I remember it was in the afternoon. I heard the front door open and I knew it was my sister Toni coming home from school. I was in the kitchen with my Mom, but as soon as I heard that door open, I ran into the living room to see my sister. Toni wasn’t there she had already run into her bedroom. And there it was just sitting on an end table where my sister tossed it.
I carefully picked it up, for me it was love at first sight. I just held it not knowing what it was, just standing there looking at it, totally amazed. Little did I know as a 5 year old girl what I was holding in my hands would have the greatest influence on my entire life. I took it into the kitchen to show my Mom. I very carefully held it up and simply asked my Mom, “What is this?” She nonchalantly replied, “Oh, the Gideons must have been at Toni’s school today.”
That much anticipated answer did not help me one bit. I didn’t know who the Gideons were and I still didn’t know what I was holding in my hand. “But what is this,” I asked again. The once again nonchalant voice answered, “Oh, that is a Bible.”“What is a Bible?” There was nothing nonchalant about my voice or question.
Now, my Mom a bit frustrated answered, “Julie Beth, you are too young for that; just go put it away.” I ran into my sister’s bedroom held it up and asked, “Do you want this?” I was so happy when I heard her say “NO.” “Can I have it,” I quickly replied. “I don’t care,” she said. I left her room the happiest little girl in the entire world. I had a Gideon Bible. I begged my Mom to read it to me. But she held firm to the fact that I was too young. I didn’t read much but I could sound out words. So, with determination and a great love for this little book, I began to discover His Word.
Four years later I was in fourth grade. The Gideons were no longer allowed to pass out Bibles in the Public Schools. I was sad about that but very grateful that I had mine. I read that little Bible on and off until I was 14 years old. Then I pushed it aside giving way to other interests. At 17 years old, this little hippie girl was born again.
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever.” 1 Peter 1:23.
Thank You Jesus, the seeds that had been planted in in me as I read the Gideon Bible in my childhood had taken root and were breaking through the soil of my heart. And when that happened on February 19, 1971 I was born again. I got out my Gideon Bible once again. Since that time I have moved on to other Bibles but His Word has always remained in my hands and in my heart.
That little 5 year old girl is now a 66 year old woman who grew up to be Director of BibleWalk.
My sister and mother both were born again and also fell in love with His Word. Thank You Gideons for giving that Bible to my sister. Thank You Toni for giving your sister your Bible, because it has been and will be the greatest love of my life. Jesus the Word made Flesh.