This is the time of year people tend to make resolutions that are going to radically change their lives. I tend to think those people are nutty and slightly deranged. Not because they actually are, of course, but because with my unique set of life circumstances anything involving a scheule and a regimented course of action would make me nutty and fully deranged.
Plus, I never know what aspect of my life needs changing the most so I often presume that any or all of what I do and how I do it, what I think about a certain subject, or what I prefer or pursue is liable to be slightly suspect and always open to debate and/or change. I consider myself a student of life, always pondering, always researching, especially when it comes to issues of the soul.
So, while I don't make resolutions per se, all of the above books are recent purchases or gifts that I have wanted to further aid me in my quest for learning. Hopefully, the end result will be a life change or a life changed, without the torturous process of running on a treadmill in an overheated gym for an hour every day for the rest of the year.
1. Why We're Not Emergent: Because this past year I have been introduced to the most varied perspectives on the Christian life than ever before. From acrostics involving flowers to radical movements including gold dust, I am seeing that the body of Christ is a rainbow of diversity when it comes to certain issues. I'd like to know what I believe and why I believe it (hopefully, because God's word says so!).
2. Big Truths for Young Hearts: Not sure who I bought this one for, the kids or myself. By presenting biblical doctrines in a systematic way, I hope this book provides answers to the questions we seek together as a family.
3. Gospel Powered Parenting: I'd like to say I'm doing ok as a parent, having always tried basing my own model of a parent on God's example as a Father. As my children grow, my role as protector begins to give way more and more to that of one who equips. Sometimes a little insight goes a long way in helping me gain balance between the two.
4. Heaven for Kids: I tried finding answers to our deepest theological questions (such as, "Will I be able to fly on a pterodactyl in heaven?") in this book's predecessor but was thrilled to see there is actually one geared more towards kids. And, for the record, I think there is a high likelihood of me flying bareback on a dinosaur in eternity!
5. Radical: Our family's motto (among others), taken from scripture, is to use our money to buy friends. We tend to make this truth come alive through practicing hospitality, providing for our parents, sharing what we have with others, etc. I'm a little scared to read this book as I think it will challenge us to greater giving and more contentment with what we have.
6. Just Do Something: Loving this book's subtitle: How to Make a Decision without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. Having already read this one, I can wholeheartedly endorse it! Instead of worrying about landing on the mythical bull's eye of God's will regarding your life's decisions, seek first Him and His kingdom, and then just do something!
7. Choosing to SEE: These next two were gifts from my mom. Since I was ten, I have had an infatuation with orphans. Reading this story of a mother's journey through adopting three daughters to tragically losing one, I was encouraged at the reminder that God does indeed work all things for His good, even if it does come at the cost of personal heartache.
8. Dangerous Surrender: Though I'm prone to get sucked into a woe-is-me cyclone of defeat and discouragement, my outlook is always changed when I consider others before myself. The author does exactly that as she lays aside her personal dreams of worldwide ministry and travel and accepts the calling God brings her to as He confronts her with needs (of those suffering from AIDS) greater than her own.
9. Unbroken: A consistent name on many bestseller lists, I thought I was in for a great fictional literary treat set during World War II with this one. It is more than I bargained for, with a scoundrel, suspense, and surprises with each turn of the page. The greatest surprise? That it was the true story of redemption written by an author who has herself struggled with a crippling condition. Sending it to my grandpa, himself a survivor of WWII.
10. The Shadow of the Wind: Trying to expand my library of fiction, this was bought after the suggestion of a friend. One review claims it a brilliant mix of mystery, a fairy tale, and love story rolled into one.
11. The Book Thief: Having recently immersed myself in WWII history with Unbroken and finally watching HBO's Band of Brothers, this book is next for me. Set again during WWII, it centers on a nine year old girl taken to live with foster parents in Germany. The twist is that this book is narrated by Death himself. Appropriate, considering how ever-present he seemed to have been during this dark time of history.
12. God Attachment: (not pictured) I talked just this week with a friend who professed that as a child their view of God was made up largely by how their own father related towards them. This, in turn, led to misconceptions about the true nature of God. Whether a believer or cynic, all of us think about God and, if He exists, are interested in understanding how we can experience Him. This book clears away our past preconceptions and prepares the way for us to seek Him and find Him.