My to-read list always seems to be getting longer and longer, but for me the summer is when I can finally tackle some books I’ve been eager to read. And in case you’ve been looking for a good book (or several!) to encourage your heart here’s a few of my recent favorites in no particular order.
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Non-fiction Books and Bible Studies:
1. A Confident Heart by Renee Swope. Man oh man, did this book help me deal with some insecurity issues I didn’t even know how to tackle. It was an encouraging read that I actually read several years ago, but reread recently and gleaned so much from it both times I’ve read it!
2. Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. I think all of Lysa TerKeurst’s books are awesome, but this one is definitely my favorite. This book is great for anyone who struggles with eating in any capacity: for me it was turning to food (especially chocolate and other junk food) whenever I was bored, sad, angry, etc. Food is meant to nourish our body, not our emotions and the ache in our heart for something that only God can fill. An excellent and encouraging read that I’ve read a few times as well.
3. Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. This book is awesome for anyone dealing with a lack of peace in their heart, their mind, or their circumstances. This book will challenge you and encourage you in ways you didn’t even know you needed to be challenged and encouraged!
4. The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. If you’re looking for a Bible study to do with your small group or by yourself, add this to your list! It is so encouraging! I thought I already knew quite a bit about the armor of God when going through spiritual battles, but there’s always more to learn and you learn a lot from Priscilla!
5. Taming the To-Do List by Glynnis Whitwer. I joke that I put the pro in procrastinate and I procrastinated on reading this book and I wish I didn’t. I learned soooo much reading this book! About fears that keep me from tackling things on my to-do list. About focus and willpower and organization and yes, even procrastination. Whether you’re struggling with fear, busyness, overwhelm, procrastination or any other human trait that keeps you from accomplishing all you desire to accomplish, you need to read this book!
6. Me, Myself, and Lies: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Jennifer Rothschild. Similar to A Confident Heart, this book is great for anyone struggling with insecurities. This one is just more focused on the way we talk to ourselves, replacing the negative things and the lies we think about ourselves with God’s truthful and kind words. And as if the chapters aren’t packed with enough awesomeness and things to challenge and encourage your heart, each chapter ends with reflection questions and additional resources you can download from her website, making this an excellent book you could read with your small group or an accountability partner.
7. Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely by Holley Gerth. I love everything Holley has written, but this one sooo resonated with my heart that feels fearful much more often than fiercehearted. Every chapter is beautiful, encouraging, inspiring and inspirational. I wanted to savor every chapter, every word, but sometimes I found myself flying through the chapters, desperate for her truths and encouragement.
1. Embrace Me by Lisa Sampson. I find this book haunting and amazing and fabulous and so many adjectives I cannot describe it adequately. I could not put it down. The two main characters have their own wounds that lead to them hiding in shame in their own unique ways. The chapters alternate between their perspectives until finally we see their lives intersect and see a beautiful picture of how redemption is possible. I was captivated by the unique circus setting and the characters who are so well developed I did not want their story to end.
2. Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey. If you like romance and you like suspense, then you need to get your hands on each and every book in this series. Each book takes you on a journey with one of the McKenna siblings who has a mystery to solve, someone to fall in love with, and a flaw they must learn how to overcome by trusting in God.
3. Fairy Tale Romance Series by Melanie Dickerson. This Christy award winning series has each book retelling a fairy tale with a Christian theme interwoven. Beautiful stories, beautiful messages, great characters, I devoured the entire series.
4. A Lineage of Grace: Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity by Francine Rivers. I have enjoyed all of Francine River’s books, but this series was my favorite. There are five books in this series, one for each of the women mentioned in the lineage of Jesus. We experience the scandal and the struggles as well as the faith of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.
5. Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar. This is the story of the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. We have no idea what this woman was like, what her backstory was, but Tessa Afshar creates a compelling story starting from the woman’s childhood and continuing on after her encounter with Jesus that demonstrates the power of healing and redemption not just for the body, but for the heart as well.
There’s so many books I could have chosen, but I’m gonna end there. What books do you think I should have added? And which ones are you now planning to read?