Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson
I've only read the introduction and the first couple chapters, and I'm already recommending it left and right. This mother-daughter writing team has opened my eyes to a profound paradigm shift when it comes to parenting. If I'd written down all the things I thought I "should" be doing as a mother, this book has basically ripped that list into little shreds, let it blow into the wind, and asked me to start over while looking at Scripture. I had been parenting in a completely law-driven way instead of a gospel-of-grace-centered way, and the difference is startling.
Here's a very small example: Instead of saying, "What a good boy for obeying mommy!" like I've told Liam a hundred times already, I should be saying, "Wow, Liam. I see God working in your heart because you're able to obey Mommy even though you're prone to disobey." I believe the Bible that tells me that all of our hearts - without Christ - are evil and do not choose good, but I parent in a completely moralistic way by telling my little guy he's "so good" all the time. And it just isn't true. I want to teach him to rely on the only Person who was ever truly good, Jesus Christ. What a responsibility.
Oh, this book. I could go on, but I'll let you read for yourself.
Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick
This is a thirty day study that celebrates how the cross changes our lives that is also affecting me deeply. Elyse's books are all excellently written, profoundly theological, yet personal enough that the words move from your head to your heart. I plan to read this one every year.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I'm reading this one on my phone, though I have a very large, 5 pound hardback copy with gold leafed pages that I read from time to time as well. Shawn tells me the story really starts to pick up after about 200 pages, and I'm only at 150. Right now, it feels like work. But after starting this book twice, I'm ready to plow through. I hear it's worth it.
I honestly don't know if I've ever read through the Bible from start to finish in one year. This year, it's happening. I'm using an app on my phone to track my progress, which helps my motivation immensely. I'm reading from the ESV version in my new Gospel Transformation Bible (which I've mentioned before).
Verdict 1: It's safe to say Elyse Fitzpatrick is my favorite author at present. I appreciate that, while her primary audience is women, she doesn't waste time with lots of cute stories or vignettes, with which many women's ministry books are wrought. Elyse isn't afraid to cut right to the heart of the matter: the gospel.
Verdict 2: I need another novel in the queue. Anyone have a suggestion? Something a little... lighter?
Verdict 3: I apologize if these reading posts bore you. The introvert/bookworm in me delights in writing them because I love to share what I'm reading. I have no agenda to push any of these books, and I hope you know from past experience that I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't truly love them.