Saturday, December 8, 2018

3 BOOKS GOD USED TO INSPIRE ME // that may inspire you!


God uses so many things to inspire us. His Word, definitely. Other believers, for sure. Music, absolutely. And, hmmm... What else? BOOKS, OF COURSE.

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It's always super special when I feel God's encouragement, His comfort, His very presence in a book I'm reading. <3

My two topmost pieces of advice for experiencing this are 1) Be in tune with God! Make sure your relationship with Him is priority in your life and that you're communing with Him in the Word. After all, if you aren't hearing from Him in His own Book, what are the chances of hearing from Him elsewhere? And 2) Step away from secular books for a moment and read! Christian! Books! I'm not talking about those popular "Christian" romances, obviously. Noooo, what I mean is delving into a search for the real gems. Goodreads, Amazon, Google in general, friends and family. There are SO many resources!

Oftentimes, though, Spirit-inspired books don't have to be hunted for. For me, they tend to plop into my unsuspecting lap almost out of the blue. The three books I'm going to be talking about in this post - three of the many stories God has used to inspire me - came from three different sources not the result of intense search: a casual library find, a Christmas present, and an advanced reader/blog tour opportunity.

Let me tell you about my experiences with these books.


1.


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First, the casual library discovery. I honestly don't remember how I heard about The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson. What I do remember is that it was around Christmastime (like now! *turns up Christmas music*) in 2016. It had to have been 2016 because my mission trip to Honduras was coming up fast, and this mission trip was a BIG deal to me. (Reading this book was only part of the spiritual prep God led me through. XD)

The Door Within is about a boy living an ordinary life until he discovers an important object (I think it was some kind of scroll??) and ends up entering a different world, where he is challenged beyond anything he could have imagined. When he thought he would fall, he was given the strength to continue. When he pressed on even through darkness, he saw and experienced marvelous things. I don't even remember most of the book, it's been so long. Only the vaguest outline of it.

What struck me in the heart about this book was that this boy (I think his name was Aiden...?) and I were on a parallel journey! Both of us had been transported by our King into new territory, where things were so different from what we were used to. I hadn't gone to Honduras yet, but 1) I would soon, and 2) God had taken me to a brand-new place in my relationship with Him as well, almost like a breathtaking new world. As I followed this ordinary, flawed, so very HUMAN protagonist through his up-and-down, faith-testing adventure, I related soooo hard and drew such inspiration from it.

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It didn't have an original fantasy plot, and the writing may have been on the juvenile side, but the story holds a VERY special place in my heart nonetheless. And the Christian allegory behind it may not have been subtle, but I actually loved it for that. It's what I needed at the time.




2.


Image result for hidden blessings kim cash tate


Next up is the Christmas present. I hadn't put this book on my wish list - hadn't even heard of it - but I'm so glad I got Hidden Blessings by Kim Cash Tate because it turned out to be beautifully, heart-breakingly inspiring. A spring 2017 read of mine, I believe. :))

This story is an adult Christian contemporary about a woman living the dream, until her life is turned UPSIDE DOWN by a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. Her fiancé backs out of their engagement even though their wedding was right around the corner, leaving her virtually alone and utterly broken.

Again, it's been a hot minute since I read this, but I can't say much even out of what I remember. It inspired me to find the warm light of joy even in the bitter cold, to reach for the already out-stretched hand of God even when everything seems to be going wrong. It inspired me with the reminder that God is here, and God is working, no matter what.

What also made this book so special was the new perspective it gave me. Stepping into the shoes of a main character whose main antagonist is cancer was a valuable, insightful experience. Reading it felt important, rather than just entertaining.

I give away nothing, but... I almost cried, okay??? There was something so raw and real, so brutal yet beautiful, about this story. And the title captures the theme SO WELL. <3


3.

Image result for dagger's sleep tricia mingerink

And finally... the advanced reader/blog tour opportunity. This one is the most recent, a read of mine from earlier this year (which is over in less than a month, wut)!The blog tour post, including my review of Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink, is linked HERE if you're interested.

This book is about a prince and a princess. Now, that may not sound like anything special, but I promise you, this prince has a character arc that BLEW MY MIND, whereas this princess broke out of the mold so many YA princesses are crammed into it. It's gorgeously written, and it combines two of my favorite types of books: 1) fairy tale retelling, and 2) Christian allegory. You know how Chronicles of Narnia has probably THE most epic allegory of them all? Well, it may have been waaaaay too many years since I read Narnia, but I'll venture to say that Dagger's Sleep comes close. At least to me personally.

