I’ve narrowed the second 2022 list of books down from 37 to 13 (you’re welcome! ha!) and, as always, was intrigued by the theme that emerged. As you read the titles and descriptions, keep this in mind and see if you see it too: peace + difficult but important topics + trusting God.

It makes sense, as the books below were written during the pandemic, but the messages really are for any time. Over the coming months, I’ll share a few other releases, along with my reviews, in my Thursday Things emails (you can sign up here if you’d like) . . . but the ones below I feel comfortable vouching for ahead of time. I’ve either read an early copy of the manuscript, have read (and loved) other books from the author, or they come highly recommended from friends I trust.

13 books you don't want to miss this summer

The nonfiction books below are listed in order of release date and include a blurb pulled from Amazon descriptions. Pin to Pinterest if you want to come back later while adding to your To Be Read list, or share on Facebook if you think your friends might be interested!

Tip: If a book grabs your attention, go ahead and pre-order! Retailers usually don’t charge until the book releases and Amazon offers a lowest-price guarantee. Say you preorder in May when the book is $19.99, then it drops to $14.00 mid-June and it’s listed as $17.00 when it releases in August . . . you would end up paying $14.00 because you locked in the lowest price by pre-ordering

P.S. Email subscribers, if the book covers appear small, click here for a better view.


13 New Books I’m Looking Forward to This Summer . . .


What's Here Now?: How to Stop Rehashing the Past and Rehearsing the Future--and Start Receiving the PresentWhat’s Here Now?: How to Stop Rehashing the Past and Rehearsing the Future–and Start Receiving the Present :: Jeanne Stevens

Life is filled with uncertainty, and people have never needed peace more. When it comes down to it, what keeps us from experiencing peace in our lives is either living in the past or living for the future. When we obsess over what’s already happened or put all of our efforts into creating a picture-perfect tomorrow, we miss what God has for us here and now. The result is regret over what we can’t change, and anxiety over what we feel we must change. That’s not what God wants for us.

With honest transparency, hope-filled compassion, and plenty of vulnerable humor, pastor Jeanne Stevens helps you slow down and ask the all-important question, What’s here now? Jeanne gives readers practical tools to move from obsessing about the past or worrying about the future to experiencing peace and purpose in the present moment. By incorporating this simple question into your everyday life, you will experience freedom from unhealthy patterns of relating to God and others through the avenues of shame, guilt, worry, and anxiety.




The Path to Peace: Experiencing God's Comfort When You're OverwhelmedThe Path to Peace: Experiencing God’s Comfort When You’re Overwhelmed :: Ann Swindell

Overwhelmed. Stressed out. Burnt out. Fried. However we name it, all of us know what it feels like to deal with circumstances and worries that drag us down and wear us out. Many of us experience persistent anxiety. Peace can be hard to find. But it is in the middle of our stress and fear that God extends His unshakable peace to us.

In this beautiful book that is part devotional and part Bible study, Ann Swindell shares how the biblical stories of eight women and men helped her realize that what she needed most in her own journey wasn’t a stable job or healthy kids or good friends—it was God’s peace. Through forty faith-stirring readings, Ann will help you experience God’s peace in your daily life, respond to challenges with faith rather than fear, and find hope in God’s goodness and faithfulness toward you.




My Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the ChurchMy Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church :: Amy Kenny

Much of the church has forgotten that we worship a disabled God whose wounds survived resurrection, says Amy Kenny. It’s time for the church to start treating disabled people as full members of the body of Christ who have much more to offer than a miraculous cure narrative and to learn from their embodied experiences.

In My Body Is Not a Prayer Request, Kenny reflects on her experiences inside the church to expose unintentional ableism and cast a new vision for Christian communities to engage disability justice. She shows that until we cultivate church spaces where people with disabilities can fully belong, flourish, and lead, we are not valuing the diverse members of the body of Christ.

With a unique blend of personal storytelling, fresh and compelling writing, biblical exegesis, and practical application, this book invites readers to participate in disability justice and create a more inclusive community in church and parachurch spaces. Engaging content such as reflection questions and top-ten lists are included.




Eyes Up: How to Trust God’s Heart by Tracing His HandEyes Up: How to Trust God’s Heart by Tracing His Hand :: Alexandra Hoover

“Where were you, God? I can’t see your hand in my story. Have you ever really shown up for me? Your heart might be good, but just not to me.”

If you’ve thought these things, you aren’t alone. Alexandra Hoover has been in that place, too, and in Eyes Up, she shares that God offers a clear way out—by getting your eyes off your surroundings and raising them up to the Ebenezer-stone moments in your life. Stone by stone, God did this for Alexandra, helping her trace his grace as she lifted her eyes to see the places He had met her and helped her along, even in the darkest parts of the story.

