Living Your Best Life: Favorite Books for Personal Growth

We have already established that I love books. Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean mostly, I love to read mindless fiction so that I can escape reality.  I call it candy. I love real candy and book candy.

These books are not candy.

These books are fresh fruit. With incredible benefits for your soul. They are designed to heal. To uproot lies and replace them with Truth.

My friend Sandy loved Proverbs 25:11. I can still hear her voice sparkling with delight as she read it from her Amplified Bible.

Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken at the right time.

Here are five books that were a well-spoken word in the right season.

They came into my life when I needed them most.

The Divine Romance | Gene Edwards | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 1. The Divine Romance

This book changed the way I saw God. And my understanding of how God sees me. It is an allegory of creation. All the way to the Cross. And beyond. If you have ever struggled with the whole “Bride of Christ” concept. Read this. Yesterday.

Here what the back of the book says, “A breathtakingly beautiful saga spanning from eternity to eternity, presented from the view of angels. Experience creation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection from this unique viewpoint, and gain a better understanding of the majestic love of God. Gene Edwards’s classic tale is the greatest love story ever told.”

 

Shattered Dreams | Larry Crabb | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

2. Shattered Dreams

Larry Crabb say that in everyone’s life, some dream will shatter. Something you thought you could count on won’t come through.  No one leaves this world unscathed. And whether you believe God allowed it or ordained it, He could have prevented it. And you have to make peace with that God*.  That is what the last eight years of my life have been about. Making peace with a God whose plans are different than mine.

Cure For the Common Life | Max Lucado | The Girl Who Lives in my Head

 

3. Cure For the Common Life

I read this book when I hated everything about my life. Especially my job. It gave me hope. And the courage to make a change. What really helped were the exercises at the back of the book that help you rediscover what you really love. And what you were made to do. It’s what led me to teaching. And back to Young Life.

Daring Greatly | Brene Brown | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

4. Daring Greatly

Brene Brown. Is. Rocking. My. World. It is why I talk about her here. And here. She is a researcher who decided to study shame. And made a startling observation. People who live wholeheartedly embrace vulnerability. The rest of us do three things to avoid it.

Numb it out.

Perfect it out.

Or in my case, forbode it out.

I rehearse tragedy so I don’t feel pain. Meaning, I have spent most of my life running worse case scenario’s so when things don’t pan out, I’m not devastated.

But her discovery, you can’t feel true joy without feeling vulnerable.

She explains it so much better. Trust me. So worth the read.

And if perfectionism is your game, check out her book I Thought It Was Just Me.

Jesus Calling | Sarah Young| The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

5. Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling is my jam. I read it every day along with My Utmost For His Highest. It’s a daily reading written as if God is speaking to you. Not everyone is a fan. Fair enough. But I am. God uses it all the time to speak to me, encourage me and reaffirm His incredible love for me. If you decide to give it a whirl, I love the large print edition because it was the scriptures written out on the bottom. And there’s room to journal. Unofficially.

 

Your Turn:

What is a book that changed your life?

 Or brought a well-spoken word in season?

I’m always looking for something new to read.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head

P.S. This is not an #ad or paid endorsement. I just can’t help blabbering about the things I love!!!

P.P.S. This book is wrecking me right now. I’ve just started and already cried twice.

Looking for Lovely | Annie Downs | The Girl Who Lives in my Head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams Do Come True. 

Not too long ago I got this in the mail.

special delivery

 With this inside.

presents!!!

And this.

James Bible Study

Love this Lady!!

 To say it made my year, would be an understatement.

Here’s the story of how it all unfolded.

When I first met Alyssa’s future husband Jeff, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Granted, at the time of our meeting, the poor guy was on display, surrounded by people trying to figure out if he was good enough for Alyssa. Turns out he was. So around the time she said goodbye to Maui and moved back home, they fell in love. And I was super stoked because I had been rooting for him.

 

 

Then this happened.

 

Anyway. The next time I saw this guy it was at their wedding and he was already famous and I was super intimidated.

 

He had just become BFF with Beth Moore. And for those of you who don’t know me, Beth Moore is kind of my jam. I can drop a relevant Beth quote in almost any conversation. Because her bible studies have had a profound impact on my life. And God uses people to shape me.

