Friday 5: Books You Need to Read

First grade was a good year for me. I had a lot of friends, I was well-liked by my teacher (and the boys in the class. I never went through the boys-have-cooties phase), and I was put in a second grade reading class. Basically, I felt like a boss. Now, middle school was a whole other (awful) ordeal so we'll just stick with the glory days. 

Reading came easily for me and I enjoyed it. Later on in life it faded to the background of my hobbies as clothes, driving and makeup (white eyeliner, anyone?) took the spotlight. It wouldn't be until college that my love for reading was rekindled.

Most of the books I read are either Christian fiction or Christian living, I have a preference for books that would elevate my view of and love for the Lord. Rather than trying to have a number of books I aim to read in a year, I've started shooting for at least one chapter of a book each day, separate from the Bible. It helps me stay motivated to actually read. 

Here are five books (other than the Bible) that have had a significant impact on my life: 

A short, concise book that will challenge you to be a better steward of what God has entrusted to you. It reminds us to fix our eyes on eternity and not the things of this world. This book had such an impact on me that it has its own post, so check that out for more about why I love it.

Scazzero brings together two important components: emotional health and spiritual health, and explains how integrated they are, that you can't have one without the other and be healthy. Each chapter could easily be its own book, but there is great depth and content for personal reflection, and practical steps to take.

After reading this book, I felt like my personal "craziness" made more sense and I was more comfortable in who the Lord made me to be.

I'm currently nearing the end of this book, but it's so good I give it a strong recommendation before even completing it. So often we hear sermons on prayer or read books on prayer and can feel a sense of guilt that leads us to temporary action. But rarely is it a lasting change of heart. 

In A Praying Life, Miller reminds us of our deep dependency on the Lord and paints a beautiful picture of the intimacy prayer is in our relationship with God. It moves me, not just at an emotional level, but at a heart level that desires to transform my prayer life. 

Redeeming Love: A Novel
By Francine Rivers

What Christian woman hasn't read this book and absolutely loved it? A story that's based on the book of Hosea in the Bible, shown through the eyes of Angel, a prostitute, and Michael, the Godly man who pursues her. You will cry–like that weeping, unattractive cry where you're gasping for air (this is not an exaggeration, at least for how I was during the book). 

It's a raw, honest book that portrays some ugly evils of our world and the brokenness of those who go through them. 

A tip a friend gave me the second time of reading through (yes, I read it twice) is to imagine yourself as Angel and Michael as God–you will be humbled, in awe and amazed by this representation of how deeply your Heavenly Father loves you.  

Men, I've heard from numerous guys that they really enjoyed the book, too. So don't think it's only for the ladies!

Rivers gets a second shoutout today because she is that remarkable of an author. Her books stir this desire in me to want to read the Bible–I can't say many fiction books do that for me. And the historical and Biblical accuracy of her books allows you to imagine the lives of many of those we read about in Scripture.  

In this three-part series, you will see your lack of boldness and courage for the Lord, while simultaneously feel a zeal and passion for Christ that you haven't before. Hadassah, a young Jewish girl and the main character in the book, will cause you to weep as her journey with God mirrors what so many of us experience. 

The first two books in the series are my favorite, but you'll want to read all three. The Mark of the Lion series also warranted a second read-through, which is saying a lot given how long they all are.  

It's good to read books that give us a deeper understanding of God or theological development, but I firmly believe you'll walk away from reading these books and marvel at God's love and provision for you. 

(Disclosure: all links are Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase a book from these links, I'll receive a small commission.)

What books have had the greatest impact on your life?