5 life changing books

  1. 1. Love Does by Bob Goff

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This book will shake you from the first pages. It’s one of those books where once you finish, you just want to start it again. Goff opens your eyes to see how God calls us to live out our faith in love. His faith will inspire you and completely change the way you look at love. Love does, it doesn’t just talk-or as Goff says, “love is never stationary.” This book will make you want to adventure outside of your comfort zone and take risks in the name of love. I dare you not to be changed after reading it, and I dare you not to want to read it again.

Favorite Quotes from Love Does

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”

“Failure is just part of the process, and it’s not just okay; it’s better than okay. God doesn’t want failure to shut us down. God didn’t make it a three-strikes-and-you’re-out sort of thing. It’s more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so we can swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups.”

“Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.”

purchase here

2. Don’t Waste your Life by John Piper

I can’t say enough about how this book will give you an entirely renewed perspective on what really matters and the urgency of living for God alone. It will root in you a healthy fear of wasting your life. Piper offers an alternative to spending our days for selfish gain, and shares his own story of seeking to treasure Christ. His faith will encourage you in your own walk, and remind you that there is so much more to life than what this world offers.

Favorite quotes from Don’t Waste your Life:

“God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.”

“Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion.”

purchase here or enter to win this book by heading over to my instagram (giveaway rules will be posted Wednesday, July 27th at 6pm EST)!

 3. So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

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Wow, so many emotions come back when just writing about this book. As cliche as it sounds, this book of all books changed my life. I’m not really sure when and where the fear crept in, but I lived most of my life paralyzed by what other people thought of me, and wallowing in the lie that I was not enough. I might not have admitted it, but I had convinced my heart I was inferior, and didn’t have what it takes. Beth Moore’s words painfully pried that fear out of me. First, my eyes were opened to see that insecurity was in fact what I was struggling with. Then the book guided me through those feelings and bringing them to the foot of the cross. I still struggle with insecurity, but now I call it out and identify believing it as sin. A truly incredible read everyone should read.

Favorite Quotes from So Long Insecurity:

“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”

“Be careful who you covet. Be careful how you judge. Be slow to size somebody up and think you know all about her type. She’s not so different than you. Nobody’s unbreakable here on this planet. Only the dead don’t bleed when they’re cut.”

purchase here

4. Fervent by Priscilla Shirer 

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Talk about altering your view of prayer! This book is powerful stuff. Priscilla dives into 10 different areas where we face attacks from our enemy and encourages you to develop prayer strategies to combat these attacks. The book comes with prayer cards you can fill out and write your strategies on. Our enemy might be disarmed, but he’s still pretty smart. Unless we are constantly going to war in our prayer life, we will continue struggle with an onslaught of his attacks. This book reminded me of the power of prayer and gave me practical advice for ways to implement a prayer strategy.

Favorite quotes from Fervent:

“We pray because our own solutions don’t work and because prayer deploys, activates, and fortifies us against the attacks of the enemy. We pray because we’re serious about taking back the ground he has sought to take from us.”

“At the end of the day, the enemy is going to be sorry he ever messed with you. You’re about to become his worst nightmare a million times over. He thought he could wear you down, sure that after a while you’d give up without much of a fight. Well, just wait till he encounters the fight of God’s Spirit in you. Because . . . This. Means. War.”

purchase here

5. Pracitcal Religion by J.C. Ryle

I don’t know what really inspired my 15 year old self to open up a deeply theological book, but I know it changed me. This book showed me the urgency of living out the Gospel. It instilled in me a healthy fear of the bleakness of eternity without God. It made me weep for the hearts who don’t know my King. It’s a powerful book that takes some work and time to read through, but it’s worth it. It might have been written in a different century, it might be “old-school”, but it’s a beautifully challenging book.

Favorite quotes from Practical Religion

“Evening is the time which the higher classes choose for dancing, card playing, and the like; and consequently never get to bed till late at night. If we love our souls, and would not become worldly, let us mind how we spend our evenings. Tell me how a man spends his evenings, and I can generally tell what his character is.”

“Tell me what a man does in the matter of Bible-reading and praying, in the matter of Sunday, public worship, and the Lord’s Supper, and I will soon tell you what he is, and on which road he is travelling.”

