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If you know me, then you know that I am one voracious reader! I have loved reading as far back as I can remember, am well known for reading while brushing my teeth (gotta take full advantage of available reading time, right?? 😉 ), and always read at least two or three books at once. 2015 was a year of some exceptionally fantastic book reading for me, and I am so excited to share with you today the top ten best books I read last year, which were such a blessing to me. So, here we go!
- Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford
This book was oh-so-good and oh-so-convicting, and I know that I already need to read through it again. I first got the book when Anna-who will be one next week!!-was only about a month old. It is all about coming to grasp with the detrimental affect our addiction to our phones, to technology, to social media, to perfectionism, to our to-do lists, etc. is having on our families and is depriving us of precious moments and memories with them. This book hurts your heart and then heals it all at once. Sadly, I know I need to read it again because of just how strong the pull can be everyday to things such as social media and the like as opposed to unplugging and instead getting down on the floor with my daughter and just playing and having fun with her. If you read one book this year on motherhood and proper priorities, have it be this one! So, so good.
I would have to say that of all the books I read this year, even the great books in this list, One Thousand Gifts takes the cake and can be given the title of “The Best Ever Book I read in 2015”! It is that good. If you could snag a sneak peak inside my copy, you would find brackets after brackets, tons of underlining, stars, and notes upon notes on just about every page. No other book spoke quite as powerfully to me in 2015 as did this one. So, what is it about? Written by a woman who has struggled with so much sadness and trial at various times in her life, a past of panic attacks, and who is a worrier by nature, One Thousand Gifts is about slowing down, looking around, and finding the little gifts the Lord graces us with each and every day of our lives-no matter what we are currently going through. It addresses issues such as: How can I love, trust, and embrace a God who allows bad things to happen?, How can I enjoy life right where I am in this hard moment?, How do I slow down and savor the everyday?, Is God trustworthy?, Why does He allow bad things to happen if He is such a loving God and in control of all things?, and much more. If you are looking for some much-needed encouragement or simply some tools to fight worry and anxiety and busyness in your life, then look no further! Get this book! Today! It is a must-read for sure. It will change your life!
This is the companion devotional to the book One Thousand Gifts and is such a great tool for infusing beauty, joy, and grace into your every day. While One Thousand Gifts itself is made up of full-length chapters, the devotional is comprised of 60 short 2-3 page devotionals with room to write prayers or to journal at the end of each one. This devotional would be the perfect tool for you to start each day off right! It contains snippets from One Thousand Gifts as well as completely new material, all designed to get your mind focused on the Lord and the goodness and beauty all around you each day. It is a great way to bring the truths of One Thousand Gifts fresh to your mind again, and to have it impact you day after day, long after you have finished reading the original book (though, really, One Thousand Gifts is one of those books which should be read at least once each year, I think!).
Can you see that I became a huge Ann Voskamp fan this year? 😉 I read this gem of a book this Christmas season, and let me tell you-it blessed my socks off! It is compiled of a daily reading from the Bible, a 2-3 page devotional, a daily quote and daily action point, and three questions to contemplate, for each day starting December 1 and going through December 25. It shows how the story of Christmas started way back at the beginning, before Adam and Eve ever sinned, and how, even before the fall, the Lord had us on His mind and was forming a plan to come for us, rescue us, save us, and love us. It is so touching and eye-opening as it traces the story and plan of Advent down through the OT stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Abraham, Rahab, and others. It encourages us and equips us with practical ways to slow down, savor, and soak up each moment of the Christmas season, to let go of the need for perfection and pinterest-perfect Christmases, and puts our focus and perspective where it should be-on the Lord and how, through Him, we might serve those around us at Christmas time and always. By all means consider getting this book before December 2016 and reading through it this Christmas season!
