One of the biggest perks of summer break is more time to spend with my nose in a book! I am a voracious reader, and, while there is no rhyme or reason as to what I like to read, historical fiction, specifically World War II, and suspense seem to dominate my Kindle. Lately, however, my emotions have been slightly out of whack. Family illness and death, overwhelming home repairs, and bittersweet feelings about my last baby finishing preschool have had me weepy and desperately in need of a little soul nourishment. Prayer is so powerful at keeping priorities straight and emotions in check, but sometimes I just need a little guidance as to what I should really be praying for! I’m excited to share with you some reads in my current rotation. These three books have been invaluable at helping keep my joy intact during this season filled with so many stressors!
Where do I start with this book?! Precious Lysa TerKeurst and her infinite words of wisdom have opened my eyes and reached deep into my soul to show me a scripture-based approach to keeping my emotions from running away from me. The truth is, this isn’t usually a problem for me. Most people would probably describe me as a very reserved girl who is pretty even-keeled. When we get enough on our plates, though, even the most steady of us are bound to waiver a little here and there, and we can all use reminders on how to regain our balance. More importantly, Uninvited provides insight into the struggles others may be going through and helps hone our empathy and compassion skills. That’s why I immediately devoured this book…and then read it again!
The honest and transparent vulnerability Lysa shows is admirable and lends credibility to the often-shunned category of “self help” books. Don’t let the title and cover description deter you. The concept of rejection and handling such feelings is indeed at the core of this book, but it is not only for those who have been abandoned or feel left out. Her take on basic human nature shows us the tools for maintaining healthy coping skills and learning the courage to extend grace and forgiveness because we really never know what others might be going though. A review on her website points out “[i]f you are searching for hope, this book has exactly what you need.”
In this excerpt, the author is referring to David’s Psalm 23:
David started this stunning soul declaration with the assurance that with God there is fullness. There is no lack. Nothing can be added or subtracted with human acceptance or rejection. With the fullness of God, we are free to let humans be humans — fickle and fragile and forgetful…The peace of our souls does not rise and fall with unpredictable people or situations. Our feelings will shift, of course. People do affect us. But the peace of our souls is tethered to all that God is. And though we can’t predict His specific plans, the fact that God will work everything together for good is a completely predictable promise.”
Pretty good stuff, right? I have gifted this book to several friends, and I recommend it to anyone who…well, really, just to anyone!
Perhaps one of my most favorite Sunday morning hymns is “It is Well With My Soul.” Although it is often used in times of grieving, this song is relevant to any situation in which we need to remind ourselves that peace within our souls will get us through any adversity we face. In How’s Your Soul, Judah Smith explores how to cultivate a healthy soul in the midst of this season of busyness most of us have found ourselves in. Sure we take time to make it to spin class and we make sure to buy hormone-free, organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and we make it a point to invest as much into our 401k as possible, all in efforts to “take care of ourselves.” Important, yes, but often we are overlooking the part of us that most needs nurturing — our souls. The shape of our bodies or bank accounts won’t matter much when our souls are deprived, and this lighthearted book shows us that only by living intentionally to seek God’s truth will we truly experience peace and find that it is indeed well with our souls. I LOVE this book!
I’m a sucker for a good parenting book, and the timing was just right with this one. My son recently turned eight. He is wise beyond his years in so many ways and quite strong-willed, but he is a sensitive boy. A big heart is always a blessing and a curse, and I feel it is my job to help my son see this as the gift it truly is.
This book points out the innate need in males for not only love but also respect from an early age. Parental authority need not overlook this basic need to “see the man in the boy”; rather, coupled with a large dose of love, respect can bring much peace to both your son and you! What I love about this book is that it focuses not necessarily on “parenting,” but on strengthening our relationships with our sons. It’s easy to get caught up in getting through the day, with occasional reminders of manners and etiquette, without really stopping to connect with our children. I’m not saying to be their friend; they all desperately need and want the guidance of our parenting, even if they don’t know it! But as this book points out, showing respect is essential to not only their own self-respect, but to meeting our sons’ basic needs. Mother & Son is a great read for all boy moms!