My Reading Playlist

The Hard Stories

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

            Occasionally, a friend of mine will indulge in one of those Love Inspired novels. It’s a quick, easy and enjoyable read for her. And, like every movie on the Hallmark channel, she already knows the ending. It’s a feel-good story. We all need those light-hearted moments from time to time. Other days, we grab a tissue and a quiet corner, hoping no one will see us crying into our book, and we read the hard stories. Ones like these . . .

Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring True Story of Jessie and Her Joy Jars

By: Erik Rees with Jenna Glatzer

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Over the summer, Austin received this book in a care package, part of a Boost of Joy from the Jessie Rees Foundation. I thought about reading him the book then, but nothing came of it. Looking back, I’m glad we didn’t start the book until after the completion of his treatments. I don’t think I could have handled it. Truthfully, there were days when I read this book and I hated it. The book wasn’t horribly written or filled with half-truths. It was simply too real. I described it as “pulling off a scab.” Reading those initial chapters, I felt like I was reliving some of the most horrifying moments of our lives.

Austin, however, and surprisingly to me, really enjoyed the book. Yes, the first chapter was a little rough, but the more I read the book to him, the more inspired he became. Jessie with her generous and courageous heart became a role model to him, and he felt more compelled to do something with the story and life he’s been given.

Although I wouldn’t personally hand this book to a family who has recently received the diagnosis of brain cancer, I would give it to a close family friend—someone who wants/needs to understand and is looking for ways to help. If your family hasn’t been touched by childhood cancer, and I pray that it hasn’t, this book really is an eye opener. I will warn you ahead of time, it isn’t easy to read, but the best stories rarely are.

When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons You Never Want to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without

By: Laura Story with Jennifer Schuchmann

What if trials of this life / The rain, the storms, the hardest nights / Are your mercies in disguise (Blessings by Laura Story). If you have been around Christian radio in the last several years, you have probably heard that song. When God Doesn’t Fix It tells the story behind the lyrics. After Austin’s diagnosis, I watched a YouTube clip of Laura sharing how she was inspired to write Blessings during a trial in her own life—her husband’s diagnosis and journey through a brain tumor. I was immediately captivated by their story and eager to get my eyes on the pages of this book.

It exceeded my expectations! The book told of heartfelt prayers, of grief and confusion, and of an ending that didn’t fit their misguided theories of God. As of the writing of the book, Martin has not fully recovered from his brain surgeries. Laura was so honest about their pain and doubt. I admired and appreciated their vulnerability and sincerity, but especially their willingness to let God use the brokenness in their lives. God didn’t fix Martin physically, but spiritually, He did miracles!

Every chapter ends with a common myth many believe about God, followed by the true definition of His character as defined in His word. This story was so encouraging to me—to see how God wastes nothing. As I read each chapter, I watched God’s glory unfold in their lives, and it made me eager to see what He will do with my story when it is surrendered to Him!


March’s Reading Checklist

Marvel Thor Adapted By: Alex Irvine (finally finished it!)

Never Ever Give Up By: Erik Rees with Jenna Glatzer

When God Doesn’t Fix It By: Laura Story with Jennifer Schuchmann

The Silver Chair By: C.S. Lewis (my favorite one yet!)


April’s Reading Playlist

(This month is heavy with theology and Christian living, but I plan on sneaking in novels somewhere in the mix!)

I Know His Name By: Wendy Blight (part of a Proverbs 31 Bible Class)

Before Amen By: Max Lucado

Teach Us to Want By: Jen Pollock Michel

The Last Battle By: C.S. Lewis

. . . and a few more!!

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