December 14, 2018

My Favorite Reads of the Year

It's no secret that I love a good book, but one of the additional pleasures I find in reading is sharing with others those that have deeply impacted me. If ever there is a book (or podcast or documentary) conversation I come upon (or let's be honest, initiate), I'm all ears, and I'm also full of suggestions. Last week, I atypically had only one child with me for the afternoon, and when he said he'd like to go the library please, a little tear of happiness and pride escaped from my eye.

So every December, I leave you until January, my faithful reader, with a list of my favorites from the year. You may note a few characteristics of my list. First, I don't read much fiction, or at least fiction that I'd heartily recommend. Second, these are not books that were necessarily published in 2018 but simply books I chose to read in 2018. Finally, I hope this list compels you to read along with me in 2019! You can follow what I'm reading over on Goodreads, and of course, I'd be so honored if you'd read a book or two of mine in 2019.

Below are my favorite reads (and why I enjoyed them) from 2018. The links are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through the link, I get a small portion of the proceeds at no extra cost to you.

Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry
I've heard Jackie Hill Perry teach, and she is a powerhouse of truth. As I read her memoir, subtitled "The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been," I could practically hear her voice speaking the words to me. Jackie's story is powerful, but the way she helps us see inside her conversion and her battle with temptation that is so helpful to each of us. I appreciated that she shared her story, but that she also in the last few chapters gives us a practical theology of both navigating and ministry to those experiencing same sex attraction and homosexuality.

The Passion of the King of Glory by Russ Ramsey
In writing this book, Ramsey tackles the most difficult of jobs: attempting to retell the story of Jesus in a compelling way without losing the truth of Scripture. I read this book alongside my study of the book of Matthew, and it made the narrative of Jesus' life come alive with color and emotion.

The Call by Os Guinness
At the beginning of the year, I was wrestling with some existential questions about my vocation, specifically my writing career. A fellow author suggested I read this book, and I'm so glad I did. Guinness leaves no stone unturned as he leads his reader to find and understand the purpose of our lives, and he both challenged and settled the questions I took into the book's reading.

God Counts by Irene Sun
I met Irene a few years ago, and she is sunshine in the form of a person. She sent me a copy of her book for kids called "God Counts: Numbers in His Word," telling me she'd written it for one of her sons, who never could sit still for family Bible study but who loves numbers. She wanted him to see the beauty of God through his love of numbers. When the book came in the mail, I read it to my boys (who are 15, 13, and 10) at dinner, and though its for younger kids, we were completely mesmerized. We even guessed what the next numbers might represent and what those numbers would tell us about God. I kid you not, I even got a little teary-eyed as I read it to them.

If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey
Jamie Ivey has developed quite an audience through her podcast, The Happy Hour, so I was thrilled as I read this book to find a deeply honest and biblically truthful take on sin and shame and how Jesus redeems us. I knew instantly this would be a book I share with women in my church who struggle under the shame of their sexual sin. Jamie's writing is accessible and relatable, and her passion for Jesus shines through every page.

Therefore I Have Hope by Cameron Cole
Cole and his wife experienced the excruciating pain of their son's death, and he bravely chose to write about it. Stepping through various stages of grief, he writes about the truths in those stages that helped them cling to and trust God. I immediately gave this book to someone I know who is grieving, knowing this is an author who gets it and who also offers true comfort.

Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
One of the two novels on my list, this is a book based in reality. Characters such as Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan, and Nikola Tesla race to harness electricity, and all sorts of conniving ensue.

Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcy
Pearcy is well-regarded for her writing on worldview, but this is the first book I've read of hers. I'm so glad I read it! She challenged the way I think of the physical body and demonstrated why it's important to have a theology of the body. So much of our culture's worldview involves the body, either idolizing it or ignoring it entirely in favor of how we want to identify ourselves. This is an important read for these times.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Another novel! What's happening? I picked this up from the library during the summer when I was craving a breezy beach read. While it's not necessarily a beach read, because it's based on a true story (that I'd never in my life heard about), I was hooked. The story follows children who are taken from their parents, kept in an orphanage, and placed for adoption in order to stock the coffers of the woman running the orphanage. A story of suspense weaves throughout, and of course, upon reading the last page, I immediately googled the true story. Highly recommended.

Endurance by Alfred Lansing
Friends, you must read this book. Lansing tells the true story of a captain and his crew trying to cross near Antarctica, getting stuck in ice for an inordinate amount of time, and their attempt to get home. If you do read it, the last chapter is one of the best images for the return of Jesus I've ever read. I cried and cried and cried thinking about how that ending is just like our future ending will be.

