Sep 14, 2015

Blog-tember day 14 // 5 books that most impacted my life

I am linking up for Blog-tember again today for fun prompt for book-lovers:

Monday, Sept. 14: The 5 books that have impacted your life the most.

The Bible
The Bible has impacted my life the most out of any book I have ever read. It was the gateway to understanding God's character, faithfulness, goodness, and unfailing love. The stories are inspiring, the wisdom is profound, the poetic verses of Psalms are encouraging. But it's not just about how it lifts me up or encourages me. Yes, the Bible is made of stories recited on felt boards in Sunday school, but if we just look at each book of the Bible or each story individually, we can miss the Big Story of the Bible, also known as the metanarrative. The Story of a Creator God who, out of His love for us, sent His Son Jesus to come down to redeem and restore a world fallen in sin.  It is about God's love for a broken world and how He brings us back to Himself. It is the greatest story ever told, and it has changed my life. 

The Bible points my wandering heart and mind back to God. It redirects my steps through the Truth in its pages. It is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), inspired by God to teach, correct, convict, and train us (2 Timothy 3:16). In so many seasons of my life, I have found indescribable joy and peace while reading the Bible that could not compare to anything else. I have also seen my own selfishness and pride while reading it, which has brought me to my knees in repentance. It has brought me a deeper understanding of who God is and how much He loves me. It is God's primary way of speaking to us today and every time I prioritize my time studying the Bible for transformation rather than just information, my understanding of God grows a little at a time. However, there are seasons I do not prioritize it. I lean on the advise of others, I get too carried away with busyness, or I read it from habit rather than an adoration.  My prayer is that I would always treasure the Bible and invite God to tune my heart to hear His still, small voice within the pages of the Bible. 

Everyone has their favorite translations, and I honestly love reading from many translations, but the Bible I usually use the most is my Life Applications Study Bible (NLT) with its plethora of study material and notes. 

Let Me Be A Woman 
Elisabeth Elliot
Written in 1976 as a series of letters for her daughter, Valerie, as a wedding gift, Let Me Be A Woman is a book that dives into what Biblical womanhood looks like and was written in a time when feminism was on the rise. The timeless Biblical wisdom and loving motherly tone is encouraging as well as instructive.  She proclaims that “in order to learn what it means to be a woman, we must start with the One who made her.” And so she does. She shares Biblical teaching on womanhood as well as personal experiences and observations that are useful and inspiring for women in any season of life. 

Let Me Be A Woman helped me to have a better understanding of what Biblical womanhood looks like. I've read it twice so far in my early twenties and hope to get to it again soon after the wedding because it is such a dear book to me, filled with so much wisdom. It helped me see the beauty, depth, and adventure of my unique purpose, role, and responsibility as a woman. Anything written by Elisabeth Elliot is full of wisdom but this book will always be my favorite of hers. 

Redemption: Freed by Jesus from Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry by Mike Wilkerson
Redemption unfolds the Biblical story of the Israelite's Exodus from idolatrous Egypt to the redeemed freedom of the Promised Land. Paralleling the Exodus story with our own need for redemption from modern forms of slavery and idolatry (such as abuse and addiction), Redemption points the reader to seeing what it means to be restored and redeemed by Jesus. It is a powerful book that does not lean on recovery steps, self-improvement, or empty mantras, but rather on God's Word. 

I read Redemption during a season in 2012 when fear and anxiety were starting to cripple my trust in God because they were rooted in a misunderstanding of God's unfailing and redeeming love for me. This book was a powerful tool (along with godly community, prayer, and studying the Bible) that helped me break free from a distorted view of myself and helped me to see that I was a beloved child of God rather than feeling guilt or that I need to earn His love by legalistic works. I was able to see God as a Father who loved me at my worst and loves me evermore. Redemption greatly impacted that season of my life and its truths still echo in my heart whenever fear tries to grip at my heart and mind again.

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 
W. Phillip Keller
I grew up in the church, so I heard Psalm 23 countless times, and truth be told, I was a bit bored of it. I could probably recite most of it by memory, but I had no clue the depth beneath its words. Once I read A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, it came alive and became one of my favorite psalms. Written by a modern shepherd, it explains the sheep-raising background behind the verses that otherwise, for a city girl like myself, I was completely oblivious to. 

