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The right words for all seasons

Books on faith have the power to inspire, challenge and change readers. Here are three favorites.

I love to read.

As a toddler, my mom said I was never without a book. I would hide behind the couch and marvel at the words, the pictures and the feel of a book in my little hands.

Laura AkinsAs I’ve gotten older I still hide while I read — but only because I have four children (and yes, I’ve found a better hiding spot than behind the couch).
I don’t discriminate either. I love reading articles on the Internet, jokes on the back of cereal boxes, eBooks, audiobooks and good, old-fashioned page-turners.

So, in that spirit, I’d like to share a few of the books that interest me. These aren’t necessarily my all-time favorite books. Rather, these are books that inspire, challenge and change me. I come back to these three titles during different seasons of life — and I think they represent me well.

Long before I got married, Stormie Omartian wrote “The Power of a Praying Wife.” Her best-selling book features 30 chapters — each focusing on a different way to pray for husbands. Every section begins with a personal story and ends with a prayer and three to five Bible verses. Prayer topics range from “His Work” and “His Sexuality,” to “His Health” and “His Faith.”

This book, part of Omartian’s “The Power of Praying” series, challenges readers to stop trying to change their husbands and start praying for God to mold them into his likeness. There is no greater gift a wife can give her husband than to earnestly give him to God every day.

Other titles in this series include “The Power of a Praying Husband” and “The Power of a Praying Parent.”

When I need to reset myself, I read “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker.

In what she calls a “social experiment turned spiritual journey,” Hatmaker walks the reader through seven chapters, each focused on a different area of excess: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress.

Written in diary form, each chapter covers one month and includes scriptures, true stories and funny e-mails between the author and her “council” — six friends who also partake in “7.”

While I struggle in all seven areas, it’s like she’s reading my mind in chapter six (the one on spending).

“Once I finally quit panicking my debit card would be declined, the pendulum swung to the other side,” she writes. “Now I am completely careless. … How will I answer for my choices when God confronts them one day?”

Her big personality might not be for everyone, but I appreciate her honest humor — and the fact that she’s not afraid to make fun of herself.
Another way I try to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1), is by lacing up my shoes and going for a run. That’s my favorite time to chat with God.

But sometimes I need major inspiration to wake up before sunrise — and it’s easily found in “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” by Christopher McDougall.

If you are a runner — or just love a good adventure — this book is for you.

Like McDougall, I like to push my body to its limit. So when I read the back cover — “the Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury … McDougall sets out to discover their secrets” — I was hooked.

By the end of this 304-page book, every reader will be inspired after learning we are all “born to run.”

I believe there is a book for every season of life.

The Christian Chronicle is always looking for new reviewers — authors, teachers, Bible scholars and well-read Christians — to help identify these books as part of the newspaper’s mission to inform, inspire and unite readers.

And I’m always on the lookout for new hiding spots where I can get some reading done, so feel free to pass along those suggestions as well.

LAURA AKINS and her family worship with the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, where her husband, Travis, serves as young adults minister. For more information on writing reviews for The Christian Chronicle, contact [email protected] .

Filed under: Reviews

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