This year, especially after graduating, I’ve been reading A TON. I’ve been reading instead of scrolling and sometimes instead of doing job applications. Reading has always been (even more so now) an escape for me. A haven away from the concerns of life. And though I’ve never wanted to become a book blogger, I love sharing the little lessons scrapped from books I’ve enjoyed. I also read every single book in this post on the Kindle app, which may be a sign to me what I should ask for this Christmas. It’s not that I don’t love physical books. I do! It’s just that the library has such a limited selection, and requesting books can kind of be a hassle. So onto the books!
Related Post: Books + What I’ve Learned From Them
I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet
“True spiritual maturity is nothing more—and nothing less—than consenting to reality. Hello to here—not what you wanted or longed for or lost, not what you hope for or imagine. Reality. This here. This now.”
The latest Shauna Niequist book is probably my favorite of hers. I’ve read Present over Perfect and a little of Cold Tangerines, but there’s something about her reflections in this new book that I just adore. Part of it is that I’m kind of in that same space, of watching things die and learning to let go, and who the heck knows what I’m welcoming in. I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet is about opening the doors to a new season and shutting off the door to the old one. And for us clingers, that’s a hard lesson to learn but it’s one that’s needed. Read this book if you need gentle reflections for your days or if you’re in a season of transition and change.
Lesson: Instead of fighting the season you’re in, accept reality as it unfolds before you.
I Don’t Wait Anymore
“He loves us right where we sit, in our own hurt and shame and brokenness and disappointment…He asks us to put down the things we’re clinging to, the things that will never fulfill us, and come along.”
I absolutely adored this book! It’s for a specific audience–about singleness in the Christian world. But it felt like it was applicable for more than just that subject. In a waiting season, it’s tempting to keep on waiting for that thing you want. A job, a spouse, a home. The real test in a waiting season is living fully. It’s living not like life is a waiting room, but that it’s the real deal. That means facing the fact that you don’t have what you want, and you might not get it. Grace Thornton does such a lovely job of writing about this mindset shift. That the days that are ordained aren’t so we keep waiting for the one we really want, but rather they are so we embrace life for all that it has for us.
Lesson: God is greater than the thing you’re waiting for.
Just Do Something
“We have too many choices. I’m convinced that previous generations did not struggle like we do trying to discover God’s will because they didn’t have as many choices.”
If you’re like me, you’re constantly wishing you map for your life. A list of places you’re going and when and how you’re going to get there. But life doesn’t give us that option. There are so many choices–it’s unbelievable. You can choose a job, a spouse, where you want to live (I’ll get there next), where you want to get an education, and so much more. These decisions, while exciting, are also overwhelming.
What I loved about this book was this idea of letting go of this “there’s only one right thing” mindset for a more expansive mindset. In fact, we CAN do a lot of things, but what is moral? What is wise? Or what would mentors in my life recommend? What do I have peace about? Plus, what are my skill sets? Instead of fear, the message of the book was just pick something, anything that is morally just, and begin there.
Lesson: It’s not about making the right choice, but trusting that the choice you make can be right when aligned with pure motives.
The Power of Place
“Sometimes the most significant thing you do is stay in a place.”
Despite what it seems like with all the fun Instagram travel photos and TV shows where people are always jet setting to lavish locations, one of the best things we could do is stay in a place. This is an extremely unpopular idea. But the idea of having roots in a place for generations, a history marked by stability. This book by Daniel Grothe offers up a way of life that will root us in community, in tradition. To know your neighbors and to be known by them–what a luxury. In this era of mobility, the gift of staying in one place is a gift less and less are known to have. This book is worth reading if you’re interested in staying somewhere for the long haul.
Lesson: Faithfulness often looks like living life with your neighbors and your community, living a quiet life of service.
Related Post: books and songs of spring 2022
Girl Meets God
“Faith is not about prepositions, but about commitment…Living the Christian life…is about a promise to believe even when you don’t.”
This isn’t the first Lauren Winner book I’ve read and it won’t likely be the last.
It was a memoir written in mini-essays about her faith journey. She was a Jew, who became Orthodox, and then converted to Christianity. Her perspective on the way rabbis read the Torah is incredible, and the way she writes is just wonderful. I loved learning about the Jewish holidays and how they relate to Christian ideas. Winner has such a compelling story between losing this community from her Orthodox life of faith to stepping into a Christian one. She does her own story justice. Her quote on faith being about commitment reminds me of a favorite Bonhoeffer quote: “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.” So often we think our feelings are what keep the relationship going, but no, our commitment is what keeps the relationship going, and that’s how it is with faith.
Lesson: Journeying with God is not for the fainthearted, and yet He draws us closer anyway.
At Home in Mitford
“Sorrow and joy, he thought, so inextricably entwined that he could scarcely tell where one left off and the other began.”
I gave this book 5 stars. I never give books 5 stars. It was that good to me. This book gave me a small town with lovable characters, faith, humor, and a dash of romance. It was practically perfect for me. I feel like this is the grown up version of Anne of Green Gables. It has the same feel, but it’s a different universe. Anne is in Canada and Mitford is in the South. I couldn’t recommend this book enough if you’re a believer looking for a fiction book with a lovable main character.
Lesson: In everything, prayer.
I do read books that are not faith related, but the books I love most remind me of God and how to walk with Him. If you are interested in some non faith related books, I have Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang (a reread for me), The Red Queen series, Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.
Wishing you happy reading, friends!