job that I loved. The family was very financially blessed (VERY) and it let me have an opportunity to do fun stuff I would have normally not had the chance to. I had my own “wing” of the house with a bedroom, bathroom, mini-kitchen and private entrance. It was pretty cool!
There is one memory I have in that season of my life that stands out from that whole year. The family I worked for was very good friends with another family, The Kramp’s. I believe they were law partners or something (can’t remember exactly) but I do remember that we spent a lot of time with them. They had one little girl named Payton that was 6 years old and best friends with the 6 year old that I nannied, Katie. I was always taking both of them to each others houses to play and they were so sweet.
One week, we went on an impromptu trip to Destin, Florida and all stayed together in a big house on the beach. Erin Kramp, the mother of Payton was battling cancer that had spread throughout her body and she knew her life was about to end soon, so it was kind of a last trip all together to spend time with her in her last days. We took a private jet because of her health condition and she had an oxygen tank for a lot of her time with us. She was SO sweet and such a bright light. She was always smiling, even when she was in obvious pain.
One day I was in the pool with the kids, playing with Katie and Payton. Erin was on the lounger next to the pool with a journal and a pen. I remember she had a big sun hat on and her swimsuit revealed her frail body … but she was still smiling. She said, “Amy, can I ask you a few questions? You are obviously a lot younger than I am and you are fresh out of high school – I just need to ask some questions and get answers from your perspective.” I said sure! She asked, “How old were you when you started your period for the first time? How old were you when you liked a boy for the first time? When was your first kiss? How do you feel when kids at school are mean to you?” And the questions went on and on … She wrote away in her journal while I tried the best I could to answer all her questions.
Later I realized why she was asking. She knew she was dying within a few weeks and she would never see her daughter go through middle school, be there for her when she went on her first date, or her first kiss, her wedding day … all these lifetime moments that a lot of us take for granted, she knew she would miss out on with her only daughter. So she decided she would video herself giving inspirational and “mom talks” to her daughter, via video. She had been making hundreds of video tapes, giving her daughter advice and instruction and just LOVE. Almost every night she would share what was on her heart to her daughter, for her daughter to keep and treasure forever – to leave a legacy for her daughter, after she passes. She knew she would not be there physically to parent Payton, so she wanted to do the next best thing.
She passed shortly after that trip. I will never forget her. She was even on Oprah’s top 20 BEST EVER episodes that Oprah highlighted again on her last show that she ever did and had Payton come back on and talk about how much those videos meant to her, now being a college student at Duke University. Here is the link to that portion of the “best of” show, get your tissues ready, it is beautiful. There are even pictures of a beach in the slideshow that was from our trip to Destin.
Even though it has been a long time (she passed in 1998), I have been thinking about her quite a bit lately. What a beautiful picture of love that she gave her daughter, leaving something to guide her and help her for the rest of her life, and that she could really know how much she is truly loved and valued and cherished. What Erin did for her daughter, is in a way like what God did for us with the Bible. Something to help guide us and inspire us in life. If we ever want to feel God’s love, one way is to open the Bible and start reading the pages that He wrote through great men of Faith – just like how Payton probably does when she wants to feel her mom’s love – pop in a video.
I was surfing the internet the other day and I saw an excerpt that totally grabbed my attention and that warmed my heart. I clicked on the link to see what book it was from and was surprised it was a children’s book, and then looked closer and was thinking it looked really familiar. I quickly remembered where I had seen it before!
I had made a purchase the other day at the Christian bookstore and when I was paying, I was gabbing away with cashier and didn’t notice that there was a Children’s Storybook Bible on the counter and they thought it was mine. They rang it up and put it in my bag. I didn’t notice it until I got home. I put it in my “return” pile by my front door with never giving it another thought.
After I read this excerpt on the web and realized I had the book it came from, I ran to my front table and read this beginning part in it’s entirety and couldn’t believe it was the very same book! I love how God does that when He really wants us to see something!! He makes it so obvious with confirmations. Check it out:
“God wrote, ‘I love you’ – he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror – to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing.
The way a kitten chases her tail. The way red poppies grow wild. The way a dolphin swims.
And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called ‘the Bible.’
Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.
No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!
You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.”
Are you leaving a legacy of love for your family? Are you utilizing this gift of the Bible to guide you in your walk? Do you feel love when you read the Bible? He LOVES us!
Written by Amy Ford