Favorite books of 2020

I set out to read more in 2020.

Then 2020 happened. I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, but I read more than the year before, so that’s progress! I wanted to compile my favorite books of the year (fiction + nonfiction) and share what I liked about each of them. Mostly for my own archive… but you might find it helpful too!

Nonfiction (Theology + Ministry)

Favorite: Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. I read this one in January 2020 and it set the standard high. It is a short book, but jam-packed with theology. One of the most relatable resources I have found on the doctrine of the trinity and the Holy Spirit in particular.

Runner-up: A Gentle Answer by Scott Sauls. Cannot recommend this book enough. Matt and I both loved it. Scott Sauls offers a different perspective on the ministry of Jesus: one that is much more gentle and meek than most of us have been taught. (I read this one right before election season and man, was it a balm for my soul).

Nonfiction (Motherhood + Life)

Favorite: The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi. First of all, Kenda is an enneagram one (like me!) so naturally I loved everything she had to say. This was an easy read and not self-helpy (new word, who dis) like many in this category can be.

Runner-up: Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. Finding liturgical connection and rhythm in everyday life. This one makes you think deeply about *not so deep* topics like brushing your teeth and making a PB&J.

Nonfiction (Black authors)

Favorite: Mother to Son by Jasmine Holmes. Took me all of one day to read this one. I would encourage all mothers to read this and consider what our friends face as they are raising children of color.

Runner-up: The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby. If you are a white, evangelical Christian living in America – read this book. That’s all I’m saying.

Runner-up: I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown. Austin writes mostly about her life and upbringing. She shares simple stories that carry a lot of weight. A really thought-provoking read for me.

Nonfiction (Autobiography)

Favorite: Becoming by Michelle Obama. Not at all a political read which I appreciated. I enjoyed reading about her life growing up and I always love reading about life in the White House. (One of my favorite books from 2019 was Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hagar + Barbara Bush).

Runner-up: Dirt by Mary Marantz. She grew up in West Virginia and writes about how her upbringing influenced so much of her life. If you liked Hillbilly Elegy, you’ll like this.

Fiction

Let me start by saying: I don’t read a lot of fiction. I’m trying to read more but I have to really love a fiction book to stick with it. Send me recommendations!

Favorite: Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. Basically a romantic comedy with some professional baseball peppered in. Yep, sign me up.

Runner-up: Lady Clementine by Heather Terrell. Loosely based on the life of Winston Churchill’s wife, Clementine, this read was very interesting and enjoyable to the end.

Runner-up: The Only Woman in the Room by Heather Terrell. Historical fiction seems to be my favorite. This one about WWII was definitely a page-turner.

Notable mentions

Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman. This is well written and researched. Gloria walks through stories from the Old Testament and relates them to mothering. I’ve followed her writing for a while but had never read one of her books. I will probably read again this year.

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. If you know me, you know I read a lot of R.C. Sproul 😂. I flew through this one. If you’re looking for a resource on holiness, I highly recommend this read.

What have you recently read and loved? What is on your list for 2021? I want to know – leave a comment below!

Glory in the mundane

This post was originally print in the Lincoln Journal as part of a weekly devotional series.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

– 1 Corinthians 10:31

I have that verse written on a notecard and hanging above my kitchen sink. It is a reminder I come back to often when feeling stressed or anxious. I love writing scripture cards and placing them in different rooms throughout the house. Seeing them offers some much-needed perspective when least expected; like when doing the laundry or cooking dinner.

I’m often so caught up in the mundane moments of each day that I forget in all that I do I am called to glorify God. This is why I have that verse hanging above my kitchen sink. I feel like 85 percent of my life is spent washing dishes. Breakfast dishes, lunch dishes, snack dishes, dinner dishes… You name it, I’m probably washing it. Now when I am standing in my kitchen, I see that verse and am reminded there is great purpose in the small things.

I once heard a woman tell the story of how she worshiped while doing laundry. She said that instead of seeing all the clothes that needed folded and getting frustrated, she instead prayed over each piece of clothing that belonged to one of her family members. She folded her husband’s shirt and thanked God for a companion. She put away her children’s clothes and thanked God for a healthy family. This woman was doing exactly what the apostle Paul was getting at in 1 Corinthians 10:31 – she glorified the Lord in all that she did.

God deserves our worship. Worship is not confined to just Sunday mornings when it feels appropriate. He is glorified when we are faithful to serve our families, colleagues, and neighbors. He is glorified when we pray over our dishes or laundry, or whatever mundane task may fill your days. Our faithfulness in the small things matters just as much as our faithfulness in the big things. God not only calls us to those moments; He meets us there.

May we be faithful to glorify and worship Him in all that we do this side of heaven.