The Mysterious Wisdom of Nancy Drew


If favorite books are like good friends {and I think they are}, then Nancy Drew is one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I grew up reading about her adventures, along with her fellow girl-detectives -- Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames and the Bobbsey Twins -- but it was no coincidence that Nancy Drew was my favorite sleuth. 

Her stories had everything I loved. Two chipper chums in Bess and George to make mysteries fun, travel to enthralling locations, and plenty of dusty attics to explore, secret passageways to uncover and lost diaries to find. 

Besides Nancy was smart, capable and always stylish -- everything my pre-teen heart aspired to be.

And it was thanks to Nancy Drew that I practically became a speed-reader because I couldn't wait to finish the book. 



I never liked pausing in the middle of the story with an assortment of clues that didn't add up and a slew of unanswered questions. 

I'd seclude myself up in my bedroom, finishing a book in one day so I wouldn't have to lie awake at night, wondering how the mystery was solved. And then I couldn't wait to start the next one.

Evidently Nancy's appeal continues today.

Last weekend I went with my 10-year old niece to watch Nancy and her pals solve her Biggest Case Ever in a play staged by Orlando's repertory theatre. 



To my relief, Nancy hadn't changed a bit since I last read about her. 

She still had her zippy blue roadster {which she drove while wearing an ultra-fashionable scarf} and she found an old map with a puzzling riddle about a long-lost treasure. 

Occasionally throughout the play, the lights would dim and Nancy would turn to the audience to share some words of wisdom with us about sleuthing.

And then she seemed to look straight at me. 

{I was just a few rows from the stage, after all, quite close to my favorite heroine.}

She said she's discovered that when solving a mystery there are no coincidences, and what seems to be coincidental usually requires a closer look.



I think Nancy's onto something. 

{As she usually is.}

A chance meeting, someone crossing our path that seems like a fluke, a variety of random occurrences -- are they really coincidences or is God at work in the smallest details of our lives?

That's a mystery I can't seem to crack and I've been doing a lot of thinking about it lately.

But when things in our lives look a little dark, or clues don't add up, or what we see isn't making much sense, does it mean that God isn't there in the midst of our lives and at work in those very details?



I wonder if we're confused because we just can't see what he's doing.

Maybe he's the underpinning of it all. He's the one holding us up. 

Maybe he's balancing it all as we ineptly search for clues to confirm our actions, our direction and our intentions. 

And I think there is evidence that what happens to us isn't random and meaningless.  

That's why we have the biblical examples of people, who were just like us, to remind us of the truth about coincidences.


Was it a coincidence that Pharoah's daughter just happened to be in the Nile river at the same time baby Moses in a basket floated by her so she could raise him in a palace that prepared him to turn the tide of history?

Was it a coincidence that new-girl-in-town Ruth just happened to be gleaning barley in Boaz's field, only to discover he was a kinsman of her mother-in-law Naomi, and would become her husband securing her place in the lineage of Christ?

Was it a coincidence that Esther just happened to be chosen out of a myriad of women competing to become queen for such a time as this, to take a risk and save her fellow kinsmen?



So isn't that enough inspiration for us?

I think coincidences open the door to shed a little light on the dark quiet spaces where God is working in mysterious ways. 

And when we believe that he is personally concerned about us and working everything that happens to us into some sort of ultimate good, we can live at peace with the mystery.  

Although that's why I enjoyed the play about Nancy Drew so much. In just two quick hours, the clues made sense and the mystery was solved.


I can't wait for my niece to read all my old Nancy Drew books and get to know her like I do.

But at least she's already met Nancy.

After the play, my sister and niece took a photo with the cast.

I stayed behind the camera, too in awe of my old friend Nancy Drew, to get too close to her. 



I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.



Comments

  1. Oh my goodness!! Nancy Drew was one of my favorites! Yes. No sleeping until solved. Thanks for sharing this. Now I'm going to need to do some research and see if they are coming up this way to perform?!?

