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Reading is a form of self-care for me. When my first son was a baby, I found that I was physically busy with endless nursing, but I wasn’t mentally busy. A certain level of mental stimulation was required to keep me from feeling like nothing more than a milk machine.
My list is in the order that I read the books. I’d say all of them are equal in the quality of the content.
I do most of my reading on my Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve had it for a year and a half now and I love it! With the exception of Everyday Hope, all of the books on this list are available in both print and ebook format.
- A Retrospect: The Story Behind my Zeal for Missions – J. Hudson Taylor
When I was young, my mom read the Hero Tales books to us as part of our homeschooling. They are collections of short stories about missionaries. Hudson Taylor was one of my favorites. The founder of the China Inland Mission, he placed an emphasis on evangelism. He chose not to be distracted by cultural differences if they weren’t based in immorality. To this end, he chose to dress like Chinese men did. Even as a little girl, his priorities impressed me.
2. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman
I’ve read a lot of books on my Kindle. This is the only one that I’ve loved enough to purchase a print edition as well. If you only read one book about motherhood, it should be this one.
Gloria Furman never strays from her laser focus on the Gospel and how it shapes everything we do. Particularly when you have all little children, it’s easy to lose sight of the greater picture and of how what you’re doing matters.
Even moms who haven’t thrown a tantrum in a while can relate to feeling that they’ve had enough as they limp to the end of the day, emotionally drained and exasperated. For many of us, the frustration stems from the unreasonable expectations we have for ourselves. Instead of the sweet relief and satisfaction that come from a long day of good, hard work, we stew over the mistakes, missed opportunities, and foibles. ‘There are no perfect moms,’ we quip, but we’ll die trying to prove we might be the exception. – Gloria Furman
Can you relate to that? I know I do. In the age of Pinterest, it’s easy to feel like everyone is doing all the things. But they’re not.
And a lot of those things don’t even matter anyway. Your child isn’t going to remember how he was born or what he was fed as a baby. He’s going to remember that you loved him.
3. Everyday Hope by Kayse Pratt
I stumbled upon this book by accident. It was a part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle this year. While the 2017 edition of the bundle is no longer available, Everyday Hope can still be purchased by itself by clicking on the image below.
While our circumstances were different, I could relate to a lot of Kayse’s thoughts on when having babies doesn’t go as planned. It’s easy to get discouraged when something that we think should be “easy” turns into a medical crisis. Her words were a balm to my weary soul at a time when I was struggling.
God has given your child to you, and given you to your child. Your place as his momma is a divine appointment, and you can trust that He didn’t make a mistake! – Kayse Pratt
4. Compared to Who by Heather Creekmore
Compared to Who was my first book launch team ever. It far exceeded my expectations, going far beyond the typical Christian cliche answers to comparison issues. Heather Creekmore doesn’t just say “Jesus made you perfectly” and move on. This is a book with depth and with sections that will make you stop and think.
I actually re-read it recently. As I write this, I’m in my third trimester with a boy who is on track to be as large as his nine pound brother was. When you’re built the way I am, there’s no getting around the fact that the disproportionate bump looks ridiculous. And I hear comments on the ridiculousness. Frequently. It’s like people think I don’t already know.
The comparison starts to creep back in…how come she gets to have normal sized kids? Why can’t my placenta go where it’s supposed to be? Why is my tummy the size of a mountain?
Comparison is poison. It’s a trap. It’s a joy-killer. It’s not okay.
I’ll probably be re-reading this book every so often for a long time. I’m glad His mercies are new every morning!
Friend, if you claim Christ as your Savior, if you say you are saved, I want you to ask yourself, honestly, if you’ve really allowed Him to rescue all of you. Do you believe He can help you with your body image issues? Do you believe He can replace your affections with a greater affection for Him? Do you believe that you can find true and transcendent joy and peace in Him alone, or do you still think that maybe one of your idols will deliver? – Heather Creekmore
5. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus was a recommendation from my brother-in-law. Nabeel Qureshi died earlier this year from stomach cancer, but his legacy lives on in his book about his conversion from Islam to Christianity.
Nabeel’s story is compelling. I learned a lot about Muslim beliefs and religious practices. His family took their faith very seriously. When the author converted, he wasn’t just changing religions. It required sacrificing the approval of his parents. He wrote the following passage about the emotional fall out from his conversion:
While I was wallowing in self-pity, focused on myself, there was a whole world with literally billions of people who had no idea who God is, how amazing He is, and the wonders He has done for us. They are the ones who are really suffering. They don’t know His hope, His peace, and His love that transcends all understanding. – Nabeel Qureshi
All of these books challenged me in one way or another. While no book is more important of a read than the Bible itself, other books can also encourage us in our faith. I hope these are a blessing to you as well!
What is the best book you’ve read this year?