Keller's insight on herding and caring for his sheep helped me understand the deep beauty of Psalm 23 as it described the Good Shepherd (Jesus). It helped me see Jesus' love in a new and profound way as it paralleled a good shepherd's care for his flock with The Good Shepherd's care for us. I have read this small book three times and could pick it up again and learn something new each time. It is that good. 

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible Both with Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin 
Written for women, but applicable for men as well, Women of the Word offers a clear and concise way to study the Bible in a way that it penetrates through the heart and mind. So many Bible studies that are written for women are heavily focused on emotions or story-telling and lacks the in-depth study of the Bible as a metanarrative. Her 5 P's method of Bible study (purpose, perspective, patience, process, prayer) inspires focus  and a new passion in understanding the Bible. 

Women of the World rocked my world last January. It completely changed the ways I study the Bible because it helped me rely more of the Bible rather than other studies, commentaries, and opinions. I began to flip to multiple cross-references (which reminded me of how infallible the Bible is), compared different Bible translations (which helped deepen the meaning behind the verses), search for repeated words and ideas, paraphrase chapters, and pray during my Bible study time. I studied Philippians, Proverbs 31, and Habakkuk using the 5P method (I described this here) and drew so much more understanding out of these books than if I only relied on someone's notes or commentaries. It brought a new love for the Bible and I am excited to continue to use this method of Bible study in the future. 

Runners Up

Authentic Beauty: The Shaping of a Set-Apart Young Woman 
Leslie Ludy
I read this book about 10 years ago and it helped me see the beauty in modesty, feminine grace, and drawing near to the greatest Love of all: Jesus. Each page pointed me to Jesus and His unfailing love. A few of the chapters in particular helped me deal with really hardened areas of my heart and were an important tool in ushering in healing and redemption. I think it is a great book for teenage girls as well as young women in seeing their beauty and purpose as women created in God's image and wholly beloved by Him. 

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
Katie Davis
Katie Davis left the comforts of her middle-class American life after graduating high school  to live in Uganda where she adopted thirteen young girls and started Amazima Ministries International. She is a selfless young woman who serves wholeheartedly.  Some of the roles of Amazima (and Katie herself) includes providing food, schooling, medical attention, and (most importantly) the gospel to villages in Uganda riddled with malnutrition, disease, and hopelessness. Her humility and reliance on Jesus for all her needs as well as for the unknowns is inspiring and so incredibly beautiful. Kisses from Katie challenged me to evaluate how I am serving others and whether I am daily surrendering my own plans and desires to follow Jesus' example and love others selflessly and sacrificially. (Click here for more of Katie's amazing story!)
Brave Love Blog


  1. I have to read these books. What Gospel-centered reading! I love Elisabeth Elliot so I am really looking forward to reading her book. What an incredible woman!

    1. Hi Annie! I love anything by Elisabeth Elliot! Her book "Discipline: The Glad Surrender" is also good, along with "These Strange Ashes" (which is about her first year as a missionary in Ecuador. Yes, she was an incredible woman!

  2. Ahhh Let me be a Woman is on my list too! :) Such a good book.

    1. Yes, it is! I am excited to see your list!

  3. Kisses From Katie was on my to read list for awhile but then I kind of forgot about it, maybe I'll have to add it back to my list!

    1. Yes, it such a good read!!! I love her ministry and her compassionate heart. I think you'll love the book! Let me know what you think once you do get to it!

  4. I LOVE kisses from Katie. def one of the books that shaped my love for people. also, the bible of course!!

    1. Yes and YES! :) So thankful to have access to so many amazing books that point to Jesus!

  5. I love your description of why the Bible has made such an impact on your life. It's all so true! Could have been written from my own heart. Also, I just read Kisses for Katie a couple months ago and was left feeling so inspired. What an amazing woman!

    1. Thank you, Leah! And yes, it is so inspiring! I will have to pick it up again sometime because there is so much Biblical truth in the pages along with her testimony of God providing for her and her girls!

  6. Okay, I have to read Let Me Be A Woman! It sounds beautiful!

  7. I've added Redemption to my TBR list. It sounds so good!


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice