Over the last month and a half here at Circles of Faith, we’ve been sharing personal stories, God moments, and turning points in faith from our contributors. It happened partially as a result of the feedback we received from our first live event back in January. Elise shared her story of leaning into God in the midst of the unimaginable and the journey paved with miracles that followed as a result. What we heard from women who attended the event was, “More stories please…” So we decided that, just for a bit, we’d throw out the script of FAITH, LIFE, and COMMUNITY to focus exclusively on FAITH STORIES.
Since then, I have not only been a part of sharing other’s stories here on the site, but I have shared mine as well, which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. With all the talk of STORY, it’s no coincidence that my personal reading has gravitated to biographies, memoirs, and the like.
We’ve returned to our regular schedule of Faith stories on Mondays, Life on Wednesdays, and Community on Fridays. Next month, we’ll return to our regular schedule of featuring short book reviews and a linkup every First Friday as well.
Today I’m excited to revisit First Friday Book Faves with some of the inspiring books I have been reading..
Whatever the Cost by David and Jason Benham
When I picked up this book, I was only vaguely familiar with the Benham brothers. I remembered them from the brief flurry of media they received when the HGTV network dumped their yet-to-be-aired series Flip it Forward. I knew very little of their story and was excited to find out more.
David and Jason take turns sharing the highlights of their upbringing and how it made them into the men they are today. As preacher’s kids, they were raised with an appreciation for biblical principles coupled with hard work and discipline. Throughout their lives they experienced letting go of the dreams they worked so hard for, including careers as major league baseball players and reality TV stars. The reoccurring theme of the book is holding your dreams with open hands so God doesn’t have to pry them loose.
What I love most about this book are the principles they share along the way that governed their life and the choices they made. As an entrepreneur, I admire how they understand that their calling includes success in business, ultimately using their influence and resources to expand God’s Kingdom.
You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. by Ben Carson
Many years ago, I read a book by Ben Carson, called Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence. It changed the way I saw life and ignited my love for “self-help” books. Many years later, now a mom, I was thrilled to see You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. Written for a younger audience, this book recounts Ben’s story of growing up as a young boy in inner-city Detroit, and how he overcame many obstacles to go from the class dummy to world-class neurosurgeon. Just like the Benham’s, Whatever the Cost, this book shares the various trials his family faced as well as the simple principles that guide his choices along the way. I was inspired by the strength and tenacity of his mother who, despite her limited resources, encouraged her children to succeed.
Raised by Strangers by Brooke Lynn
This book shares a personal story of triumph through Christ. At the hands of people who were supposed to love and take care of her, Brooke Lynn suffered physical, mental, and emotional abuse. By all accounts, this woman’s life looked hopeless. However, God brought restoration and healing.
While it was tough to read about what Brooke Lynn endured as a child, it was refreshing to see God’s truth woven throughout her story. The reader is constantly reminded that while the people in our life may fail us and devalue us, God never will. He is faithful and our value is not based on what other’s around us think and do, but in God’s love for us and the sacrifice He made on our behalf.
You can read our interview with the author HERE.
Disagreeable in-laws, a bad marriage, a life-threatening illness all set the stage for God’s goodness through forgiveness in this page-turner. Hoping to have the quintessential happy marriage with a white picket fence, Martha married her husband not knowing what lay ahead. Over the years, the smoke screen of marital bliss blew away and what was left was betrayal, deceit, and isolation. Her diagnosis of cancer eventually led the author to a return to her relationship with God, steadfastness of faith, and a journey of forgiveness. The result was a restored marriage and a miraculous healing.
This was a particularly interesting read for me because the author is my mother. Her perspective on a relationship and life that, in part, I experienced was enlightening, It gave me an inside look at my mother’s reality that of course I didn’t see the same way from a child’s perspective. Having lived through and now read the story, I am reminded of just how powerful prayer and forgiveness are.
You can read a bit of Martha's story here on our site:
Staying Married When it's Hard and When Your Mother-In-Law Tests Your Ability to Forgive
50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith by Michelle DeRusha
This book came highly recommended by Kimberly Coyle during our November First Friday Faves post. At first glance, I found the size of the book was a bit overwhelming. With limited time to read, I thought I would need big chunks of time to get through it, but I was wrong.
This book is comprised of short, yet compelling chapters that each highlight one woman's life. The author shares stories of trailblazers, martyrs, itinerant preachers from various denominations, and abolitionists that engage and inspire her readers. It is truly incredible to see how God has used woman over the ages to spread the Good News and impact those around them for good.
This week we are giving away a Kindle copy of Unholy Matrimony: My Journey Through Unforgiveness and Sickness to Miraculous Health by Martha Wentz.
You can enter to win below.
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Kimberly Amici is an enthusiastic and dedicated founding member of the Circles of Faith team. She is known for her creativity, strong faith, and commitment to living life with purpose and passion. Kimberly is a writer and community builder whose desire is for hearts to be healed, minds to be renewed and women to be connected in fellowship just as God intended.
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