The power of the written word to encourage, strengthen and to shower us with hope! Growing up, I had so many fears that I was afraid to turn to anyone to help. So, at first, I turned to a friend that would not reject–BOOKS! After diving into reading, I realized that I was not alone and that it was okay to ask others for help (part of the process) to overcome my struggles.
As I think back, my love for reading started in my early teens. One of the first books I read was, Hind’s Feet on High Places. It is an amazing allegory about the character, Much-Afraid, ascending to new heights (NEW HOPE). It took me on the journey and filled me with hope! It gave me peace that I could make it through life…these difficult years…that I was not alone.
Charles “Tremendous” Jones said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
Talk about words full of powerful that burst with HOPE of a better future. People and books. Simple! Encouraging! Life-changing! This empowered me to read great books and surround myself with people that would encourage and sharpen me as a person. Life can be confusing and messy at times and we can get lost on what direction to take. Books became my life-source to help me make it through the rough times, the trying times, the times of just figuring out where I belonged in this world and what purpose did I have.
So I thought as we embark on another year, I would share some books I have loved. Resources that have helped me and are on my shelf. Some now live on other sojourners shelves…and hopefully, one day they will pass them on to help another too.
One thing I have learned to do before opening up any cover (fiction, non-fiction, religion,…), is to ask the Lord to give me wisdom and discernment. For Him to show me what I need to learn and to also help me know if something is from Him or not. I ask for His protection to not be fooled by anything or anyone. For Him to guide me in His Truth.
Lord, I Want To Be Whole by Stormie Omartian and Bringing Back the Joy by Sheila Walsh are life-changers and hope-fillers! Also, Honestly by Sheila Walsh helped me to be, well, honest with myself and real with others.
Just love Jackie Kendall! She has so many awesome reads for girls and women. Recently, Jackie released another version of Lady in Waiting for Moms and daughters. This book is one of my favorites that I read in grad school. It helped me to focus on my personal growth and character development and not on “not having a boyfriend.” In changing my focus on learning, I was able to enjoy people more, feel more comfortable around others and form healthy friendships.
Also, in my journey, I learned to dive into the Word of God and receive the Truth and healing that only Jesus Christ can give through the power of the Holy Spirit. At first, Scripture was only words to me, it was hard to believe that I was “wonderfully made” and that God’s thoughts towards me were “precious” (Psalm 139). However, as I read from the Bible, I grew stronger and was able to believe in Truth. In addition, I have always loved the daily devotional, My Utmost For His Highest . It challenges me and helps me to start my day off on a positive note (with truth on my mind, heart, and spirit).
I had the opportunity to hear Leanne Payne speak and read her book, Restoring The Christian Soul (definitely life impacting!). It opened my eyes to the power of Jesus Christ in my life. So grateful to have been able to glean from such a wise lady!
Since the passing of my nephew, Eli, Heaven Is For Real has been such a blessing to me and my family. I was not able to put the book down until I read the last page. Even then, I wanted more! Love this book and I would encourage anyone that has had a love one (especially a child), die, to read this book. It is filled with such hope of the reality of heaven and details of the afterlife.
I refer to concepts in Drawing With Children for my art classes. I can always apply the elements of shape to every lesson plan. Love this book to help students recognize/see the lines, angles, and other shapes in artwork.
As an artist, I like looking at and reading magazines that keep me inspired and encouraged to “think big” and to “dream”. These are on my nightstand. The stories of creativity, perseverance and dedication in Where Women Create and Studios keep me energized and in the creative spirit. Elements in nature, especially, from the coast and country keep my mind flowing with ideas. So grateful for the artist that have encouraged me by sharing their stories. Taking the time for myself to be refreshed gives me the courage to keep creating.
Well, I could go on with so many magnificent books that have blessed me in my journey! If you find you are at need with finding a great read to encourage you, please feel free to drop me a line or two. I would be so glad to assist!