Twelve Great Reads for Your Summer
Here are my top picks for inspirational reading this summer. (And don’t miss our four-book Summer Giveaway Bundle! Details below.)
Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha
I can’t stop talking about this book. It’s one of my very favorite faith memoirs. Ever.
I can see how you might think I’m biased; Michelle DeRusha is a dear friend. 🙂 So if you don’t believe me, believe what the Library Journal has to say in its new review of the book.
The Library Journal says Michelle is “reminiscent of Anne Lamott” and calls Spiritual Misfit “one of the most appealing spiritual memoirs of the last several years. … This book deserves readers well beyond church reading groups. It will speak to the lives of many individual seekers within Christianity and without.”
Find “Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith” here.
Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray
I have been a longtime fan of Bonnie’s blog. And now, she tells her story, in this compelling new book. It’s on my nightstand right now.
“How many of us find ourselves exhausted, running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God? Bonnie Gray knows exactly what that’s like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, Bonnie’s plans suddenly went off script. Her life shattered into a debilitating journey through anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. But as she struggled to make sense of it all, she made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace.”
Find “Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest” here.
The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow (with) Cindy Coloma
I’ve been waiting … to tell you about “The Waiting.” This book. Oh yeah, … this is an unforgettable true story of faith, forgiveness and love.
“In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and given up for adoption. For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter; she kept loving and praying for her, even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later, when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won’t bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka’s phone would ring. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets.”
For a sneak peek, watch this short story about Minka, which appeared on The TODAY Show.
Find “The Waiting: The True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up” here.
Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker
I have told everyone I know about this book. It’s a book for anyone who is a mom, or anyone who’s had a mom. Which means, it’s a book for all of us! This book has received outstanding reviews, and is a must-read for you this summer.
Lisa-Jo is the social media manager for DaySpring and the community manager of the company’s website, www.incourage.me, an online home for millions of women the world over. And she’s a brilliant writer.
“Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.
Set partly in South Africa and partly in the US (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect—it’s about being present.”
Find “Surprised by Motherhood” here.
Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga
You’ll have to wait a few weeks for this one. But you can preorder or add it to your wish-list on Amazon, for a mid-summer read. I have not read Emily’s book, but will be picking this one up for sure, come July. Emily is a fantastic writer with a soul-stirring message.
“Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents’ rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else–anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time–in the place she least expected it.”
Early readers are giving it great reviews. Liz Curtis Higgs calls the book “brilliant and beautiful.”
Add this one to your wish list: “Atlas Girl.”
Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch
This is the story of a woman who said yes, even when it all seemed a bit too crazy — a bit too far out of one’s comfort zone. But this is also the story of a woman who learned how the magic happens when your faithful YES takes you FAR outside of your comfort zone. Because that’s where God does some really amazing work — outside of our “safe” places.
I was inspired, challenged and moved deeply by this book. I have been following Kristen Welch online for years, and this is the shining jewel of her written work. This is a book for any of us who wants to know that her one life matters.
Find “Rhinestone Jesus” here.
Found by Micha Boyett
Oh. This book. I needed this book at a time when life felt crazy. Her words slowed me down, made me pause, and helped me see better. Five stars…
Found is “a story of questions, grace and everyday prayer.” Micha writes: “My first year of motherhood I lost prayer…”
“I lost early mornings of quiet, mornings in my pajamas with a Bible in my lap, mornings when I spoke my mind’s chaos into God’s ear and let the chaos come back ordered, holy sealed. I lost peace. I lost clarity and certitude. My faith was never perfect before my son was born, but somewhere in that first year, somewhere in my distraction and exhaustion, I lost the Spirit-life I had known. I blamed myself.”
Pick up “Found” here.
Join the “Found” community online with the hashtag #foundgrace.
Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming
I love this book. I encountered God on every page. I’m so delighted to tell you that the (in)courage Bloom Book Club is leading a study of this book over here. The study starts May 26.
“Do you ever wonder what your future holds? As ministry leader Jean Fleming began pondering how she could serve God with more purpose, she created Pursue the Intentional Life, a book that will help you discover how God’s promises and instructions contain just what you need for the unknown days ahead.
Whether you are facing the end of something in your life, or embarking on a new beginning, this book will help you live meaningfully and intentionally in the present while preparing well for the future.”
Pursue the Intentional Life is available here.
Beautiful on the Mountain: An Inspiring True Story by Jeannie Light
I haven’t read this book, but am picking it up for my summer reading, based on the high recommendation of a friend whom I trust. This is book, just released this month, and is part of our giveaway, below.
“If you enjoyed the classic novel Christy and the bestselling Mitford series, then you’ll love Beautiful on the Mountain, a real-life tale about serving God in unlikely circumstances. In 1977, Jeannie Light left her fine plantation home amid heartbreak and came to Graves Mill, a tiny hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Alone in an utterly new kind of life, Jeannie was determined to find the courage to make a fresh start. To Jeannie’s surprise, she found herself called upon by her new neighbors to open the old, deteriorated country church, a place that had once united the fractured community of mountain folk. With no training, and no small amount of trepidation, she undertook the task. And as she embarked on an unforeseen series of adventures, from heartbreaking to hilarious, Jeannie would learn more than she ever expected about faith, loving your neighbor, and doing the work that God sets in front of you. Because sometimes, God calls us to go where there is no path . . . and leave a trail.”
“Beautiful on the Mountain” is available here.
Parting the Waters by Jeanne Damoff
I first read this book in 2009, and couldn’t put it down. I’m picking it up again this summer. This true story is achingly beautiful — one you won’t want to miss.
“When a tragic drowning accident leaves fifteen-year-old Jacob in a coma, the faith of his family and community is shaken. Medical experts used phrases like persistent vegetative state and said Jacob would never wake up. Without sugar-coating the realities of pain and suffering, Parting the Waters presents the heart-warming, true story of what can happen when a community rallies around one wounded family. While Jacob’s parents struggle to preserve their faith and family, the prayers and innovative efforts of community members result in Jacob’s gradual awakening. Each dramatic milestone in Jacob’s recovery creates a new ripple, touching and changing many lives forever.”
“Parting the Waters: Finding Beauty in Brokenness” is available here.
Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler
Jennifer Fulwiler is smart, hilarious, and incredibly talented. Her new book just released and is already getting rave reviews. Author Dean Koontz writes: “This heartfelt book is a lovely account of a spiritual journey and a charming memoir. The author’s epiphanies are wonderfully conveyed and will resonate with readers.”
Jennifer was raised in a “happy atheist home,” and converted to Christianity, the religion that she had reviled. “Just when Jennifer had a profound epiphany that gave her the courage to convert, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition-and the only treatment was directly at odds with the doctrines of her new-found faith. Something Other Than God is a poignant, profound and often funny tale of one woman who set out to find the meaning of life and discovered that true happiness sometimes requires losing it all.”
Find “Something Other Than God” here.
Love Idol … by Me 🙂
I’d love for you to consider my book this year. This is my heart’s cry for all of us — that we would know we are already loved and approved by a God who went to unimaginable lengths to prove it. You are preapproved. In Him, you really are enough.
Love Idol is available here.
A Summer Giveaway Bundle
One lucky winner will receive a package of these four books. Another winner will receive an autographed copy of Love Idol, along with an exclusive “PreApproved” necklace designed by Krafty Kash Designs. Simply use the Rafflecopter below to try for a chance to win. The two winners will be announced on Wednesday morning.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What’s on your summer reading list? Share your recommendations in the comments.