I realize that 2014 was almost a month ago. I’m a little slow around here on the blog these days.
I love good books. It’s one of the ways that God shapes me and teaches me most. I know not everyone is wired that way and that’s okay. If I’ve ever suggested a good book to you when we’re talking about something and it wasn’t what you needed to hear, please forgive me.
It’s amazing that we can be shaped by so many different people throughout the centuries simply by reading. We can’t have a hundred personal mentors but we can be mentored in a way through the wisdom of hundreds, even thousands of authors and for that I’m grateful.
So here’s the list of most of the books I read last year. I know I’m forgetting a few but that’s what happens when I don’t write things down. My daughter thinks this list is small. She reads four times as much as I do and I’m not exaggerating.
The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knew by James Bryan Smith – Great Book! Confronts what is true about God with things that we may believe that are not true and derail our relationship with God. There are exercises at the end of each chapter called Soul Training to help connect the truth of what you’re learning with daily life.
Intimate issues: 21 Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus – Too much of the Christian culture doesn’t talk honestly about sex and this is a great book, backed up by scripture that I think most women would find helpful.
Falling upward, A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr – This book was fascinating and I know I need to read it again and again. It started a slight obsession with reading many of his books. “In Falling Upward, Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or “gone down” are the only ones who understand “up.” Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as “falling upward.” In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness.”
Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self by Richard Rohr – “This book likens True Self to a diamond, buried deep within us, formed under the intense pressure of our lives, that must be searched for, uncovered, separated from all the debris of ego that surrounds it. In a sense True Self must, like Jesus, be resurrected, and that process is not resuscitation but transformation.
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert – I like how this review described this book, “This book has sections on where the enneagram came from, what it is, what the 9 enneagram personality types are, and how Christians can benefit from it without adopting non-Christian ideas. The most helpful part is part II of the book which goes into depth on the 9 types, from a Christian perspective. Most helpful, Rohr identifies the root sin of each type, and how God can redeem that sin into a beautiful gift. He also talks about what gifts the types naturally have, and how we can grow in those. I have heard that the enneagram does not put people in boxes, rather, that it helps people identify what boxes they are already in and how to get out of them. This book is very helpful for understanding yourself and others, and for getting out of the boxes that are keeping you from living in a full and redeemed way.” Loved this book!
The connected child : Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn Purvis, David R. Cross, & Wendy Sunshine – This book is incredibly helpful for kids that come from challenging places but also offers great parenting techniques for all children in any family dynamic. Karyn Purvis is a brilliant woman and I love everything that she teaches.
Grace based parenting by Tim Kimmel – I’ve read this a couple times and will continue to read it. There’s also room for more grace in my parenting.
Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotion by Lysa terkeurst – My 4 year old isn’t the only one who has a hard time making wise choices in the midst of a tantrum. I can get angry very quickly and this book was honest, funny, gave real life examples and great tips on how to deal with emotion in daily life and in relationships.
The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by mark Buchanan – This book may have shaped me the most in the past year. Everyone should read this and I need to read it every year. It totally changed how I view rest, sabbath, and the work/rest rythms of life. I had very unhealthy views of this and it has brought immense freedom as a result of seeing more of what God had in mind for real sabbath rest.
The Invisible girls: A Memoir by Sarah Thebarge – One of my favorite and easiest reads this past year. I was so challenged by Sarah’s honesty, her brutal journey of cancer, her determination to overcome, and her willingness to enter into the lives of a refugee family in Portland. It made me look around my neighborhood (which is where she used to live) with new eyes and a more willing spirit to engage with those who might be in need. I also now read everything she writes because I think it’s all amazing and wish we were friends. I know, I’m a creeper.
Restless: Because You Were Made for More by Jenny Allen – I could relate to much of what she said in this book and it was good to think through how God has made me, what He’s called me to and what I’m passionate about. We all have a purpose and should pursue it.
Jesus feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bibles View of Women by Sarah Bessey – After hearing Sarah speak at last years Faith and Culture Writers Conference I had to read her book. I think God had and has a high value of women and we have a large part to play in the world. Her book challenged my thinking in some areas and I loved what she had to share.
The First Time We Saw Him: Awakening to the Wonder of Jesus by Matt Mikalatos – Our friend and co-worker wrote this and I loved it so much (I’m not just saying that because he’s my friend)! He writes some of the parables and Biblical stories in todays context and makes it come alive and become real in ways that we can relate to today.
Running for my life: One Lost Boys Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong – This book is heartbreaking, inspiring, and undeniable that God was present in this mans life. Worth the read!
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – This book was so informative about introverts and extroverts and gave words and validation to things that I have felt my whole life. It brought more freedom to be who I am and not feel the need to apologize for how I’m made.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown – This book started off an obsession with her books. She is brilliant and our ability to be vulnerable (or not) really does change the way we live.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown – The title pretty much sums it up. I’m definitely a perfectionist and this is hard to do.
I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” by Brené Brown – Such great stuff. She talks a lot about shame in all of her books and how that influences our lives. Her books have definitely shaped me this year!
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott – I love most of Anne’s writing. She can be a bit vulgar for me at times but I love her honesty and that she doesn’t feel the need to sensor herself to please others.
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequest – I love Shauna. She’s real, vulnerable and funny. I could totally be her friend. I laughed, cried, and loved this book.
Notes From a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider – Loved this book and Tsh and her family are currently traveling around the world with her family for one year. This is a dream I would love to do with my own family. I think they may be crazy but totally awesome.
The artist daughter: A Memoir by Alexandra Kuykendall – I love real life stories. This is a moving story of a girl who grows up with out her father present in her life and how she deals with that throughout her life. The burning question “Am I loved?” is something that she journeys through and God meets her in that place. I think we can all relate to that question in some way.
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper – I read this book every year. It reminds me of many truths about who Jesus really is and keeps me wanting to savor His goodness to me.
I’ve already started my reading for this year. I have a LONG list of books I want to read as always because other people do these posts and it makes me want to read the books they suggest. What books are you reading this year? Do you have any good suggestions for me?