One of my favorite books of the Bible is Proverbs. It’s full of wise teachings, and it even urges Christians to “get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7) because it is “more precious than rubies” (Proverbs 8:11). And one of the ways, besides reading the Bible, that I’ve found wisdom is through other Christians who have knowledge, expertise, and experience in areas that I want to grow in. So, if you’re looking for ways to gain wisdom, here are 7 Christian books that I’ve read this past year that have really helped me gain wisdom and grow in my faith and relationships.
1. Name of Book: Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
What I like about it: This book helped me learn to speak up in a loving way. It also helped me define what my relational boundaries are and how to make sure I don’t make someone else’s problems my problems.
Chapter that most helped me: Chapter 15 “Resistance to Boundaries”
Why it helped me: It talked about the different guilt messages that manipulative people will use against you. It also talked about the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. So helpful!
2. Name of Book: Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud
What I like about it: This book helped me understand that some people’s behaviors and patterns are destructive, and they require an ending.
Chapters that most helped me: Chapter 6 “Hoping Versus Wishing: The Difference Between What’s Worth Fixing and What Should End”; Chapter 7 “The Wise, the Foolish, and the Evil: Identifying Which Kinds of People Deserve Your Trust”
Why they helped me: Chapter 6 taught me that people really can change. However, there are nine objective factors to look for when determining if someone has really changed or is in the process of changing. Chapter 7 talked about how to deal with different types of people when confronting them with a problem. Some people will listen, some will turn the tables and blame you, and some are flat out dangerous. This was helpful to learn because I realized what to do when someone blames me for their problem or bad patterns of behavior.
3. Name of Book/Bible Study: Unraveling Fairy Tales: Learning to Live Happily Ever After by Kim A. Larson
What I like about it: It brought about a new and fun way of doing my morning devotions. Studying how fairy-tale characters encounter the same difficulties that we do in life and seeing the connections these stories have to the Bible was so refreshing. Since I’m already familiar with the fairy tales, it made it even easier to understand scripture and biblical truths.
Chapter that most helped me: Chapter 3 Little Red Riding Hood—Spiritual Warfare
Why it helped me: It analyzed how Little Red Riding Hood got deceived by her enemy. She conversed with him. The same thing happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden. These two allusions made me reflect on whose voices am I listening to? From whom do I get wisdom? What kinds of people should I be surrounding myself with? These are the voices that will have major influence on my thought life. As well as, what lies am I believing about myself? About God? Taking my thoughts captive is one of the main messages of this chapter. And it reinforced the fact that it’s important for me to be in God’s Word every day along with reading and listening to other wise Christians (like the ones in this blog post) in order for me to keep my thought life pure and accurate.
4. Name of Book: I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love by Emily Maynard Johnson
What I like about it: Emily was honest and vulnerable with her struggles in life. She touched on her difficulties in making friends, navigating motherhood as a single mom, and she explained how God slowly made impressions on her until she completely surrendered her life to Him. What a beautiful, raw testimony that she shared. The book was so intimate, and it felt as though I was sitting down for coffee with Emily and she just shared her whole heart with me. I loved it. Not to mention, it was so fun learning some behind-the-scenes information about The Bachelorette.
Chapter that most helped me: Chapter 5
Why it helped me: I felt like I could totally relate to Emily as a first-time mom. She explained how it was difficult for her to speak up after giving birth, especially when baby Ricki was being passed around. I had similar difficulties as a new mom back in 2017 as I navigated life with a newborn, and I appreciated Emily sharing her true feelings and struggles in this area.
5. Name of Book: Forgiving What You Can't Forget by Lysa TerKeurst
What I like about it: This book helped me understand what forgiveness is and is not. And it taught me that healing is possible even if the person is still acting out in hurtful ways.
Chapters that most helped me: Chapter 1 “Forgiveness, the Double-Edged Word”; Chapter 4 “How Is Forgiveness Even Possible When I Feel Like This?”; Chapter 8 “Unchangeable Feels Unforgivable”; Chapter 9 “Boundaries That Help Us Stop Dancing with Dysfunction”
Why they helped me: Chapter 1 taught me that forgiveness doesn’t mean “instant healing for all the emotions involved.” Chapter 4 taught me that forgiveness is a process. Chapter 8 taught me that forgiveness does not mean the person has regained my trust or that I must reconcile with them. Chapter 9 taught me that “I am enabling someone when I allow them to violate my boundaries without any consequences.” Overall, this book was incredible. I can’t recommend it enough. I pray that every person who is hurting, reads this book. And I pray for the ones who have hurt us. That God would rescue their hearts and bring them back to Him.
