{Reading Report} What I Read in 2014

My five favorite books I read in 2014 were:

The Hole in Our Holiness
The Gospel at Work
Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home
Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus 
Creative Counterpart

I didn’t exactly meet my goal of reading 48 books. I read 33, and that was only thanks to the book review job I started in the spring. Below is what I read. The books in bold are what I read independently, the others I was paid to read and review. For those I read on my own, you can find some of my reviews here.

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem 
A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You 
I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy 
When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty 
Creative Counterpart : Becoming the Woman, Wife, and Mother You Have Longed To Be
Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home 

Unbroken (audiobook)
For Women Only 

First We Have Coffee
Reckless Abandon 

A Cup of Cold Water: The Compassion of Nurse Edith Cavell
Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow
Passion: How Christ’s final day changes your every day 

The Hole in Our Holiness
A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships 
The Intolerance of Tolerance
Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus Death and Resurrection

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full
Jesus or Nothing
What Every Woman Wishes Her Father Had Told Her
Everyone’s A Theologian
Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus 
The Doctrines of Grace: Student Edition
Suffering Well
The Witch of Blackbird Pond (audiobook)
The Gospel at Work
Now That I’m a Christian: What It Means to Follow Jesus
Stepping Heavenward: One Woman’s Journey to Godliness
Al Capone Does My Shirts 
Al Capone Shines My Shoes (audiobook) 
On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep

            

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{Reading Report} Unbroken

unbroken-cover_custom-0a55df2637ae96369dd0302be5ad4de816c6b0ab-s6-c85I am not going to tell you much about this biography by Laura Hillenbrand, which I enjoyed via audio book, because I would very quickly spoil pieces of the plot. It is well-worth the time, but not for the faint of heart. The terrors of World War II, especially as pertains to POW camps, are not skipped over, and for chapters on end, there is little to smile about. But it really happened, not all that long ago, and it is a story that needs to be heard. The movie comes out on Christmas Day, so you may want to read Unbroken before then. I sincerely hope they do this incredible book justice.

Spoiler Alert! Perhaps this quote will entice you to find out everything that led up to it.

At that moment, something shifted sweetly inside him. It was forgiveness, beautiful and effortless and complete. For Louie Zamperini, the war was over.

{Review} Evidence Not Seen

In this post, I review my all-time favorite book, Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose.

“The words of Hebrews 11:1 welled up, unbeckoned, to fill my mind: ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ The evidence of things not seen. Evidence not seen–that was what I put my trust in– not in feelings or moments of ecstasy, but in the unchanging Person of Jesus Christ. Suddenly I realized that I was singing:

When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy galie
My anchor holds whithin the veil
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand”

9780060670207

This snippet summarizes the painful yet beautiful journey you’ll embark on when you open Evidence Not Seen. Darlene Deibler Rose shares her story as one of the first Caucasian women to make the trek into the interior of New Guinea. Ministry there with her husband, Russell, was difficult, and only grew more intense after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Through a chaotic turn of events, Russell and Darlene were separated and taken prisoner by the Japanese. Thus ensued the darkest days Darlene had ever faced.

Hunger, loneliness, and torture in a POW camp afflicted Darlene for months upon months. Yet it was through her most agonizing trials that she sensed the presence of her Lord in the most incredibly real and personal way.

[Minor spoiler] Darlene shares a time when she experienced an intense craving for bananas. Very ill and in solitary confinement, nothing sounded as wonderful as a fresh banana. She asked the Lord to provide one, but her prayer lacked hope. Surely a banana in these dire circumstances was far too much to request. To her utter shock, God provided not one banana, but ninety-two. Darlene expresses her reaction to this gift:

“In all my spiritual experience, I’ve never known such shame before the Lord. I pushed the bananas into a corner and wept before Him. ‘Lord, forgive me; I’m so ashamed. I couldn’t trust You enough to get even one banana for me. Just look at them—there are almost a hundred.’ In the quiet of the shadowed cell, He answered back within my heart: ‘That’s what I delight to do, the exceeding abundant above anything you ask or think.’ I knew in those moments that nothing is impossible to my God.”

This is but an insufficient taste of the emotion, the anguish, and the sweetness that is conveyed throughout the pages of Darlene’s story. Hers is an account of hardship yes, of trials, yes, but ultimately of comfort in looking to the cross, of complete fulfillment in knowing Christ, and of the victory that can be found only in a life surrendered to the Savior. The believer cannot read Evidence Not Seen and not be moved, inspired, and challenged. I highly recommend it. Note: I found this book a little slow in the beginning, but a few chapters through, I could hardly put it down.