I believe God has gifted some of us with dramatic souls, with deep access to emotional valleys of our lives, and enraptured heights of joy. We all respond to personal and corporate crises from an emotional vantage no matter how we try to deny it. I may perceive myself to be rational, but I know I roller-coaster along more than flat line most seasons of my life. Because of the way God has shaped my response to internal and external circumstances, he put good friends around me through the years. He’s prepared me for every job, every service opportunity, and every ministry, and more often than not, that preparation looks like a saint who wrote. We as human beings needs human heroes. We need human heroes who had Jesus. We need human beings who wrote what it felt to be human in hard times. I am putting my short list of books recommendations of authors who have been friends to me, the drama-queen (who felt the recession of 2008 in a personal way, who tears up when I hear anything about 9/11, who takes it personally when another baby gets aborted without anyone mourning).
Here are some great books:
- The Plague and I by Betty MacDonald
Well known children’s author who was quarantined for Tuberculosis in the 1950s.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Holocaust survivor whose method of maintaining mental clarity in unspeakable suffering has helped millions develop resilience internally regardless of circumstances.
- Imprisoned in Iran by Dan Baumann
Feel like you’re in jail? Dan honestly explains how to maintain intimacy with Jesus in hardship
- Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler
The best cancer memoir in print.
- How Dante Can Save Your Life by Rod Dreher
Struggling with reconciling who you are in your family dynamics? Dante could save your life.
- God’s Hostage by Andrew Brunson
Have anxiety and depression and need medications even though you’ve been a “super Christian” your whole life? So does Andrew. Let’s all admit that life throws us curves and our health can collapse because life is hard.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Second best cancer memoir in print.
- Insanity of God by Nik Ripkin
God will use the Covid 19 for his glory and God’s Insanity isn’t anything new.
- This Glorious Weakness by Alia Joy
Imagine what it’s like to have bipoloar and not get out of bed for days and days. And still love Jesus and yourself. Maybe our weaknesses are for God’s strength.
- A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot
She’s my missionary hero and she knows a little about loss (martyred husband, second husband died of cancer, etc.)
- A Mother’s Ordeal by Steven Mosher
Want to understand a little about China’s history and propaganda? Nothing like a memoir.
- Spiritual Depression, Its Causes and Cure by Martin Lloyd Jones
Pastors can be depressed too. Spiritual depression isn’t the end and it’s not a shameful disease.
- Compassion by Henri Nouwen
Love like Jesus loves and dance through Nouwen’s perfect prose.
- Season of Waiting by Besty Childs Howard
We are all waiting for something. Really.
- Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser
It’s never too late to learn to be honest with God. Feelings need to be felt. It’s not the pain Olympics.