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Over the past few weeks, God repeatedly asked me to set aside all my striving and big dreams in order to focus on personal and spiritual growth for 2017.  He made it clear He intends to lead me towards big changes in the way I think and act.

Personal and spiritual growth does not come easy; so I compiled a list of books to read which will help me along the journey.

In no particular order…

15 books I plan to read for personal and spiritual growth in 2017:

*Note these are affiliate links which means if you purchase the book through my link I get a small commission. (Thanks for supporting my ministry!)

1. The Women’s Study Bible


Of course the Bible is my primary resource when it comes to personal and spiritual growth. I study scripture daily and ask God to speak to me through His word. My husband gave me this beautiful Bible for Christmas and I love it. It has notes, portraits of women in the Bible, and emphasis topics important for women seeking God.


2. Jesus Always by Sarah Young

My daily devotional for the year. The newest of Sarah Young’s devotionals, Jesus Always focuses on finding joy in the Lord. Considering the theme, I knew it was exactly what I needed.

*Update – After reading for a couple of months, I do not recommend this book. However, I’ll leave it on the list as it was originally included.



3. The Invisible Woman by Nicole Johnson

I completely relate to being an invisible woman! Many of my day to day tasks go unseen and unnoticed. Sometimes I even wonder what I accomplished at the end of my day. In this book, Nicole reminds us invisible women that God sees us and cherishes our work; which is just the encouragement I will need for a year focused on being small.



4. Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Even though I am focusing on personal and spiritual growth this year, I still honor God’s call to blog about my journey. To ensure the lessons learned come across in a meaningful and impactful way, I seek advice and training on writing.  This writing book appealed to me because of the story format rather than a straight forward instruction manual.



5. Wounded by God’s People by Anne Graham Lotz

One area God wants me to work on is forgiveness. I tend to hold on to anger and bitterness, letting hurts fester rather than heal. Relationships cannot thrive in these conditions; plus it is not a very Christ like quality. Enter Wounded by God’s People, a book about how to heal, forgive, and move forward when others hurt you.



6. Boundaries With Kids by Cloud & Townsend

I read Boundaries and Boundaries in Marriage years ago, so I know I like Cloud & Townsends’ style. They give practical, yet biblical advice on healthy relationships. With a daughter who loves to test boundaries already, I turn to this book for guidance on creating a healthy relationship with my daughter as she continues to grow.



7. The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp

The Broken Way is about seeking an abundant life in God, which speaks right into my own desire for a life full of joy in the Lord. I am extra excited for this one because Faith Gateway is doing a free Broken Way Bible Study starting on January 22nd.




8. The Highly Sensitive Person by Elain N. Naron, Ph.D.

I only recently heard about the highly sensitive trait, but I immediately knew I had it. Like other types of personality indicators, a light bulb went off and so many things made sense. (“I am not crazy, there actually is a funny smell in here that only I can smell!”) The subtitle, How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, perfectly describes why I want to read this book.



9. Against the Flow by John C. Lennox

The idea of being in, but not of, the world keeps spinning around my head. I know God wants me to do something with it, but so far the only guidance I received is to look at the life of Daniel. Against the Flow looks like just the book I need to dig deeper into Daniel.




10. Scary Close by Donald Miller

I am a big Donald Miller fan and the subject of Scary Close immediately resonated with me. Donald Miller shares about how hiding behind the masks we wear in public leads to isolation. I often find myself in a similar position as Donald Miller, surrounded by people, yet lonely and longing for deep meaningful relationships where I can be my true self.



11. Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

Some women know from early on they were made to be a mom, but not me. I remained unsure about taking the leap into motherhood for a long time. And while I believe I am a good mom, and I love my daughter very much, the role of motherhood doesn’t feel like it fits me right. Gloria Furman’s book caught my attention because she talks about motherhood as a mission from God; something all women were created for, even if we do not have children of our own. The idea of missional motherhood may be what I am missing.

12. A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

While self-doubt has popped up on and off throughout my life, I never considered it a serious problem until recently. In fact, right about the time I started following God’s call to write about a life lived for Him. Now self-doubt constantly creeps into my thoughts, disrupting the work I am trying to accomplish. Renee dealt with the same problem until she learned how to fight off self-doubt and claim confidence in God; a skill I desperately need to acquire.


13. You and Me Forever by Lisa and Francis Chan

A friend sent me a video of Lisa and Francis Chan giving the cliff notes version of this book at a conference. After listening to them speak, I was hooked; I wanted what they had! Their view on marriage counters what society teaches and even appears radical until you realize that is what following Jesus is supposed to look like.



14. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

I am reading this book for my small group; so while not technically a personal choice, I still wanted to share it. Similar to the previous book which seeks to counter cultural views on marriage, Keller looks at the contrasts between what society says about marriage and what the Bible says. As a couple, my husband and I want to move more towards a biblical based, God-centered marriage this year.



15. Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman

I already started reading this one and Emily could have written it about me. I am a classic good girl! The problem is good girls tend to have a hard time truly living in God’s grace. Emily went through this very struggle and I am looking forward to finding out how she learned to let go of the try-hard life and live fully in God’s grace.



What are you reading this year? Any recommendations to add?

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Linking up at Grace & Truth, Faith ‘n friends, and Fresh Market Friday


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