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    1. Meg,
      Love it that you were a start to finish reader, too! It was so hard to leave a mystery in the middle if my reading was interrupted. This was really a charming play and I'm surprised Nancy wasn't updated (as I hear she is in today's printed version of the books) driving a hybrid instead of her blue roadster and carrying a cell phone instead of searching for a pay phone! :) xo

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  2. Oh I just love Nancy Drew, too, Valerie!

    How come I'm not surprised that you're a fan?!

    And this right here is a keeper -->'I think coincidences open the door to shed a little light on the dark quiet spaces where God is working in mysterious ways.'

    Amen. No fate, no chance, just Him purposely working on our behalf for His pleasure.

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    1. Linda,
      Do you have a favorite Nancy Drew?! I tended to like the summery lakeside ones -- Lilac Inn, Larkspur Lane -- oh they're all so good, aren't they?! So glad you're a fan, too and I'm glad, no matter how it looks to us, that God is always purposely working for our good and his pleasure -- such good truth! xo

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  3. My granddaughter, Hannah, now 20 and a sophomore at Liberty University grew up reading Nancy! Hannah came up to our mountain home every summer from West Palm Beach FL - she had reading hour every single day and ND was her reading of choice! Love that you and your niece got to actually MEET HER! Awesome. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. You are a blessing to me.

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    1. Hi Susan,
      I love it that your granddaughter read Nancy Drews while she spent summers with you -- I can imagine it's one of her favorite memories! :) I think Nancy probably had an impact on so many of us who grew up wanting to be a girl-sleuth! :)

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  4. Valerie I <3 THIS POST!!!!! I loved Nancy Drew too, but wasn't such an avid reader like you. This line hit me in your post "there are no coincidences, and what seems to be coincidental usually requires a closer look."
    I remember hearing on that old show "Touched By An Angel" Tess saying, "A coincidence is when God chooses to act anonymously" or something like that. We need to stand back and look for the clues God is trying to give us!
    Thanks for this great way to look at it. I'm going to go now and get my magnifying glass :)
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

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    1. Hi Sherry,
      Oh I'm so glad to hear you loved Nancy too! I think we do have some searching to do as we look for God (as he promises to be found when we look for him!) and realizing that coincidences might have more to than meets the eye is one way of seeking him.

      And I'll join you with my magnifying glass to do some sleuthing! :) xoxo

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  5. I loved reading Nancy Drew mysteries as a girl (well after bedtime I might add...!) Our neighbors down the street had 3 daughters who grew up in the 70s and they had the whole set on a bookcase in the basement! One summer I went and "checked out" 2 and 3 at a time until I got through them all. I'd love to revisit them again. And you're right, what seems like a mystery to us in how God might be handling a situation we're facing- is really no mystery at all... He's got us and nothing that happens is coincidental. ♥

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    1. Heather,
      I was always afraid to read under the covers -- I was too much of a rule-following firstborn! ha! What a delight that must have been to discover an entire bookcase full of Nancy Drews -- it's almost like it's straight out of one of Nancy's own mysteries! Tell me which one was your favorite?! xo

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    2. I can't recall a favorite since it's been so long ago-- but I think I was always intrigued by the hidden staircase one :)

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    3. I loved the hidden stairs too - - I've always dreamed of finding a hidden passageway or a bookcase wall that moved to reveal a secret room!

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  6. I was a Nancy Drew fan too! I didn't know there was a play- sounds like a lot of fun! I love the insights you draw from it too. I agree, it is great to read those Bible stories where events that seem like coincidences are actually pieces of God's plan. The fact that we can look back and see that definitely helps us to have faith when we can't make sense of our own circumstances and it seems like a mystery. It reminds me of a quote I heard from Margaret Feinberg: "Always remain suspicious that God is up to something good."

