I often get asked for recommendations of books, articles or music that have helped me along the way. Here’s a non-exhaustive list in no particular order. I’ll keep updating it as I find more/have the energy to do so.
It’s important to note that I’m not necessarily recommending every word and idea within the books below but I think they have superb insight and much wisdom to offer.
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Brother Lawrence was a 17th century French monk whose brief writings and conversations were compiled into this tiny book. His wisdom on experiencing God in the moment wherever you are has been incredibly helpful to me.
Dying Well by John Wyatt
I got to read an early draft of Dying Well and absolutely loved it. This is a wonderfully practical book about the end of life. John updates the Ars Moriendi, the 15th century ‘Art of Dying’ documents used by the church, gives excellent, practical advice for those at the end of life and their carers, and talks about the hope we have in Christ both for now and the future.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Being Mortal was the first end of life related book I read and it helped me to think practically about my own preferences for end of life treatment. I was convinced by Gawande that talking more about death and dying is important given that we all must face it and it is hugely helpful to those around us if we’ve thought through lots of the related issues.
Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
Rohr takes and expands on the old idea of there being two halves of life: the first, the stage of youth where we are confident, often driven by rules and strength, and the second, the wiser, quieter stage which is often attained by suffering of some kind. It seems to be that when we ‘fall’ we are given remarkable opportunities to grow, that what the world sees as failure can lead to a place of fullness, that what seems like a fall down is in reality a fall upward. Ironically, I think the first half of this book is fairly weak but the second half has some wonderful insight and some sparkling prose. I go back and read my highlights from this book when I need reminding that my small, quiet life has purpose and beauty.
I’m not a great listener of music. These are songs that I turn to when I have no more words for prayer. They speak truth and help me to express my feelings to God about things I find hard especially not knowing why hard things happen over and over, and living with such a broken body yet trying to believe that I am wonderfully designed by a loving Father.
‘You Know Better Than I’ from Joseph, King of Dreams
‘He’s Always Been Faithful’ by Sara Groves
‘Wonderfully Made’ by Ellie Holcomb
‘Blessings’ by Laura Story