I Found Jesus in a Storybook

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I knew what Jesus looked like. His picture was on the back of my pocket mirror. I had won this trinket quite handily at Sunday School. Chipmunk cheeks chock full of Hubba Bubba bubble gum, I had blown more bubbles in one minute than any of the other third graders.

Never questioning the accuracy of this visage, I thought Jesus looked a bit like a hippie. His light brown hair fell in perfect, soft waves to his shoulders. He was looking slightly off to the side like one of those bad 70’s school photos. I think the artist was shooting for an angelic look, but instead, the sad, blue eyes just looked fragile.

Like a talisman of sorts, I took Jesus with me everywhere. I figured maybe He would make me a better person, so I kept Him in my book bag. I guess it didn’t work so well. One of my friends at the bus stop ticked me off, so I took a swing at her. My book bag was dangling from my swinging arm. Jesus had sharp corners, one of which connected squarely with my friend’s forehead. Her bleeding was considerable.Β  After this lapse of control at the bus stop, I concluded that Jesus wasn’t as all powerful as I’d been led to believe.

Though I grew and learned over the years, I somehow clung to this vision of an anemic Savior. Jesus was a great guy and all, but He didn’t really have any sway over my day to day life. But, this Creator of mine knew how to change my faulty thinking. Much in the same way He reached people when He walked this earth, He caught my attention through story.

At the Loft this week, we are sharing our favorite books. For me this is easy. The stories that have profoundly impacted my view of who my God is are my very, very favorites.

Eli, by Bill Myers
The premise of this story is, what if Jesus were born in modern times? Who would He hang out with? Who would be the religious establishment that He would call out as hypocrites? Imagining Jesus in my world, wearing t-shirts and Levi’s; playing baseball at my neighborhood park with his buddies, was startling. I could suddenly see Him as a real person rather than some ancient robe-wearing hippie guy. The lingering perception of a milquetoast Savior who was forever disappointed in me began to dissipate.

The Circle Series, by Ted Dekker
This series, hands down, has had a more profound impact on my view of God than any other book I’ve read. (For those of you church ladies who gasp at such a bold claim, I give the disclaimer that this is excluding the Bible, of course!) Mr. Dekker’s story is an allegory of the Christian life.

God, in his story is called Elyon, which means Most High in Hebrew. Elyon is powerful, playful, and intimate with His people. I honestly cannot do justice to Mr. Dekker’s vision here. All I can say is that the thought of physically playing with my God, of singing and dancing and loving Him with complete abandon, of having worship be as natural as breathing, it all shook me to the core. For the first time in my life, I longed for Him.

I feel I can’t leave out a series that I am currently savoring. The Outlaw Chronicles, also by Ted Dekker has been the springboard for some major work the Lord has been doing this past year in my life. These stories are showing me who I really am, and how I have been finding my identity in so many wrong things. My identity is in Christ. Period. I am a beloved daughter of the Most High. I wrote a post describing this epiphany in more detail here. It may be the most important message I have ever shared.

I have read a great many books over the years. All sorts of great books on everything from Christian living to parenting to homeschooling. Psychology, medical, self-help; you name it and I’m probably in. But for me, it is definitely the stories that stir my imagination which impact my daily life most. And why not? Our Jesus himself made ample use of stories to get His points across. He created us with the gift of imagination, and what a grand and lovely gift it is!

Join us over at #theLoft.Β  Share your favorite reads, and get some book ideas from an awesome group of ladies.Β  Hope to see you over there!

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Top photo by Naypong at freedigitalphotos.net.

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14 thoughts on “I Found Jesus in a Storybook

    • I do have to give the caveat that some of Dekker’s work is dark. He is a marvelous storyteller, and his background gives him a unique view of evil. However, the Circle series is fabulous–fast paced adventure with a great spiritual message. You can’t go wrong with that! πŸ™‚

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  1. I hadn’t heard of these books, so I’ll keep an eye out for them if I see something at an op-shop. Great writing by the way of your Jesus Journey. Dropping over from the Loft

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    • Thanks for taking the time to read, Lizzy. I always give the warning that some of Dekker’s work is on the darker side, so he’s not for the squeamish. The books I mentioned though, are excellent and I’d recommend them to anyone. Have a blessed weekend!

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  2. Isn’t it great how STORY can reveal God to us? I don’t read a whole lot of fiction, but the fiction I love are those stories that paint a picture of Jesus to me (hippie or not, wink). Like Redeeming Love by Francine River. I’ll have to see if Dekker’s work is in my library. Thanks so much for sharing!! So enjoy having you as part of The Loft.

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    • Yes, I love Francine Rivers as well. Redeeming Love was especially dear to me because I can relate to having a somewhat ‘checkered’ past. I suppose most of us do, in some form or another, yes?

      Thank you, (and the other ladies), for hosting The Loft. I have found some direction for my writing there, and as an added bonus, I am meeting some wonderful and talented women. You, and they, are a blessing to me! πŸ™‚

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  3. Loved YOUR story about the misadventures with your Jesus mirror! And you’re right: STORY is a powerful teacher. Thank you for the recommendations of books that have impacted your understanding of Jesus.

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  4. I read a Dekker book some time ago, and you post reminded me I need to check out more of his work. I really like your story about the “anemic Savior” idea you had of Jesus—I can relate to that. So glad He doesn’t just leave us where we are and pursues us.

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  5. I’ve been thinking about the same thing lately. How stories reveal God in a unique way. I think that’s why I’ve always been drawn to the Old Testament. Thanks for the book recommendations. I’m always looking for new stuff to read. I’m especially intrigued by what you said about Ted Dekker. I’ve never heard of him until now. Blessings πŸ™‚

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    • Yes, the OT stories are fabulous, aren’t they? I have to say, in case you haven’t read the other comments here, my warning is always this: some of Dekker’s work is dark. He explores evil in a way that some are uncomfortable with. But the Circle series (Black, Red, White, and Green) are incredible. (If you aren’t easily disturbed, I would find almost any of his titles to be thought provoking and entertaining.) Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Blessings to you as well. πŸ™‚

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  6. Hi it’s me again πŸ™‚ I nominated your wonderful blog for the One Lovely Blog award because I think it’s awesome! There is no obligation on your part, but if choose to accept this award, the rules are posted on my blog (anunfoldingglory.wordpress.com) If you get the chance, I recommend that you check out the other great Christian blogs that I’ve linked to.

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