Books We Love

cjbooksweloveLooking for a great book?

Here are a few of our favorites. We’ve included the Amazon links in the book titles to make it even easier. And if you order through smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to Chronic Joy Ministry – just follow the quick, easy steps below.

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Happy reading!

Discovering Hope, Cindee Snider Re

51rqbtkr-nl-_sx382_bo1204203200_Discovering Hope: Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness is an invitation to experience radical hope and compassionate change in a life with chronic illness. No matter how dark the days, how wild the storm, how deep the valley, or how long the winter, there is hope. There is always hope. Discovering Hope is a powerful, practical, insightful and well-written guide for all those affected by chronic physical and mental illness. Embrace a new perspective. Celebrate the small victories. Wrestle with difficult questions. And learn to laugh again. Often. No matter what today looks like, there is hope. You are not alone. You are not invisible to God. Your journey toward hope begins with the very first page.

Soul Bare, Edited by Cara Sexton

514t1jqes4l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Honesty, authenticity and vulnerability. You want to be a person who reflects these qualities. But sometimes it’s just hard to reveal your deepest hardships and struggles. How are Christians supposed to have hope and experience wholeness amidst personal challenges and failures? The women and men of Soul Bare not only intimately understand the risks of exposure, but they are also willing to share their most poignant and painful moments with you. Soul Bare features contributions from the best of today’s influential young writers.

Finding God in the Ruins, Matt Bays

514u8p7tlyl-_sx331_bo1204203200_When the reality of your pain doesn’t line up with what you’ve been taught in church, then what? While many abandon their faith or embrace hopelessness, it is possible to discover the God who heals your heart in the midst of the pain.

Matt Bays has been where you are. His unforgettable stories of loss and healing will usher you into a life where gratitude overpowers anger, hope overcomes despair, and hunger for God replaces indifference to God. With a fresh and original writing style, Bays demonstrates that true redemption is far more powerful than the temporary fixes of sanitized Christianity.


Broken Body, Healing Spirit, Mary C. Earle  

41rukwb3xql-_sx334_bo1204203200_In the summer of 1995 Mary Earle returned from a vacation feeling refreshed and restored from her time away. A few days later, all that changed, when she was rushed to the emergency room with a case of acute and life-threatening pancreatitis. Being ill, she discovered, forces you to learn to live in whole new ways, ones often marked by limitation and fragility.

As a priest and spiritual director, Earle began to explore ways in which her own prayer life might help her build a different relationship with her illness. Using the Benedictine practice of lectio divina, or sacred reading, she began to “read” her own illness, and discovered a way of befriending and helping to heal – if not cure – her body and her life.

The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp

41h3k7jitxlNew York Times best-selling author of One Thousand Gifts Ann Voskamp sits at the edge of her life and all of her own unspoken brokenness and asks: What if you really want to live abundantly before it’s too late? What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness? This is the one begging question that’s behind every single aspect of our lives — and one that The Broken Way – also a New York Times bestseller – rises up to explore in the most unexpected ways.

This one’s for the lovers and the sufferers. For those whose hopes and dreams and love grew so large it broke their willing hearts. This one’s for the busted ones who are ready to bust free, the ones ready to break molds, break chains, break measuring sticks, and break all this bad brokenness with an unlikely good brokenness.  You could be one of the Beloved who is broken — and still lets yourself be loved.

You could be one of them, one who believes freedom can be found not only beyond the fear and pain, but actually  within it.

You could discover and trust this broken way — the way to not be afraid of broken things.

The Color of Night, Gerhard E. Frost

41kiccle9yl-_ac_us160_This new release of Gerhard E. Frost’s classic The Color of the Night includes 86 short reflections inspired by the biblical Job.Each reflection begins with a quotation from Job and wrestles with the difficult issues that we face during times of crisis, such as trust in God, the meaning of life, and fairness in the world.With newly added questions for reflection and discussion, this thoughtful book is ideal for individual and group study.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Bonnie Gray

41wfepyx-l-_sx322_bo1204203200_Running on empty with no time for rest, yourself, or God? Soulful author Bonnie Gray shows how to create spiritual whitespace in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faith—right in the midst of our stress-frayed lives. She guides you to discover a better story for yourself, one that feeds your soul and makes room for rest.

The Gift of Hard Things, Mark Yaconelli

51pfh6cmxll-_sx331_bo1204203200_In many ways society teaches us to try to have everything under our control. If we are honest, we tend to think that this can be true even of our spiritual lives. But Mark Yaconelli eloquently expresses the reality of our situation: “We are small, sensitive creatures with short lifespans, in a world that is often chaotic, capricious, mysterious, terrible and wonderful all at the same time. Failure, disappointment, loss and other difficult experiences call us to accept our humanity, feel grateful for what has been given, receive the care of others and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit.” Using extraordinary stories from his own life and the lives of others, Yaconelli offers a narrative journey through ways in which disappointments have turned into gifts. In these pages are a wealth of spiritual practices that will carry us deeper into the grace we find in unexpected places.

