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This month, I read a total of 7 books! Thanks to this cold weather, I’ve spent every minute indoors and snuggled in blankets. Also, with my husband away, I’ve had an abundance of free time to read. Needless to say, this review blog post is going to be rather long 😉
If you’re new around these parts, Recent Reads is a monthly blog series where I recap the books that I read the previous month. I created this blog series as a way of recording which books I’ve read and to inspire others in finding new books to read as well. As a reminder, I provided a summary of the books (either from Amazon or GoodReads) in italics with my review beneath that.
Painful relationships violate our trust, causing us to close our hearts. But to experience the freedom and love God designed us for, we eventually have to take another risk. In this breakthrough book, bestselling author Dr. John Townsend takes you beyond the pain of the past to discover how to re-enter a life of intimate relationships. Whether you’re trying to restore a current relationship or begin a new one, Townsend gives practical tools for establishing trust and finding the intimacy you long for.
You may be familiar with the book Boundaries on how to set healthy boundaries with other people; this book is the “sequel” that helps you to learn to trust others. Just like I found the first book incredibly helpful in my own life, I did with this book as well. This book is one that I will keep on my bookshelf for a long, long time.
In this revised and updated edition of Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas strips away the frustration of a one-size-fits-all spirituality and guides you toward a path of worship that frees you to be you. Experienced spiritual directors recognize that all of us pray differently; if your devotional times have hit a snag, perhaps it is because you’re trying to follow someone else’s path. (…) Sacred Pathways unfolds nine distinct spiritual temperaments—their traits, strengths, and pitfalls. Illustrated with examples from the Bible and from the author’s life experience, each one suggests an approach to loving God through a distinctive journey of adoration. (…) Whatever temperament or blend of temperaments best describes you, rest assured it’s not by accident. It’s by the design of a Creator who knew what he was doing when he made you according to his own unique intentions. (…) Sacred Pathways will show you the route you were made to travel, marked by growth and filled with the riches of a close walk with God.
Just like we have different personalities, we have different ways of connecting with God. It seems like in today’s church teaches that for a man to be a spiritual leader, he must fit the intellectual mold– reading and studying scripture and other theological texts to connect with God better. To be honest, I believed this as well; I incorrectly thought that if my husband didn’t fit this mold, then he wasn’t a “good” spiritual leader. My husband does connect with God– just not in the way that I do. I have learned how I best connect with God, and how my husband does as well. I have mentioned this book twice in my weekly small group/Bible study, so needless to say, I highly recommend it.
Where Women Walked is an unforgettable collection of 28 stories about life experiences from women of generations past. It will inspire women of today to rejoice in the good times and persevere and grow through the painful times. Written with wit and woven with wisdom, each story pays tribute to a woman who rose above her circumstances and lived a life worth remembering. Where Women Walked covers topics women struggle with today and includes discussion questions and tips that make it ideal for small groups.
One of my small group friends loaned this book to me to read while Andy was away. I’ve always been interested in having a mentor to meet with in-person and discuss life and spiritual matters with for years and years, but moving so often means this isn’t always feasible. So, I turn to books 🙂 The ladies behind this book noticed the decline in mentorship in today’s society, so they authored a book to reach to younger women (like me.) I found it interesting, and I’m so glad my friend loaned it to me.
In this brilliantly argued book, Harvard Law School bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren and business consultant Amelia Tyagi show that today’s middle-class parents are suffering from an unprecedented and totally unexpected economic meltdown. Astonishingly, sending mothers to work has made families more vulnerable than ever before. Today’s two-income family earns 75% more money than its single-income counterpart of a generation ago but actually has less discretionary income once their fixed monthly bills are paid. How did this happen? Warren and Tyagi provide convincing evidence that the culprit is not “overconsumption,” as many critics have charged. Instead, they point to the ferocious bidding war for housing and education that has quietly engulfed America’s suburbs. Stay-at-home mothers once provided a financial safety net if disaster struck; their move into the workforce has left today’s families chillingly at risk. The authors show why the usual remedies–child-support enforcement, subsidized daycare, and higher salaries for women–won’t solve the problem, and propose a set of innovative solutions, from rate caps on credit cards to open-access public schools, to restore security to the middle class.
If you ignore the very political aspect of this book, it was a fascinating look at how the modern American economy is set up for two-income families. As a military spouse who moves every few years, I know that there will be times that I’m not in the full-time professional workforce (like I struggled with at Fort Knox.) One of the best pieces of advice I was given before I got married was to always live off Andy’s income; if I’m fortunate enough to have a job, use my income to pay off debt and increase savings. We’ve done this since the very beginning of our marriage, and this has been the key in how we became debt-free so quickly. Anyway, I’m not sure that this book had a good solution in solving the two-income trap, but it was an eye-opening read nonetheless. (And it made me feel better about the times when Andy and I are a one-income family!)
Kara Tippetts knows the ordinary days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow … and the devastating reality of stage-four cancer. In The Hardest Peace, Kara doesn’t offer answers for when living is hard, but she asks us to join her in moving away from fear and control and toward peace and grace. Most of all, she draws us back to the God who is with us, in the mundane and the suffering, and who shapes even our pain into beauty.
This book was so impactful on my life that I passed it along to a friend. Kara’s writing was beautiful, and reading about her focus on God’s goodness through her suffering brought me to tears. God forbid if I am ever in a painful situation, I can hope that I would be as focused on God as Kara was.
On the morning of Saturday, May 6, 2017, a school bus in Tanzania veered off the road, nose-dived into a deep ravine, and instantly killed thirty-two students, two teachers, and the bus driver. Out of thirty-eight passengers, only three survived. In the months following, those three survivors would be known throughout the entire nation as the Miracle Kids. During their long and difficult days of recovery, Wilson, Sadhia, and Doreen would seize the hearts of not only Tanzania but of an entire community in and around Sioux City, Iowa, where they received their care. In hindsight, it’s unbelievable that the Miracle Kids are alive and well today. But this isn’t a story about what’s impossible; it’s a testament to God’s will and what is possible through Him.
I borrowed this book from a co-worker. I loved hearing how God placed the right people in the right place at the right time. One of the little nuggets of wisdom from this book that stuck with me is that God gives each of us skills and talents to use for his purpose, like the doctors and nurses who helped the crash survivors. Even though my skills aren’t medical ones, I can still help others and show His light through with my talents.
I received a copy of You Are from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Okay y’all, I know this book is a board book for children, but I loved it. It includes one-sentence affirmations of how God views you, with a Bible verse underneath. The illustrations are absolutely darling. The message in this book is one that both young and adult readers alike need to hear. I recently babysat for a friend’s toddler, and she loved the book as much as I did. I can’t wait to read this book with future little ones of my own someday!