Must-Read Christian Women’s Books in 2016

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2016 is going to be a particularly fantastic year for all of us book-lovers! New Ann Voskamp — hooray! New Christine Caine — woo hoo! New Shauna Niequist — yes please! Plus, you’ll meet some new authors such as Katherine & Jay Wolf whom you’re going to be so inspired by and encouraged in your faith. Here’s a little peek at the absolute must-read books coming this year from some of your favorite Christian women’s authors, all of whom are regular contributors to FaithGateway and Faith.Full! You’ll hear even more from them in the coming months as we bring you excerpts of these exciting new books!

1. 5 Minutes with Jesus: Peace for Today by Sheila Walsh

Jesus wants you to know peace — every day.

Deadlines and bills, illnesses and fears about the future, frustrations with others and ourselves… there’s enough going on in our lives to make us feel overwhelmed and anxious, if not panicked! But Jesus said that we could expect this, that trials and sorrows are simply part of life on earth, and He offers an amazing gift that changes everything: His peace. He tells us, “The peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLT).

Bestselling author Sheila Walsh wants to guide you in worrying less and letting your heart be settled. Each reading includes messages such as:

  • Gratitude opens doors out of bitterness and doors into joy.
  • God loves you for who you are, not what you do.
  • Resting in the purpose and presence of God brings peace.
  • It’s amazing what God will do with a broken life when we give Him all the pieces.
  • No matter how big the storm, God is bigger.

The 5 Minutes with Jesus series is the perfect way to start your day with peace of mind and a peaceful heart. Learn more…

2. Ridiculous Faith by Shelene Bryan

Why do my most profound moments of faith vanish so quickly?

What would your life be like if you could harness the rush of faith that appears in the most desperate moments? What if you could live your entire life with the kind of split-second, imminent-disaster faith that crying out to God brings? What if you could live a life of Ridiculous Faith?

True faith is vital to a vibrant Christian life. Without it, it is impossible to please God. But are your moments of deepest, most essential faith doomed to dissipate as quickly as they materialize, leaving you powerless and ineffectual?

Absolutely not. The truth is, you are not doomed to a lifetime of flickering faith.

Join Shelene Bryan on a journey to uncover the ark-building, sea-parting, lion-taming, ridiculous faith that will leave you in awe of the Creator and all He has prepared for you. Are you ready to live an absurdly, unbelievably good life—a ridiculous life of ridiculous faith? Learn more…

3. Pressing Pause by Karen Ehman & Ruth Schwenk

Kids bickering? Schedule jam-packed? Dishes and laundry both piled up high? Perhaps it’s time you pressed pause.

Whether you’re juggling a career, kids’ schedules, and church commitments or you’re covered in spit-up and anxious about what the next eighteen years might hold, you can carve out a few quiet moments to rejuvenate your spirit.

Pressing Pause offers you a calm way to start your day, to refresh yourself in Jesus and drink deeply of His presence so that you are ready to pour out love, time, and energy into the people who matter most to you.

These 100 encouraging devotions for moms will help you begin each day with Scripture, drawing on God’s power, ingesting His Word, and learning practical ways to love and serve more like His Son.

Just a few minutes each day can help you center your heart and mind on what God has for you as His beloved daughter. So resist the rush. Halt the hustle. Press pause and find some calm in the chaos. Learn more…

4. The Longing in Me by Sheila Walsh

Do your desires have you going around in circles? You may be looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places.

You vowed you’d never repeat the same mistakes—yet you find yourself right where you started. What is it that keeps drawing you back into the same old traps? The fact is, your longings are built from the blueprint of your needs: for protection, for love, for God. And those needs aren’t going anywhere.

Sheila speaks candidly about the trials in her life, including the heartache of her first marriage, and intertwines her story with the biblical saga of King David. As both Sheila’s and David’s stories make clear, some cravings are misguided, but they all stem from the same hunger—and they will haunt you until that hunger gets satisfied properly.

If you keep reaching out to the wrong people at the wrong times in your own life, The Longing in Me will help you understand that your cravings are not the problem. It’s where they lead you that makes all the difference. Learn more…

5. Outlaw Christian by Jacqueline Bussie

Jacqueline Bussie knows that too many Christians live according to unspoken “laws” that govern the Christian life:

#1: Never get angry at God;

#2: Never doubt;

#3: Never question;

#4: Never tell your real story;

#5: Always speak in clichés about evil and suffering; and

#6: Always believe hope comes easy for those who truly love God.

