My alarm sounded at 6 a.m., and I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed. This day was like any other day– but this particular morning took an unexpected turn. I had a Facebook message from a longtime friend, Teo Leonard.
“Hello, Kelly. I just saw this post from a friend of mine named Kim Patterson–and I thought you might be interested in seeing it…”
Then he sent me a copy of the post: “Last week I’m out at a thrift store looking for a few outfits for a child we took under our wing. There were books with a sign saying Bibles are free! I politely asked if I could take 2 and they have been in my backseat ever since. Yesterday morning for some reason I opened one of them up. Kelly Wise – this Bible was dedicated to you on 8-31-75. Mrs. Sandra Collins was your teacher along with Mary Poole…”
Well, my maiden name was Wise, but I didn’t know who this Kim lady was and why would my Bible be in a thrift shop? My Bible was on the bookshelf in my room.
So, I replied to Teo, “Well In 1975 I would have been in 3rd grade. But those people’s names don’t sound familiar to me at all. I don’t think it’s mine. In 1975 lived in Jacksonville, Florida and went to a small Methodist church. Where exactly did she find this Bible?”
He replied that Kim lives in the Ruskin area and that she picks up Bibles in thrift stores to hand out to people that she may run across that would need one.
I’ve moved quite a bit in my life, but all my books have moved with me, and I’ve never been to a thrift store in Ruskin. Out of pure curiosity, I asked if he could have Kim send him a picture of this mystery Bible.
Then Teo sent a picture of the inside page of the Bible that said, “This Bible is dedicated to Kelly Wise. August 31, 1975. Wesconnett United Methodist Church.”
It WAS my Bible! That was my childhood church! It’s about a mile from where my parents still live in Jacksonville. Kim sent Teo more pictures to send to me. Many of the photographs were of the notes inside of the pages of the Bible that were in my mother’s handwriting. My sister’s name was even written on one of the pages.
Still, in disbelief, I went to find my Bible on my bookshelf and opened it up. Then I realized that the Bible on my bookshelf was one that my parents gave me back when I was a young adult.
Teo put me in touch Kim. We made arrangements to meet. We immediately hugged, and I saw my childhood Bible, displayed on her wall in her dining room. It was very worn, from either being well loved or from the mysterious journey that eventually brought it to a thrift store in Ruskin.
“When I happened to open your Bible, the verse circled was about serving others,” said Kim. “This is what actually sparked my interest.”
“Why I posted that day on Facebook I have no idea,” as she continued telling her story. “I pick up Bibles, but I don’t look through them.”
She graciously gave me back my childhood Bible, although part of me wanted her to keep it. I know she was meant to find it, and I consider it ‘our’ Bible now. Our paths were meant to cross for a reason. Was this God’s reminder to me that I had drifted from my beliefs? Did He want me to know that my dusty Bible and my dusty heart needed a good cleaning? Is this God’s way of getting my attention to remind me that He is still here and loves me? It could all be a series of coincidences, but I believe in the God of miracles.
How did my childhood Bible find its way to a thrift store in Ruskin? This we may never know. But, my childhood Bible has finally found its way home.