I just finished the top two. I'm usually reading one "fun" book and one "spiritual" book at a time. A friend loaned me Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. I don't usually get through the spiritual books very quickly, if at all. But I couldn't put this one down most days. I loved the stories of the people who have walked through the doors of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and have been transformed by the power of God's love and His Holy Spirit. A lot of the book is emphasizing the power of prayer and what can (and should) happen when we cry out to God. It was a life-changing perspective for me. I highly recommend it and also think it's a must-read if you're in any type of ministry.
"The devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credentials. But he knows his kingdom will be damaged when we begin to lift up our hearts to God."
Anne Lamott. Do we need words for Anne? Probably not. This is actually the first of hers I'd ever read because a friend loaned it to me. I was liking it but not loving it for the first half. Several chapters left me a little confused by the abrupt ending, seemingly with no real point. But I think I had to get used to her voice, like your first few bites of dark chocolate...bitter at first, but then sweeter until all you want is the bitter stuff. I absolutely loved the last half of the book and couldn't put it down. I laughed out loud at several things. (Her thighs as beloved elderly aunties, the kind who did embarrassing things, but whom she was proud of because they were so great in every real and important way?? I died. That chapter alone is worth the book.) Other lines I had to re-read one or two more times to soak them in properly and I would inwardly sigh at her ability to make us feel so precisely what she felt and what so many of us have felt ourselves but couldn't put a name on it. Words that make you want to rip the page out and carry it around in your pocket just to feel their warm company. A few of my favorites:
Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says, "Well isn't that fabulous? Because I need help too. So you go get that old woman over there some water, and I'll figure out what we're going to do about your stuff."
The world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people. You bring them juice and graham crackers.
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
There were a couple more less...ahem...reverential ones that made me laugh out loud but I won't share them here. Don't read the book if other people's irreverence and a few cuss words gets your panties in a knot.
The rest of the stack is next on my to-read list. I haven't read rich sweeping fiction in a while so Swan Thieves is next on my list. A dear and generous friend sent it to me and she assured me I will love it. The Storyline team mailed me an advanced copy of Donald Miller's yet-to-be-released book, Scary Close, ("dropping the act and finding true intimacy") which sounds completely appropriate and relatable for this season of my life. I was beyond grateful and more than a little giddy that they wanted to mail me a copy and I can't wait to dig in. I'm equally excited to read the other two too. I love that I got to hear Glennon speak before I read her book because now I'll hear her voice in my head while I'm reading and pretend even more that she's my best friend, curled up on the other end of my couch, talking to me.
So now it's your turn. Let's discuss. (Leave your email in the comments so I can reply back!) Have you read any of these? What are your recent books you've loved?
P.S. I keep a running list on the right side of my blog of any books I've given 5 stars to. I'm very picky about what goes on that list. I want them to be one I could recommend to anyone without hesitation, knowing they'd love it. If you want to see everything I read, find me on Goodreads.com!