 

Beth Moore Pic

Here’s me at First Baptist in Houston for a Siesta Scripture Memory Weekend. And the closest I’ve ever gotten to Wanda Beth. (I’m in the middle left) I was way to nervous to try to meet her. Plus we all know I would just freeze anyway.

Now, if you remember, I get nervous around celebrities and Jeff had just hit celebrity status. So, my way of handling my nerves was to tell him, “I’m not quite sure we can ever truly be friends because deep down I will always wonder if I’m just using you to get to Beth Moore.” (Insert cute shrug)

 Well, Jefferson is a class act and a perfect match for Alyssa.

 And now that they live in Maui,  I’m getting to know Jeff on a whole ‘nother level.(Insert fajitas comment here) And it is such a blessing. The character that Jeff demonstrates reminds me of David. He’s got such a teachable heart, humble spirit and just a tenderness about him in the way that he loves Lys. And don’t get me started on how much he loves Kins.

Right before they moved back Alyssa sent me a text that Jeff had surprise for me that was going to rock my world. My immediate response was “Did he pack Beth Moore in his suitcase???”

Well Beth Moore didn’t quite make it to Maui, yet. (Fingers crossed) But her assistant did send me a package in the mail.

And when I texted Alyssa thank you. She informed me it was all Jeff. Having Alyssa back on Maui is a dream come true. Having her with her amazing husband and sweet family is icing on the cake.

So I texted him back.

text

Love , Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head.

PS This is actually my favorite video of his. I like how courageous and raw it is. Probably because of this

 

Sorry I Skipped Your Baby Shower

Dear Friend,

Baby showers make my knees sweat.

It started about five years ago.

I used to adore them. I can still remember the first one I ever attended as a little girl with my mother in Tennessee. Women in beautiful dresses. Tiny sandwiches. Pink watermelon balls. Refreshing beverages.Beautiful ribbons and bows. Itty bitty bits of baby delights.

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And then I grew up and graduated college. Time passed and my friends started having babies. One. Then two. Some four.  First day of kindergarten pics turned into junior high. And more time passed. So I made new friends. Younger friends.

And now my news feed is filled with ultrasounds, baby bumps and adorable announcements like this one.

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How adorable is that?

And I love it. I’m so excited to meet these little people.

I mean, how can you not love these  faces??

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I mean seriously. Bring on the babies!!

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I LOVE being an Aunty.

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But if I’m honest. Baby showers strike a chord deep within me that makes my womb ache.

It’s different from wedding showers. Wedding showers fill me with HOPE. Every new love story I hear reminds me that anything is possible and that Mr. Right could step off the plane tomorrow. (I live on an island)

Baby showers are trickier for me. Sitting there, trying to balance my refreshing beverage and plate of tiny sandwiches, I feel like a fraud. An imposter. It feels like I have nothing to bring to the party. Literally and figuratively. Your life is about to change in ways I will never understand. And I get that. I just don’t know how to fully relate to it.

I tend to leave these festive events feeling overwhelmed by how far behind I am compared to everyone else. With no hope in sight. Time is ticking and the clock might have run out. So when everyone starts doling out advice and telling their funny little stories, I will sit there and begin to do math. If I meet someone tomorrow and we date for two years…and then wait two years…and it all spirals downhill from there.

I mean, I was the girl who started dreaming of marriage and children straight out of the womb. Life didn’t quite go as planned. And as I told my dad after he read  Pushing Through the Lonelies (he was worried about his little girl),  87% of the time, I love my life.

But baby showers touch that part of my soul that is raw and disappointed. And I don’t want to bring that to your party. You deserve to be with women who can celebrate with you, wholeheartedly. And most days I can.

Here’s the crazy part. Please don’t stop inviting me. Because I want to come. And when I RSVP  yes on your adorable invitation, I have dreams of women in beautiful dresses. Tiny sandwiches. Pink watermelon balls. Refreshing beverages.Beautiful ribbons.  Itty bitty bits of baby delights.

It’s just if by chance I “get sick” or “something” comes up, please know that I love you very much and honestly couldn’t be more excited for you. It’s just, I’m having a little trouble being happy for me. And as lame as that is…it’s the truth.

So please forgive me…

And I’ll make it up to you in free babysitting….

Once they’re a toddler. (and I can no longer accidentally break them)

 

Love, Love, Love

The Girl Who Lives in My Head