So, here we go! (This is the order I read them in, not the order of which I would recommend.)
1. 365 Devotions Moments with God for Moms.
Whether you are a first-time mom of a newborn or a seasoned mom of a teenager, I think we all need some alone time with God and some daily encouragement. I really enjoyed this year-long devotion. I actually wrote in it most days, (there's not a space to write or anything, I just decided I wanted to write it in, so I made room!) I wrote down decisions I was having to make, mistakes I made that day, anything specific I was feeling, etc because I want to be able to go back later and read these things. I'm actually reading this one again this year, so I'm also excited to see the things I wrote that happened just a year ago.
2. Famous in Heaven and at Home: A 31-Day Character Study for the Proverbs 31 Woman
HANDS DOWN, THE BEST BOOK I READ IN 2019! Here is the description because I will not be able to accurately do it justice. "As we dig into Proverbs 31 together, let's lay down our to-do lists and worldly expectations. Let's not overlook and undervalue what we can be certain He desires from our lives. Rather than just seeking something worthy to do, let's passionately pursue who God purposely created us to be. That's the heard behind this 30-day character study of the Provers 31 woman. Let's refuse to view this key chapter for women as an impossible job description. Instead, let's learn from this impressive character description we are only capable to reflect through God's divine power and matchless grace." Get your hands on this book and dive in!!
3. The Power of a Praying Wife
I really enjoyed this. I think there are several "praying for your spouse" books out there, so I would encourage you to get your hands on one. I think the big take-away is, pray over EVERYTHING for your spouse. Pray for his spiritual walk, for his emotions, his role as a leader whether at work or being the spiritual leader of your home, for his security in work, his physical and mental protection, his decisions, his finances, his faith and his future.
4. 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid
Trevor and I both read this one and I'm glad we read it together. There were great key points and several things that we really agreed on that were discussed in this book. Several chapters had great take-aways for when our kiddos get older, so we will probably have to re-read it at some point. As a former teacher, this book spoke to me! More parents really need to read this book!!! So practical!
5. The Esther Anointing
Hmmm...not my favorite. I love the story of Esther and how God can use anyone to make a huge difference, but I didn't love this book. I disagreed with some of the writing, it was hard to connect with and I didn't think some of the verses were meant for the context that they were placed. So, overall it was probably good for me. It made me research things I wouldn't normally research, it made me have stronger opinions in areas that I haven't had before and I learned several things on the other side but I will probably never read it again or recommend it to anyone.
6. Parenting 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family
PARENTS....GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS BOOK!!!!
What is your calling as a parent? Do you ever feel pressure to do everything "right" and raise up "good" children? It's easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas. This is a big picture view of God's plan for us as parents. Instead of parenting strategies or a list of techniques, it shows how we need the rescuing grace of God. Grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents. We are more like our children than we want to admit sometimes! Ha! Here's a snippet: "Remember, your words and actions are always an accurate reflection of the true condition of your heart. The things you do and say always tell you more about yourself than whoever you're speaking to. God's grace rescues you from you. When you are frustrated, mad, discouraged, unkind, abusive, bitter, joyless, vengeful, or irritated as a parent, you don't need to be rescued from your children - you need to be rescued from you." In the years of having a toddler, there are SO MANY opportunities every day to talk to your children about the redemptive love of Jesus.
7. Raising Kingdom Kids
This was not my favorite read of the year. It had good, practical advice in it but I think I just read some home-runs this year and this one wasn't among my top picks. I also think this was geared more for parents with a little bit older kids. Here are some take-aways that I appreciated: You must create an atmosphere where your kids can maintain their identity in Jesus despite the culture around them. We cannot shelter them, but we can equip them. It's about influencing your children over trying to control them. Preparing our children and giving them the foundation of Jesus they need starts with us *parents.* Here is a line I LOVED: "Instructing your children in the Lord means spending time with them so they can see how you live out the gospel." Kids learn more from what you do than what you say!!
8. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
This was a super short and simple read, but I enjoyed it. It was thought provoking, and gave great insight into us, as the sheep, and Jesus, as the Good Shepherd. I think it will enrich your trust in and love for the Lord who watches closely over you.
9. Present Over Perfect
I liked the premise of this book...considering your life and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life. But, I didn't love this book. I didn't connect with it like I thought I would. I don't think I struggle with the same things that the author did, so it was hard for me to really connect. I have my own list of struggles, don't get me wrong. Again, I liked the idea behind this book, but it missed the mark for me personally.
10. Get Over Your Damn Self
I don't love the title! Ha! I picked up this book because I have entered into the world of network marketing (something I NEVER...like NEVER EVER saw myself in!) But hey, God had other plans. And I'm having a BLAST with it. This lady seems like she is a guru in direct sales and network marketing and I had/have a lot to learn. I can't say I agree with everything she said, mainly because I don't have the same goals as her, but I learned a lot in this book and most importantly, it built my confidence in what I am doing. It helped let go of the negative voice that we all have in the back of our mind sometimes. In her description of this book it says: "You're going to learn: 1. The posture to confidently connect with anyone about your business and your products 2. The possibilities for a lucrative, efficient and enormously rewarding turn key business 3. The power that's already within you to build the life you really want...if you dare." And she did deliver on those things!
11. Raising Men Not Boys
Calling all #boymoms! Get yourself a copy of this!!! Trevor and I listened to this one on audible and we loved it! Every single chapter we had several take-aways whether it was something we want to start now or things we want to save in our back pocket for later. This is a book that I want to read every year because it has such applicable information! I was going to type my favorite take-away from this book, but there are seriously so many! Okay, I think one of my favorites is "loud hour." Your boys have ENERGY and if you don't allow them to use it somewhere, they are going to use their energy during the "not appropriate" times. So give them opportunities every day to use that energy. We seriously started loud hour at our house. It's honestly super fun for us all. We drum on everything we can get our hands on, we turn music up way to loud, we sing at the top of our lungs and we dance! It's something I actually look forward to! HAHA!
12. The Call
This is not exactly a book, but I counted it as one because it took some time and there was a lot of reading! lol! The Call is a small group woman's study. It is about knowing who God is and what He has called us to do. I always enjoy these studies. Pick up your copy at a local Life.Church.
Well, there you have it! My 12 books for 12 months in 2018. I'm totally doing this again. I really enjoyed making this a priority and learning so much! Send any recommendations my way if you have any.