If you are familiar with the amazing, amazing (I literally cannot say enough good about it!) 2015 movie from Sherwood Pictures, War Room, then you are already familiar with fantastic Bible study teacher, Priscilla Shirer. She is the author of numerous books including the companion full-length book to the Jonah study, entitled Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected. To be honest, I have not quite yet finished this Bible study, but since I did start it and read through the majority of it in 2015, I just had to include it in this list. Let’s face it-life is unexpected sometimes and filled with wrenches thrown into our plans, unforeseen happenings, etc. If you are currently being unexpectedly faced with some new trial, tragedy, hard time, role, or priority that you did not plan for, then you need this book. Even if you are not currently finding yourself in that type of situation, you still would benefit from this great book, because your life may very well get interrupted in 2016! You will be greatly encouraged and given a fresh vision and perspective for this new plan the Lord has for your life.
This book should be on the shelf of every Christian wife and mother, and is another one that I plan to read through again. It covers everything from the beauty of God’s blueprint and plan for womanhood, what a Christian woman’s priorities are to be and their proper order, how to be your husband’s creative lover and greatest fan, and so, so much more. It also includes a Bible study and Bible reading plan in the back. Grab a copy of this book, ladies, and watch your marriage and family positively transform as you put into practice its Biblical principles!
This is one of the books I read during those many middle-of-the-night feeding sessions way back when Anna was a newborn, and it is certainly one I will be returning to again and again throughout my mothering journey. It is comprised of 31 short essays, each with a recommended action point at the end. It covers topics such as savoring everything about your baby, talking to your baby, feathering your nest with love, filling your heart with peace, recording the moments of love and laughter, holding tight to your baby’s hand and heart, being the best Mama God uniquely created you to be, and cultivating contentment. I believe it would be a great blessing and inspiration to any Mama’s heart!
This is another book I read during those many middle-of-the-night feeding sessions with newborn Anna, and is on my “to-read again and again” list, as well. It’s a short little read of many quick, easy-to-read essays, but is bursting with an abundance of wisdom and godly perspective when it comes to motherhood and all its stretching, sometimes overwhelming, and yet wonderful responsibilities. Be refreshed and have your vision renewed as you read about being a gracious Mama, me time, cranky children, when characteristics your child is portraying sound off the alarm bells, how the fruits of the spirit apply to your parenting, and much more. This book definitely belongs on every Mama’s shelf, as well. Written by a mama of -at the time- six little ones, it’s a treasure from someone who knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and to need encouragment as a Mama!
- Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life by Crystal Paine
This book should probably be at the top of your to-read list, as reading and implementing its wise, practical tips now will wonderfully transform the rest of your year! I read it back in November and am so glad I did, as it prepared, inspired, and drove me to have a productive, intentional 2016. It is chock-full of great, super helpful ways to determine what to say yes to and what to say no to in this new year, what your priorities ought to be and how to focus on them, how to make to-do lists and goals for your day, week, month, and year for every aspect of your life, how to stop trying to do it all by saying yes only to the best, how to be intentional with your bank account, manage the home front well, make a difference, and how to kick-start your success and not feel like a failure. I highly recommend it! Another thing I love about it is how Crystal shares with us her background story in it, how she has struggled with all of these issues herself, what she has learned, and how it has changed her life for the better. Super helpful for all wives and mamas, homemakers, bloggers, and home business owners, especially!
This, along with The Greatest Gift, was a study I did with a friend of mine this Christmas, and I am so glad I did! Through the lives of several OT folks such as Adam, Abel, Abraham, Esther, and Jonah, it shows how each of those OT characters were foreshadowings of Christ and how He was the truer and better of each of those people. The final week in the 4 week study centers around the characteristics of Christ Himself, and all that He is for us. This was such an eye-opening study and brought such meaning to my Christmas in 2015. Highly, highly recommended! All of the daily readings from the 28 days are free at the She Reads Truth website and app, but there is also a workbook that can be purchased, too, which is what my friend and I chose to get. Definitely consider getting it for yourself for Christmas 2016! It will revolutionize how you view Christmas and Advent and will truly bless your December!
Well, that is it, ladies! Those are the top ten books I read in 2015. 🙂 I truly believe you would be greatly blessed through reading them for yourself, and highly encourage you to consider doing so!
Thanks so much for reading, and be sure to check back at the end of this month, at which time I will be sharing with you the books I read in January! 🙂
And, finally, were there certain books you read last year which changed your life for the better? Please share them with me in the comments section-I’m always on the lookout for more great books! 🙂
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