November 3, 2010

Elisabeth Elliot is my Mentor

One small thing that makes a big difference in my life is reading books.

After having my first child, I experienced extreme exhaustion and craved time for rest and rejuvenation. On his day off, my husband shooed me out the door, knowing I needed time away from the baby, but I didn't know where to go or what to do. After getting over the guilt of being away, I'd often end up at Barnes & Noble, where I'd grab coffee and read People magazine. After a few months of this, I noticed that, when I returned home, I certainly knew what was going on in the celebrity world, but I didn't feel rested at all. In fact, I felt kind of yucky. I realized that rejuvenation doesn't come from turning my brain off. Instead, it comes from thinking, reflecting, and listening. And books give me opportunities to do that.

Books rejuvenate me, but they also provide mentoring when I don't have it from people. As a church planting/pastor's wife who is discipling others, I am often asked who disciples me. There are seasons in life where I haven't had that and, although books can never replace people, reading has challenged me to grow. I have been mentored by spiritual giants.

Where do I find time to read? I read for about 30 minutes every night before I go to sleep. Although I read from a wide range of subjects, I am selective about what I read: no romance novels, alot of nonfiction, and alot of biographies. With fiction, I only read classics or what's been recommended to me and if it doesn't move me in the first 50 pages, I put it down. I also re-read books that have most impacted my life, which are listed below and may be a good place to start if you'd like to start reading more.

Galatians (helped me understand grace)
Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby (taught me how to know the will of God)
Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning (again, helped me understand grace)
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (illustrates how to have joy in the most difficult times)
Peace Child by Don Richardson (showed me how God uses cultural stories to reveal the gospel)
Transforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden (changed my entire approach to ministry)
Heaven by Randy Alcorn (gave me a theological understanding and a desire for heaven)
Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (total conviction)
Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper (helped me think about what I do daily with my kids)
A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot (explained the pruning process and how God uses it)
The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace (very practical help on being a godly wife)
unChristian by David Kinnaman and Greg Lyons (helped me think through how I relate to people)
High Call, High Privilege by Gail MacDonald (the best book for ministers' wives I've come across)
Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders (a classic on...well...spiritual leadership)

What books have changed your life?