“Faith is to prayer what the feather is to the arrow: without it prayer will not hit the mark.”

purchase here

These are five of my favorites. I’m always looking for new reads so leave yours in the comments!

how Jesus offers more than your lesser loves

We’re all running around in circles chasing these silly little pursuits and I can imagine God just shaking His head and laughing a little. Laughing at how slow it takes us to learn. Chuckling a little at our stubborn hearts that think they know best.

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He knows our hearts are so prone to wander into lukewarm faith and watered-down desires. He knows we get so easily fooled into thinking the world will deliver on its promises, and He knows there is more for us.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Our incredible God-He knows what He made us for. He made us to chase Him with every fiber of our being, drawing in the lost by the beautiful display of the Gospel that our lives become.

& yet we would rather chase boys, applause, and attention. We would rather chase acceptance, approval, and praise. We would rather chase money, position, and a career.

Our God knows all this.

He knows that the American lie has convinced us that we can have both Jesus and the world.

That we can live on the fence and we’ll be satisfied.

That we can wrap up all our worth in man’s approval and yet experience the full joy of the Lord.

That we can walk with the foolish and somehow become wise.

That we can serve both God and money.

He knows all these lies we’ve been fed and let ourselves believe.

Yes, He knows all of this. The struggles of our hearts in toying with the things of the world. The silly little pleasures we run after. He knows the time we’ve wasted on things that pull us away from Him, and in His perfect goodness He offers to us a beautiful promise that He delivers on.

If we would take time in our days to spend at the feet of Jesus-maybe we’d hear Him whisper

“My daughter, I have something better for you. Something greater than all you see right now.”

I think He wants us to remember that there is a whole lot more than what we see. That His glorious purpose for the world involves you, but it does not revolve around you.

We need to spend time with our God not necessarily so that He can show us what the big picture is-but so that we can simply be reminded that there is one.

That there is more, greater, deeper hope than all this world has to offer. That our time here on this earth is very small compared to eternity, but incredibly important in light of eternity.

That there is more than just me. There is more than my little world and what I want, there is a hurting, dying, world out there in desperate need of a word of grace. There are hearts looking for an answer.

This life is so much bigger than what I want.

It is so much bigger than simply my dreams-there are God sized dreams just waiting to be unfurled if I would lay my own down. All those desires we have, all those things we are chasing, it’s not too much. It’s too little. We need to lift our hearts higher and chase what really matters.

Let’s chase the One we were made to live for and glorify and reflect.

Your desires for “more”-that emptiness you feel when you chase the world-all that is pointing to something greater. So chase Him. Lay down your pursuits for joy in the things of the world and put all your stock in Christ. There is an abundance of joy, peace, and perfect contentment He is waiting to pour out if we would come.

Come, chase Christ with me. Let’s forget the lesser loves.

 

the scale has it all wrong

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A lot of us broken people have this thing with scales–with numbers and affirmation and a definition of beauty.

We let numbers sink under our skin and tell us who we are.

We let a mirror affirm our beauty.

We let the world define perfection.

I’m writing this because I’ve decided not to step on a scale again, and I want you to join me.

Body image can control every thought if we’re not careful. We let so much of ourselves be wrapped up in how we appear to others. We allow so much of our”worth” to be wrapped up in what a person thinks. We forget that those people we’re looking to for validation are broken too, and they’re probably searching for the same thing.

But what if our problem isn’t really with ourselves?

I know, it sounds weird. How could hating the way you look not be a problem with yourself?

However, I really do believe that it is not a problem we have with ourselves, it’s a problem with believing the incredibly beautiful truth of our God. It’s a question of purpose, not perfection.

We have to get it through our heads that just because you believe you are ugly doesn’t mean you are ugly. Just because that person treated you like trash doesn’t mean you are trash. And just because you feel like a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake. We’ve lost sight of truth, because we’ve let ourselves believe the lies for so long. You will live what you let yourself believe. You can choose to believe those lies, or you can stand up and defend your heart with the truth.

The truth that you, my sister or brother, are incredibly crafted with a purpose. That you are breathed upon by God Himself.

