My youngest daughter and I were waiting for someone inside a Christian bookstore.“Seems like everybody’s talking about that ESV Study Bible,” I said, pointing to the display. Hardback editions stood on end next to a stack of nicely bound versions boxed up and marked $75.“The church bought those for the graduating seniors this year,” my daughter said.“Really? The hardbound ones?”“No, those fancy ones,” she said, pointing to the boxes. “The students could get their names engraved on the front if they wanted to.”“Those? Right there?” I asked, incredulous. “For $75?”“Yep. I’m sure of it. I was standing next to the youth pastor while they were discussing it.”“That’s a great gift,” I murmured.“I know,” my daughter agreed. “We need to stay at this church for at least six more years so I can get one, too!”As I contemplated the Bibles, I suddenly thought of the tiny country church I attended sporadically throughout high school.My parents belonged to a church in town, ten minutes’ drive from our farm; but by the time I was in junior high, we hardly ever went. So when I asked my parents if I could start attending youth group, Sunday school and worship service at a tiny, red brick church of the same denomination, they agreed. It was only a mile from home. Mom would drop me off, and I’d run down to the basement for Sunday school. I loved earning stickers during the Bible drills and then heading upstairs for worship, sliding into the hard wooden pews and pondering the portrait of Jesus hanging above the altar. Summer Sundays they opened the stained-glass windows. I looked out across a farm field to a small apple orchard as we sang hymns like “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Trust and Obey,” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”I was a regular attender throughout sixth, seventh and eighth grade, but by high school, the youth group leaders had left the church, so I slacked off. My best friend and her family always welcomed me when I showed up, but they never made me feel bad for missing church. No one else was urging me to go, so I usually ended up staying home, sleeping in, and watching TV instead. Sunday morning programming was a little old-fashioned: I recall seeing a lot of Shirley Temple movies and reruns of “The Lone Ranger.”My senior year, I may have only attended three or four Sundays; I can’t remember. But I attended the Sunday in spring that they honored the graduates. I knew from years past that they presented each Senior with a Bible, and it occurred to me as the Sunday approached that there was a slim chance they would get me a Bible. Or not. I didn’t know.The graduates whose families were members of the church were invited up front and given Bibles.I stayed in my seat.I didn’t really think I’d be getting one.But part of me really, really wanted a Bible.And not so much for the Bible nor to be “recognized” as a Senior; rather, I wished that they thought of me as one of their kids. I wanted to be part of a fellowship of believers that was looking out for me, that longed to see me grow in my faith, that wanted me to head out into life with a strong foundation.So when I didn’t get a Bible from them, part of me felt distanced…forgotten.I didn’t really need a Bible. In junior high, when my faith was so fresh and exciting, I bought myself a King James Bible and had my name engraved on the front in gold. Later, when I found the King James language difficult to comprehend, I bought myself a Living Bible with birthday money from my aunt. I was so pleased with that new Bible, I asked my mom to write my name on the inside neatly because I hated my sloppy handwriting.So I had two Bibles.I just didn’t have a place where I belonged.Back in the bookstore, looking down at that $75 ESV Bible and hearing my daughter dream of the day her church—our church—would present her with one of her own, I decided we must, if at all possible, stay with this church body as long as we can. Six years from now, I want her to stand up front and look out at the people beaming back at her and know that she has far more than a Bible…I want her to know that she has people who know her and care about her spiritual growth.I want her to know that there’s a place where she belongs.