Are you depending on God? I am! Have you been blessed by a Free Little Library? I have! Three years ago, I was introduced to my first Free Little Library while visiting my son and his wife in Tampa, Florida. Clint and I were enjoying a morning walk through his neighborhood, when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a library on a pole with lots of books to behold. Clint explained the process of ‘give and take’ as I pulled a book that was surely placed there just for me. I finished reading the book on my flight home with an inner stirring to see Free Little Libraries erected in Clinton.
In the spring of 2016, Hunter Bruce, shared his desire to do his Eagle Scout Project at Tim’s Gift. Plowing over possibilities, Hunter finally decided on beautifying the yards with a Prayer Garden and Free Little Library. Summer season was spent preparing for the project.
Hunter and his dad, Glenn, drew plans and projected costs, while water drainage problems were taken care of with volunteers who helped me throughout the summer, plans were in place and work on Hunter’s project began. On a sunny Autumn Saturday, Hunter, seven fellow scouts, mom, dad, step dad, Papa Freddy, Mama Bonnie, and myself enjoyed seeing the Free Little Library take shape.
Hours of tedious planning by Hunter and his dad paid off as scouts measured, sawed, and hammered with a Little Library coming to life before our eyes. Many work sessions preparing the yards and putting finishing touches on the library were needed before dedication day. Piece by piece the library has been put in place, along with a prayer bench, flag poles and flower pots.
Plans do not always go as planned. When Hunter’s Papa Freddie had a stroke only one week after watching the library being built by family and friends, dedicating the Little Library and Prayer Garden Eagle Scout Project was put on hold until his Papa could attend.
A warm Saturday in November, Hunter and his scout buddy, James, joined friends and family for a day of hard work, good food, and lots of fun. Hunter’s dad and step-dad served alongside him as crew leaders. A work of progress was completed as the afternoon sun set in the western sky. Exhausted and excited, we snapped pictures and patted one another’s backs, with Hunter’s grinning face and strong faith a sweet sight to see.
Plans are still on hold for filling the library with books and sharing the official dedication of the Prayer Garden and Free Little Library at Hunter’s Eagle Scout service. Hunter’s Papa Freddie continues to improve after months of medical complications and miracles by the Master. He is home, still smiling, teaching through his trials, and filled with strong faith that his healing will happen. Hunter’s family and friends are faithfully waiting with him and praying for his Papa Freddie to mend per the Master’s plans.
My friend and I enjoy 6 a.m. walks that keep us in shape and aware of what’s going on throughout our neighborhood. One cold, dark morning as we slowed for a turn on our route, I shouted with glee while shining my flashlight on a new structure in The Edwards’ front yard! With fresh dirt still surrounding the pole, I surveyed every detail of the beautiful blue Free Little Library. My heart longed to browse through the books, but my friend pressed onward in the stillness of early dawn. So, I put browsing on hold, caught up with her, and walked home chattering about the little library with joy in every step I took.
For two months, I planned to stop and select a book from the library of a beautiful young couple who share my love for books. Finally, one Sunday afternoon I set out on a solo walk with a mission in mind.
When I reached the little library, I marveled at the creative structure Paul, a seventh grade student of mine many moons ago, must have built. He was always intrigued with projects and challenges to create new things. Surveying the details of the new Free Little Library in our neighborhood, an A plus for a job well done was well earned. As cars whizzed by, I wondered how many people really understood the concept of the Free Little Library or had stopped by to check it out. My excitement mounted as I prepared to pick a good read and head home.
The job of choosing a book took longer than expected. Each book I pulled from the library perched on a post had something good to offer. Looking toward their home, I thought of the family pulling together as a team, planning, building, and stocking the library with books for others to read. Resisting the stirring to ring their doorbell and share my appreciation for their gift to our community, I kept browsing and finally decided on the book meant to go home with me.
Settling in my recliner with gas logs humming and hot muscle milk in mug, I opened the book titled, ‘Dear God, We’re Depending on You’ and read the little book with big message in minutes. Sharing a short version of the messages seems like the perfect ending for this story.
“Dear God, I think I’ve broken my heart…Can you fix it? Let me tell you my side of this.
Sometimes bad things happen when you never meant them to. Maybe you were trying to help a friend stand up but knocked them down by mistake. Or maybe you said something then noticed that it sounded mean. Even when you get in trouble for something you didn’t mean to do, remember that God knows your heart and promises in Psalms to mend it. You can tell Him everything. He will listen and help you.”
“The Lord will hear when I call to Him.” Psalm 4:3
“Dear God, I’m lost…please find me.
You can get lost in lots of ways, You can dawdle too long in front of the cereal aisle or get turned around between library shelves. But for all the ways you can get yourself lost, there’s only one way to stop that yucky feeling inside by getting found again. And there’s only one God who always knows where you are no matter where you are. Never fear, He’s always near, He’s here to save you.”
“Do not fear, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10
“Dear God, We’re depending on you! You can count on God to help you with anything, from pulling your loose tooth to writing your ABC’s. In fact, every time you take a breath, every time you keep your balance, every time you get a cut and watch it heal up and go away, you’re seeing God’s everyday help in action. You needed Him yesterday, you need Him now, and you’ll need Him forever. Start depending on Him today.”
“Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Dear God, I thank you for healing my broken heart, for always being with me and taking away my fears, for healing me and helping me serve You and enjoy life. Thank you for free little libraries and time to sit in the swing and read good books.
Without You, what in the world would we do? We’re depending on you!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.