Since I turned 30 this year, I made a huge goal: to read 30 books. Yes, 30.
Here are the five I've read so far with a mini-review of each. (Spoiler alert: I'd recommend every single one.)
Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
★★★★☆ This book was wildly encouraging to me. I've picked up so many Christian parenting books recently that I've later put back down because, inevitably, there's an entire chapter of the importance of women not working outside the home. Because we don't have a choice about me working right now (and honestly, I love it!), it becomes pretty discouraging. This book was so freeing: mothers are built in so many different ways and can glorify God in their unique style of mothering. There's no formula to making great kids. Out of the many motherhood books I've read, this one stands near the top. Perfect, specifically, for mothers who have babies and toddlers and feel overwhelmed.
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
★★★★★ This is a fiction novel that's written for elementary- or middle school-aged kids, but is equally enjoyable and possibly even more meaningful for adults (hence the 2,000+ 5-star reviews on Amazon). I loved every bit of the story. The main character, Melody, is a brilliant-minded little girl who has a set of disabilities that limits her ability to communicate. The story takes twists and turns that are unpredictable, and you finish the book wanting to advocate for those in your life who may not be able to speak up for themselves. I think this should be required reading for every 5th grader. Seriously. (It will be in my house.)
Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Coulter
★★★★★ Whoa. This book opened my eyes to the realities of our foster care system and the kids who get lost in the mix. I finished the last page and wanted to sign up as a foster parent right away. (We may wait a while, but it's definitely in our plans for someday.) Well-written. Inspiring. I absolutely loved it - and read all 293 pages in one day.
Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman
★★★★☆ Growing up in the same community with the Chapman family, I knew this story pretty well. The Chapmans lost their daughter, Maria, in a tragic accident in their driveway. This is the story of how her mother, Mary Beth, has processed that grief - and the incredible ways the Lord has redeemed their story already. It's also the story of the beginning of Show Hope, which gives grants to help fund adoptions. I had the privilege of attending Maria's funeral, but reading the behind-the-scenes story was so powerful. Beautifully written.
As Soon As I Fell: A Memoir by Kay Bruner
★★★★★ This brutally honest account of a missionary and what she went through physically, emotionally, and spiritually while serving the Lord in the Solomon Islands was eye-opening. So often in ministry, mental and emotional health is overlooked to the detriment of those serving. In this case, it definitely was. Kay writes her story with clarity and passion and hope. Recommend specifically for anyone considering serving overseas in ministry.