The day Charlie ate my Bible

It was Fajita Friday.  I had emailed my mom requesting Taco Friday (since it was already Wednesday when I asked for the impromptu convening of our extended family over Mexican food) but she said Taco Friday didn’t sound nearly as fun as Taco Tuesday and since it was Friday she would have to rename it Fajita Friday.  I was happy to oblige especially if it meant seeing my sisters and parents.

We managed to leave the house 20 minutes early and still somehow got to dinner 30 minutes late.  Friday night traffic was dismal.  But then there were cousins and fajitas and all was wonderful.  We left before anyone had a giant meltdown and no one broke anything.

I shoved our front door open, loaded with random bags and a purse and two sweatshirts and various other things we did the inevitable dump on the floor, run to the bathroom, throw on jammies, grab a quick snack, pretend to brush our teeth….all the required happenings when we get home past bed time.  It was then I noticed the school room door was shut.  That was odd, it’s always open with the baby gate shut.

Timidly, I nudged the door open.  My hand covered my mouth without thinking and I walked away.  Our 10 month old (60 pound) teenager of a dog, Charlie had been locked (by a child who shall remain nameless) in the school room for several hours.  He is never left unattended inside the home.  And he had been very bored.  Obviously.  I beckoned Caleb to come see, the carpet was barely visible through the carnage.

The day after...
The day after…

As Caleb and I peered in over the baby gate unwilling to even enter the mess, I saw for just a fraction of a second what looked to be the empty cover of my Bible surrounded by shreds of paper in all directions.  My head spun around and the rest of me followed running up the stairs in a desperate plea for back-up.

I shut myself in my bedroom while everyone inspected the dismal situation of our “older kids and adults only” school room.  The room where I tuck myself on the short, squat couch every morning in the dark and give my day, my life, my everything to Jesus and trust that He’ll meet me there.

The weeping that ensued was unlike tears I have shed for several years.  While you may wonder why I was completely out of my mind over a book that I can replace at my leisure you must first understand that it was not just a book.  For the first time in my life, over this past season, that brown soft book with paper thin pages has been more alive than I have ever known it to be.  I’ve wondered why that is, having grown up with it always near and hearing it every Sunday.  But the wondering hasn’t answered any questions and I’ve simply resolved that maybe it is only my desperate need for it to BE alive that it finally is.  I don’t really know.

My kids walked timidly toward my bed and even upon their entrance I couldn’t pull myself together one iota.  They whispered quiet words, they so sensed the sacred.  Indeed, it was the sacrilege of seeing the words of the title page “the Holy Bible” ripped and wrinkled and lying in a heap of what only looked like trash, that so undid me.  But far beyond that was the reality that I’d purchased that specific, one column Bible so I could write in the margins, bought special pens that wouldn’t leach through the fragile paper.


And write I had.  Every insight that God spoke to my heart all those dark mornings, every verse that inspired awe or the like was carefully underlined, the major themes I was seeing emerge were circled in a special color.  I choked out what I could to a glassy eyed daughter who rested her hand on my back,

Those words, that book, it is life to me.

Hence the sting so deep.  It wasn’t replaceable.  It cannot be bought.  It has come at a price that I’ve paid morning after morning fighting the strong urge to stay in my warm bed but getting up anyway because I was learning there was something I needed more than sleep, something that would seep into the marrow of my life and not leave me unchanged.

An hour passed before I could catch my breath.  Fajitas were a distant memory and my sleeves were soaked with mascara and tears.  It had so completely caught me off guard.  It was happy low-key Friday one minute and the next minute the whole evening had unraveled.  Even a year ago I would have been bummed and felt bad but my reaction would never have been even close to similar.

This train of thought started me down the “well then, why couldn’t this have happened last year and my new Bible been spared along with all my tenderly penned words?”.  That train never takes me anywhere good, so I hopped off quick.  Upon further thought, maybe my takeaway is simply this…

Perhaps those words that are life are meant to be written on my heart instead.   And my guess is that if I come back and start over with fresh, new, un-chewed pages…He will still have things to show me that will change my life.

I am counting on it.  That is my life theme this season.  Counting on God to do all I can’t, fill in where I lack so much, to do impossible things in the lives of people I love so deeply, to come through for me in my great need for Him.  He does not disappoint.  He does not fail to come through.  For that I am exceedingly grateful.



Bad Charlie!! No treats for you. Karissa, praying God’s redeeming grace.


OH, Bad Charlie indeed!! But, I’m aghast with you, yet knowing it was NOT a mistake, lest you treasure your writing and notes and secret, hidden wisdom more than the Redeemer Himself (and not saying you were… at all ) But God is also treasuring those mornings with you, and NOTHING will He allow to come between just You and Him. What a friend we have in Jesus.
I call that “Tough Love”.

Jennifer Schmalle

Oh my! That makes my heart sad for you. Naughty dog.