When I visit new friends, I always find my way over to their book shelf to browse their books. A person's books tells me a lot about them. I look to see what books we have in common, what books surprise me, what books I've always wanted to read, and what books are the most loved from years of reading and re-reading.
In our last house, I didn't have a proper place to store my books. They were scattered around, wherever I could find space. In our new house, I have an office to myself and bookshelves for my books. I like to call it my "library." It's nice to see all my friends gathered together in one place where I can easily find them when I need them.
If you also like to snoop around your friend's bookshelves, here's a peek at what's new on my shelf in recent months.
Being There: Dave Furman has experienced intense physical suffering over the last decade which affects the use of his arms. His wife, Gloria, has walked with him in his suffering and so have many others in his life. Writing out of his experience of receiving care from others, Dave provides gospel encouragement to those who care for the suffering. "As a pastor I have seen the power of God's Word in the lives of others, and as a pastor who struggles with disability, I have felt the power of God's Word in my own time of need. While I'm thankful for modern medicines and the relief they can provide, I understand that my greatest hope doesn't come in a prescription. I know this truth intellectually, but as a person who experiences chronic pain, I need to be reminded of God's sovereign goodness. And those reminders often come through my friends who turn out to be not just friends but hope dealers." (p. 62). This book is filled with practical ways we can love and serve those who are suffering, both in our actions and our words. And ultimately how we can point sufferers to their hope in Christ.
Whispers of Hope: Most books on adoption focus on how to adopt or how to raise an adopted child. Whispers of Hope by Twila Miles is for the adoptive parents who are struggling with issues post adoption, when they try to reach the heart of their adopted child. Twila shares the story of her family's own journey with their adopted child and God's strengthening grace through each twist and turn. In sharing their story, she gives adoptive parents hope, pointing them to Christ and the work he is doing through them as they reach out in love to their hurting child. "No one ever said that adoption would be easy. It may be wonderful, and well worth the effort (I definitely think so!), but it is not easy. In fact, we have found that it is one of the most selfless things a person can do, for it involves giving your life to another (John 15:13). Because of that, I am reminded daily of the fact that Christ gave His life for us. He didn't do it because we were prefect, kind, or lovely. He did it because He is perfect, kind and lovely, and He desired to extend His grace to us so that we could be brought into relationship with Him. Likewise, we must never lose sight of the fact that our children have been given to use so that we can care for them, even when they are difficult; so we can love them, even when they rebel; and so we can give our lives to them, even when they are not appreciative." (p. 81).
Missional Motherhood: Gloria Furman's newest book is not about motherhood in the sense that we typically think of it. It's not a book on being a mom, as in the daily tasks of caring for and raising children. Rather it's about motherhood in the grand scheme. It's about all believing women being called to "mother" others for the sake of the Kingdom. It's about discipleship and spreading the gospel and praying for God's work in the world. It's about mothers with biological children, mothers with adoptive children, grandmothers, women without children, and single women nurturing others with the gospel. "Missional motherhood is not just for women who have given birth through their bodies or for those who have adopted children born from the body of another. The motherhood to which every Christian woman is called is making disciples of all nations." (p. 166). So if you are reading this, and you are a Christian woman, this book is for you.
Unashamed: We all know what it is to feel shame. That desire to run and hide. That fear that others would see and know who we really are, what we've done, or what's been done to us. "At its core, shame is fear of weakness, failure, or unworthiness being unveiled for all to see, or fear that at least one other person will notice that which we want to hide." (p. 17). Heather Nelson brings shame out of the darkness and into the light, exposing it for what it really is: a lie. She unpacks different areas of shame, such as shame in marriage, body image, parenting, and work and points us to our hope, forgiveness, and healing through the work of Christ for us. Unashamed is an important book for all of us.
Respectable Sins: I have a dog-eared copy of Respectable Sins which I have read multiple times. When I came across a student version of the book, I had to get it. I've been reading it out loud with my children each day. It has been a helpful guide in describing those sins we find acceptable and applying the gospel to them. "...we need a daily dose of the gospel to deal with the sin in our lives. We need that daily assurance that even though we are great sinners, we have a great Savior. We need the continual reminder that our sins are forgiven, that God doesn't count them against us, that He is on our side and helping us fight against sin instead of judging us for it." (p. 32) Though it is written for teens, I have found it to be just as helpful for my kids. Since I am reading it out loud, occasionally I have reworded things for my elementary age children so they can better relate.
What's new on your book shelf?