16 Books I read in 2016

I’m getting a little audacious to make this an annual thing, but maybe that’s because that’s the title of the very first book I read this year.

(P.S. You can purchase the book by clicking the photo!)

1.) Audacious by Beth Moore

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Read my review of Audacious here.

2.) I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

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I am all about some girl power.  And while many believe gender inequality has been provided to all, there are still so many girls who need to be empowered.  Girls who have believed in themselves because one girl did, named Malala.  Malala’s story is eye-opening, touching, and moving.  Yes, I’m a little behind on this book trend, but I would give this book to any girl 10 and up for them to know what a privilege it is to be educated and what some girls go through just to learn.

3.) Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler

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Read my review of one of my favorite books I’ve read in a while here.

4.)  Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

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Behind on the book trends again, I know.  I grew up in a world where the word “feminism” was overwhelmingly hushed.  I was a little fearful of finding this book to be an angry feminist ranting about the Church and faith I love, but I absolutely loved this book.
Sarah Bessey shares of story of growing up in a gender neutral world, then navigating moving to the States and being placed under societal norms of the roles of men and women in the Church.  Read it and let me know what you think.

5.) The Sabbath by Abraham Heschel

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This is anything but a light read.  A Rabbi shares traditions and stories passed down within his family, along with principles within Jewish tradition that paint the picture of the deep value of the Sabbath.

6.) Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs

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Read my review of Looking for Lovely here.  Also, this summer I was invited by Annie to come attend a weekend in Nashville, TN walking through all of her important places from this book.  Annie is forever throwing a party for Jesus and it was a joy to be a part of.

7.) A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

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This was the first and one of the only books I could read following losing my Dad suddenly.  C. S. Lewis shares his very real and raw thoughts and wrestlings following having lost his wife to cancer. It put words to a lot of the depths I was feeling and if you have ever grieved anyone, read it.

8.)  A Heart Like His by Beth Moore

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This is a Beth Moore Bible Study on the life of David.  I loved how she brought David’s life to light and made it so real and relatable.  It can be done as a daily Bible Study as the chapters are around 4 or 5 chapters, but I got sucked in and just didn’t really want to sit it down as Beth made David feel like my best friend, she just made him so real.  I’ve since bought it for multiple friends.

9.)  Life Together in Christ by Ruth Haley Barton

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I am a big Ruth Haley Barton fan.  In this book, she highlights the value of Biblical Community using the story of Jesus’ appearances on the Emmaus Road. She wrote so many truths from this passage I hadn’t thought of before and made beautiful connections between this account in the gospels and the modern Christian life.  This is a great resource on the value of other believers in the Christian life.

10.) Conversion & Discipleship by Bill Hull

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This was required reading for a seminary class this fall, but I really loved it.  Bill Hull explained so well that walking with believers does not end once they come to know Christ, but that is only the beginning, highlighting both parts of the Great Commission.  Great read!

11.) Transformational Discipleship by Eric Geiger and Michael Kelley

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This book was similarly a book for a seminary class, but I enjoyed its very practical principles of discipleship presented.  The authors focused on how growth takes place in the life of a believer through various stories of individuals’ transformation.  Also a good read!

12.) Teenage Girls by Ginny Olson

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While we’re on the topic of seminary books, I absolutely loved this one.  While it is a little dated, the modern psychological research included sets this book far above many I have read on ministering to teenage girls.  It did a great job of discerning what ministers should encourage parents to reinforce in each stage and issue of teenage girls’ development and what is important for the minister to recognize.  I would say this is a must read for anyone who works with teenage girls!

13.) Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

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This book put words to transformation in my life I had just experienced or was currently undergoing.  I immediately felt like I could better explain myself through beautiful metaphors and stories used in this book.  I have continued to reference it since I’ve read it and bought it for multiple friends.  This book is all about showing up even when you’re imperfect and I think we all need to do so much more of it.

14.) Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

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I listened to this book on Audible, which I would highly recommend.  Lauren Graham shares her story of how she so deeply identified with the character of Lorelai Gilmore in my favorite TV Show Gilmore Girls.  She watched every season and talked about what was going on in her life.  She shared a little about Parenthood and the shared more about the Revival with interesting details and beautiful stories in between.  Y’all these are my shows and I loved this.

15.) The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

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I mean, just read this.

16.) Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller

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This was a good read for this Christmas, as Tim Keller highlighted many of the not so romantic details about the story of the night in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  He beautifully wove a good deal of Old Testament anecdotes and details and did a great job of bringing the story to life while shedding a great deal of new light on typically overlooked pieces of the story.


So those are my reads from this year.  Comment below with yours!  Also, click FOLLOW in the left column for book reviews hot of the presses.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Review of Audacious by Beth Moore

I feel like this idea of living “audaciously” or being brave is really popular amongst Christian women right now. I’m not sure why exactly. Why for such a time as this are we choosing to be brave? But I have found myself in circles and Bible studies and reading blogs all surrounding the same topic, being brave.

I wasn’t sure which angle Audacious was going to take along those lines. If you visit my “RESOURCES” page, you will very quickly discover that I am extremely biased when it comes to Beth Moore. I love listening to her, have fallen in love with so many of her Bible Studies, and look up to her in so many ways (namely- holding to her southern roots 😉).

I will honestly say that at first I was scared I wouldn’t like this book. I had high expectations for a Beth Moore book and wasn’t so sure at first. My first problem is that my copy was written in green font and I have terrible vision. But second, I felt like this was just an explanation of what a audacious life looks like and why it’s important. And in my brokenness and emptiness and inability to have time to do laundry, better yet change the world, I was ready to close this book. But it was Beth, so I kept going and I’m so thankful I did.

I love Beth’s power when she writes. I love the beauty in very strong statements made about God. I literally drew 19 hearts in the margin of my copy.

“Freedom is telling God what we desperately want. Trust is asking Him to change our want if gaining it would poison us.”

And as I was beginning to fall in love with the message on these pages, I tweeted Beth about this book review to come and she responded with these ever so anointed words:

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Just Jesus.

So once I got past the clutter of being tired of hearing about bravery when I felt like I had none to give, I reached my favorite part of the book. Beth dives into our unmet needs and our hurts that keep us from living an audacious life and how they must be sat down at the feet of Jesus. I loved the way she worded these scars that “dull the glorious inside of every one of us,” as she beautifully elaborated on some of her own scars.

Here. Here in this chapter I could get on board. I didn’t feel like this bravery was something I needed to muster up anymore, but this audacity was found in letting Jesus love me extravagantly and claiming the power that is mine as His daughter.

So I’ve summarized this book into one sentence:
We cannot audaciously live and love until we’ve accepted the audacious life that has given us audacious love.

And in the last few chapters, Beth reached the most beautiful point of all- Jesus is our adventure to be enjoyed. And I’m so thankful I kept reading to close the back cover in love with Jesus all over again.

So purchase Audacious. I would recommend trying to purchase it on Audible and listen. That way you hear the power in Beth’s voice you shouldn’t miss out on and there’s no font color to worry about.

Don’t give up. Don’t stop reading until you reach that back cover completely in love with Jesus all over again.

To all of the women being challenged to be brave feeling like you have little to offer- I pray you catch the vision that the bravery we are called to is not necessarily social change, ending world hunger, etc. though it very well may be. The bravery we are called to is loving someone who has hurt us, choosing not to talk about that person who crossed us, saying yes to being that Sunday school teacher, classroom mom, or small group leader, talking to that person sitting alone at lunch or at church, loving or choosing to believe tomorrow will be better. These acts of bravery, though not creating a Netflix documentary, are all the same impactful and important.

We are all seeking a grand adventure but sometimes it just means saying yes to what’s in front of us.

Live audaciously. Love audaciously. But first, receive audacious love and life even in your most tender of wounds.