I stood waiting in this little run down house. The heater was trying to overcome the cold and I still wore my coat. I glanced back and forth between the window and the book shelves that wrapped around the hodgepodge space and waited nervously for students to arrive. This little fixer-upper that Compass Prep Academy bought was to be my “studio” for teaching 14 students how to paint. They were late.
It was just one book clumped in next to a thousand donated books. It jumped out at me; and, on a whim, I pulled it from the shelf.
Who knew a treasure lay hidden there? Who knew I would leave an hour later with something that would change my life? I surely didn’t know it, even as I stuffed that paperback book in my painting bag and corralled teenagers out to the van.
“Strong-Willed Child or Dreamer?”
Why did the normal white spine of that paperback book sing, “Pick me up! Pick me up!” I obeyed and read the back cover.
“Your child may be a dreamer if….
*He forgets to follow instructions, no matter how clear and simple you make them
*She craves praise and attention, yet refuses to conform to what’s expected.
*He complains often about feeling misunderstood, pick on, or persecuted.
*She tells more than her share of fibs and tall tales.
Your child’s behavior may actually indicate that he or she is a creative-sensitive child, a dreamer: principle-oriented rather than rule-oriented, highly creative, sensitive to the point of taking offense where none is intended, and frustrated at a world that fails to live up to the ideal.”
My daughter Chloe to a T! In chapter two there was a check list of thirty choices to diagnose your child. It said if your child scored 24 or more, she was more than likely a dreamer…… Chloe was 30 out of 30!
This book is summing my daughter up in an amazing way that I can understand, despite our cognitive differences. Things that drive me bananas crazy about her are becoming endearing the more I read. She’s unique and precious! As I devour this book, I’m learning for the first time in her fourteen years how to enjoy her. How to discipline her. How to relate to her fantastical wandering mind. I keep wiping tears from my eyes because every page is Chloe. I’ve dog-eared almost every page I’ve read to go back to it later.
There’s that weird thing she did when she was little… Oh! It makes sense now. There’s that frustrating thing she does when she’s wrong… Oh! It’s because she can’t stand to lose my approval!
Page by page I’m falling in love with my Chloe all over again.
I even joked yesterday that I might scratch out the title on the front and write “Chloe Bible” in sharpie instead!
Goodness knows the last time I finished a non-fiction book was, well, I can’t even remember. Ron said it was probably when I read the “Created to be His Help-meet” book. He might be right. And the funny thing is, both books are about learning to love these weird people in my life. I was lost before “Created to be His Help-meet.” I had no idea how to be a good wife to Ron. I read that book voraciously too, excited to have author Debi Pearl unlock the keys to a happy husband. I applied those principals and they changed our marriage and our life. Apparently the best motivation for me to “read to learn” is when I’m learning how to love someone dear to me.
Not everyone would want to read “Strong-Willed Child or Dreamer?” If you don’t have a Chloe, what would be the point? But then the parallel, the connection, clicked on in my mind like a lightbulb!
Not the “Chloe Bible” or the “Ron Bible,” but the real true Holy Bible.
What is it if not a book to read to learn how to love Someone dear to us? Has it become boring and dusty to you? Could it be you aren’t investing in the relationship? Could it be that your love has grown cold and you’ve become distracted? The more we get to know Jesus, the more we’re drawn to His Word. It’s a privilege to get to know Him. It’s exciting to read those stories about how He worked in the past, about how He loved His disciples, about how He disciplines those He loves.
What if we didn’t have the Bible?
In the fourteen years of being Chloe’s mom, no one ever gave me a book like this book that I picked up yesterday by accident. My eyes keep tearing up as I read it because it is revealing new insights I could never have gained on my own. No amount of living in a house with Chloe was teaching me these secret things about how her personality works.
If the Bible was gone and we had only the broken world around us to relate to the One who created it all perfectly in the beginning, would we have any clue what kind of Savior created us?
The grace of Golgotha would be lost to us.
Eden where The Fall and The Promise happened, gone.
The promise that nothing we go through here can even come close to comparing to the amazing things God has promised for those who love Him? No. We wouldn’t know that on our own. Here everything is dying. Here things only decline. How could we imagine Heaven without the Book?
Like my new Chloe guide, the Bible sums up God for us in ways we can understand despite our huge cognitive differences. Things that seem strange or confusing become endearing as we read. It’s the guide to understanding His multifaceted, strange yet perfect, strong but gentle, glorious while humble, always working and teaching rest, simultaneous Judge/Advocate Personality. He is Unique. He is Precious.
Pick up your “How to” book again. It’s full to the brim with lessons and wisdom and comfort and hugs. It’s love letters and praise songs and history lessons and hope for the future! Prioritize the Book and the relationship will grow! None of us are done learning. There is always more growth, more lessons, and more character to be gained. Pray for new vigor in your time with Him and enjoy learning about the One you love!
PS. The overflow? I can’t stop reading pages of this book out loud to Ron. We’ve both been long in the dark to the mysteries of Chloe’s creative mind. He needs this knowledge as badly as I do, because we both have to raise Chloe. Your friends, your family, they need your passionate love for God’s Word. As you love more and learn more, you will naturally share it more. It was a natural overflow last night. Ron couldn’t keep me quiet! “One more thing! Wait, one more thing!” I read to him (and yes he started to get tired of it) 🙂 But did that sway me? No! I offered that dude a foot rub AND a back rub in exchange for listening to me read an entire chapter. He happily accepted and learned alongside me. And that’s the gist of it isn’t it? Lovingly meet people’s needs and share the Word with them. They can’t help but listen and learn 🙂