If you walked down the aisles of a bookstore looking for Love Lives Here by Maria Goff, you'll walk past the marriage section and the parenting section, past the shelves with books about work and books about healing. You'll find Love Lives Here among the many books in the general Christian Living section. But after reading it cover to cover, I can safely say you'll be encouraged in so many areas of your life. Maria shares stories from throughout her life in order to inspire readers to live with intention and love well.
Some books speak straight to your heart, echoing your own stories and struggles, and You are Free by Rebekah Lyons is one of those for me. There are so many things Rebekah shares about her life and thoughts that resonated with me. This book met me at just the right time. From Ann Voskamp's foreword to the heartfelt acknowledgements to the quotes throughout the book introducing each chapter, You are Free shares this significant, life-altering message from Jesus of freedom given to us in Galatians five.
I'll be honest. When I first heard about the She Reads Truth Bible studies and app a few years ago, I didn't jump on board. I was hesitant because it just seemed like the cool new thing to get involved in. But I was wrong. It wasn't until this past year that I truly learned about the ministry and hearts behind it. And I'm so glad I did.
She Reads Truth is grounded in solid theology and a desire for women to open up their Bibles and dive deep into the Word. It is not a new fad to get women less connected in real life and more connected online, but it is in fact a beautiful tool to get women engaged in the eternal Word and the eternal God revealed in it and speaking with it. I am grateful for the ministry of She Reads Truth and the dedication they have to providing Bible studies filled with the truth of the gospel and constantly pointing to Jesus.
So when I heard the lovely ladies behind She Reads Truth were releasing a book, I was quite excited! I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the book, but once I started reading I couldn't stop.
There's a reason why Ann Voskamp only has a few books out: she completely pours her heart onto each and every page. And that takes courage and bravery, vulnerability and humility. It takes dedication to waiting for the write message to display itself on the page and the right time to release it to the world.
Ann's first book, One Thousand Gifts, left a profound impact on me; it instilled in me a sense of living with gratitude that I didn't have before. And her Advent devotional, The Greatest Gift, spurred me on to a deeper focus on Jesus during the Christmas season through the lens of biblical theology, by seeing Jesus in every story of the Bible leading up to His birth. So when I heard she had a new book coming out, I was quite eager to dive in with full anticipation that it would enrich my Christian journey.
While One Thousand Gifts was all about eucharisteo, The Broken Way is all about koinonia. It looks into the act of communion, the brokenness and sharing that comes after the thanksgiving, the communion we can have with our Savior and the communion we can have with others. Ann wastes no time inviting the reader into her own brokenness as the very first sentence reveals her past struggle with self-harm. And from that first sentence to the last she shares stories from her life and lessons from Scripture that will definitely encourage, help, and comfort any reader.
The must read book of the year released this week. And that is not an exaggeration. You need to make it a priority to pick up a copy of Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted by Shannan Martin and soak it up. It was one of those books that leaves you forever impacted. If you’ve read Crazy Love by Francis Chan or Radical by David Platt, this is along those lines in terms of content and potential influence. But Falling Free is more of a personal story of living out the Biblical commands given to disciples of Jesus. It is a modern memoir of the cost of discipleship. It is intriguing, empowering, convicting, challenging. It is filled with truth and grace and courage and transparency and humor. And it is well worth every dollar and every minute you spend on it because I guarantee it will point you to the real Jesus and help you evaluate if your life matches what His Kingdom values.
I have caught myself saying, "I'm just a mom" often when people ask what I do. It's ingrained in me to include the word just, as if I need to downplay the role I've been given, apologize for seeming like I don't have much to offer, or defend myself in some way. It's not intentional. It's kind of become my go-to phrase when I get asked the question about what I do. I'm just a mom. It just flows right out. But going through Gloria Furman's Missional Motherhood: The Bible Sudy: The Everday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God has been exactly what my soul needed to realize there is no just being a mom. There is no just in any aspect of our callings, of our parts in the greater redemption story, of our roles in going and making disciples of all nations. And being that we are a week away from the due date of daughter #2, I'm so very glad to have gone through this study.
I recently finished reading Lecrae's book, Unashamed. You guys. All I can say is it was an honor to read it and I will never be able to shake his story. And I don't want to. When you are invited into someone's story of pain and redemption, there comes with it a responsibility to listen intently, learn from experiences different than your own, and grow in compassion and respect for others. And then there is a choice to walk away and live a little bit differently than you did before. Unashamed can truly be life changing.
I've been following Lecrae in his musical journey for several years now, especially from a summer of working at Kids Across America. I have always been intrigued by his writing ability and way of communicating hard things and gospel truth. He has a way of using music to make you think, to expand your viewpoint, and to point you to Jesus and eternal things. He is real and raw, encouraging and challenging. Over the years his music has gotten better and better and his influence has continued to grow.
When I heard Lecrae had a book coming out, I knew I wanted to read it. I've heard bits and pieces of his story and know his music, but I still didn't know much about his life. I knew he would use his book to display the gospel and I was excited to dive in.
Annie F. Downs has been encouraging readers and pointing them to Jesus for several years now. So, I came a little late to the party because I just started reading her words this past month. I read two of her books, Let's All Be Brave and her latest book Looking for Lovely, and felt so connected to her and inspired by her authentic writing. Both books happened to be very timely for me but spoke to me in different ways. And both books beautifully display Annie's story and heart in different seasons of her life.
Annie invites readers into an intimate look at her life over the past few years, particularly inviting us into the hardships, struggles, and what she calls her "broken crazy." Although I wasn't quite sure what to expect in this book, the premise intrigued me. I always love stories of honest struggle that point to God's goodness and faithfulness, and Looking for Lovely is just that.
Do you want to live an abundant life filled with the Holy Spirit's power? Do you want to learn the keys to a sanctified life? Do you want help in the journey of spiritual growth?
Then Eric Mason's latest book, Unleashed, is for you.
Mason looks deeply into the sanctification process in this book. He addresses the biblical components to growing as a follower of Christ. And he does so in a way that is approachable and gospel-centered and encouraging.
I had a goal to read 25 books last year. And I didn't quite make it. Which bums me out because I'm pretty competitive and like reaching goals. But I have to remind myself I read more than the year before and that was an accomplishment.
I learned that sometimes the journey towards the goal is just as important, if not more important, than reaching the goal itself.
Who you become along the way, and what you learn along the way, is way more important than simply being able to say you got there.
These are the books I read last year:
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.