Top Reads for 2020 (So far!)
August 31, 2020 · by Jennifer Smith
If you know me, you know I love to read.
My husband and I are always in the middle of two or three books at once, each of us with our own pile of "to-read" books adorning our bedside tables. =D
My idea of the perfect day would be to sit in a cozy chair with nowhere to be, an unsweetened black tea and some creamy chocolates nearby, reading the day away!
Certain seasons of life yield more time for reading than others, and this year, I haven't been able to read quite as often as I'd like. (Homeschooling and having a toddler will do that to you!) However, since it's been over a year since my last recommendation of must-read books (get that list here), I thought I'd share the most recent titles I've personally benefited from.
Click the title for more info, and if you've read any books lately that you've loved, share them with me on @daintyjewellblog's Facebook or Instagram in the comments!
Guarding the Channels of the Supernatural: Unveiling the Power of Holiness by Kim Haney
I first read this book probably 7-8 years ago, and it's one I'm sure I'll come back to from time to time. Sometimes we lose sight of the crucial importance of the spiritual lifestyle choices we've chosen to make. This book is a reminder of why it's vital that we guard the channels God's made available to us so that we'll have spiritual power and authority over Satan.
Taming the To-Do List by Glynnis Whitwer
Anybody else struggle with how much you don't get done every day? This has been an issue throughout my adult life, though I feel God has helped me narrow my priorities as I've grown in maturity and as my family has grown in number!
Written from a woman's point of view, this book addresses the nature of our plugged-in culture and how it affects our time management and the issue of procrastination.
Becoming Mom Strong: How to Fight With All That's In You For Your Family and Your Faith by Heidi St. John
If you're a reading mom, do yourself a favor and read this book! So many good points and thoughts, especially in light of the unique challenges we face as mothers in a culture that is moving farther and farther away from godly truth.
It was fun and easy to read!
Building Confidence in Your Child by Dr. James Dobson
I bought this book a few years ago in an online Christian Book Distributor's sale for only $1. It was a dollar well spent! I just got around to reading it a few weeks ago, and I'm so glad I did. Having an eight-year-old, a one-year-old, and a newborn on the way, I felt it was a timely reminder about instilling the right values in my children.
While the culture says only the beautiful and intelligent and talented really matter, I want my kids to know that their worth -- and that of those around them -- isn't set by a culture with misplaced values.
Such a good read; I definitely recommend it!
Didn't See It Coming: Overcoming The Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences by Carey Nieuwhof
I'm so glad my husband brought this book home from General Conference last year ... It's one I plan to read every couple of years! For this one, especially during certain chapters, I really took my time and read slowly, letting the ideas ruminate in my heart. There are so many ways we can get confused, distracted, critical, and disillusioned in life, and I don't want to fall prey when I know those things can destroy God's perfect plan for my life and calling.
At some point in life, we all experience cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and emptiness. Carey Nieuwhof addresses how we can keep these things from derailing our lives.
#struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World by Craig Groeschel
We're all fully aware of some of the struggles and issues with social media! The more we compare ourselves with each other, the less satisfied we are. The more we interact online, the more we crave face-to-face intimacy, but the harder it is to find.
I expected this book to speak more to a younger generation, but I found it to be very relevant to my own life, as well as an engaging read. I think anyone who uses social media at all should read this one.
The Grace of God: The Gift We Don't Deserve, The Love We Can't Believe by Andy Stanley
I was really surprised at how much this book spoke to me. While I don't see precisely eye-to-eye on every single point or idea that was approached in the book, the overall revelation and examination of grace in this book was very powerful to me. This was a book I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did!
Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive by Thom S. Rainer
A super quick-and-easy read about why churches die. Thom S. Rainer discusses twelve themes he's seen consistently among churches that have died. As a pastor's wife, I love to read books that help me love our church better and support my husband in his role, and I've found several of Thom Rainer's books to be valuable in that regard.
I definitely recommend for pastors, their wives, church staff, and church planters.
Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth by Samuel R. Chand
This is another book for church leaders out there -- or leaders in general.
As humans, it's natural that we shrink away from pain, but Samuel Chand explains how pain is a crucial part of the growth process of a leader. If you haven't experienced pain in your time as a leader, you probably haven't been growing; you probably haven't been leading as effectively as you should be.
Lynn Austin's Refiner's Fire Series
Oh. My. Goodness.
I discovered Lynn Austin by accident at my local library right before the coronavirus hit. My husband and I were supposed to go to Canada in March, and I was looking for a few longer Christian-fiction reads for the flight.
I am so glad I was!
After discovering her that fateful day in the library, Lynn Austin became my all-time favorite Christian fiction author to date. =D While Legacy of Mercy was the original book I ran across at the library, I cannot recommend enough the Refiner's Fire Series. So far, not one of the Lynn Austin books I've read has disappointed.
Terri Blackstock's If I Run Series
My reading this series came from preparing for the same above-mentioned trip-that-wasn't-to-be! I ran across these books at the library and was happy to find them engaging, suspenseful, and hard to put down.
I hadn't read anything by Terri Blackstock in years, but finding this series made me want to look into some of her other titles again.