We’ve forgotten about that when we look in the mirror. We’ve forgotten about that in the way we treat others. We’ve forgotten about that when we’re up late crying because of a deep feeling of emptiness in our souls.

You are so much more than this world will ever tell you you are. But the answer to the pain isn’t to love yourself more, rather to embrace the beautiful purpose God has for you and forget yourself. It’s to find yourself lost in that beautiful purpose to bring Him glory through the passions He has given you. 

I have a choice: I could live my entire life wrapped up in pleasing people, in eating healthy, in running daily, in a trying-to-keep-myself-skinny kind of life. I could live my life constantly trying to love myself more and embrace who I am while inside I really hate what I see. Or I could be free. I could embrace who I am in Christ. I could simply embrace Christ, and watch as I beautifully come to understand my incredible worth because of Him. I could claim my freedom in Christ. I could realize that no amount of applause from men will ever fill the void in my heart unless I turn to Christ. I could have faith to see that the kind of freedom I need is not a freedom to follow my heart but to be unbridled, myself, who I was made to be. The freedom I need is to follow His heart. The freedom I need is to be beautifully caught up in this:

I can live out my purpose-and throw away what people think-because when God sets you on fire with His purpose for you life, you don’t really want to learn to love yourself more, you want to love Him more.

I’m not stepping on a scale anymore because it distracts me from my purpose.

A scale can tell me how much I weigh but it cannot tell me how much I am worth.

It distracts me from know the irreplaceable truth about myself, that I am so much more than how I look.

I’ve discovered that a purpose and passion for King Jesus is more beautiful than all the world has to offer. I’d rather be kind than skinny. I’d rather know my God than be known by this world, and I’d rather have people think I’m strange and overlook me, if it means I press further into the presence of my King.

Please know it tonight: the scale has it all wrong. You are so much more than a number. Let your heart dance in amazing love tonight. Let your joy soar and sing upon the mountaintops of His love. You are so treasured it’s crazy. You are so adored. It’s not because of anything you have done, but because of our beautiful God. I don’t care if not one person has ever affirmed your beauty on this earth, you are incredibly beautiful. Let’s begin to believe the truth, and let it invade how we live our lives.

The scale has it wrong, but God’s Word has it right:

you are loved.

a word to the broken

Dear broken heart; broken by the words someone said. Broken by someone’s opinion. Broken because someone who was close isn’t close anymore.

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Broken because that loved one who in your mind had 50 years left to live–

broken cause they’re gone.

Broken because turning on the news today can break you down like that.

Broken for the families who won’t see their brothers or sisters or sons or daughters again because they were in Orlando that day.

Broken because you were betrayed by a friend.

Broken because someone was chosen over you.

Broken because no matter how hard you try, you never measure up.

so. many. broken. people.

& we are broken for so many reasons.

But broken heart, you are welcomed here.

Hurting soul who has lost hope, you are welcomed here.

I don’t think it’s ok to pretend we’re ok and whole and strong when we aren’t. In fact, I think the most courageous thing we can do in a world of people trying hard to be “the strongest” is to own our brokenness and bring it to the Healer.

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I’ve struggled these past two years. There have been a lot of mornings I didn’t want to get out of bed. A lot of depression I’ve tried to fight off. A lot of brokenness I’ve tried to hide because I thought it would make me look weak. There have been a lot of days I’ve lived completely bound by insecurity and afraid that if people saw who I really was, they’d see that I wasn’t enough. I’ve felt like I shouldn’t share it because I’ve convinced myself that it’s really not that big of a deal, and that people are going through harder trials than mine.

I know there are hearts reading this who have been through a lot more than what I’ve been through–or will ever experience. But I am convinced that it is a bad idea to minimize our pain and tell ourselves we’re silly for feeling a certain way about something that is “so small.” I’m convinced it’s a bad idea to beat ourselves up for the way we feel instead of casting all of our emotions and feelings and pain at the feet of our King.

I also share this because God has brought me an incredible freedom in the past two months as He’s made my soul come alive to its purpose. To His purpose in me. You see, we can worry about how people perceive our brokenness and try to please everyone, or we can be raw and honest. God has called us to honesty, even when it’s not glamorous. Even when others see us as being too much to handle. He never sees us as too much to handle, and He always sees us as enough.

