I read so many books this year that I thought it would be fun to rank my top five of all I read this year in the two major categories: fiction and non-fiction. Check out my top five fiction reads post as well. Below are my top five non-fiction books read in 2016.
1. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst
I borrowed this book from the library and loved the book so much that I bought a copy and will be participating in a DVD study this winter with some other ladies. This book resonated so much with me and where I have been the past year. It brought some healing to my heart and helped me to see some circumstances through a new perspective. If you have ever felt left out, rejected, or set aside this book is definitely for you.
Lysa TerKeurst shares her experiences of feeling lonely or left out and the things she has learned from God as she's walked through a variety of circumstances and experiences. I appreciated her candidness and the honesty of admitting that she is not completely through this struggle. Lysa encourages us to lean into God and trust that he has good plans and purposes for us. One of the things that stuck with me was to consider that when I feel set aside God might actually have me set apart instead. These pearls of wisdom helped me so much and filled me with hope and faith for my present and future.
2. Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World by Karen Ehman
This was another book I enjoyed so much that I had to purchase a copy so that I could re-read it. I received a kindle copy for purposes of reading, reviewing and promoting the book, but this was one I wanted to be able to highlight and pick up to re-read various sections as needed. The subtitle was what really got my attention. I hadn't read anything by Karen Ehman but, after reading this book, that will change.
Karen Ehman reminds us that part of our calling as Christians is to love others. In Listen, Love, Repeat she gives us advice and examples of how to love others well. She talks about truly listening to others and hearing the "heartdrops". The book really inspired me to find ways to love and serve others. I think it would challenge and inspire you as well.
3. The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith
I heard about this book from Jen Hatmaker on her Instagram account. Jen showed a picture of something Myquillyn had made in her house and she copied for her writing office. It was a beautiful book page wreath and I was intrigued. I checked the book out of my library and LOVED it.
Myquillyn Smith does an excellent job of making the average person feel that she can have a beautiful home regardless of her decorating skills. She reminds us that beautiful is not synonymous with perfect. Perfect should not be our goal (nor is it particularly possible if you have kids or want to enjoy living in your home). But making it a home filled with things that you love, bring you joy and help you feel relaxed and at home will do the same for those who visit as well.
If you struggle with not wanting to do something because it might not be perfect, this is the book for you. Myquillyn encourages us to just try something little like painting a bathroom or a $10 dresser you found at Goodwill and see what you think. If you don't like it, you can repaint and try again.
4. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It's Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature While Remaining Emotionally Immature by Peter Scazzero
I heard about this book on an episode of The Happy Hour by Jamie Ivey podcast. Her guest said that this was a book she was recommending everyone to read. I love Christian non-fiction book so I added it to my to-read list.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is so good! It is open, honest and encouraging. It has practical advice on how to grow in your emotional health including prompts to help you see where you are on your journey and exercises to practice. It is a wonderful book that I highlighted extensively and will be referencing again.
The book reminds us that emotions are not our enemy. It is true that we should not let them rule, but they are excellent indicators that something is not right and needs to be addressed. I appreciated Peter Scazzero's vulnerability in sharing examples of his own journey toward emotionally healthy spirituality.
5. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes by Kristen Welch
This was the first book I finished in 2016 so some of the details are a bit fuzzy a year later. However I remember being very encouraged as a mother and person after finishing this book.
As a parent I know that I have plenty of room to grow. Let's face it, it's a learn-as-you-go, trial and error kind of job (shhh, don't tell my kids!). I welcome resources that can help me reach my parenting goals (raising responsible kids who love Jesus and serve others). The end of each chapter in this book has a "take away" section that is divided by age range for kids so you can implement any valuable suggestions in an age appropriate manner (so helpful!).
In addition to being encouraged that it is possible to teach our children gratitude and contentment I was also reminded that I am not responsible for my children's entertainment every waking hour of the day (which, as a SAHM, I sometimes feel like that's part of the job description and can feel guilty about trying to get housework or errands done instead of playing with my kids non-stop).
If you are a parent and you desire for your children to love Jesus and others and grow into people who are considerate of others and actively serve others, this will help you to introduce them to service and be encouraged in your endeavors to raise kind, considerate, generous, loving people.
I read so many wonderful non-fiction books in 2016 it was very challenging choosing a top five. I look forward to discovering more fantastic books in 2017. Have you read any of these the books on the list? Have any recommendations that you think might make my 2017 top five? If you are more of a fiction person, check out my favorites from 2016.