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A Few Favorite Books Read This Year

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Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love – Katherine and Jay Wolf

I had heart bits and pieces of Katherine’s story, enough to intrigue me. I purchased this book as an audiobook, and it was playing every single time I was in the car until I finished. Katherine and Jay are honest about their suffering, yet loud about the hope always to be had in Jesus. They truly invite the reader into this season of their life, and it left a mark on me. By far, one of my favorites is this:

“What has happened to me is extreme; however, it is not that different from what everyone deals with. I am a sort of microcosm for what we all feel. I can barely walk, even with a cane, but who feels free even if they can? My face is paralyzed, but who feels beautiful even when they look normal? I have no coordination in my right hand, so I can’t hold things, even my child, but who feels like a competent parent even if all their faculties are intact? For months I could not eat, and even today I have difficulty swallowing, but who feels fully satisfied even if they can enjoy every delectable treat they desire? I am tired almost all the time now, but who always feels energized to engage fully in their life? My voice is messed up, but who feels understood even if they can speak plainly? I have double vision, but who sees everything clearly even if they can see normally? My future is uncertain, but whose isn’t? …. I believe that pain is pain, no matter the form, but perspective is also perspective. Ultimately, ours is a story of a life overcome by hope. We are discovering joy even in the sadness and choosing contentment when it is very, very hard… We have learned that when everything else is gone, hope remains.”

We are all in this unpredictable, broken world where suffering is the norm, not the exception. Together we must stand, choosing to truth and hope in God even when it feels impossible. Their testimony will give you a new view on life’s challenges, great and small, as well as a deep love for our God of eternal hope.

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A few books on my ‘to read’ list

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Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul by Mark Buchanan

And then God gave me insight: this was winter. It would end, in time, but not by my own doing. My responsibility was simply to know the season, and match my actions and inactions to it. It was to learn the slow hard discipline of waiting. It was my season to believe in spite of—to believe in the absence of evidence or emotion, when there’s nothing, no bud, no color, no light, no birdsong, to validate belief. It was my time to walk without sight.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.

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If you’re looking for a new read…

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…maybe one of these will spark your interest:

The Lake House, Kate Morton

“A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.” Goodreads

Alive In Him, Gloria Furman

“The Holy Spirit will not allow you to live satisfied on the rubbish heap; he will nurture a longing for the City of God to beat in your heart.”

A Wife’s Secret To Happiness, Jen Weaver

“Through thoughtful exploration of biblical promises, humorous hope-filled stories, and compelling testimonies, Jen shares how God empowers her life as a submissive millennial wife, and inspires readers to experience the same freedom.” Goodreads

The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna Gaines

I realized that my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long. Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession and to enjoy my kids, maybe allowing myself to get messy right along with them in the process? I chose the latter – and that made all the difference.”

Fight Back With Joy, Margaret Feinberg

“We need people who will reach out and hold our hands whenever we find ourselves walking in the dark. People who are quick to put our hearts at ease and swift to remind us how much we are loved. These are the friends who refresh us deep down when we need it most. These relationships are gifts worth seeking. Developing flourishing friendships takes time and intentionality, but these become the people who ground us and keep us going. They become peepholes through which we glimpse the kingdom of God, inspiration to become the best possible versions of ourselves even in the most difficult circumstances.

Habits of Grace, David Mathis

“Prayer, for the Christian, is not merely talking to God, but responding to the One who has initiated toward us. He has spoken first. This is not a conversation we start, but a relationship into which we’ve been drawn. His voice breaks the silence. Then, in prayer, we speak to the God who has spoken. Our asking and pleading and requesting originate not from our emptiness, but his fullness. Prayer doesn’t begin with our needs, but with his bounty. Its origin is first in adoration, and only later in asking. Prayer is a reflex to the grace he gives to the sinners he saves. It is soliciting his provision in view of the power he has shown.”