What exactly does one say in the midst of a global pandemic? This is what I’m asking myself today, the same question I’ve asked myself every day for the last two weeks. I’m a slow processor, and honestly I’m just not sure when (or if) I’ll wrap words around all that’s happening. But I’ve been thinking, listening, praying, and washing my hands. I’m paying attention. Yesterday, I shared a few thoughts over on Instagram. The first sentence is: I made a mistake last night. So we’re doing great over here. Bless.
Here’s what I do know: God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We’re better together. The written word is a kind companion when we’re all staying inside, sheltering-in-place.
I believe in the power of story and often want to share my favorite reads with you here, but I don’t want you to feel like you’re just reading Amazon reviews. Every so often I share a good read on Instagram or in my monthly-ish newsletter, but a while back I started something here called stories on the shelf.
Although I’m in the camp of people who are working from home and do not suddenly have an abundance of free time on their hands, I know many of my friends are looking for a good read to fill their days. And honestly, no matter what your days at home look like, having a great book to dive into right now is a gift.
Below you’ll find a short list of books currently on my shelf, as well as a few I just finished and what I’ll begin next. (I only share books that I truly enjoyed because honesty is the best policy.) If you’d like to learn more about any of the books, click the title or the image and it’ll take you straight to Amazon. I’d love to hear in the comments what you’re currently reading, excited to begin, or recently loved.
Later today, I’ll share 8 book recommendations specifically for life right now, in the middle of the Coronavirus and Covid-19. Follow along on Instagram for the video (it’ll go up on Instagram Stories).
Currently on the shelf:
Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace :: Christie Purifoy
For over a year, this title sat patiently waiting on my To Be Read list. I really enjoyed Christie’s debut title (Roots and Sky) and while this one is a different format and could certainly stand on its own, it does feel like a natural follow-up.
In a world that currently feels chaotic and full of uncertainties, this book that centers around home, beauty and peace is a welcome relief.
Bonus: Christie is a fantastic writer, painting images with words that make you feel like you’re part of the story.
Live in Grace, Walk in Love: A 365-Day Journey :: Bob Goff
These bite-size devotions are down-to-earth, encouraging, and challenging all in one.
If you’ve read anything from Bob Goff before, you’ll immediately recognize his traditional friendly writing style. Each devotional is short — one or two pages — and I’ve found myself reading a few days at a time. Depending on your schedule, you may double-up on days or appreciate having a short daily reading that feels a bit like an expanded Twitter dialog (without the craziness of Twitter).
Here are two of my favorite quotes so far:
“Fear calls out our doubts; God calls out our names.”
“When faced with the choice of winning an argument or loving a friend, He [Jesus] led with humility and let kindness do the talking.”
Recently on the shelf:
Strong, Brave, Loved: Empowering Reminders of Who You Really Are :: Holley Gerth
Speaking of devotionals, this is one I just finished for the second time.
Holley Gerth is clear from the beginning that the devotional is inspired by her book Fiercehearted (which is one of my favorite books). I very much appreciate that the content between the two differs, though. Holley doesn’t rework the same content or stories here but instead builds on the themes of Fiercehearted with new stories and insights.
Holley’s writing is unique in that she comes across as a friend, mentor, and coach all at the same time. Her stories are relatable and easy to remember, but they’ll make you think or perhaps bring to light ideas that you’ve never considered before. This is a devotional I can easily see myself passing along or gifting to several women in my life, all in various life stages. If you enjoyed Fiercehearted, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up.
This is a book I’ll return to for years to come. I read it cover to cover, some chapters more than once. I underlined and wrote notes in the margins. At one point I started talking back to the pages. (“What in the actual world. That is incredible.”)
There is a strong emphasis on Scripture throughout the book, accompanied by research and wonderful storytelling.
In Chasing Vines, Beth Moore invites the reader to come in a little closer and see for him or herself the Truth that is supremely wonderful and outrageously beautiful woven (like vines, one might say) from Genesis to Revelation.
Like turning a gem ever so slightly, on the other side of this book I have a fuller, better view. The Story is the very same as it always has been, but I see a little more clearly.
If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. Rachael Denhollander’s voice rings loud and clear in this book, and the words within its pages will change lives.
This is far from a light and easy read, but it’s absolutely worth your time. Here’s a blurb from the book description on Amazon:
What Is a Girl Worth? is the inspiring true story of Rachael’s journey from an idealistic young gymnast to a strong and determined woman who found the courage to raise her voice against evil, even when she thought the world might not listen. This deeply personal and compelling narrative shines a spotlight on the physical and emotional impact of abuse, why so many survivors are reluctant to speak out, what it means to be believed, the extraordinary power of faith and forgiveness, and how we can learn to do what’s right in the moments that matter most.
Up next on the shelf:
I’ve read both of Anne’s previously published titles and am intrigued by her newest book, as it appears to be quite a change in writing style, genre and subject matter.
Since I haven’t started reading it yet, here is what Amazon has to say:
“We’ve all been there: stuck in a cycle of what-ifs, plagued by indecision, paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong. Nobody wants to live a life of constant overthinking, but it doesn’t feel like something we can choose to stop doing. It feels like something we’re wired to do, something we just can’t escape. But is it?
Anne Bogel’s answer is no. Not only can you overcome negative thought patterns that are repetitive, unhealthy, and unhelpful, you can replace them with positive thought patterns that will bring more peace, joy, and love into your life. In Don’t Overthink It, you’ll find actionable strategies that can make an immediate and lasting difference in how you deal with questions both small–Should I buy these flowers?–and large–What am I doing with my life? More than a book about making good decisions, Don’t Overthink It offers you a framework for making choices you’ll be comfortable with, using an appropriate amount of energy, freeing you to focus on all the other stuff that matters in life.”
Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God :: Kaitlin B. Curtice
Please tell me you’re following and listening to Kaitlin on social media — yes? I’ve learned a lot simply by listening to her words, and have been anticipating this book for a while. Here’s the Amazon description:
“Native is about identity, soul-searching, and the never-ending journey of finding ourselves and finding God. As both a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and a Christian, Kaitlin Curtice offers a unique perspective on these topics. In this book, she shows how reconnecting with her Potawatomi identity both informs and challenges her faith.
Curtice draws on her personal journey, poetry, imagery, and stories of the Potawatomi people to address themes at the forefront of today’s discussions of faith and culture in a positive and constructive way. She encourages us to embrace our own origins and to share and listen to each other’s stories so we can build a more inclusive and diverse future. Each of our stories matters for the church to be truly whole. As Curtice shares what it means to experience her faith through the lens of her Indigenous heritage, she reveals that a vibrant spirituality has its origins in identity, belonging, and a sense of place.”
What are you reading right now? If you’re looking for a new book, perhaps one of the titles listed above, the books shared today on Instagram Stories, or this list of 15 Can’t-Miss Books Coming in 2020: January-April will give you a place to start!
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P.s. A little note if you're reading this the day it goes live: If you'd like an iPhone lock screen with your word of the year, be sure to watch my Instagram Story today. Submit your word and I'll create a custom lock screen so you have a beautiful and simple way to...
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