My Best $3 Spent


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* * *

“Ok Jay, I have a challenge for you.”

My 13 year-old looked at me inquisitively, “What kind of challenge?

“I’m going to pay you to read books.”

I had his full attention now, “…Not a lot of money. But if you want to take the challenge, I will pay you $3 for every book you read.

Being that he’s saving money for a wood burning kit, he found this proposal appealing.

…Oh, there are two more things. First, I pick the books. Second, this is not speed-reading. I expect reading for comprehension, so I need a summary for each book read.

After a few minutes (of what I think was him weighing if this was worth it), he agreed to my reading proposal.

The next day, before we were able to make it to the Library, Jay woke up with hip pain. He was unable to walk, and he was in a lot of pain. Soon enough we found ourselves on the turnpike, driving to the Children’s Hospital, over an hour away from home.

So much for my wonderful plan…


?????????????Two days later during a visit, my husband takes out some books he brought for us, and puts them on the little nightstand next to Jay’s hospital bed. That night, my son turned off the television, looks over at me and asks, “Mom, can I start reading?”

I hand over the first book without realizing what was going to unfold. Within three hours, my son finished reading his first book, Be The Change, by Zach Hunter. He  answered all the end of chapter questions, wrote his summary, and asked for the next book.

Out came Forgotten God, by Francis Chan. He’s devouring it. I sit, trying to finish up some work. He keeps reading and continues interrupting me, “mom, what does conservative mean?”, “Mom, how do you know when God is speaking?”,  “Mom, what does this mean?”, “How about this word?

We spend the next two hours talking about the “forgotten God”, the Holy Spirit. We talk about religion and how it many times leaves Christians walking self-righteously, all the while forgetting the Holy Spirit who is available and at work. We talk about how living this way quenches the Spirit of God. And on and on we go.

The seconds turn into minutes. Minutes turn into hours. All the while, He keeps asking me questions. Some are easy to answer, while others not so much.

“Jay, it’s 3:30 in the morning, we really have to go to bed now.

“Mom, can I please finish the chapter, it’s just two more pages?”

And while I wanted to turn the lights off and get some rest, a flame was lit. I let it burn a little bit longer.

The next day, it continues. He picks up the book again, looks at me and says, “Mom, this book is soooo good. You really need to read it! Yeah, you ARE going to read it when I’m done. It’s sooooo good!!”

The conversation takes off again.

It’s almost 3 o’clock in the morning. He’s excited and awake as can be. This time, I close the book, put it on the table and tell him he can continue reading tomorrow.

We pray together, I give him his goodnight kiss, and make my way to the green sofa which has become my bed during our stay here. I lay my head on a very flimsy pillow and prop my tired feet up. I wrap myself in a very thin hospital blanket, close my eyes, and feel the weight of my exhausted body.

With eyes still closed, I let out a deep sigh, ‘Thank You Jesus. This has been the best $3 I’ve ever spent.”


Today’s Challenge:

So what does this have to do with our {Live Life Fully Committed} challenge?


See, I’m resolved to lead and instruct my children in the ways of the Lord. But it’s so easy to get distracted with all the demands in life, and all the challenges we face daily. Sometimes we have to get creative.

Our reading challenge is an investment. By the time my son reads 10 good, thought-provoking, life challenging books, I am hoping he will no longer be satisfied with mediocre, fluff-filled books. I am praying that God would use this to expand his understanding, to grow his heart, and grow in him a love for reading and learning.

I supply the tools, and put my hope and trust in the Holy Spirit at work within my children. I won’t strive or manipulate. I won’t pull or push. Instead, I will live my life with a heart fully committed to God. He asks me to teach and instruct my children, and so I do. And I believe that even on nights in the hospital, when I’m feeling fatigued and exhausted, God shows up and does what I’m unable to do. He strengthens my spirit and my body.

My friend, He can do the same for you.

  • What areas of specific challenges are you facing with your children? List them on a paper. 
  • Pray. Ask God for creative strategies.
  • Action: Implement those strategies this week. Note the results.

(And do come back and share!)

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Posted on March 11, 2013, in 2013 {Live Life Fully Committed} Challenge, FAMILY LIFE, LIFE, LIFE LESSONS, MOTHERING ON PURPOSE, Our Children, PARENTING, SPIRITUAL GROWTH, TEENS. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What a beautiful story! I love every word. And even though my children are young adults now (one no longer at home), I’m going to pray for creative strategies to help draw them closer to Him. Praying for you and your family. Blessings, Beth

    • Thanks Beth. I’m amazed at how God provides these moments, even in the darkest places. It’s what my Pastor calls, ‘God winks’. He’s constantly demonstrating His love toward us.

      Thank you for your prayers… another God wink 😉

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