In His Image by Jen Wilkin- This book is so rich. It is full of realizations, "Amen!" moments, convicting truth, encouragement and motivation to live and love as we were made to be- image bearers of God. Jen Wilkin walks through ten characteristics of God, digs deep into each one and poses the question "'How should the knowledge that God is ______ change the way I live?'"Because each chapter has so much wisdom, I often had to slow down and reread a paragraph to fully grasp it. At the same time, there are practical applications and at the end of each chapter there are questions for reflection and a prayer to truly soak in all that you just learned. Jen Wilkin writes "Everything we say or do will either illuminate or obscure the character of God. Sanctification is the process of joyfully growing luminous. Through Christ and by the Spirit, we have regained access to God's presence. And the result is the glorious reclamation of the image of God in man." How beautiful to know we are made in the image of GOD himself. We are called to live it out and should be praising God for giving us the ability to do so!
Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen- If you have been anxious or continually having bad thoughts I can't recommend this book enough. I went through a time where I started having fearful thoughts about someone in my family and I would let my mind wander as the thoughts got worse and worse. It would give me anxiety and I couldn't get the bad thoughts out of my mind. They started to weigh me down. Jennie Allen's book title is exactly the practical thing I needed- to stop the spiral thought process. But the book as a whole is so much more than that. They way she uses scripture to encourage and teach has been extremely helpful for me and this is a book I will continue to go back to for reminders of getting out of my head and knowing I can control my thoughts. They do not control me. In the beginning of the book Jennie Allen writes "That's our hope. Not that we would wrestle each and every fear, but that we would allow God to take up so much space in our thinking that our fears will shrink in comparison." She gives you the tools to take your anxious thoughts, pause, reflect on them and answer the question "Is this thought true?" and "What does God say about this thought?" One of my biggest takeaways was that we always have a choice. I can choose to dwell on this thought or I can replace it with what I DO know is true. Philippians 4:8 has been an anchor for this process. I align my thoughts with this verse- "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." I reframe my thought process and go through this list. If my thought does not apply, I think about these things instead.
Memory Making Mom by Jessica Smartt - This book has been such a motivator to find ways to make memories and create traditions within my own home that are special and unique to us as a family. It has been an encouragement to be more intentional with how we celebrate whether it is the small things or what we want to emphasize as the big things. Jessica Smartt writes "Traditions are a planned determination to remember, celebrate, and value what is important." Just as Smartt writes throughout her book, the memories we intentionally create are impactful to our kids in more ways than we realize. Traditions connect us with others, pour out love to our family, make them feel valued and also implement what is important. She gives an extraordinary amount of ideas to use with your family. This is a book I know I will come back to as my kids grow and different ideas for traditions will be needed.