Saying Thank You After 20 Years

The lady’s picture of Michelle Ule’s new book Mrs. Oswald Chambers caught my attention, and I “liked” it. The book’s pages were marked with blue and orange tabs, and a pair of reading glasses sat off to the side.

The following day or so, as I scroll through my Instagram activity, I notice a new follower. Oh … it’s that lady. I click onto her gallery page and sense her familiarity. Yes, that’s right. I had seen her picture from Michelle Ule’s launch party. Because I had written a blog post on Michelle’s book, I was led here, to this place.

As I glance over the lady’s bio, words grab my attention–author of The Ache for a Child. My heart flutters. I know God is up to something incredible in my life. Anything God does for me, and I recognize it, is deemed incredible. Because it’s usually the small things that bless my heart in the big ways.

I head into my closet and pull out the clothes hamper. And there against the wall is the bookshelf, the old bookshelf. The one that holds old things, heart things, book things that touched my hands and touched my heart. I can’t part from them.

DSC_8934 (5)DSC_8931 (6)My eyes roam over the sections. I shift books around, looking for … There … there it is.

DSC_8923 - Copy (5)DSC_8921 - Copy (6)As I open the pages, my past reunites with my present. They hug. They cry in each others’ arms. And after the weeping comes the rejoicing. What are you doing here, old friend? After this many years. Page after highlighted page explains away. I read over my scribbles in the margins, never doing justice to the words of comfort God scribbled over my heart. But how does a marginal human put into words something so vast, something that can’t be contained in the tiny space of her heart?

DSC_8924 - Copy (4)I sit there on the closet floor, pondering God’s goodness.

Because I did this … because I walked through the door you opened, Lord … you did this. I bow my head. I thank Him, oh, how I thank Him. I’m no stranger to tear-stained jeans.

I follow my old and new heart-friend back on Instagram and contact her. “Did you write this book?” I attach a picture of the book.

“Yes, a long time ago!” she says. “I’m in the middle of updating it. How did you come across it?”

How did I come across it? What a question. I picked it up from a Christian book store 20 years ago, as I stood there feeling alone in the aisle of  pain and misery. As I stood there wanting a family with all my heart and wondering if God would come through for me. After I took that book into my home and devoured it with my whole being, my pastor at that time, Dr. Robert Jeffress, asked me to start and lead an infertility support group for our church.

Holding that little book in my hands, I remember all the doors that God opened for me through the years.

DSC_8928 (2)Page after page turned in my life, and new words were written over my story … my life came alive. God gave me two girls. God gave me a family. God came through with my heart’s desire since childhood.

girlspink05fallrockfish 014 (5)“I can’t tell you what your book meant to me,” I write. “Thank you. You were a light in a very scary time.”

I bow my head again.

Father, thank you. I follow you, but you followed me first. You loved me first. Your love conquers all fear. You know exactly how to wrap up the chapters in my life. And tie it off with a gold and pink bow. I’m thankful The End of this life hasn’t come. I’m thankful you let me say “thank you” after 20 years. I’m thankful that Deb made herself vulnerable and emptied her heart on those pages so that I could find courage. Thank you for leading me to her words that became marked on my heart so long ago.

I like it, God. I so it.


Have you had a chance to say thank you to someone who helped you so long ago? Maybe someone who didn’t even know they’d helped you? I’d love to hear your story.

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8 thoughts on “Saying Thank You After 20 Years

  1. damonjgray

    Thank you for sharing, Shelli. You have a way of tugging on someone’s heart by exposing just enough of your own. I’m about halfway through your book. Thank you for sharing there as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my, dear Shelli, this is powerful. Your family is beautiful. I remember that book too. My trial in the aisle of infertility ended differently than yours did, but the evening tears and the morning joy were the same. God is good.
    I thanked a doctor who was tender and compassionate at a time of great need in my life. It blessed me more than it did her, I’m sure. To give is to receive. I bet you’ve blessed Debra more than words can ever write. ❤
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We knew the same book. How special is that?! ❤ Sweet doctors and nurses … those there when you really needed them, when you begged God for them … such blessings. Answered prayers. And I so hope Debra is blessed … she sure blessed me.

      Like

  3. Awww, Shelli. You did it again. You brought tears to my eyes with this sweet story. My heart resonates with the pain and the struggle with infertility we’ve both survived. I love how God gave you an opportunity to share with the author of a book that ministered to you on that deep heart-level. It is good to go back and remember the ways God’s worked in our lives over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

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