Please be honest with your brokenness. Don’t try to hide it. After all, you can’t hide it from the One who sees and knows all things.

Maybe you’re broken heart is what will one day heal another person’s brokenness.

We have to look beyond what we see today. How we feel today. What we think. We have to look to the hope of the beautiful things God does with broken people.

When you uncover your purpose, you can own your brokenness, because you are given eyes to see that your broken heart today is part of His story for your tomorrow. We can’t listen to the lies that tell us our brokenness defines us. We have to own it-and bring all of that cutting pain and deep weakness to our Savior. We have to trust, and to wait.

Because when we pour out our weakness at His feet it becomes a catalyst for the river of His strength to flow through us and consume all that we are in His love. Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

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& we can do this.

We can lay down our inadequacies, our depression, our pain, our weakness, our addictions, our sins, our struggles, our failures, our mistakes, and our regrets.

There is an abundance of room at the feet of Jesus for your mess. But there is an even greater abundance of grace to turn that mess into a miracle.

& after all, maybe we should praise Him for the fact that we are even broken–because when we experience brokenness, we know the beauty of being made whole by a Savior who holds this world. Let His love pour through you today.

Dear broken heart, entrust all that you are to your Savior. Only He can bind up your brokenness and make you whole.

& watch as He makes a beautiful story of your brokenness.

locked doors & new paths

Is there a door that’s closed in your life?

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It’s locked and bolted and you believe that if you could just break down that door, the other side would hold all that you need.

But it feels impossible to get through that door, and so you’ve tried looking for new ones, but you just don’t see them. You don’t feel Him. You aren’t excited, you feel like your growth is stunted, and every door you think was God’s plan has been shut in your face.

Look for a window.

Because God is working in a different way. What He has next for you might not be anything glittery and gold-

It might not be a beautiful oak door that leads to all you dreams fulfilled and pain erased, perhaps it’s a window that’s hard to climb through. A window that looks different, that feels small and insignificant. But on the other side of that window-perhaps there is a beautiful season of life just waiting to be uncovered.

And all of these small windows–maybe they’re leading us down the road to Him.

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In fact, I know they are.

I am convinced that what we see as small opportunities, God sees as a glorious unfolding of His perfect plan.

Keep walking and look for the windows, even when you’ve been expecting an opened door.

And when you find the windows–those light beams of grace shining through–climb through them. You never know what is waiting on the other side.

p.s. my dress is from Simply Bliss Boutique // I just LOvE this shop & the mission behind their brand. You can find the dress here (wearing size small)

exchange the unknown future for a known love

What is it about all that we think we want, all that God wants, and how the two collide?

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It’s a painful collision. When what we had planned is dashed against the rocks of His strength and goodness. When our plans collide with the sovereignty of an all-powerful God.

There’s a thing about disappointments and broken dreams and dashed expectations. They hurt. Often times, they cause us to doubt our God. We build up all that we think we want and want for our lives–and then the weight of reality wrecks us: we’re not in the place we would expect.

It’s not the school we had expected.

Or the church, or the person, or the friend.

It’s not the ideal job, or the perfect relationship-

but really, it’s absolutely opposite of all we expected.

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The unexpected has captivated me lately. (maybe that’s why 90% of my blog posts revolve around this topic 😉 ) Why God lets it happen, why our hopes in certain things are wrecked, and why we come to the place where with all our hearts, we’re pleading with our God and asking “God, what are you doing?”

Our doubt is fed by dashed expectations.

We let ourselves believe that God is not good. We may deny it-but why are our hearts confused? Why are we not overflowing with His joy? Why are we not EXCITED for LIFE?

Maybe it’s this:

we haven’t fed our emotions with the truth. The truth of God’s goodness. We haven’t preached it to our fading hearts each morning as we should. We haven’t soaked it in and let it consume all that we are.

You’re emotions take what you feed them. So feed them the truth. Start now, today:

God is good.

His plans are good.