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    1. Lesley,
      The play was really very charming and well done! And I love that quote from Margaret (I love her insight!) about remaining suspicious about good things --- oh that is good! xo

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  7. I'm so impressed that you still have those old books, Valerie. I have sometimes wondered what happened to ours. I think we mostly had Trixie Belden and Bobbsey Twins books, and I loved them. I didn't learn about Nancy until later in life. I have always loved detective stories. I love trying to figure out the clues, and I'm so tickled when I was right. :)

    It's so amazing that when we take a closer look at the "coincidences" in our lives, we will see how God is at work even in the smallest details. I love this - "I think coincidences open the door to shed a little light on the dark quiet spaces where God is working in mysterious ways." Thank you for these encouraging reflections, my friend! Love and hugs!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      Trixie was a top second as my favorite girl-sleuth! I'm so sorry you didn't save your books -- I would have loved to see them! Ahhh -- so you're the type who tries to really solve the mystery ahead of time? I must admit I'd rather read what happens than try to figure it out - -I think you have quite the scientific mind -- which totally makes sense with your love of scientific creatures -- aka God's tiny animals! haha xoxo

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  8. How fun! So glad you were able to see your Nancy!

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    1. It was so fun -- I really was too shy to meet her! :)

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  9. Dear Valerie,
    I loved the "girl detective" books also, but like Trudy, I didn't find out about Nancy Drew until later in life. My best friend had a set of Trixie Belden books, though, and we would race each other to finish a book quickly so that we could "discuss" the ways that the story went. What sweet memories, since that friend has been in Heaven for almost 30 years now. Coincidence that we were neighbors? No, I think it's one more evidence of God's working behind the scenes, and I can't wait to catch up with her in Heaven someday, to see how God used all those mysteries in our lives. Bless you Dear Friend for stirring up such sweet thoughts today! xoxo

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      How fun that you and your friend got to share the Trixie books and I agree with you that it was surely no coincidence that you were neighbors! Those memories of our childhoods can be so bittersweet, can't they? But we look forward to the day when all is as it should be and we are reunited, made new and can enjoy each other's company once again! xoxo

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  10. Hi Valerie! I also LOVED Nancy as a child and read all of the books. I'm a reading specialist now and help kids learn to read and to love reading. I'm sure that Nancy had a role in my job selection. Thanks for stopping by my blog today...I see that our posts are similar in thought process, which is a real encouragement to me! No coincidences with God! No mistakes or unknowns to Him! I'm so blessed to remember that God knows our beginning, middle, and end. I'm a total believer in God's authority and purpose for us. Thanks for a good read!!

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    1. Hi Amy,
      I did think we were on the same wavelength as I read your post today! I think being a reading specialist must be a dream job :) next to being a librarian, that is! Thanks so much for stopping by and I'm looking forward to following your posts! :)

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  11. You have such fun adventures, and what a wonderful aunty you are! I read in 1 Peter this morning, "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him." Your words are such a confirmation of the fact that even though we can't pinpoint what God is doing, He is always moving and directing on our behalf. He may be mysterious at time, but there is such comfort in knowing that He is in control. Love your words as always, friend.

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    1. Tiffany,
      I love that verse in Peter, too, since it lets us know that there is a sense of mystery to this faith journey. But trusting God with our lives is a great comfort, isn't it? Thanks for being here, friend! xo

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  12. Hi Valerie- I love this. The play looks like so much fun! My daughter and I watched the movie a few weeks ago. My girls enjoyed these books a lot too! Thank you for encouraging my heart tonight and reminding me that God is in it all. It is so hard to see at certain times. And just this morning I had to remind myself of truth, that he is at work and for us not against. A set of circumstances feels a bit like walking in the dark hunting for clues, full of lots of wrong turns or so they seem. This again spoke to my heart tonight to keep trusting and believing He is the orchestrator of it all! :) xoxoxox

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I'm believing with you that he is the orchestrator! Even when it doesn't feel like it or even seem logical but that's where God comes in, doesn't he? Our faith is unseen, yet we believe! Praying with you -- and oh, I'm so glad your girls loved Nancy, too! xoxo