He Speaks in the Silence, Diane Comer

HeSpeaksInTheSilenceDisappointed with all Diane had been told was supposed to fulfill her, she begged God in desperation to give her more. And He did. But first He took her through a trial so debilitating it almost destroyed what little faith she had. He let her go deaf.

Yet in her brokenness, God met her, and taught her to believe He is good even when life goes bad. Diane learned to listen to God, finding intimacy with her Savior and the soul deep satisfaction she longs for.

Hope Prevails, Michelle Bengston

519gcurdeyl-_sx322_bo1204203200_As a board-certified neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson sees the devastation of depression. Early on, she practiced the most effective treatments and prescribed them for her clients. But when she experienced depression herself, she found that the treatments she had recommended were lacking. Her experience showed her the missing component in treating depression.

In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion, blending her training and faith, to offer readers a hope grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is an approach that offers the hope of release, not just the management of symptoms.

For those who struggle with depression and those who want to help them, Hope Prevails offers hope for the future.

Hunting Hope, Nika Maples

5193ehfxjkl-_sx343_bo1204203200_Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage.

Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.

I Will Carry You, Angie Smith

51ulgbbgncl-_sx321_bo1204203200_In 2008, Angie Smith and her husband Todd (lead singer of the group Selah) learned through ultrasound that their fourth daughter had conditions making her “incompatible with life.” Advised to terminate the pregnancy, the Smiths chose instead to carry this child and allow room for a miracle. That miracle came the day they met Audrey Caroline and got the chance to love her for the precious two-and-a-half hours she lived on earth.

Upon receiving the original diagnosis, Angie started a blog (Bring the Rain) to keep family and friends informed of their journey. Soon, the site exploded in popularity, connecting with thousands who were either experiencing their own heartbreaking situations or simply curious about how God could carry someone through something so tragic. I Will Carry You tells the powerful story of a parent losing her child, interwoven with the biblical story of Lazarus to help those who mourn to still have hope—to find grace and peace in the sacred dance of grief and joy.

One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp

41n2hzw2bydl-_sx277_bo1204203200_
Drawing heartbreaking beauty out of the simplest of details, Ann Voskamp invites you into her grace – bathed life of farming, parenting, and writing – and deeper still into your own life. Here you will discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to thanksgiving, a way of living so you are not afraid to die, and a way of becoming present to God that brings you deep and lasting joy.

Peace in the Storm, Maureen Pratt

41toodrqzrl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Millions of Americans experience pain every day of their lives, their conditions unalleviated by the myriad medications and treatments available today. Maureen Pratt, who has had lupus for more than a decade, is intimately aware of the toll chronic pain takes on patients and their families.

In this practical and spiritual guide, she shares how she navigates through the frustrations, fears, and complexities of living with chronic pain and illness.

Using a combination of Bible passages, her own observations and insights, and prayer, Pratt provides help on issues that include dealing with isolation, coping with medical expenses, and learning to say no. Written with unstinting honesty and humor, Peace in the Storm will help readers identify their own spiritual and physical needs.

Pearls of Great Price, Joni Eareckson Tada

41blj10uwul-_sx339_bo1204203200_Joni Eareckson Tada wants to help you become rich in faith and wealthy in hope. Some people focus on material treasures, but Joni reminds you that life’s true gems come from God―priceless pearls that are worth everything to purchase … and own. In the tradition of Diamonds in the Dust and More Precious Than Silver comes this book, Pearls of Great Price. Written by a remarkable woman who has known firsthand God’s faithfulness in the midst of indescribable difficulties, these 366 inspiring new devotions, each filled with Joni’s signature storytelling, will touch your soul like a genuine pearl―rare, beautiful, and precious. To wake up each morning is, for Joni, to need the Lord Jesus desperately and to feel his blessing. And she yearns to help you grasp this blessing for yourself. Not a day breaks when she doesn’t cling to God, asking for a fresh touch from heaven as well as a fresh view on his Word. It’s the reason for her life. It’s the reason why she writes. Pearls of Great Price so clearly depicts Joni’s passion. Allow these 366 meditations to uncover a wealth of promise, of eternal truths waiting to transform the events of your life into opportunities to catch and reflect God’s glory. Featuring Joni’s own beautiful line drawings, Pearls of Great Price will open your eyes and your heart to an abundance of blessings.

The Reality of Chronic Illness, Rachel Allison 

51qgz5-uvvl-_sy498_bo1204203200_Begun as a series of posts on social media, this project pairs self portraits and written reflections for the purpose of capturing daily life with chronic illness. In thirty-five intimate entries, author Rachel Allison reveals her personal struggles with Adrenal Fatigue (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and Dysautonomia, and reflects on how they impact her everyday life as a young adult. Ultimately, Allison’s project attempts to promote communication about chronic illness. Her work will give readers understanding and insight on how to better care for loved ones who are impacted by it.

