Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dive into Summer Reading (For Spiritual Encouragement)

Busy moms who serve cross-culturally are hard-pressed to make time for reading, don’t you think? Too many demands vie for our time: caring for our families, ministry, and maybe homeschool. If you’re like me, the internet sucks you in when you have a free moment.

But reading is a great way to invest in yourself spiritually. The physical act of sitting down for some “me-time” with a book is healthy. Books can also nourish our souls while we’re struggling to worship and listen to sermons in a new language. I don’t know what the spiritual environment is where you serve, but where I am in the Middle East, discouragement abounds, and opportunities for spiritual encouragement can be few and far between. Christian books open a door to spiritual refreshment and growth for me.

The slower pace of summer makes finding time to read easier, so I thought it would be fun if we shared book recommendations. Here are three books I read in the last year and three books I want to read. I hope you’ll complete this post by leaving a comment to recommend a book that might encourage the rest of us!
Three Spiritually Encouraging Books I Read Last Year:
If you’re working on a goal or trying to make a change in your life, this 52 page e-book will inspire you. Each of the 21 brief chapters starts with a motivational scripture and encourages you to take one baby step towards your goal.

I can’t say enough about this book. Lysa shares honest, personal stories about daily life challenges that threaten to send her off the deep end. It made me feel like I’m not alone. The book offers healthy alternatives for processing emotions. (Are you a stuffer or an exploder?) It’s full of practical wisdom on handling conflict.

Believing God by Beth Moore
Written in a relaxed, conversational style, this book makes you feel like you’re listening to Beth Moore speak. She shares personal anecdotes as well as examples from scripture. Beth challenges us to combat negative self-talk by asking God to renew our faith and by proclaiming His truth to ourselves.
What I’d like to Read Next:

What about you?  Can you recommend a book you’ve read lately? What else do you do for spiritual encouragement on the field?


  1. Thanks for the recommendations, Betsy! It is always good to hear from someone who has read something because there is so much material out there that can be hard to sort through.

    Two books that I would highly recommend that I've read recently are:

    Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, by Paul David Trip

    Respectable Sins, by Jerry Bridges

    Honestly, I wouldn't say that the second one was "fun" to get through - it was very convicting! But it took my self-examination so much further so I could enter in to deeper fellowship with the Lord. The first one is all about personal ministry to others, whether that be in your home or beyond.

    What has been really refreshing and motivating to me recently has been reading biographies with my sons every night. We've been going through a series that YWAM has published, and we've loved the stories of Hudson Taylor, Corrie Ten Boom, Amy Carmichael, Gladys Alward, etc. etc. My boys cannot wait to read more and ask a million questions during the reading! It is so encouraging to my soul to read about those men and women of faith who have gone before us and how their love for Christ impacted so many lives. And I love how my boys get into it as well.

    1. totally agree that respectable sins is a challenging and powerfully convicting read!

  2. i just finished reading "now you see me" - the story of kathy sanders and her journey to forgiveness. she lost two grandsons in the bombing of the murrah building in OKC back in '95 - and eventually became friends with terry nichols and his family. the writing is a bit cumbersome and sometimes comes off as just shy of arrogant, but her story and her testimony of God's grace is a compelling one, well worth the read.

    i'm also reviewing a book on preparing your teens for college and just finished proofreading a bible study on hebrews called "enduring faith" for the author (a former college roomie and long-time friend). so far, i'm finding both to be great reads.

    on my list of stuff to read is a whole bunch of ESL/ELL preparation and required readings to prepare a "philosophy on christian education" for my teaching certification update. :-) that doesn't include my list of purely fun stuff to read, either. since i love to read, my bookshelf is my nightstand! :-)

    1. Richelle, what's the name of the book on preparing teens for college? I'm curious...


  3. Thanks for the suggestions! I just finished Francis Chan's "Forgotten God," and am in the middle of "The Spirit-Filled Church" by Terry Virgo.

    1. Do you have connections with New Frontiers, Chrysti? Terry Virgo caught my attention.

  4. Love seeing your book recommendations. I'm with Jen. There's so much out there. It's good to hear what others have read, especially living overseas, I find it harder to keep up.

  5. Climbing- Rosalind Goforth
    These Strange Ashes- Elisabeth Elliot
    There's a Sheep in my Bathtub! - Brian Hogan
    The Problem with Pain- C. S. Lewis