What comes to mind when you hear
mother-of-pearl? I picture an antique brooch or some shiny, pearly trim
on a jewelry box or a musical instrument.
word “old-fashioned” comes to mind. When I put jewelry on my Christmas
list, a mother-of-pearl piece is the last thing on my mind. In fact,
it’s not even on my mind.
Lately, I became educated on the
beauty and value of mother-of-pearl, or nacre (NAY-kur.) The inner
lining of the shells of abalone, mussels, and certain other mollusks is
treasured for its iridescent beauty and amazing toughness.
“You can go over it with a
truck and not break it; you will crumble the outside of the shell but
not the nacre inside,” says Pupa Gilbert, a physicist at the University
Tough and beautiful. Now you’re
talking. Sounds like someone I know well. But I digress.
When you think of tough,
beautiful fiction, what comes to mind? Heart-gripping characters and
stories that stayed with you long after you read the last word on the
I’ve read a lot of stories with
staying power. I’m sure you have also. But the stories with a
“mother-of-pearl” beauty are those lingering stories, ones you want to
A few years ago I read Annette
Smith’s A Bigger Life. To me, a mother-of-pearl
Smith tells the story of Joel,
an unwitting single dad who winds up remarried to the wife he loves
only shortly before her death from cancer.
It’s the story of soap operas,
but Smith combines elegant, compassionate storytelling with the
fragrance of Jesus to pen a story to last. At the very least, it begs
to be shared with others.
I sighed reading the last line,
weepy eyed. The story delivered a satisfactory ending to a tragic
event. Smith highlighted the beauty of forgiveness and the hope of
second chances. I found myself rooting for characters who existed in
only her imagination and mine.
Even further, I felt inspired to
love more, give of myself, not to let misunderstanding get in the way
of a valued relationship.
Jones Gunn’s latest Sisterchick novel, Sisterchicks in Wooden
Shoes is another book filled with “pearly” wisdom: “Don’t put
off tomorrow what you can do today.”
An abnormal result from a
medical test launches Summer Finley across the Atlantic to Amsterdam,
where she meets her longtime best friend and pen pal, Noelle Van
Zandt—for the first time.
book reminds us how easy it
is to get caught up in the day-to-day, being needed, wanting to “do”
rather than to “be,” and never going for the small dreams.
How many of us say, “I’m going
to do that someday?”
We live adventure through
fiction. But sometimes we need the principles of the stories applied to
our own lives.
What’s your “someday” goal?
Drawing closer to family and friends? To Jesus? Reading the Bible all
the way through? Getting up earlier for prayer? Finishing the
manuscript you started during grad school? Running a marathon?
A few years ago, I’d made
several pledges to God about things I intended to do in an effort to
trim my life with the nacre of Jesus. But I failed. My willing spirit
was unable to overcome my weak flesh.
As I sat in a cycling class one
afternoon, I heard so clearly in my heart, “You’re becoming like the
servant who said he’d go but never did.”
I about fell off the bike. The
idea made me sad and queasy. “Lord, I don’t want to be like the “yes”
servant who never kept his word.”
The Lord’s pearly wisdom
provided insight to my own weak heart. He’s gracious that way.
In Him, we’re tough. We can’t
break, even if life’s trucks roll over us. But left on our own, we’re
weak and breakable. It’s why we needed Jesus in the first place.
Fiction takes fragments of the
human existence and bundles it into a believable and hopefully
inspiring story, one in which we can rise up encouraged to live A