10 Favorite Books from 2015

If you’ve checked out this blog before you know I read a good amount.  I’m often asked what my favorites are, so I went back to check out everything I read in 2015.  Here are my top 10 books and why.

Unveiled Wife Jennifer Smith’s story is very different from mine in a lot of ways, yet there is a common interest that drew me to her.  Jennifer Smith has a deep desire to be the best wife she can be, living her life and focusing her marriage on God.  In her book, Unveiled Wife Smith talks about the first several years of her marriage.  What struck me as I read her book was how similar my thoughts were in my own circumstances.  I was coming out of a dark place when I read this, and God revealed to me how my choices had lead to a loss of intimacy in my marriage.  Unveiled Wife helped me make some strategic choices that continue to deepen my marriage daily.

Scary Close Donald Miller’s first book since marrying.  I continue to feel this is his best work yet.  Miller’s transparency is present throughout as he tells his story of learning how to be a better man to be the husband Betsey deserved. Miller’s discussion of intimacy was a great help to me as was his insight on how people manipulate each other.

Rising Strong Brené Brown is best known for her book Daring Greatly.  I’ve read both and found Rising Strong to be my preferred choice.  The discussion of vulnerability is continued in this book with a practical application of how to be our best self as we strive for vulnerability in relationships.

For The Love Jen Hatmaker’s latest book is written in essay form touching on a common day relevant subjects.  Hatmaker’s humor is throughout balancing serious subjects with less than serious ones.  It has been my personal experience that watching people read this book has spoken the truth in such a way that people battered by the church have decided to given in another try. As a church attender, I nodded along with certain chapters and paused to check my actions with others.

Let’s All Be Brave  Annie Downes is still one of my favorite writers even with this extensive list of books.  First, she is hilarious.  Second, she is so bold with her writing and scriptural in her phrasings.  There aren’t many single women who write well about living life while waiting for God to bring them their heart’s desire. Downes does it well both living and writing.  Annie got me believing again that big dreams are possible with God.

Brave Enough: Getting Over Our Fears, Flaws and Failures to Live Free and Brave by Nicole Unice challenge in Brave Enough to choose bravery one step at at time had me breathing a sigh of relief and searching for inner strength at the same time. Unice has a counseling background, and her writing perspective reflects that.  I love her perspective on life and our relationships with God and people.  Nicole reminded me that I had the tools in place to be brave, with a little grace and perspective to cover things!

Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy  Susie Larson’s book gave me permission to say no without guilt.  The title really says it all.  You remind us that we all have a specific passion that God is calling us towards.  Sacred Yes...leaving margin in life for the only yes that really matters…the one that is a calling from God.  This book left me with exactly what the title says…freedom and joy.

The Road To Becoming. Rediscovering Your Life In The Not-How-I-Planned-It-Moments..Jenny Simmons interview HERE has a great summary of the book.  Jenny Simmons writes about her season of wilderness and the lessons God taught her.  As someone who recently found was in a similar season, I found Jenny’s words comforting.  She is incredibly honest about her what she was thinking and feeling.  I really appreciated her transparency.  The story of Addison Road is incredible.  I had no idea of the reason the band ended, it was astounding enough that I needed to hear the ending all in one sitting.  I read this book in a day.  This book confirmed for me some lessons I’d thought I was learning from my own wilderness and put words to some questions I had trouble framing.

4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership: The Power of Leading From Your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength by Jenni Catron.  Leading college ministry for women is my greatest joy and my most consistent point of feeling like a failure. My husband is a gifted leader who is in charge of over 100 men.  He leads them well, and they mostly respond (they are college students!).  When it comes to style, choice, and even angle of leadership, I’m often left feeling either I’ve got it wrong, or he has it wrong.  This book has settled those questions for good.  Catron writes about the positives and negatives of each leadership angle.  Better yet, Catron explains how to implement all 4 dimensions of extraordinary leadership into any organization.

The Comeback: It’s Not To Late and Your Never To Far by Louie Giglio is another one where I feel like the title says it all.  A friend mentioned to me she had heard one of the stories from this book while at Giglio’s church.  I’ve always loved the Passion Conferences but hadn’t heard about The Comeback until she mentioned it.  For me, this book was perfect timing.  Coming off a challenging few years I felt that the stories in here along with the scriptural explanations Giglio clearly lays out were kindling to a fire in me that has had trouble staying lit.  It’s Never To Late…

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