Books Reviews :: Non-Fiction Winter Round Up


If you follow me on instagram you'd know that I've had a lot of incredible sources of encouragement in the form of phenomenal books these past several months. I always am on the lookout for a fantastic read, so I thought I would start to post all my favorite finds from time to time. I found myself, this season, reading spiritually geared books that were incredibly encouraging. While I'm still working through two of the five, I figured I'd share them anyway. I'm now entering a fiction kick, so I anticipate that will be on the horizon.

Here are the first five of my favorite books. These 5 were awesome reads for me this season. I hope you find one or two to add to your list and are blessed by it.

desperate by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson 

This book is written for mothers, particularly those that stay-at-home. It teases out so many issues that are so easy to get tangled in, and ends with a incredible call of encouragement.

Personal thoughts: This book impressed upon me so many different things. I want to remember the central theme of grace and the call to being a 'woman of wisdom' and taking ownership of my life. I loved the videos at the end of this book and loved the heartbeat that is so obvious throughout this book. I found myself tearing up several times over and found a lot of freedom in pursuing community, housework and additional callings, and loving my kids and family well.

Would I recommend it? Yes, I'd especially recommend it to mothers (obviously) regardless of station. It's such a gift of grace. Buy it for your mom friends or get it for yourself. It really is a worthy read.

bittersweet by Shauna Niequist 

Sometimes you find a book that you wish you would have written. That's this book for me. There were some chapters that stunned me with the accuracy of her words. I love this woman and her writing. Her intro explains this book beautifully:   "Bittersweet is the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul."

Passages I want to Remember: 

"But this is a funny season in all four of our lives, one with more questions than answers, when it's kind of all open, waiting to be re-created, each on the cusp of something, but we don't know what. So we talked about how we think God made each of us...."

" Left to our own devices, we sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story."

"  If arithmetic is numbers, and if algebra is numbers and letters, then grace is numbers and letters, sounds, and tears, feelings and dreams. Grace is smashing the calculator, and using all the broken buttons and pieces to make a mosaic."

"It's sloppy theology to think that all suffering is good for us, or that it's the result of sin. All suffering can be used for good, over time, after mourning and healing, by God's graciousness. But sometimes it's just plain loss, not because you need to grow, not because life or God or anything is teaching you any kind of lesson. The trick is knowing the difference between the two."

Would I recommend it? I just bought her next book Bread & Wine. I'm in love with this author. She's an incredible writer and is just 'my kind of people.' I've given this book to friends, and thus, would most definitely recommend this as a good read. It's perhaps my top pick of the holiday season.

Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll:

 A book on marriage and working through some hefty hard topics. Sex is a whole section of this book (probably because it's such a large part of marriage.) Its pages are filled with a call to repentance, grace and moving toward each other.

Would I recommend it? I had no real idea how controversial this book was until having a few conversations about it. Ben and I were both blessed by this book that had no hangups with it. We are fans of Acts 29 churches (we belong to one) and also of Mark and his preaching style. So, if you have a lean towards not caring much for that-I don't know how you would like the flavor of this book, but man there is some solid gospel and a true call to sacrificing for each other.To be fair, we haven't finished this yet. But at this point we're really big fans.

One Thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp.

 This is such an incredible book. I remember when first hearing her talk via a video series, she spoke...almost too flowery and I decided I wouldn't be reading her books. But I found myself picking up this book after several recommendations from friends and upon reading her pages, being overwhelmingly blessed. It was a slow read for me. Unpacking her chapters bit by bit gave me time to decompress. I read this in hardest season of last year and it was seriously a life support at times. Love this book.

Passages I want to Remember:  "Thanksgiving is inherent to a true salvation experience; thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole fullest life."

"Losses do that, One life-loss can infect the whole of a life."

"Just that maybe...maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds."

"Perhaps the opposite if faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear. To lack faith perhaps isn't as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God as fear and distrust that there is a good God. If I don't emotionally believe, practically believe, in the goodness of God, am I a believer? Dont believers have to believe? Don't the saved have to trust the Savior? For yes, salvation from sins, but this too; the salvation from fear."

Would I recommend it? This was a game changing book for me. I read this right during the wake of our miscarriage and I would just weep through the pages as they spoke truth to me. 'Where there are things to be thankful for there's joy to be found,' "Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle;" There were so many themes that etched themselves into my heart that even now I find myself saying them to myself over my days. This will forever. Forever. Be one of my favorite books. I gave these out as gifts this year as well. Love this book.

The Wisdom of God by Nancy Guthrie: 

A dear friend invited me to do this study along side her while seeking the deep theological truth we were accustomed to during our LDI stint together. This has been such a phenomenal book. We're still working through this, but I love it. Nancy goes through the wisdom books of the bible(Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes)  and breaks them down into personal study and teaching chapters, then there is a discussion/personal reflection section.  I can't even begin to share how it has changed my understanding of these scriptures. In particular, just how much Jesus is present through the Old Testament.  Guthrie teases out solid theology through Old and New Testament connection and allows the reader to see how glaringly obvious the gospel is in the Old Testament. Loving this.

Passages I want to Remember: "If God has given permission for your trust in Him to be put to the test of suffering, let the wisdom of Job inform your response to it. Recognize your life is much more than the here and now and about more than your own concerns or comfort. God intended for you to be a living demonstration of his magnificent glory as you rest in Him, even when you cannot understand or explain Him."

Would I recommend it? If you're craving some good theology and a challenge to your intellect as well as your heart, then Nancy is a good author to look to. I would definitely recommend it particularly to someone who would study it with another.  I'm so blessed I had a friend invite me to do this alongside her.


  1. Thanks for sharing... Going to look up these book and maybe add them to my collection!

  2. Definitely want to read some of these books! One thousand gifts sounds pretty awesome.

  3. Yep, adding these to my list :-) ... ps love the blog design!