Being a librarian, it’s accurate to say I read a lot of books. I’ve loved to read since I was a little kid seeking escape from my real-world issues of being bullied and feeling lonely. Somehow, when I opened the pages of a book, I became one of the characters, and the characters became my best friends. In their world, I wasn’t bullied. I didn’t cry because a kid was targeting me for wearing hand-me-downs or having frizzy hair. I didn’t have to fight loneliness.

Books were my refuge, my safe haven. I distinctly remember my mother telling me to quit reading so I could come to the table to eat. I would bring my book with me to the table, set it down, eat, then pick it back up. I would read to fall asleep at night, which drove my older sister crazy. While I was a rather good student, I still had teachers take books from me because I was reading when I was supposed to be listening. The library was my favorite place. If I watched a movie that showed a big house complete with a library of books – let’s just say that was my dream house.

It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I developed a deep desire to read my Bible. I was listening to KLOVE, and Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries came on. I don’t remember much about what she said, but I do remember her saying that when she gets to heaven, she wants to be able to tell God she “read His best-seller and loved it.” Her thought resonated with me so much. I’d heard many people say they fell in love with God through reading His Word. I wanted that, too. I was already reading a few other books, but I decided I was going to read my Bible, too.

I started in Genesis and worked my way up to Isaiah. But I stopped there. I realized that I didn’t understand a lot of what I’d been reading. About that time, Proverbs 31 Ministries launched a new app called First 5. It’s a daily Bible study and devotional app designed to bring insight into a book of the Bible. The book we’d be studying was John, which has always been my favorite book of the Bible. After that study, I was in love. The insight brought to me was priceless.

First 5 has since covered many of the tougher books of the Old Testament – ones I’d read but not understood or found important. I’ve become a studier of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit is always so faithful to open my eyes to what I’m reading. Now instead of filling my life with fantasy books I can get lost in, I find myself primarily reading my Bible and books by Christian authors. Books aren’t my escape any more. When I’m feeling down, afraid, or really anything – I find my refuge in the best place of all, my loving Father.

Sarah