As you’ve probably gathered from my posts, I’m a huge reader. I absolutely ADORE books – everything from novels, to biographies, to cookbooks, and so on. They are my guilty pleasure – more so than clothes, shoes, movies, music, or food. When I need a pick-me-up, I go for a book, as evidenced by my almost-full bookshelves. I.just.can’t.help.myself.
In this season of transition and becoming, I have felt the need to get back to the basics and be reminded of the simple and beautiful truths of life, so for the past couple months I’ve been re-reading some of my all-time favorite books (otherwise known as my “Top 5” because of the profound impact they have had on my life time and time again)…
1. Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
I was introduced to this book on a girl’s getaway weekend back in 2006. I instantly fell in love with it, devouring all of the pages within a couple of days. Since then I have probably read it 6 times. It is AMAZING. Although I knew God before reading this book, this is what actually woke my heart up to Him and inspired me to go deeper in my faith journey. I recommend this book for any and every woman. It speaks directly to our hearts, giving us permission to take back our true identity as women, to acknowledge and embrace our deepest longings and needs, and to be courageous in accepting the sometimes hard truths of our lives and handing those over to God in order to live fully right now.
2. Breaking Free by Beth Moore
This selection was the first bible study I completed with a small group of women in my church and was an incredible experience for me as a girl in my early-20s learning to assert myself in my faith and be truly confident in that. This book introduced me to the beauty of community and what it truly means to live free and abundantly in Christ each and every day. This book also gave me my first exposure to Beth Moore; since then I have done almost all of her bible studies. I read her blog regularly, catch her on TV occasionally before work on Life Today, and have even been to one of her teaching events in Grand Rapids. She is a wonderfully gifted and passionate teacher of God’s Word.
3. Scouting the Divine by Margaret Feinberg
I always seem to be drawn back to this book in the fall season, probably because it involves wine, honey, and harvests. What’s not to love about that?!? It’s about a series of adventures the author takes in order to further explore and shed light on God’s Word, and ultimately make it relevant to our lives in the here and now. This book has greatly helped me in my study of the Word as it emphasizes not just reading it, but actually experiencing the things that God speaks of in His parables, proverbs, and sermons in my everyday, ordinary life.
4. Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist
This gem of a book contains beautiful, honest, insightful, and raw personal essays about ‘bittersweet’ experiences in the midst of change. It’s the perfect read for anyone going through a season of transition and trying to figure out this thing called ‘life.’ Shauna’s words are like balm to the wounded soul in need of mending when facing a period of letting go, growing, stretching, and reaching to take hold of something new. This book also served as one of the catalysts for me to do more of what I love (writing) and being open to the possibilities that emerge when we give ourselves over to creating what God has placed in our hearts to do. A little encouragement goes a long way.
5. One-Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Want to experience more of God’s wonders and grace in your life? Read this book! It’s all about noticing the gifts that God gives to us each and every day, regardless of circumstances, and finding gratitude in both the ugly and the beautiful. The challenge: Count 1,000 gifts in the course of a year and be changed in the process. I’ve been engaged in the challenge (so far I’ve counted over 800 in 2013) and it works! A grateful heart makes a content heart. A content heart helps us live our one life well.
What books make your “Top 5?” Happy reading and blessings to you on this Sunday!