In all this year I read 71 books… which is a lot, likely too much. I’ve been convicted a lot of how often I close the book and move on to the next one without really processing and applying it… so am trying to slow down and think through things. But my books-to-read list keeps growing! I have to remind myself frequently of Ecclesiastes 12’s comments about “of making many books there is no end and much study is weariness to the flesh,” and the challenge of Psalm 1, Psalm 19, and Psalm 119 to delight in and meditate on His Word above all other writing!
These are some of the books that help with that, and/or were ones I kept thinking back to.
None Like Him (Jen Wilkin) and Humble Roots (Hannah Anderson)
These are very similar so I put them together here. They both opened my eyes to see how much I try to be God, especially in the area of control.
None Like Him had a discussion questions that were really helpful, and is a look at eleven attributes of God that He does not share with humans (immutability, omniscience, etc.).
Humble Roots didn’t impact me as much as I read it, but afterwards I kept being convicted by it. Its focus was more on how there is rest in humility (which often comes down to not trying to be God!) and is more practical than None Like Him, but I felt like to focused more on the problems than the answer – None Like Him brought me to worship more.
12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Tony Reinke)
Spurgeon’s Sorrows (Zack Eswine)
A biblical, practical look at depression (in a small book!), looking at causes, helps, theology… it gave validity to a lot of my feelings and questions after PPD that had often felt heretical.
Spiritual Depression (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
Another biblical, practical look at depression, but one that focuses more on the spiritual causes of it. It felt less pertinent to PPD, since it was more on spiritual roots of depression than physical ones with spiritual manifestations, but it was still incredibly helpful and one I will refer back to often. It was also really convicting in areas of sin that for me haven’t led to full-on depression but may affect my mood for a short time, things like discontentment, pride, etc. One very helpful thing in the discussion of contentment was the idea that to be content we have to be independent of our circumstances, not relying on anything but God for our joy (a “duh” moment but still much needed!).
A big-picture parenting strategy, helping me see what my role as a parent really is. There is lots of repetition, but in a good way if reading it slowly, because there is SO much good it’s overwhelming.
Some key points:
I am more like my children than unlike.
I am His ambassador, showing them what is in their hearts and pointing them to Him for repentance and change. Redirecting their worship!
Clearer than Give them Grace that this does NOT mean suspending the law.
“Parenting is not just about getting your children to do something, but helping them to see so that they would desire to do it.”
“What right now does God want my child to see that he is not now seeing and how can I help him see it?”
“If your eyes ever see and your ears ever hear the sin, weakness, and failure of your children, it is never a hassle, never an interruption, never an accident; it is always grace. God loves your children and has put them in a family of faith, and he will reveal the need of their hearts to you so that you can be his tool of rescue and transformation.”
“This book has been an elaborate discussion of one thing: God’s call to you to be an essential part of his mission of rescue of the children he has given you. But it has not been just about the mission that he has sent you on, but also about the fact that he has gone with you. He doesn’t ask you to do what you can’t do, and he is eternally willing to do what only he can do. So he blesses you with his presence, power, wisdom, and grace. He faithfully parents you, so that by his faithful grace you can faithfully parent your children. In every moment of parenting, the wise heavenly Father is working on everybody in the room. You are blessed to be chosen to go on the mission of missions,a nd you are blessed with his grace so that every day your parenting would be dyed with the most powerful force of change in the universe: mercy.”
These are either fiction or ones that were very good but weren’t quite as directly applicable to me this year.
Messy Grace (Kaltenbach)
A pastor whose parents are homosexual writes about loving them and the LGBT+ community without compromising conviction.
Symphony for City of the Dead
Not a life-changing book, but it was fascinating and has really stuck with me throughout the year, and caused me to fall in love with Shostakovich’s 7th.
Holy Labor (Aubri Smith)
The Hawk and the Dove (Wilcock)
Music Through the Eyes of Faith (Best)
This is not something I am currently wrestling with, but his discussion of what kinds of music may or may not be acceptable for Christians was the most theological, logical, biblical thing I have ever read on the subject.
Dispatches from the Front
The Cup and the Glory
Kids’ book authors we went back to again and again:
Ezra Jack Keats