Read A Mentor:2015-2016

Dr. Jay Strack once said, "You will be the same person ten years from now except for the books you read, the places you go, the people you meet, and the Scripture you memorize." I have found this statement to be true in multiple ways in my own life. Reading, traveling, experiencing new things with new people, and filling my mind with the life-giving truths of God's Word has been a match God has used to light a fire in my heart that keeps burning. Learning is a passion of mine that opens my eyes to the unsearchable riches of God's Word and the beauty of the gospel in everyday life.

Since hearing this quote four years ago, I have aimed to be a reader and to have a heart that is moldable and teachable. This past year I wrote down a list of books in the front of my Live Life Beautifully journal that was designed after this quote, and I slowly marked off several of them.

Below are a few of my favorites that I read and highly recommend! 

  • You and Me Forever by Francis Chan - I read this book so fast that I am currently rereading it slowly. The truths that Francis and Lisa point out are life-changing for anyone to read, whether you are single or married. They focus on marriage in light of eternity and refer to the beauty of Scripture throughout every chapter. If you haven't read this book yet, add it to your list! You can also download the "You and Me Forever" app and read it for free on your phone!
  • Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman - I couldn't put this book down. This is the last book I read in 2015 and the Lord used it to set me free and encourage me in this new season of motherhood. Emily shares her story with great vulnerability paired wisdom and truth of Christ. It is beautiful and a must-read!
  • The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst - This books is one I will continue to reference in years to come. I felt as if I was sitting with a mentor and gleaning timeless truth. Lysa does a beautiful job sharing from her experiences, both the good and the bad, and points the reader constantly to the Word of God. If you have trouble saying no or struggle with the "disease to please," I highly recommend this book!
  • Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp - This book is an excellent resource for all believers. After reading it I learned that this book is used in counseling classes, but I believe that anyone can glean important truth about God's Word and God's people from Paul David Tripp. It took me a few months to go through slowly and I intend to reread it one day in the future!
  • Praying Backwards by Bryan Chappell - I am not quite sure how I found this book but I am grateful I stumbled upon it! Bryan Chappell brings the reader back to the power of praying in Jesus' Name. This book reignited a passion for prayer in my heart!
  • Anything by Jennie Allen - I finally picked up this book through the Influence Network book club and was greatly encouraged by Jennie's story and passion for Christ. I was able to meet Jennie at the Send North America conference in August, and her genuine character was even more evident in real life. This book would be a great one to start at the beginning of the year!
  • God is Just Not Fair by Jennifer Rothschild - Written by a woman who is blind and has every earthly reason to question God's "fairness", God is Just Not Fair is an excellent read that dives deep into this perplexing question. The Lord brought freedom and understanding to my heart through Jennifer's story and the clear picture of the gospel she portrays through the Word. 
  • The Finishing School by Val Woerner - My friend, Val, published her first book this year and I had the privilege of writing an endorsement for it. Val walks you through her own story of finding freedom, joy, and abundance through Christ in everyday life. This book is practical and a great one to help you shape your days.
  • Make It Happen by Lara Casey - This was the first book I read this year and the Lord used it to encourage my heart as well as help me create healthy boundaries in my life and business where the lines easily get blurred. Lara does a beautiful job sharing her own story as well as practical advice on how to implement the lessons and truths she teaches.
  • Love Does by Bob Goff - I finally picked up this book and couldn't put it down! Bob's stories and wisdom will make you laugh and compel you to live your life fully for the Lord, right where you are. 
  • Set Apart Motherhood by Leslie Ludy - I became a mama to our son, Nolan, in May and my life was changed in the most beautiful way! Set Apart Motherhood was one book I read prior to entering this new season of motherhood. Leslie Ludy is a beautiful example of a woman seeking God's heart through every stage of life. Her ministry, Set Apart Girl, is one I have followed for years and redirect women to frequently!
  • Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick - The best part about this book is that Elyse breaks down the beauty and power of the gospel in everyday life. It opened my eyes to how powerful the gospel is to bring us hope and joy in our everyday lives!
  • Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret - I absolutely LOVED this book. I aim to read at least 1-2 biographies a year and am so glad I stumbled upon this one! Hudson Taylor's life will stir the fires of your heart to believe God for great things!
  • The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller - I have read this books twice and both times the Lord profoundly spoke to me. It is a short read, but Keller breaks down the importance and beauty of forgetting ourselves in order to serve Christ. 
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence - This was my 4th time to read this book. The example and life of Brother Lawrence stirs my heart to know Jesus more and to savor His goodness in my everyday routine. If you haven't read this yet, I highly recommend going through it during your quiet time. I first read it in college and it changed my perspective on school and work!

A few other books I read are How We Got The Bible, The Tie That Binds, Brain Rules for Baby (I didn't agree with everything in this book but it made for an interesting read before becoming a parent!), The Weight of Your Words, Mom Enough, The Pursuit of God, Lord, Teach Us To Pray,  A Million Little Ways, and Risk is Right

Here are a few books I plan on reading in 2016:

What are some books you read this year? I would love to hear any recommendations!

Let's be women who have moldable hearts, first filling our souls with the timeless treasures of God's Word, then seeking to know Him more as we read, travel, fellowship with one another, and live life beautifully for His glory. 

reading a "mentor" with you this next year,

Gretchen