Crossway Scripture Journal: New Testament
I love to journal and outline Scripture, so my dear husband gave me this set of Scripture journals for our church's ten-year anniversary. I've enjoyed working through books of the Bible and keeping my notes in one place rather than in scattered journals that end up in nooks and crannies around the house. I hope to pass these on to my children one day.

Love Big, Be Well by Winn Collier
Winn, like my husband, is a pastor here in Charlottesville. Winn and his wife actually planted a church here in the same year we did, so we've gotten to watch his ministry over these last ten years. Winn is compassionate, pastoral in every way, and deeply committed to the people in our community. Reading this novel about a pastor and his church felt like reading about Winn and his church and the city of Charlottesville. It refocused me on the important work of simply loving people around me, and an added bonus is that Winn is just really enjoyable writer to read.

Envy by Tilly Dillehay
God knew I needed this book at the time I did. Tilly's words helped me work through my own envy and helped me think through a topic I'd never really spent much time on. I invited Tilly to join me on my podcast to talk about envy and friendship, and that episode is one of my favorites from the season.

All That's Good by Hannah Anderson
I love Hannah Anderson. I read everything she writes, because she makes me think in ways I've never thought. Her latest book didn't disappoint. She writes about our need to recover the ability to discern what's good so we can give our minds and hearts and lives to those things.


There you have it, friends. Those are my favorite reads from 2018. Now it's your turn! Tell me in the comments what you're favorites have been or what I should read next!

P.S. You can find previous years' lists here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.

December 12, 2018

Lore Ferguson Wilbert on Loneliness and Friendship

Each week this season on By Faith, I’m talking with a guest about the ins and outs of friendship. As I wrote about in my book, Messy Beautiful Friendship, friendship isn’t easy for anyone; it takes time, intentionality, and lots of grace. And sometimes we have to navigate complexities and hurts in friendship that leave us uncertain and crushed. I’m right there with you, and my guests are here to help us think through it all.

This season we’ve looked at friendship from so many angles. We’ve defined friendship, talked about how to make friends, how to be vulnerable with others, and how to deal with hurts and insecurities in friendship. We’ve looked at practical ways to love and serve our friends, and we’ve explored friendship for men and women, and the pastor and the pastor’s wife. I’ve loved putting this podcast together for you, and I thank you for joining in to listen and interact with the content.

I want to say thank you for an incredible season of By Faith. Thank you for coming along with me on this exploration of friendship. I’m also grateful for my wonderful guests, who’ve given of their time to share their wisdom with us. Finally, I want to say a special thank you to my Patreon supporters who have made this season happen. Their financial support means I can continue to produce this podcast for you week after week, and it’s just good to have people in my corner rooting me on. Find out how you can join my team here. 

Today marks the last interview for this season on friendship. Next week join me for an "Ask Me Anything" episode where I’ll be answering your questions alongside my friend Jo.

(Also, in today's episode, I announce where we're headed next on By Faith, so make sure you listen all the way to the end!)

I’ve invited Lore Ferguson Wilbert to help me close out this season on friendship. Lore is a wife and writer. In fact, she’s one of my favorite writers, and I’m thrilled that she’s currently working on her first book. Lore and her husband have moved several times in their young marriage, and so I asked her to join me in order to talk about transition and loneliness. I think this conversation will be an encouragement to you today in whatever longing or aching you’re feeling when it comes to friendship, or just in whatever longing you’re experiencing in life in general. Lore talks about how God has good purposes even in our loneliness.

Listen to my conversation with Lore Ferguson Wilbert on iTunes or, if you're on my website, in the embedded player below. Enjoy!

LINKS FROM THE SHOW

Lore's Website // My conversation with Lore on Singleness

Connect with Lore
Website // Twitter // Instagram

Connect with Christine
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Books 

Order Your Copy of Messy Beautiful Friendship

Learn how you can support Christine's work on Patreon

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December 5, 2018

Drew Hunter on Men and Friendship

Each week this season on By Faith, I’m talking with a guest about the ins and outs of friendship. As I wrote about in my book, Messy Beautiful Friendship, friendship isn’t easy for anyone; it takes time, intentionality, and lots of grace. And sometimes we have to navigate complexities and hurts in friendship that leave us uncertain and crushed. I’m right there with you, and my guests are here to help us think through it all.

The season so far has focused pretty exclusively on women and how we relate to one another relationally. But I think friendship for men is a needed topic and discussion in this age when men are often more isolated and alone than ever. I see how men around me in my life desire friendship just as much as I do but often experience different obstacles than I do in forming those friendships.