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  13. Valerie,
    Ah, what a fun event to share with your sister and niece. I remember loving Nancy Drew and our girl loved her, too, when she was younger. Thanks for sharing more photos from your trip. Lately, I've been noticing lately more how Paul uses the word "mystery" to describe Jesus and the Gospel except in the Greek, the word mystery means "divinely revealed"...we can only "see" who Christ is with the Spirit's help....blessings to you, dear one :-)

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    1. Hi Dolly,
      I love that! The meaning of the word mystery in Greek -- thank you for sharing this! So much of our faith is a mystery -- prayer, God, scripture -- yet revealed to those who seek him! xoxo

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  14. Oh, how sweet! I loved those books, too. Now, our son reads Hardy Boys. He is on a quest to complete the whole set. They are all such good, clean books...it is wonderful to be able to still read them. Glad you had a lovely time out with your sister and niece. God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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    1. Cheryl,
      My nephew read the Hardy Boys too so I'm glad your son enjoys them -- what a goal -- the whole set -- what fun! xo

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  15. What a neat experience! I was more of a Trixie Belden fan myself. :)
    I love the non coincidental examples the Bible gives us. God must have fun putting random people together!

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    1. Sarah,
      Trixie was a close second -- I loved her too!

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  16. I like to think of coincidences as those unexplainable God-dropped moments He graces us with so He can take pleasure too (like all good fathers) in seeing us SEE His miracles. What a blessing to still have those Nancy Drew books. I had a few, but most came from the library (where I think Nancy liked to hang out too, if I recall correctly). :)

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    1. Lynn,
      I hadn't thought of that before -- from a father's perspective -- of helping us see what he sees, for his pleasure! Love that!

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  17. I never got into Nancy Drew but I loved the Christian version the Mandie series.

    "Maybe he's balancing it all as we ineptly search for clues to confirm our actions, our direction and our intentions" I really liked this quote because it could be true. I know that every situation I go through He is most definitely work out details while waiting for me to get things. I am thankful He is patient. Hope you are well.

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      Hope you're doing well! I don't think I know the Mandie series! (But I think you're a lot younger than I am :)) So glad you popped in here and I hope all is well, friend! xo

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  18. This is so very beautiful, Valerie: "When we believe that he is personally concerned about us and working everything that happens to us into some sort of ultimate good, we can live at peace with the mystery."

    I love Nancy too ... I have fond memories of my "mystery phase" when I was a kid (I think it was preceded by my "biography phase," during which I read every single biography of a woman in my school library). Much to my delight, Lilly also is a huge Nancy Drew fan. One-and-a-half long shelves of the bookcase in her room hold her collection of mystery books, many of which her grandma found for her at garage sales. :-) She's read every one in the library, too. Her reading interests are diverse ... Lord of the Rings, the Hunger Games, etc., but even at 15, she'll still flop on the couch and spend a few hours reading an entire Nancy Drew book.

    So fun that you and your niece could see Nancy in a play. You also might want to check out "The Original Nancy Drew Movie Mystery Collection" at Amazon.com It's a collection of four black-and-white movies from the 30s ... also very fun! :-)

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    1. Lois,
      Your Lilly's taste in reading is fantastic! And I have to confess sometimes I open one of my favorite Nancy Drew books and I'm immediately transported back to my childhood just as excited to read a few pages of Nancy's adventures! I think you're never too old to still enjoy her! I'll have to check into those movies from the 30s -- they should like such fun! xo

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  19. So we are fellow Nancy Drew friends as well:) I loved reading this today, so often my heart looks for meaning, wants answers and explanations.. but you're right, God has a mysterious plan for all of us :) xxx

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    1. Hi Barb,
      Oh it's so lovely to see you here! And I love it that you enjoyed Nancy's adventures too! xo

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  20. Valerie
    I enjoyed reading this. Nancy Drew was a friend of mine too! I can remember staying up late into the night way past when I was supposed to be sleeping trying to piece the clues together. I have gotten the pleasure of reading some of them to my kids and it has been equally enjoyable. I always enjoy the names of her villains :)
    I like everything you write here. About being at peace with the mystery .
    I'm trying to be that way right now.
    Much love to you Valerie

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