6. Name of Book: Chasing Love: Sex, Love, Relationships in a Confused Culture by Dr. Sean McDowell
What I like about it: Dr. McDowell approached tough topics with so much truth and grace. It’s so hard to know what the right balance is when it comes to speaking the truth in love, but it was done beautifully in this book.
Chapters that most helped me: I couldn’t choose a specific chapter because there were so many that impacted me, but the book is divided into three parts. My favorite one was PART 3.
Why it helped me: Part 3 taught me the responsibility I have in educating my children about their bodies and the sanctity of marriage. As a writer (especially as a writer for kids), I have the opportunity to model how marriage was designed to be, and I can write about it in my stories. Sean McDowell also referenced one of his articles that he wrote regarding the California education system and how it is influencing and indoctrinating children at a very young age. It's important for parents to know what their children are being taught regarding sexual health education and gender education. Click here for the article if you’re interested in reading it.
7. Name of Book: Funny How Life Works by Michael Jr.
What I like about it: Michael Jr. made me laugh, cry, and feel inspired to live out God’s purpose for my life. In every chapter, he wrote encouraging stories that mixed humor, his real-life testimony, and uplifting advice.
Chapters that most helped me: Chapter 6: “A Trip to the Movies that Changed Everything”; Chapter 16: “I Made a Superhero Laugh”; Chapter 19: “Just Call Me the Love Doctor”
Why they helped me: Chapter 6 posed this question. “The question isn't, Will an opportunity present itself? The question is, What will you do when it does?” I thought this was a powerful thing to ask because it made me realize how important it is to be prepared in life. Right now, I’m trying to pursue a career as a children’s book author. And I need to be ready for whatever opportunity may come my way. Which manuscript is my best? What is my logline? What is my pitch? How can I effectively communicate what my book is about? These are all things I need to have prepared, because an opportunity will come. I just don’t know when.
Chapter 16 had this incredible quote “I have the gift of helping people laugh, but a gift isn't really a gift until you give it away expecting nothing in return.” And this quote: “But I've found that many times we only look for ways to share those gifts with people who can afford it, people who can pay us, or have somehow earned it. We might not consciously make that decision; it seems to happen by default. But something truly life-changing happens when we share our gifts with those people who can never pay us back.”
These quotes made me ask myself, how can I give back in my industry? And this is a question I’m still trying to figure out. But I loved how Michael Jr. emphasized the true meaning of a gift. There are no strings attached, and there’s no expectation of anything given in return.
Lastly, Chapter 19 impacted me a lot, maybe because it was about an engagement, and I love engagements and weddings. Heck, I’m writing a middle-grade book about a wedding! So yes, I loved this chapter. Michael Jr. had a funny piece of dialogue in that chapter that I thought would be fun to share. He said, “Four years?! Man, it's time to make a decision. Your phone has a ring, why doesn't your girlfriend? What are you waiting for?"
This cracked me up! I loved how Michael Jr. put this guy on the spot and really challenged him to commit to his girlfriend and make a decision. I also loved these other quotes that Michael Jr. included in chapter 19. “Sometimes that's how we have to roll. We just need to take the next step even when we don't have everything figured out. We just have to be willing to believe it's going to work out.” And “When the intention is clear, the mechanism will appear. In other words, when your intentions line up with God's intentions, He will take care of the details.”
This really encouraged me because right now, I have no idea how/where/when my manuscript will get published, but I do feel God calling me to write this story. So, all I need to do is follow that calling, and write! And once I finish revising, I believe God will lead me to the right people who will connect me with the right people who will know what the next steps are for my story.
All of these books were incredibly inspiring and helpful, and I recommend them to every person who is seeking wisdom. I encourage you to buy these books or check them out from your local library. And if your library doesn’t carry these books, put in a request!
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Thanks for reading!