Sarah Bessey crafted a wonderful adventure for those who love the feel of a book between our hands and the adventure of discovery that beckons when we settle in between its pages. For 7 days, her many readers have been conversing back and forth, sharing their cherished selections like one great big book club. This peaking at the shelves of others, this browsing through a vast variety of beloved gems has been eye-opening, instructive, and just plain fun.
You can wander through my own 10 Books That Changed My Faith right here.
Today's emphasis is on the volumes we turn to day in and day out. These are my go-to books, the tools that have proven over time to be must-haves for me. Starting with the bottom of the picture and working my way up, here's what keeps me doing life well ...
1. Journal - Large spiral bound ones with lined pages are my favorites. Spending time dialoguing with God has become a healing journey, a huge lifeline, a non-negotiable spiritual discipline since way back in 2004, thanks to the suggestion of a wise spiritual director. I share some excerpts from time to time.
2. 66 Love Letters - Before I begin reading through each book of the Bible, I sit with Larry Crabb's dialogue with God as to the mysteries, the whys, the hows of our Savior's ways. This is a wonderful companion for all of us who come to Scripture with deep faith, yet lots of questions. This pioneer Christian counselor/spiritual director assures me that I'm not the only one who wrestles deeply.
3. Appointment Book - After my Bible, this is the most important book I own. My clients are used to seeing me handle this slim, red leather volume used to keep track of our times together.
4. The Message - As I continue my chronological reading through the Bible, I'm appreciating this fresh way to approach God's Word.
5. Invitation to Solitude & Silence - This little volume by Ruth Haley Barton is a treasured gem, the pivotal key God used to enlarge and deepen my relationship with Him. If you read one book this year, this is it!
6. NIV Study Bible - Frayed and worn right down to the nubs, this is my heart, my precious companion for more than 23 years. The cover is held together with layers of tape and its pages are filled with my life - gifts of dried leaves and flowers, abandoned feathers, tiny treasures, tear stains, and boundless notes and margin jottings, some of which are shared here.
7. The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary - This baby sits in a place of honor right on the kitchen table next to a candle, a collection of sea glass, the vitamins, and salt and pepper shakers. Its pages keep my husband and I from making up words that have no chance of existing.
8. Sudoku - This is my evening sedative of choice.
9. Weight Watchers Complete Food Companion - I've been a lifetime member since June of 2009, having shed 25 excess pounds that I was more than thrilled to say farewell to. When I'm counting points to prepare for my monthly weigh-in, this lets me know if I can cheat a bit.
10. Jesus Calling - I've used dozens of devotional books over the years, but this one by Sarah Young has spoken to me in a way that no other book has. I share a reading each week with my clients as they settle in for their appointments with deep breathing and our prayer for the Holy Spirit to be an integral part of our conversation together.
What books are on your nightstand, desk, or coffee table?