One of my new year’s solutions was to read at least 5 new books within the year. Looking back at 2018, I didn’t read many books besides my Bible and school textbooks. Recently, I have learned that while there is obviously no substitute for Scripture, Christian literature helps to enhance learning and revelation.
By the beginning of March, I accomplished my goal... and then some! I have continued to add to my “books I’ve read in 2019” list. I’ve “read” 5 new books and 2 books were rereads that I wanted a refreshed perspective.
I put the word “read” in quotations because sitting down to read a book is hard in the midst of my fast-paced, college lifestyle. When I do have down time, I normally want to spend time with family or sleep to catch up on rest. I reevaluated how I was spending my time and noticed that I used a lot of time driving to and from campus. I decided to use my nifty-difty bluetooth aux in my car and listen to audiobooks. Through the Bellevue bookstore, I’m able to “read” many books as I drive.
She writes, “If I were your enemy, I’d disguise myself and manipulate your perspectives so that you’d focus on the wrong culprit—your husband, your friend, your hurt, your finances, anything or anyone except me. Because when you zero in on the most convenient, obvious places to strike back against your problems, you get the impression you’re fighting for something. Even though all you’re really doing is just . . . fighting. For nothing.”
Fervent highlights the power of prayer and the “how-to” behind strategic, battleground prayer. One of my favorite things about this book was that Priscilla was the voice reading her book! It helped to emphasize her original meaning. There was definitely more of an awareness of spiritual warfare after reading this book.
The next book I “read” was Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. I have read 7 Men and 7 Women by Metaxas, and I absolutely LOVE the way he writes! His books are what spurred on my love for biographies! The “student edition” was the only one offered via audiobook, but I really enjoyed the wording and stories.
Bonhoeffer takes you into the life of a man who made a huge impact on the world. In the midst of the Holocaust, Bonhoeffer skillful and strategically played his role as a “paster, martyr, prophet, and spy.” This was an excellent read!
Next on my list was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I loved listening to this audiobook because Gary Chapman himself reads to book with his personal inflections and emphasis.
While this specifically highlights a husband and wife relationship, I have been able to use my knowledge about the love languages toward others—like a parent, sibling, or friend. It’s fun to figure out someone’s love language. For example, my mom’s love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service. When I really want to show that I appreciate her, I should clean out the dishwasher or fold the piles of laundry, and when I’m done, I should leave an encouraging note for her to read. This was a challenging and encouraging read!
I LOVE Amy Carmichael! Her story is sweet and special. This book—If— was a quick read! In fact, I “read” through it twice! It is a poem-sort of book, leading with “If... than I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If my attitude be of fear, not faith, about the one who has disappointed me; if I say 'Just what I expected,' if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
“If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind work, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
She would only break from the beautiful repetition for little nuggets like these: “For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.” How beautiful! Am I filled with sweet water that overflows? Or do I easily become impatient or angered when life kicks—and kicks hard.
Kisses from Katie was a reread for me. I read it back in middle school or early high school because a friend encouraged me too. I didn’t remember all about it except for a few certain stories, so I decided I would read it again!
This wasn’t exactly the safest book to read while I drove to and from campus because it often moved me to tears in each chapter. Kisses from Katie highlights Katie’s story of being a missionary in Africa with a house-full of adopted daughters. She wrote, “Adoption is the gospel in my living room.” What a beautiful picture!
She would share life stories, and what she learned from each of them. In one scenario she said, “The children would run to me with gifts of stones or dirt, and I saw myself filthy and broken offering my life to the God of the Universe & begging him to make it into something beautiful.”
My first “actual” book this year was a good one—The Release of the Spirit by Watchman Nee. I read this book as an “assignment” for my discipleship group, but WOW, did I have so many valuable take-aways!
This book focuses on the outward man (fleshly emotions and opinions or a person) and the inward man (the Spirit’s working in our lives). We must experience brokenness in order to live in the fullness of the spirit-filled life.
“Before the outward man is broken, you are occupied with your own things. You walk in your own way. You love your own people. If God wants to use your love in loving the brethren, He must first break your outward man. This love of yours is thereby enlarged.”
Finally, I the second physical book I have read this year is The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer. This is another reread from when I read it the first time in 8th grade. Every time I read this book, it’s humbling, and it was encouraging to read it with my discipleship group!
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” This book highlights key attributes of God, yet however much we know through Scripture or personal Spirit-experience, we can’t even grasp the majesty and awesomeness of our God! God is ever-eternal, ever-merciful, and ever-sovereign.
As he challenges our broken church at the beginning and the end of the book, he says, “Acquaint yourself with God.” That is the key to experience His glory and learn the depths of his character.
Honestly, I’m kind of surprised I was able to finish my goal of “5 new books in 2019” this spring... I even had 2 additional rereads! I value the wisdom I learn from these pages (or audio in my car haha!). Whether gleaning from a man’s life how to live boldly or a college-girl’s life of caring for her African daughters, learning how to pray and how often I fall short of Calvary’s Love, or sitting awestruck at God’s indescribable attributes, I am thankful for the blessing of reading. This short synopsis is SO surface level in comparison to the depth I’ve learned in these pages!
So now, school’s done, and summer’s here! I’m off to read my next book!