God graciously taught Betty through the books He brought into her life over the years. Every summer she would take one to the mountain with her and read it over and over and over until she could grasp what God was saying to her through them.
Year after year, I sat there and pondered all that God was teaching me. I sat there in the heat, in the sunshine, in the cold, or in the rain. It didn’t matter.
Like a mother marking her child’s growth on a wall, Betty marked her growth within the pages of these books. They finally got so torn and tattered by love, she had to start holding them together with a rubber band . . . and so they came to be known as her Rubber Band books.
Here is a sampling with one quote from the many she highlighted in each book:
Centering Prayer by Basil Pennington:
If we dare to forget ourselves for the sake of our brothers and sisters, and to share ourselves, to lay down our lives, that the Lord himself will fill up what is wanting. He will make up for all our insufficiencies. He will make our words bearers of life.
Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton:
God works in us while we rest in Him.
Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg:
Only when one is connected to one’s core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover. And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be refound through solitude.
Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila:
And this love, daughters, must not be wrought in our imagination but must be proved by works. Yet do not suppose God has any need of our works; what He needs is the resoluteness of our will.
Merton’s Palace of Nowhere by James Finley:
There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:
If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finished; His end is the process—that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.
Revelations of Divine Love by Juliana of Norwich:
Then our good, kind Lord Jesus said, “If you are satisfied, I am satisfied. It is a joy, a bliss, an endless delight to me that I ever suffered the passion for you, and if I could suffer more, I would.”
Show Me the Way by Henri Nouwen:
The mystery of the spiritual life is that Jesus desires to meet us in the seclusion of our own heart, to make His love known to us there, to free us from our fears and to make our own deepest self known to us. In the privacy of our heart, therefore, we can learn not only to know Jesus but, through Jesus, ourselves as well.
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
The cross is the only power in the world which proves that suffering love can avenge and vanquish evil.
The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond:
And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better can we love.
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas `A Kempis:
The noble love of Jesus perfectly printed in the soul maketh a man to do great things, and stirreth him always to desire perfection, growing more and more in grace and goodness.
The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer:
How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God Who has none. Eternal years lie in His heart. For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years.
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence:
I know that for a right practice of it the heart must be empty of all other things, because God will possess the heart alone; and as He cannot possess it alone without emptying it of all besides, so neither can He act there, and do what He pleases, unless it be left vacant to Him.
The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen:
Silence is above all a quality of the heart that can stay with us even in our conversation with others. It is a portable cell that we carry with us wherever we go. From it we speak to those in need and to it we return after our words have borne fruit.
This Sunrise of Wonder by Michael Mayne:
All I have tried to say so far about mystery and transcendence stems from my deep belief that the whole world is sacramental and the whole creation marked with the signature of its Creator, and that the only way to find the holy is in the ordinary; that the ordinary is far more extraordinary than we think.
Walking by Henry David Thoreau:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.