2012 has been quite a year. Never in my life have I had a year so full of adventures, the unexpected, pain, and spiritual growth. It has also been a year of amazing books. Most years I read some good books, even a few really good books. However, this year I have found some truly awesome books. Hence, I am writing this post. Hence you should really go out and buy at least one of them. ;) I even linked the titles of the books to the book on Amazon. There, now you have no excuses. You can surely spend around $10 for a life change, right? (and no, I am not getting paid in any way for any of this. :P)
1. Grace for the Good Girl--This is one of those books that, only about three chapters in, I was trying to sell to people. (I was reading it during my time with Generations of Virtue). I was also left wondering, how on earth did she know what is going on inside of me?? I smiled, I laughed a bit--I almost cried. And my life is changing, because I read this book. How? Well, she first goes through and talks about the many "masks" we "good girls" hide behind. We hide behind our fake "fine, we hide behind our many acts of service, we hide behind our spiritual disciplines.... hiding, always hiding. We are, in essence, religious. Living out of the law, not grace. She helps to gently show you where you are hiding, and then invites you out of your hiding and into God's amazing grace. You are left feeling more inspired to love and serve God, not less. But not because you HAVE to, not so that everyone else will think you are all that--simply because you love Him and you are so, so thankful for grace. And in that grace, you are safe. (Now my sister Hannah is reading it, and even though she's not done yet, she is already planning on buying for several people. And we made a list of over 60 girls and moms who need to read it. I'm not kidding when I say this-- if you are a girl, buy it. :D)
2. Gold by Moonlight--this one has helped me countless times this year in times when it all just seemed too hard, too painful. She is one that has walked on a painful road--she knows how it is. And, having faithfully gone on before on this path, she offers a way out. Not out of suffering, but out of wrong focus. She turns your eyes upon Jesus. She helps you to know how to get the most out of hard times. It is a very unique and fun to read book, too. Each chapter begins with a picture--a dark wood, a ravine, snow, lilies--and she draws from each image a lesson in suffering well. You just read wherever your need is... it doesn't need to be read in a particular order.
3. The Three Battlegrounds--this book is not kidding when it says in-depth. It is relatively short, but it is jam-packed full of helpful, biblical information. It connected a lot of dots for me, helped me to know better what was happening to me and in the world, gave me direction in my prayers and interactions with others, and so much more. It's one of those books that is underlined and stared and written all over with many colors--I just keep rereading it. I really like how it says that our focus should not be on spiritual warfare, but on Jesus.
4. The Pursuit of God--I literally just finished this one today. :D I've known about it for a long time, and read bits here and there... but I was given this book at the completion of J127, so I finally just read it. And wow... now I know why it's a classic and all that. He did such an amazing job of clearing away misconceptions, showing how beautiful a relationship with God can be, explaining how it all works, and so much more. It's rather difficult to describe. But it's another book that I'll be reading for a while yet... probably the rest of my life or something like that. ;)
5. The Pursuit of Holiness--This is a very practical book. Which, considering the topic, is extremely rare--and helpful!! He does a brilliant job of describing God's part and our part and how they work together, what holiness actually is, and lots of other things I've wondered about.