I love books.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love them.
What I really should say is that I love buying books, because I have a teeny tiny little problem of buying books that I can’t wait to devour, only to let them pile up on a shelf, collecting dust. For some reason, reading about the books (and then buying them because they look so amazing) is much more fun than cracking them open and seeing what they have to say for themselves.
So, over the past couple of months, I decided to reform my buying-without-reading ways. Whenever I can steal a few minutes, I grab my book and curl up in a chair somewhere. I have intentionally taken time to sit down and read.
It’s incredible how much more you get out of a book when you actually read it! Who knew?!?
Over the last few weeks, I’ve read some books that have literally changed my life. I am not the same person I was when I opened the pages and started soaking up the wisdom and knowledge of these godly authors. God has used these books to pour the message of the gospel deep into my heart, and every area of my life has been affected.
I know it takes time and effort to read an entire book. Believe me. I know! But these books are worth whatever it takes.
Books Worth Reading
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin is the kind of book I’ve been searching for since I was in high school. As soon as I read the subtitle, I was hooked: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.
For so many years I’ve wanted to study the Word of God in a deeper, more meaningful way, but I didn’t know how. And no one could seem to put the process into words for me. Either I was handed a big ‘ol book that was geared toward seminary students (when I was a teenager at the time), or I was given very generic advice that didn’t take me any deeper than journaling my thoughts about a passage of scripture.
I wanted more, but didn’t know how until I read this book. In Women of the Word, you are told about the importance of studying the scriptures, and then you are taken step-by-step through a detailed study process.
Women of the Word shows you how to consider the original author and audience of the books of the Bible, the type of literature, and the context. One one of the best things about the process is that it focuses on the storyline of the gospel throughout the whole of scripture. It takes you through applying the head-knowledge to your heart.
This is a guidebook that’s easy to understand, which I loved. I never felt stupid when I was reading it. I never felt like it was over my head or like I wouldn’t be able to follow the process it lays out. I have no doubt that I can use this study system to learn about God in a way that seemed impossible before.
This is a short book (just 152 pages) with the potential for a long-lasting impact. It really is life changing because it shows you how learn and love the one Book that can bring true, eternity-lasting change.
I fell in love with Elyse Fitzpatrick’s writing when I read Because He Loves Me (another live-changing book). Still, to be honest, I resisted buying her new book Good News for Weary Women because I already had way too many books waiting to be read. I didn’t want to add one more book to my guilty stack of neglected reading.
Then, one day I reached the end of my rope. Life was hard, and I just felt so…weary. I clicked over to Amazon and decided to “look inside this book” to help me decide if I would actually read it if I bought it. I didn’t expect what was about to happen.
I sat at my desk, reading the preview and weeping. The gospel-filled words were exactly what my heart needed to hear, and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. Those first few pages challenged my thinking and washed over me with much-needed grace. Needless to say, that book was in my hands two days later!
I’m not trying to be overly dramatic here, but I think every woman should read Good News for Weary Women. I wish I’d read it decades ago (even though it wasn’t written yet)! If you feel like you’re just not good enough, can’t get your life pulled together, can’t seem to get it right, then this book is a necessity. You need to hear this message about the law we tend to live under and the grace that gives us freedom.
I still have a lot of learning and growing to do, but I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer have to pretend like I can hold the world together; I can trust God to do it and rest in Him. I understand grace in a more complete way now. The way I view God, myself, and other people will never be the same.
I think Good News for Weary Women is one of those books that I’ll be reading over, and over, and over again.
These last books I want to share aren’t really the kind of books you read straight through. They’re books that you flip through and use as a guide and a resource. They’re called Praying God’s Will for My Husband, Praying God’s Will for My Daughter, and Praying God’s Will for my Son.
Recently, I’ve discovered the blessing of praying God’s Word. Basically, I open to a passage of scripture and pray that God will do what He says or will lead me (or another person) to follow what He commands. Using the Bible verse, I insert a name, pronoun, or situation to personalize it and turn it into a prayer.
That is what these books do for you. They are divided into topics that you might want to pray for in your loved one’s life. Under each topic, there are Bible verses that have been turned into prayers. And the prayers don’t feel awkward or forced. Most of the words in each short prayer are taken directly from scripture (with each verse reference printed underneath).
I have two of the books in the series, Praying God’s Will for My Husband and Praying God’s Will for My Daughter. The books are very similar to each other. Most of the topics are the same, as are the verses used, with a few exceptions. Of course, the names and pronouns are different (the words, “I pray for my husband…” are changed to “my daughter…”, etc.).
At first, I wished that I’d only bought one of the books, but now I’m glad I have them both, and I may even purchase the third. I like that I can easily pray through the verses without having to make changes, and I can underline or make notes that uniquely apply to the subject of my prayers for that particular member of my family.
These books have changed my prayer life, and I trust they will change the lives of those I’m praying over.
Planning to Read
I know that a lot of people have long reading lists that are planned in advanced and followed diligently. It’s fine if you don’t happen to be one of those people. I’m not either.
But even if we aren’t great at making detailed plans for reading dozens of books, it’s good to always have a book going. I’m finding that the more I read, the more I want to read.
Here are some books from my dusty stacks that I’m either in the middle of right now or am hoping to read in the near future:
Fearlessly Feminine: Boldly Living God’s Plan for Womanhood by Jani Ortlund
Helper by Design: God’s Perfect Plan for Women in Marriage by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund
The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook ed. Pat Ennis and Dorothy Kelley Patterson
The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges
There are lots more books calling my name, but these are the ones I’m starting with. A couple of these will be read with someone else, so that should help me push through them when I’d rather spin my wheels being lazy.
Have you read any of these books? What book are you reading right now?
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