Because God is good, what He is doing in your life is GOOD. When it hurts, when it’s confusing. It is good.

My circumstances will never be perfect,

but my God will always be.

Preach that to your heart every morning when you wake up. It may be the last thing you feel right now, but I promise, when His grace wrecks you, it all breaks through in a beautiful, overwhelming joy.

We’ll soak it in and by believing the goodness of our God, our entire perspective on life will be changed.

Our perspective on trials will never be the same.

Our perspective on the unknown will be altered.

“In the breaking of every habit, someone wills it first and feels it later”

-beth moore

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My greatest fear used to be not knowing. Not knowing what tomorrow would hold, not knowing if I would get what I want, not knowing if I would experience my definition of living.

Why is it that I think I know what would bring me the greatest joy, when my God has been preparing the deepest joy possible for me since before I was born, if I would only surrender?

It’s been a beautiful wrecking of grace that has showed me: I don’t actually want what I think I want, unless it’s what God wants for me.

It’s been a beautiful wrecking of grace that has showed me: wrapping my heart up in fear of the future is actually me crying out, “God, I want your job.”

But I’ve been liberated. I don’t have to be God. I don’t have to do His job. I am His daughter. Liberated. Freed. Excited.

And now my greatest fear today is this:

wasting my life because I’m wallowing in what I want and why God isn’t giving it to me–instead of searching God’s Word so my heart can explode with joy at the incredibly perfect plans He has for me.

This is it, this is what I want to live for-

I long for what He wants for me.

There is no fear of the future in my heart, but unbridled excitement, anticipation that God’s incredible plans for me have already begun.

I’m going to chase down what He wants for me-because I don’t want my plans anymore. I’m surrendered to a God who has better things in store

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Join me in destroying your fear of the unknown, by believing what is known:

My God is good and all His ways are perfect. 

(( say it to your heart ))

Exchange the unknown future for His known love.

love & grace,

m

for you, if you’ve met the unexpected

Five little verses.

Five little verses is all that it took for God to shake me, speak to me, show me, a truth I know I’ll never let go.

Five little verses=one big truth.

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It’s Deuteronomy 8:2-6.

 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing Him.

God brought the Israelites to an unexpected place. An unexpected waiting. He brought them to this place in their lives so that the genuineness of their faith would be proven. Isn’t that just like our God, to give us what we do not understand so that the strong roots of our faith would sink down and grow firmly rooted in the sovereignty of our Almighty God.

Isn’t it like our God to bring us out to wander in the wilderness for forty years-or however long He would have us wait-to teach us that He is sufficient to sequester every longing of our heart and to fill every hunger.

And even when The Lord leads His children to unexpected trials, the solution and healing He brings is also different than we would expect. God “fed them with manna which they did not know.” His solution to the trial He had brought to His children was the only sufficient solution. Because His ways are so much greater, they are hardly what we expect.

God lets us feel the emptiness of everything so that we might know the fullness of Him. He loves us way too much to let us be content with temporary satisfaction.

So whether God has you in a season of waiting for 40 years, or 4 months, He is always faithful to provide. The Israelites never went hungry. In His hand is all you need to be content in whatever place you are right now.

Pain and waiting teach our hearts to find fulfillment, healing, comfort, and complete satisfaction in God alone. God disciplines us for our good. God brings us through pain for our good. In our limited minds, we see good as being today. But our God sees good as something far greater.

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He lets us know loss, so that He might become our greatest gain. Loss of a job. Loss of a friend. Loss of a person. Loss of our expectations. So that we might find our all in Him, and not the trinkets of the world that are quick to grab our attention and even quicker to fade away.

Let us not think for a moment, that Our God-who holds the stars in their galaxies and breathes life into all that lives and moves and has its being-doens’t know what He is doing in our lives. It is something beautiful.

This resting and trusting in His plan summons us to obedience. We obey because in the season we do not understand or did not expect, He is working in us a peculiar glory that we will get only because of what we have walked through. Fearing God, obeying Him, resting in what He is doing and surrendering our hearts to Him, this is our greatest good. Because He loves us so perfectly, and the moment we believe we would be happier in different circumstances is the moment we have ceased to believe that His love is perfect for us.