I’ve always loved to read, and a few key books have truly changed the course of my life. But these days, as a busy stay-at-home mom to little ones, my reading time is much more limited than it ever has been. When I do have time to read, I do a little research on books before diving into them, because, as much as possible, I really need Scripture-soaked, doctrinally-solid encouragement in my limited time.
I have whittled down my list of summer “must-reads” to these titles. I chose these because of various areas I need to grow in personally, or because they cover a topic I am curious about and want to understand. I hope that you find some of these suggestions helpful for you, too.
- Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church
edited by Gloria Furman and Kathleen B. Nielson
I began this book a few weeks ago and got side-tracked by some other projects, but this book is at the top of my reading list for this summer. The first couple of chapters were phenomenal, and the book has already encouraged me to trust the power of God through His word to change the hearts of women within the context of ministry in my local church and through my blog. It seems to me that often the local church is outsourcing most of its women’s ministry to a handful of national figures and publishing companies, and while I have personally been blessed beyond measure by many prominent women’s Bible teachers, I find myself asking, “What is the role of women in local churches to whom God has given the gift of teaching?” And, “What are we missing out on in our local church bodies when we don’t cultivate the gifts and resources God has given our church?” I’m excited to mine the wisdom of the godly women who contributed to this book.
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart
by Tedd Tripp
When I was pregnant with my first child, I read this book, and it greatly impacted me, but who knows how many brain cells I have lost since then??! I need to re-read this one, and it is high on my summer reading list. Of all the parenting books I have read, this has hands-down been my favorite, as well as the book most often recommended to me by other moms. This book is a must-read for Christian parents.
I deeply appreciate John Piper’s love for the word of God, which is undoubtedly why his teaching and preaching is so effective and powerful. In this book, he reminds the reader that God’s glory is revealed through His word, and that through His word the Spirit opens our eyes to see Him. This may be the most “technical” book on my list, but my brother (who knows me well:) recommended it to me and says that it will be well worth it!
- Praying the Bible
by Donald Whitney
Do you desire to pray more often and with increased effectiveness? But have you ever sat down to pray and felt like you didn’t know how to really “enter” into prayer? I often feel this way. I am more confident in prayer, however, when I pray Scripture, because I know I’m using God’s vocabulary, asking and praising on His terms, and washing my own spirit in the cleansing water of the word. I am looking forward to learning from Whitney on how to more effectively pray the Scriptures. I have already bought this book; it’s about 100 pages and looks to be a straightforward and encouraging read.
- A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty
by Joni Eareckson Tada
This book comes highly recommended by several friends. The author is a quadriplegic (the result of a diving accident when she was young) and writes about pain, suffering, and…..God. If you’ve ever felt like you just.can’t.go.on in your current circumstances, especially for those facing chronic physical pain, I think this book will be a great help to you. I also recommend her book “When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty.”
- The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
by Jeremiah Burroughs
“Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art..” I am convinced that, if we daily surrender to Christ, the Christian life can be one of complete, unruffled peace. A quiet spirit is one that rests upon the bosom of the Savior, and come plenty or famine, we can remain unshaken and content. I want to grow in this grace. I have heard such good things about this little book and look forward to reading it.
I read this book last year, but this summer I plan to work through a book of the Bible step-by-step using her method for digging into the Scripture. Jen provides very helpful, specific “how to” for Bible study, as well as challenging the reader to engage her MIND in Bible study along with her heart and emotions. I have thoroughly benefited from Kay Arthur’s inductive Bible study training over the years, and am so grateful for this additional resource that expands my tools and strengthens my resolve to dig into God’s word to learn truth for myself.
- Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot
by Elisabeth Elliot
Elisabeth Elliot is my favorite author, and every time I read another one of her books, I decide that it is my new favorite. I’ve not read this one yet, and I want to read it for the encouragement of my own faith, as well as to challenge my priorities as a mother. Christian mothers are called to move away from the idol of “safety and security” for our children, and I want to keep Jim Elliot’s example of godly young manhood in the forefront of my heart. May we dream of raising sons and daughters like Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, who rejoice when God counts them worthy to suffer for His name’s sake, sons and daughters of whom this world is not worthy. If you have not read her book Through Gates of Splendor, I suggest to read that one before reading this one.
- The Pilgrim’s Progress
by John Bunyan
I used to memorize a lot of individual Scripture verses, and over the last few years have found real benefit in memorizing longer passages to keep the verses in context. When things get crazy, though, Scripture memory seems to be the first habit I let go of. I could really use encouragement and practical help for Scripture memory in this season, and so I am looking forward to this book.
Plus ONE MORE:
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen
I listened to this Ted Talk on youtube recently (while folding laundry:), and David Allen described my efficiency struggle to a ‘T.’ I often feel like I jump from thing to thing, scattered and distracted all day. Much to my dismay! I agree with his dislike for multitasking, and I knew I needed to learn more from him when I listened to his presentation! Note: this is not a “Christian book.” (Last year I read Do More Better by Tim Challies, and I highly value it as a Christian approach to efficiency and productivity.)
I would LOVE to hear what’s on your list of must-reads for this summer. What would you add to (or subtract from!) this list?
Happy reading! ♥
P.S. We’d love it if you checked out our new PRINT VERSION of Praying the Promises of the Cross now available on Amazon! It’s perfect for summer~ wink!
Amanda Criss is a wife, stay-at-home mom, and blogger at Bless Your Heart and Home. She writes to encourage the hearts of women through the good news of Jesus Christ. She and her husband, Jody, have two children and live in their home state of Mississippi