This year was a year when God spoke deep healing and peace into my life. He reached me many times through books. It’s funny how in some seasons, I can barely find time and energy to shower, let alone read a book! But then the seasons come when there’s a little of God making the time and little me making the time and suddenly I’m getting through a book I really needed to read.
Whether the following books were gifted to me, stuck out to me like crazy in an ad on Amazon, or a friend simply texted me at exactly the right time that I had to read it, each of these volumes had timely words of truth and peace for me.
Searching for and Maintaining Peace, by Fr. Jacques Philippe
My friend Kate mailed me a copy of this book–twice. I’ve now sent copies of this book to friends and family. My favorite podcast, Abiding Together, covered this book during Lent this year, and both re-reading the book and listening to their discussions on the podcast was perfect timing for me. There are so many things I could say about this book. Most of all, this book reminded me of the importance of regularly meditating on the goodness of God. His care for me. His wisdom in weaving together for good all the parts and situations of my life. His personal love for me. His trustworthiness. One of the passages that struck me the most was when Fr. Philippe reminds us that the most important battle any of us fight each and every day of my life is the battle to keep our peace.
Introverted Mom: A Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy, by Jamie Martin
I actually wrote a whole post this fall about this book. If you’ve ever felt like you got the short end of the stick being an introvert and a mom, I highly recommend Introverted Mom. If nothing else, Jamie Martin will give you permission to be at peace with exactly how God made you and with honoring Him, yourself and your family by doing what you need to do to be your best self.
The Catholic Table: Finding Joy Where Food and Faith Meet, by Emily Stimpson Chapman
I’ve been praying about my relationship with food and my body image for years. As an ex-model, I’ve had a good big of struggle handling the natural changes to my body from age and five pregnancies. I also have developed some unhealthy relationships with food on and off over the years. This book has really given me a lot of hope for my own healing and growth in this area in laying out the very freeing, very Catholic view of food. This book is a must-read if you have ever struggled with body image or unhealthy relationships with food of any kind. Or…if you’re Catholic.:) I mean…just the chapter on the Eucharist alone was such an eye-opener to me in the way that something as normal as eating was intentionally thought out by God in the scope of eternity. Next up, a book that’s been on my radar for years: Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, by Brant Pitre.
The Heart of Perfection: How the Saints Taught Me to Trade My Dream of Perfect for God’s, by Colleen Carroll Campbell
Hi, I’m Erin, and I’m a recovering spiritual perfectionist. I never would have called myself a spiritual perfectionist. But God used this book in His perfect timing to gently point out that that’s exactly my problem, much of the time! This book was one of the greatest God-sends to me this year. Colleen weaves together her own life and the lives of several real-life people who struggled terribly with spiritual perfectionism (including one French heretic nun whose life shows the horrible consequences of taking spiritual perfectionism to its end), but who also happen to be some of our Catholic faith’s greatest saints. I am so grateful for this book.
Bob Schuchts’ healing retreats have been around for years, and I’ve heard amazing things about them from counselor friends, priests and friends who have been on them. I just never realized until this year that I might need some healing, though. A friend sent me this book in the mail after I shared with her my struggles during a tough season earlier this year, and I actually had an unexpected and deep healing experience while reading and praying through this book. I highly recommend this practical guide for taking a deeper, spiritual look at the wounds that we all walk around with.