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What made the allegory aspect so epic wasn't any originality or clever subtlety of Christian symbolism. What made it so epic was how it made me feel. There's one scene in particular that was basically God reminding me that nothing can take my breath away like He can. That He is omni-beautiful (I hereby dub it a word). That He deserves all praise and respect and reverence. That He is everything.

That, simply, is how God used Dagger's Sleep to inspire me.

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Well, friends, I'll wrap up this post with a word of encouragement: If your reading life has been feeling sort of dry lately, maybe pick up a Jesus book. There are so many secular books I love, SO many I want and plan to read, but I think it's important to read Christian books too (Christian books that don't just have the label but are truly Jesus stories <3). They're the real gems, refreshing the heart and soul because they are SPIRIT-INSPIRED.

So pick up a Jesus-inspired story. Jesus wants to inspire you.



The Lord's Truly,

All right, friends, I wanna know... What's a book God has used to inspire you?? And have you read any of the books in this post? (IF NOT, YOU SHOULD. THEY'RE LOVELY. <3) What are you thoughts on secular book intake vs. Christian book intake? I'm DYING to chat with you in the comments!

17 comments:

  1. Oh, this is a cool post! I don't think I've read any of these, but they certainly sound intriguing.

    A book God used to inspire me... I'd say the Out Of Time series by Nadine Brandes! Those were absolutely amazing, encouraging, and so full of truth and I now really want to reread them.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lilian! They're really good books!! :D

      OOOOOH, I really wish I had that series bc I'm DYING to read it! They sound soooo amazing. <333

      Thank you for commenting, Lilian!

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  2. Oh, that last book looks like one I need to try and find at some point in the future ;) And yes, I've been inspired by a lot of fiction and nonfiction a like. Inspiration is free to those that read a ton, yes? haha ;D

    keturahskorner.blogspot.com

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    1. Yessssss, Dagger's Sleep is SUPER good! ;D

      Oh, absolutely, reading in general is definitely inspirational. Gaaaah, I just love books SO MUCH. <3333

      There's nothing like being inspired by God, though. Nothin' like it! :D

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  3. Gosh, I need to read Dagger’s Sleep, along with the Blades of Acktar! They sound so good.....

    Two book (series) that God used to inspire me would probably be the Out of Time series and the Ilyon Chronicles. Both of those series are AMAZING!

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    1. DUUUUUUDE, I'm dying to read Blades of Acktar too! I've heard SO many good things about it! And Dagger's Sleep is utterly AMAZING, so yesssss, read that one for sure!!! :D

      That's so cool, Nicole! I've heard soooo many good things about both those series; I SO WANT TO READ THEM, EEP!!!

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  4. I love the Door Within, such a good book! I grew up with that series.

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    1. I really enjoyed it too!! I never read the rest of the series, but that's so cool it's one of your childhood faves. <3

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  5. The Mystery from Lacey Sturm inspires me again and again -- it helped me through a very difficult time. Robin Jones Gunn's books (Christy Miller) made a huge impact on me when I was twelve and Jane Eyre was another big book in my life. XXX

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    1. I think I've heard of that book, at least the author! She's a singer, I believe...? That's so cool, Kara - I've yet to read any Christy Miller books, but I plan to someday!

      Duuuuuude, I SO need to read Jane Eyre!!

      Thank you for commenting, Kara!

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  6. The Door Within was a favorite when I was younger, I need to re-read it! :D

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    1. Aww, that's so cool, Gray! I might have to reread it myself... :D :D It's so special to me. <3

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  7. It's such an amazing feeling when you read a book you know you're /supposed/ to read. I mean, like it was dropped in your lap for a purpose. So incredible.

    I think for me, any of Stephanie Morrill's books have done that for me. Reading her stuff is like a breath of fresh air.

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    1. YES. You described it sooooo well, Sarah! That's exactly how it feels, and it's such an amazing feeling. <333

      Ooooh, I really enjoyed Morrill's The Lost Girl of Astor Street! She's an incredible writer and I hope to read more of her books in the future!!

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  8. Dagger's Sleep was just really really enjoyable. I loved so many things about it. Especially the Appalachian feel to it (since I love in the Blue Ridge). But The Blades of Acktar is still my fave. :)

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    1. Yes, it truly truly was!! I loved soooo many things about it too! Gaaaaah, chatting about it is making me want to read it again! XD

      I WANT TO READ BLADES OF ACKTAR SO BAD. I've ONLY heard amazing things about it, oh my word. #NEED

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