So today I invited pastor and author Drew Hunter to join me on the show to help us think through friendship for men. How is it the same as friendship between women, and how are male friendships different? If we’re married, how can we help our husbands prioritize friendship? If you are a man yourself, I hope this will help you think through your own relationships and take necessary steps to cultivate friendship in your life.
Drew has a new book out called Made For Friendship. It's an excellent resource for both men and women on the subject of biblical friendship, and I was happy to endorse it.

Listen to my conversation with Drew Hunter on iTunes or, if you're on my website, in the embedded player below. Enjoy!

LINKS FROM THE SHOW

Drew's Church // Drew's Book, Made for Friendship

Connect with Drew
 Twitter

Submit a Question for the Ask Me Anything Episode

Connect with Christine
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Books 

Order Your Copy of Messy Beautiful Friendship

Learn how you can support Christine's work on Patreon

Subscribe to the "By Faith" Podcast

November 28, 2018

Kristie Anyabwile on Friendship for the Pastor's Wife

Each week this season on By Faith, I’m talking with a guest about the ins and outs of friendship. As I wrote about in my book, Messy Beautiful Friendship, friendship isn’t easy for anyone; it takes time, intentionality, and lots of grace. And sometimes we have to navigate complexities and hurts in friendship that leave us uncertain and crushed. I’m right there with you, and my guests are here to help us think through it all.

Last summer I did a short series for pastor’s wives, and in one of the episodes I chatted with Katie Orr about friendship for the pastor’s wife. This is a topic we pastor’s wives just can’t get enough of, because although friendship for women is tough for just about everyone, there is a layer of complexity for pastor’s wives when it comes to relationships within the church. So we’re going to tackle this topic again in this season on friendship.

Today I’ve invited Kristie Anyabwile to join me to talk about friendship for the pastor’s wife from her perspective. Kristie is married to Thabiti, who is the pastor of a church they planted together in Washington D.C. a few years ago. She's also a mom and a writer.

I want to remind you that I’ll be closing out this season in December with an "Ask Me Anything" episode on all things friendship. My longtime friend Jo will be joining me to tackle your questions. You can submit your questions here. I look forward to hearing from you!

Listen to my conversation with Kristie Anyabwile on iTunes or, if you're on my website, in the embedded player below:

LINKS FROM THE SHOW

Kristie's church // Katie Orr on "Friendship for the Pastor's Wife"

Connect with Kristie
Website // Her Writing // Twitter // Instagram

Submit a Question for the Ask Me Anything Episode

Connect with Christine
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Books 

Order Your Copy of Messy Beautiful Friendship

Learn how you can support Christine's work on Patreon

Subscribe to the "By Faith" Podcast



November 21, 2018

Tilly Dillehay on How Envy Affects Our Friendships

Each week this season on By Faith, I’m talking with a guest about the ins and outs of friendship. As I wrote about in my book Messy Beautiful Friendship, friendship isn’t easy for anyone; it takes time, intentionality, and lots of grace. And sometimes we have to navigate complexities and hurts in friendship that leave us uncertain and crushed. I’m right there with you, and my guests are here to help us think through it all.

Today I’ve invited Tilly Dillehay onto to the show to talk about envy and how it affects our friendships. I didn’t previously know Tilly but as we started talking, God used her words to convict me of envy in one of my own relationships, which I confessed to that friend the very next day and has brought so much freedom in my life in an area where I’ve been struggling the past few months. So I personally am so thankful to have had this conversation and am happy to get to introduce Tilly to you.

Tilly is a pastor’s wife, living in rural Tennessee, so rural in fact that we had a few internet connection issues that you may notice in terms of audio quality. Tilly shares with me how she came to faith in Christ from agnoticism, about her years long struggle with envy in a specific relationship, and about how she learned to diagnose and confess envy. Tilly’s written a new book that I’m currently reading and am loving called, Seeing Green: Don’t Let Envy Color Your World. You'll definitely want to pick up a copy of this book after listening.

Listen to my conversation with Tilly on iTunes or, if you're on my website, in the embedded player below. Enjoy!

LINKS FROM THE SHOW

Tilly's book, Seeing Green // C.S. Lewis' Weight of Glory (includes The Inner Ring essay)

Connect with Tilly
Website // Twitter // Instagram

Submit a Question for the Ask Me Anything Episode

Connect with Christine
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Books 

Order Your Copy of Messy Beautiful Friendship

Learn how you can support Christine's work on Patreon

Subscribe to the "By Faith" Podcast