“When is the last time you cried in a bookstore?”
If you had asked me that question two months ago, I would have looked at you blankly, racked my brain, and then hesitantly replied “Umm, I’m not sure I’ve ever done that.”
I’m the girl who read straight through dinner, who ate with a fork in one hand and a book in the other because she simply had to know what would happen next.
I’m the blogger who bookmarks upcoming releases and compiles them into “can’t-miss” lists to share with readers.
My budget has a line for books, I’ve spent countless hours roaming the aisles of various bookstores, and my “to be read” list only seems to grow. But I’ve never cried in a bookstore . . . that is, until last month.
While running errands on a warm Spring afternoon, I ran in a store to grab a book and ended up wandering the aisles because, well, this is who I am.
Up and down, up and down, head tilted to the side to read each title. It was all so very ordinary.
But then I saw a spine that I designed, my name mixed in among the thousands of others, and I had a moment.
There are several reasons I chose to self-publish Even If Not, but I did so knowing that to be anywhere other than Amazon would require a publishing house. I wanted it to be available elsewhere, and the avid reader in me longed to see the book on a shelf, but I was at peace with my decision, confident that obedience for me at that time looked like self-publishing.
And so I flat out cried in Starbucks a year and a half ago, about a year and a half after Even If Not released, when I randomly discovered that two retailers decided to carry the book and sell it online.
Yet even still, I have never looked for my book in a bookstore because I have no way of getting it there.
When is the last time I cried in a bookstore?
On a regular Thursday afternoon in April, just over three years after my book released, when God did what I couldn’t.
I must have stood there for five minutes staring at the cover with my mouth wide open. (Documented on Instagram Stories and saved in my highlights, for your viewing pleasure.) With shaking hands, I propped my phone against a stack of books and took a grainy photo with awful lighting because I simply had to mark the “beyond my wildest dreams” moment.
There’s a promise in Ephesians 3 that I’ve held onto with hope in the midst of difficult seasons. The words have been a liferaft to me in raging seas and harsh winds, a gentle breeze when I’ve grown weary in the long unknowns.
This time, though, they showed up out of the clear blue and they looked like my own last name on the top shelf of a bookstore on the other side of town.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (NIV)
No matter which translation you turn to, over and over His goodness is on display:
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think… (NASB)
Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! (TPT)
Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams]… (AMP)
I can’t help but wonder if God occasionally turns to the angels and says, “Gather around. You aren’t going to want to miss this! Just wait until My daughter sees the goodness I have in store for her today!”
After all, we are His children and He delights in us.
He is the Giver of all good things, our Father who takes joy in our joy.
He is the God of immeasurably more, the God of the impossible, the God who became flesh and moved into the neighborhood simply because He loves us.
I’m certain He was watching as I entered the bookstore, as I walked the aisles and made my way closer and closer to the surprise He had in store. I wholeheartedly believe He had His eyes on me as my eyes lit up and then teared up.
And I believe He has His eyes on you, that right this moment He’s doing infinitely more than you could imagine, superabundantly more than you could guess or request in your wildest dreams.
Sure, it’s “just one” bookstore shelf three years later, but it’s also “abundantly more.” It’s a kind reminder He knows our hearts, He cares about our dreams, and He is able.
Keep your eyes open and get ready to mark the moment, because the God of immeasurably more is also your Father — and He delights in you.
How have you seen God’s “abundantly more” in your life? I’d love to hear. Will you click over to (in)courage and share in the comments?