Roots & Sky, Christie Purifoy

51ereq12wxl-_sx322_bo1204203200_When Christie Purifoy arrived at Maplehurst that September, she was heavily pregnant with both her fourth child and her dreams of creating a sanctuary that would be a fixed point in her busily spinning world. The sprawling Victorian farmhouse sitting atop a Pennsylvania hill held within its walls the possibility of a place where her family could grow, where friends could gather, and where Christie could finally grasp and hold the thing we all long for–home.

In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie slowly unveils the small trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst–from summer’s intense heat and autumn’s glorious canopy through winter’s still whispers and spring’s gentle mercies. Through stories of planting and preserving, of opening the gates wide to neighbors, and of learning to speak the language of a place, Christie invites readers into the joy of small beginnings and the knowledge that the kingdom of God is with us here and now.

Anyone who has felt the longing for home, who yearns to reconnect with the beauty of nature, and who values the special blessing of deep relationships with family and friends will love finding themselves in this story of earthly beauty and soaring hope.

Rhythms of Rest, Shelly Miller

41imttlfsal-_sx322_bo1204203200_Sabbath-keeping not only brings physical refreshment, it restores the soul. God commands us to “remember the Sabbath,” but is it realistic in today’s fast-paced culture? In this warm and helpful book, Shelly Miller dispels legalistic ideas about Sabbath and shows how even busy people can implement a rhythm of rest into their lives–whether for an hour, a morning, or a whole day. With encouraging stories from people in different stages in life, Miller shares practical advice for having peaceful, close times with God. You will learn simple ways to be intentional about rest, ideas for tuning out distractions and tuning in God, and even how meals and other times with friends and family can be Sabbath experiences.

Ultimately, this book is an invitation to those who long for rest but don’t know how to make it a reality. Sabbath is a gift from God to be embraced, not a spiritual hoop to jump through.

Turn My Mourning Into Dancing, Henri Nouwen

41lk1ke168l-_ac_us160_In times of suffering, simplistic answers ring empty and hollow. But Henri Nouwen, beloved spiritual thinker and author, offers real comfort in the concrete truth of God’s constancy. Nouwen suggests that by greeting life’s pains with something other than despair, we can find surprising joy in our suffering. He suggests that the way through suffering is not in denial, but rather in living fully in the midst of the trials life brings our way.

Undone, Michele Cushatt

51v1e3szp8l-_sx325_bo1204203200_Undone is author Michele Cushatt’s quest to make peace with a complicated life. It is an honest confession of a diagnosis of cancer and the joys and disappointments of motherhood and marriage, ripe with regret over what is and, yet, still hopeful for what could be.

With enough humor to ease the rawness of the story, Undone takes the reader on a roller coaster two-year journey through the unexpectedness of life. A look back makes Michele long for a do-over, the chance to make fewer mistakes and leave less of a mess to clean up. A look forward makes Michele wonder if all her attempts to control life have robbed her of the vibrancy of it.

When God Doesn’t Fix It, 

51em5nn7lgl-_sx332_bo1204203200_Worship leader and recording artist Laura Story’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Their lives would never be the same. Yes, with God all things are possible. But the devastating news was that no cure existed to restore Martin’s short-term memory, eyesight, and other complications. The fairy-tale life Laura had dreamed of was no longer possible. And yet in struggling with God about how to live with broken dreams, Laura has found joy and a deeper intimacy with Jesus.

Laura helps us understand we aren’t the only ones whose lives have taken unexpected turns. She examines the brokenness of some of the heroes of our faith, and shows how despite their flaws and flawed stories, God was able to use them in extraordinary ways. And it was not because of their faith, but because of the faithfulness of their God. God may not fix everything. In fact, although your situation might not ever change or get better, with Jesus you can.

Word by Word, Marilyn McEntyre

917omw6lrylBeautifully written meditations on fifteen well-chosen words 

In What’s in a Phrase? — winner of the 2015 Christianity Today Book Award in Spirituality — Marilyn McEntyre showed readers how brief scriptural phrases can evoke and invite. In Word by WordMcEntyre invites readers to dwell intentionally with single words — remembering their biblical and literary contexts, considering the personal associations they bring up, and allowing them to become a focus for prayer and meditation.

McEntyre has thoughtfully chosen fifteen words (see below), and she gives each word a week, guiding readers in examining the word from seven different angles throughout the week. She draws on the spiritual practices of lectio divina and centering prayer as she encourages readers to allow these small words to help them pause and hear the voice of the Spirit. “I invite you to discover,” says McEntyre in her intro-duction, “how words may become little fountains of grace. How a single word may, if you hold it for a while, become a prayer.” Some of the words include:

  • Listen
  • Receive
  • Enjoy
  • Let Go
  • Watch
  • Accept

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