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Family Grace
By Shawnelle Eliasen

Claiming the Word

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. (Psalm 25:4 ESV)

“I need a Bible,” six-year-old Isaiah says.

We’re in our home school classroom, and he’s working on a math fact sheet.

“Over there, Zay,” I say. I point to a bookshelf that holds several. “Some belonged to your brothers. Some were gifts when you were born.”

Isaiah looks up from his paper. His eyes narrow and his mouth turns down. “Those are baby Bibles,” he says. “I’m a reader. I need one with words.”

I look at my small, blond son. He’s right. He’s reading. He’s probably well past picture book Bibles with grinning ark animals and whales with silly spouts.

“We’ll look after math,” I say.

His gratitude is a kiss on my cheek.

But later in the day, after math, we search the bookshelves and come up short. A trip to town is an impossible thing, so we shop on Amazon. When we place an Adventure Bible for boys in our cart, Zay jumps up and down. When we hit the “Place Order” tab, his smile could melt the moon.

And for four afternoons, he bolts out the door when he sees the mail truck. He comes back with magazines, flyers and a frown.

But the fifth day brings celebration.

“It’s here!” Isaiah yells.

I’m standing on the porch watching, and his voice comes from the end of the drive. He makes a fast path through the snow. The package is tucked under his arm. I hold the door open and he stomps fresh white from his boots. He peels away his coat, falls to his knees and rips the mailer to shreds.

This feels bigger than his birthday. His happiness fills this house.

“My own Bible,” he says. He runs his hands over the cover and then gently looks inside. “Words,” he says in a voice that’s gone soft. An instant later, he’s on his feet again. He hurries to the schoolroom. I follow and hover as he roots through the desk drawer and extracts a black marking pen.

He writes his name on the inside cover in round, manuscript print. And something in my soul moves deep.

My son is claiming God’s Word as his own.

With anticipation. Appreciation. And unbridled joy.

Lord, let him always embrace your Word with such passion, I pray as I stand beside him.

And let me do the same.

Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.

Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications.  She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward.  But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.