In Eyes Up, you’ll chart your own Ebenezer-journey, learn how to embrace God’s sovereignty in every twist and turn of your life, walk with your own clear testimony of God’s faithfulness in your life, and better understand your place in God’s family and His mission for your life.




The Lord Is My Courage: Stepping Through the Shadows of Fear Toward the Voice of LoveThe Lord Is My Courage: Stepping Through the Shadows of Fear Toward the Voice of Love :: K.J. Ramsey

Walking through Psalm 23 phrase by phrase, therapist and author K.J. Ramsey explores the landscape of our fear, trauma, and faith. When she stepped through her own wilderness of spiritual abuse and religious trauma, K.J. discovered that courage is not the absence of anxiety but the practice of trusting we will be held and loved no matter what.

How can we cultivate courage when fear overshadows our lives? How do we hear the Voice of Love when hate and harm shout loud? This book offers an honest path to finding that there is still a Good Shepherd who is always following you. Braiding contemplative storytelling, theological reflection, and practical neuroscience, K.J. reveals a route into connection and joy that begins right where you are.

The Lord is My Courage is for the deconstructing and the dreamers, the afraid and the amazed, for those whose fear has not been fully shepherded but who can’t seem to stop listening for their Good Shepherd’s Voice.




Beyond the Darkness: A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving after LossBeyond the Darkness: A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving after Loss :: Clarissa Moll

The Bible says “God is near to the brokenhearted,” but what does that look like when you’re lost in the darkness of agonizing grief? How do you engage with your sorrow when the world tells you to shoulder through or move on?

Award-winning writer Clarissa Moll knows this landscape of loss all too well. Her life changed forever in 2019 when her husband, Rob, died unexpectedly while hiking―leaving her with four children to raise alone. In Beyond the Darkness, Clarissa offers her powerful personal narrative as well as honest, practical wisdom that will gently guide you toward flourishing amidst your own loss. In these pages, you’ll learn how to meet and engage with loss in your everyday life, uncover the lies the world has told you about your grief, point your feet toward hope and find a way to navigate your new life with loss and God beside you.

Whether you’ve lost someone dear to you or you’re supporting a loved one as they mourn, you can learn to walk with grief. And as you do, you might be surprised to discover the path is wide enough for another companion, the Good Shepherd of your soul. Grief may walk with us for the rest of our lives, but Jesus will too.




Good and Beautiful and Kind: Becoming Whole in a Fractured WorldGood and Beautiful and Kind: Becoming Whole in a Fractured World :: Rich Villodas

We long for a good life, a beautiful life, a kind life. But clearly that’s not the world we live in. Families that once gathered around tables have converted those tables into walls. Hostility, rage, and offense is the language of our culture. How did we lose goodness, kindness, and beauty? And how do we get them back into our lives? These are the two questions crying out in our streets, homes, churches, and from deep within our souls.

Pastor and author Rich Villodas is convinced that only Jesus offers a way of being human that is both strong and tender enough to tear down the walls of hostility we experience daily. In Good and Beautiful and Kind, he reveals how these three essentials are stolen, how we can get goodness, beauty, and kindness back through contemplative prayer, humility, and the cultivation of calm presence, and how the traits of healthy conflict, forgiveness, and justice lead to wholeness, healing, and a new collective future—when rooted in the ancient way of Jesus. Filled with truth and practical solutions, this is your road map for stepping beyond distraction and division to love like Jesus.


Add these books to your To Be Read this for summer 2022!


A Hole in the World: Finding Hope in Rituals of Grief and HealingA Hole in the World: Finding Hope in Rituals of Grief and Healing :: Amanda Held Opelt

When did we forget how to grieve well? When Amanda Held Opelt suffered a season of loss—including three miscarriages and the unexpected death of her sister, Rachel Held Evans—she was confronted with sorrow she didn’t know to how face. Opelt struggled to process her grief and wrestled with unexpectedly difficult questions: What does it mean to truly grieve and to grieve well? Why is it so hard to move on? Why didn’t my faith prepare me for this kind of pain? And what am I supposed to do now?

Her search for answers led her to discover that generations past embraced rituals that aided in the process of grieving and healing. Today, many of these traditions have been lost as cultures amalgamate, death is sanitized, and pain is averted.

In this raw and authentic memoir of bereavement, Opelt explores the history of human grief practices and how previous generations have journeyed through periods of suffering. She shares how, in spite of her doubt and anger, God met her in the midst of sorrow and grieved along with her, and shows that when we carefully and honestly attend to our losses, we are able to expand our capacity for love, faith, and healing.




