Up until three years ago reading just wasn’t my thing. I was too busy being a wife, mother, full-time worker and active church volunteer to have time for anything else. As soon as I got up early in the morning, it was go-go-go for the rest of the day.

Christians are constantly reminded of the importance of Scripture reading because God’s word is the spiritual food. As a devout Christ follower, I tried to dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to prayerful Bible reading. At times it was more of an effort than an enjoyment. Therefore from time to time, I found myself joining the chorus of other Christians by admitting that I was too distracted by the worldly things to focus on the word of God and building a more intimate relationship with Him. I did manage to read a few devotional books here and there but those days it was hard to slow down and savor a good book. I read because I should, not because I loved it.

A few years ago my marriage was on the verge of collapse due to the divergent views Joe and I held towards the Bible and God. For the first time in many years, I felt all alone and powerless. I needed help. So I picked up Harriet Lerner’s “The Dance of Anger” recommended by a friend and got hooked immediately. A silver lining started to emerge. According to Dr. Lerner, one has to get to the source of her anger before it is possible to become unstuck from a tangled relationship. I acted upon that knowledge while reading all of Lerner’s books on the market as well as other books on marriage and relationship. Joe and I were trapped in a vicious cycle: he wanted me to profess my unconditional love towards him and I wanted him to turn back to God without me making him. We both knew that things of that nature couldn’t be forced. So instead of dealing with the real issue, we picked on each other over every little annoyance. Our different parenting styles often became the focus of contention, which led me to read books on how to raise resilient and emotionally healthy children. Daniel Siegel’s “Mindsight” spiked my interest in how the brain works and the importance of integration of the different parts of the brain. And the fascination of the brain science has led me to believe that authentic and lasting happiness can be acquired from within oneself, and therefore I no longer view happiness (or peace and joy) a divine gift bestowed upon a chosen few. According to Dr. Martin Seligman (author of “Authentic Happiness”) “Authentic happiness comes from identifying and cultivating your most fundamental strengths and using them every day in work, love, play and parenting.”

Nowadays I am reading half a dozen books simultaneously depending on the inspiration of the day. The love of books has changed me and my whole family’s life style in amazing ways. For one thing, going to the mall has lost its appeal (it used to be my escape and hobby). I’d rather sit on the sofa at home (or outside when spring arrives) and read. Secondly, little time gets wasted. I read when Jakes takes various after-school classes. I read while sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. I read whenever I can. Thirdly, a real passion is contagious like a flu virus. These days, when I settle in bed after 9 pm with my book in hand, within a few minutes, Jake’d show up with his book. “Mommy, I want to hang out with you.”
He climbs into bed and reads with me. Sometimes Joe’d join us too. Every few minutes, Jake’d touch me, kiss me and share with me the funny things in his book. I tell him that I cherish this time of the day with my precious little boy.
“I love it too, mommy!”
“You love reading?”
“Yeah! And I love you!”
“I love you more, baby!”

Talk about the power of modeling for our kids! This has inspired Joe and me to model the love of nature for Jake. We’ll go fishing, hiking, boating when the weather gets warm to embrace nature and its beauty. Jake is very much like his dad. He is the happiest when he is at home playing games or his toys.

Reading has turned out to be a life-changing hobby for me. It has also fueled my passion of writing, another delightful hobby and gift that has never been tapped into until a year ago.

If I can have my books and my laptop, I am happy. My family lifts me up and friends make this world a warmer and safer place. If a person’s worth is reflected in the life and spirit of her spouse and family, I am indeed very wealthy!