Evilena’s Red Dresser is a for-profit business with a not-for-profit mission. We work hard helping people transform their space and their style. We also work hard providing opportunities for people to connect with God. One of the ways we do this is by offering softcover copies of The Journey NIV Bible to anyone who wants one free of charge.
These Bibles retail for just under $20 on Amazon. We currently give away over 100 of these Bibles annually. Thank you for shopping and consigning at Evilena’s Red Dresser allowing us to give away these free Bibles. If you are led to support this effort, we have a donation can near the cash register.
The following was written by Susan Stalla. She picked up a free Bible at a Tracy DeGraaf comedy event sponsored by Evilena’s Red Dresser.
A (Brutally Honest) Account of My Spiritual Journey
My husband and I were raised in a mainstream church. We taught our three children to live within the tenants of that faith. Throughout adulthood, my “participation” in the church, always driven by duty and motivated by fear, became increasingly sporadic. Disillusionment with organized religion, coupled with the demands of family life contributed to a growing attitude that taking the children to church was another item on the “to do” list that could be delegated to my husband.
With an abundance of blessings, my prayer life grew infrequent. Actual prayers took on a mechanical nature, resembling more of a recitation than a thanksgiving. Unknowingly, I nurtured a fear of “not getting it right” – because I had never been exposed to the Bible. You see, in my childhood home, the Holy Bible was kept by my father’s bedside, opened only to record family births and deaths.
Fast forward to May 2015.
I saw Christian comedian Tracy DeGraaf’s comedy show at a local pizza parlor with a group of neighbors. Our outing was intended for entertainment value only – something different for a much-needed “girls night out.” At the end of the show, Tracy and Jan, owner of Evilena’s Red Dresser, began handing out copies of The Journey Bible. I brought my copy home, shelved it in my home office, and continued on with my busy life.
Then, out of nowhere, I lost my job.
That triggered a devastating grief response. Someone had invited me to Parkview Christian Church a few months earlier, and now found myself drawn to services more frequently. In a frenzy of house cleaning, I came upon my Bible from the comedy show. It drew me to its pages and I was excited to discover the 30-day reading plan intended to cover “essential teachings.” That very day, I read half of Genesis. I had become a spiritual explorer.
In the months following…
I learned strength from Deuteronomy, fortitude from Job, hope from Isaiah, and comfort from the Psalms. Matthew, Mark, and Luke taught me about redemption, humility, and prayer; James spoke to me about anger and perseverance, John about trouble, and Paul about grace and suffering. My daily readings enticed me to delve deeper, attending service every week, then leading to weekly group Bible study and a strong desire to serve.
Finally, in January 2017, I was baptized.
Fully committed to following Jesus, I have now stepped forward to lead a group at our weekly Bible study, and I serve weekly on various teams at Parkview. I continue my spiritual exploration with The Journey Bible each morning – reading, meditating, and journaling new chapters.
More important, my priorities and life values have changed, and I hope that my spirit reflects those changed values. Like an old friend, the wisdom of Proverbs continuously redirects my thoughts, words, and deeds. When I feel myself slipping, I turn back to Ephesians to arm myself, and as a reminder to pray always.
Tracy DeGraaf here… Just making a comment on Susan’s story. I’m humbled that God would choose to begin Susan’s faith story at a comedy event in a pizza parlor with a free Bible provided by a consignment store. God is creative! Susan attended that comedy show in 2015. Jan and I knew that many people took the free Bibles that night because we ran out. Jan’s husband had to run back to Evilena’s to get more. We were incredibly blessed two years later to hear how God has worked in her.