The Cost of Control: Why We Crave It, the Anxiety It Gives Us, and the Real Power God PromisesThe Cost of Control: Why We Crave It, the Anxiety It Gives Us, and the Real Power God Promises :: Sharon Hodde Miller

We all wish we had more control. When our relationships are strained, when our bodies refuse to cooperate, when the future is uncertain, control promises security and peace. If only I were in charge, we dream. And this illusion seems more attainable than ever. Technology, science, medicine, and the internet all promise us ever-increasing mastery over our world.

The problem is, control is a “devil’s deal.” The more we seek it, the more it betrays us. In place of predictability, it gives us anxiety. In place of certainty, it creates more complexity. And in place of unity, it divides. It’s not just that we cannot control things; it’s that we break them even more when we try. Thankfully we don’t have to scramble after control, nor do we have to throw up our hands. Instead, God has given us a better tool. In this culturally insightful and eye-opening book, Sharon Hodde Miller helps us discover the real power God has given us in Christ, to exercise influence over ourselves and our lives.




A Curious Faith: The Questions God Asks, We Ask, and We Wish Someone Would Ask UsA Curious Faith: The Questions God Asks, We Ask, and We Wish Someone Would Ask Us :: Lore Ferguson Wilbert

God created us curious. We innately wonder about the world, one another, ourselves, and God. But technology, fear of the unknown, cultural taboos, or even church leaders can smother our curiosity.

Lore Ferguson Wilbert has belonged to Christian communities that discouraged curiosity. The point of the Christian life was to have the right answers, and asking questions reflected a wavering faith. But Wilbert came to discover that the Bible is a permission slip to anyone who wants to ask questions.

Reflecting her own theological trajectory toward a more contemplative, expansive faith, Wilbert invites readers to foster curiosity as a spiritual habit. This book explores questions God asks us, questions we ask God, and questions we ask each other. Christianity is not about knowing good answers, says Wilbert, but about asking good questions—ones that foster deeper intimacy with God and others.




Soul Care to Save Your Life: How Radical Honesty Leads to Real HealingSoul Care to Save Your Life: How Radical Honesty Leads to Real Healing :: Manda Carpenter

In our image-conscious culture, life can become a never-ending performance. The perfection we feel pressured to project to those in our social sphere comes at the expense of our emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being. In the end, we are left exhausted and unfulfilled. How do we flip the script and feed ourselves rather than simply adding to our feeds?

In Soul Care to Save Your Life, author, speaker, and recovering performer Manda Carpenter offers an invitation to shift your focus from performing to purposeful living from the inside out. In this book she guides you on a three-part journey to identify the habits that are holding you back, take ownership of your path to growth, and embrace practices of soul care for your well-being

It’s time to drop the façade of the picture-perfect life and instead get radically honest in order to heal and embrace the confidence that comes from knowing and loving your whole self, no filter needed.




Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the ChurchCelebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church :: Katelyn Beaty

Many Christian leaders use their fame and influence to great effect. Whether that popularity resides at the local church level or represents national or international influence, many leaders have effectively said to their followers, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” But fame that is cultivated for its own sake, without attendant spiritual maturity and accountability, has a shadow side that runs counter to the heart of the gospel. Celebrity—defined as social power without proximity—has led to abuses of power, the cultivation of persona, and a fixation on profits.

In light of the fall of famous Christian leaders in recent years, the time has come for the church to reexamine its relationship to celebrity. Award-winning journalist Katelyn Beaty explores the ways fame has reshaped the American church, explains how and why celebrity is woven into the fabric of the evangelical movement, identifies many ways fame has gone awry in recent years, and offers a renewed vision of ordinary faithfulness, helping us all keep fame in its proper place.




Breath as Prayer: Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your SoulBreath as Prayer: Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your Soul :: Jennifer Tucker

Find hope amid anxiety through the spiritual practice of breath prayer in this beautifully illustrated and practical guide to connecting body, mind, and spirit during times of stress.

Breath as Prayer will lead you through the practice of Christian breath prayer: intentional prayers centered around Scripture that focus our minds on Christ as we calm our bodies through breathing.

God created our bodies, minds, and spirits to be intimately connected with one another. Purpose-filled breathing is one of the most effective, calming ways to integrate all aspects of who we are, especially during times of intense stress. Breath as Prayer invites you to the crossroads of Christian contemplative practice, Scripture, psychology, and science to deepen your faith, bring peace to your body, and discover a new reliance on Christ. Breathe deeply, lean into God’s Word, and discover why every breath can be an invitation to pray.


Stay Tuned . . .


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