I had a few days off in July while my husband, Andrew, spoke at a summer camp. It rained most of the time and we didn’t have any responsibilities during the day, so, I spent most of the time reading. It was glorious! The books I read last month were wonderful, but overall, kind of heavy. I’m looking forward to diving into some fun and light-hearted stuff this month.
1. Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves by Trilla Newbell – I actually won this book on Jamie Ivey’s podcast, The Happy Hour. (I love this podcast by the way, you should check it out!) Trilla reflects on scripture as she shares her personal story with fear. I really enjoyed how this book was organized. Each chapter focuses on a different area of life that we may be fearful of and what God has to say about it. It was such a good read for me as fear and worry have historically been a significant stronghold in my life. She offers great insight and thoughts that challenge the reader to recognize areas of fear and then change your perspective.
2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – This book has been recommended to me so many times so I knew I had to check it out. This fictional story follows a blind French girl and a young German boy whose paths collide in occupied France during World War II. I loved the ending, which was somewhat unexpected and heartbreaking. I loved the perspective and challenge to think about what it would be like to experience the war as a child. Even though there are parts of this book that are hard to read, I finished with a full heart. It reminds you that people mostly want to be good to each other and there can be hope in the midst of extreme darkness.
3. For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker – I find myself laughing just thinking about this book! This is Jen’s most recent book and it officially comes out this month. I pre-ordered it because I’m a nerd and there were free things involved. I couldn’t help it… Anyway, the pre-order came with a digital copy of the book so I pretty much devoured it in a few short days. Needless to say, I loved it. I was so impressed by how she uses humor to communicate powerful truth about the gospel. She effectively challenges the comfort of our American Christianity and has you rolling with laughter over the catastrophe that is leggings as pants. You don’t want to miss this one!
4. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson – This was not a light read. In fact, it may be one of the harder books I’ve ever read. But, it may be one of the best I’ve ever read. Stevenson shares many of his stories as a young lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. EJI is a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. He forces you to come face to face with very real racial inequalities in our justice system and your thoughts on the death penalty. This book is really unforgettable and left my heart burdened in a way I didn’t expect.
Honestly, after reflecting a bit on my July reads, I feel mentally tired. Reading isn’t always an activity to escape the realities of life. It can be, but not always. That’s what makes it so important. It can help relieve stress and bring joy, but it also forces us into new perspectives and ideas.
I hope you pick up a book this month that challenges your thinking in some way and let me know about it!