Sometimes it a good conversation with a friend, other times a walk, but a lot of the time it's taking in the words of another through reading. I am not a person who likes to hole up for entire day reading (well unless it's Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, that book drew me in and was impossible to put down!).
However, my deal with books is I meander through them. I go on a long stroll with a few at a time. I used to be a proponent of one at a time so I could really "take it in." Nope, not any more. I like having a few at my bedside.
What, you want to know what's at my bedside? Well I'm so glad you asked. Taking the lovely Emily Freeman's lead, here are mine.
- My journal. Now I do not jot things down everyday, however I always have this by my bedside. I write things in it every now and then. There have been seasons of writing everyday (and honestly that's the best) but right now I write things my spiritual director points out, something another writer says, prayers to God, musings on something stirring inside, you get the jist. The thing I love about journals are they tell my story with God, they center me in on the now and what is unfolding. Otherwise I am prone to forget, Yes Susie, God is at work. Yes Susie, he sees you remember what he said last month?
- The Two Year Daily Bible. This was a gift from a friend in 2002 when I was on medical leave for anxiety and depression. It was my summer of love with my Jesus. Still the best summer of my life, letting go of the striving and learning to simply be and receive. This bible gave me permission to gradually get through the Bible and not live in the guilt/shame of "you're a missionary and you haven't read the whole bible!?" That summer I journaled things that stood out in my reading by writing it as though God was saying it in first person to me (kinda like Jesus Calling by Sarah Young). So if it said, "Come all who are weary and heavy laden..." I would write, "Susie, come, you are weary and heavy laden .." then I might tell Him why I was feeling heavy laden. You get the idea.
- Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality by Margaret Silf. One time during spiritual direction, she referenced this book and I wrote it down. Gang, if someone is wise and you are drawn to their heart in Christ by all means soak it in and ask them what they're reading! I am on a long stroll with this book. It introduces in a modern way Saint Ignatius of Loyola who was know for the prayers of examen. I like the way she offers a variety of meditations to draw my heart into a certain space. And I'm guessing she makes learning Ignatian spirituality a lot easier than if I were to pick up Spiritual Excercises.
- Holy Listening by Margaret Guenther. Ok just an observation but if you have the name Margaret you must be a pretty killer spiritual director! ha ha. This book, again a recommendation by my director, is helping me normalize spiritual direction. Recently I've been asked to do direction by two lovely ladies. While my training isn't in spiritual direction, my ministry in soul care offers many components. I'm about half way through. She really keeps things grounded and human while honoring the gift of getting to direct others and share in their life with God. If you're curious about the difference and similarities of soul care and spiritual direction, my friends Lindsay and Elizabeth wrote a great little summary.
- If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern. I picked this up at the thrift shop because I needed a light read. She write P.S. I Love You which I adored. I like to stick with authors I like or friend's recommendations when it comes to fiction. This is kinda quirky because it's about an adult who sees's her adopted nephew's imaginary friend. I'm only about half way but it's cute. Not a "I-have- to- read- every- night- cause- I-can't- wait- to- see- what- happens" but it's a fun ride with an interesting concept.
- Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard. The reason you don't see this one is it's on my phone. Woohoo my first ebook! I have not adopted digital books yet because I love to write in my books and typing notes just doesn't do it for me. Ok on to Dallas. I love Dallas, I feel the Father's love seeping through his pores when he talks. But Dallas's writing is not my go-to style. That said, I need it. My women's small group is going through this slowly but surely. We read and then watch the DVD series. Our favorite part is when John Ortberg, LarryCrabb, and Dallas have "Soul Talk" and bring all the topics into the everyday. It blesses me to know men like this are still in process, normal, and I am drawn to their honest faith.
Ok, so that's what's on my shelf. How about you, what are some books that are blessing you?