Living according to these rules is killing real Christian life; Outlaw Christian proposes a rebellious, life-giving, authentic alternative. Through captivating stories and with disarming honesty, Bussie gives concrete, practical strategies to help readers cultivate hope, seek joy, practice accompaniment, compost their pain, and rediscover the spiritual practice of lament. Tackling difficult questions without political divisiveness, Bussie speaks to both progressive and conservative Christians in ways that unite rather than divide. And in doing so, she provides a new way to handle the most difficult and troubling questions of life in a broken world that God will never abandon. Learn more…

6. Hope Heals by Katherine and Jay Wolf

When all seems lost, where can hope be found?

Katherine and Jay married right after college and sought adventure far from home in Los Angeles, CA. As they pursued their dreams, they planted their lives in the city and in their church community. Their son, James, came along unexpectedly in the fall of 2007, and just 6 months later, everything changed in a moment for this young family.

On April 21, 2008, as James slept in the other room, Katherine collapsed, suffering a massive brain stem stroke without warning. Miraculously, Jay came home in time and called for help. Katherine was immediately rushed into micro-brain surgery, though her chance of survival was slim. As the sun rose the next morning, the surgeon proclaimed that Katherine had survived the removal of part of her brain, though her future recovery was completely uncertain. Yet in that moment, there was a spark of hope. Through 40 days on life support in the ICU and nearly 2 years in full-time brain rehab, that spark of hope was fanned into flame.

Defying every prognosis, with grit and grace, Katherine and Jay, side by side, struggled to regain a life for Katherine as she re-learned to talk and eat and walk. Returning home with a severely disabled body but a completely renewed purpose, they committed to celebrate this gift of a second chance by embracing life fully, even though that life looked very different than they could have ever imagined. In the midst of continuing hardships and struggles, both in body and mind, Katherine and Jay found what we all long to find…hope, hope that heals the most broken place, our souls.

An excruciating yet beautiful road to recovery has led the Wolf family to their new normal, in which almost every moment of life is marked with the scars of that fateful April day in 2008. Now, eight years later, Katherine and Jay are stewarding their story of suffering, restoration, and Christ-centered hope in this broken world through their ministry Hope Heals. Learn more…

7. Unashamed by Christine Caine

Shame can take on many forms. It hides in the shadows of the most successful, confident and high-achieving woman who struggles with balancing her work and children, as well as in the heart of the broken, abused and downtrodden woman who has been told that she will never amount to anything. Shame hides in plain sight and can hold us back in ways we do not realize. But Christine Caine wants readers to know something: we can all be free.

“I know. I’ve been there,” writes Christine. “I was schooled in shame. It has been my constant companion from my very earliest memories. I see shame everywhere I look in the world, including in the church. It creeps from heart to heart, growing in shadowy places, feeding on itself so that those struggling with it are too shamed to seek help from shame itself.”

In Unashamed, Christine reveals the often-hidden consequences of shame — in her own life and the lives of so many Christian women — and invites you to join her in moving from a shame-filled to a shame-free life.

In her passionate and candid style, Christine leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself how to believe that God is bigger than your mistakes, your inadequacies, your past, and your limitations. He is not only more powerful than anything you’ve done but also stronger than anything ever done to you. You can deal with your yesterday today, so that you can move on to what God has in store for you tomorrow — a powerful purpose and destiny He wants you to fulfill.

Join the journey. Lay ahold of the power of Jesus Christ today and step into the future — His future for you — a beautiful, full, life-giving future, where you can even become a shame-lifter to others. Live unashamed! Learn more…

8. Play With Fire by Bianca Olthoff

Play with Fire, the debut book by popular speaker and teacher Bianca Juarez Olthoff, is the reminder that God isn’t waiting until you have more resources, or a spouse, or a job so He can use you. He’s ready to use you now.

Using the mythical creature, the Phoenix, which was also referenced by early church leaders, she parallels this story with God’s work in her own life, highlighting the beauty of reinvention with fire as both the impetus and the method for change. Olthoff reminds us that we serve a God who is redemptive and can take the worst situations and use them for His glory.

Play With Fire is a bible-infused message that will help women discover:

  • The way out of the middle is moving forward
  • The personal and powerful nature of the Holy Spirit
  • The power and sacrifice of transformation
  • The unique calling and purpose of life involves transformation

With Olthoff’s distinct style, strong storytelling gifts, and powerful Bible teaching, Play with Fire will remind readers that God has huge dreams for them. In Bianca’s words, “He’s whispering in the wind and speaking through the fire and shouting in silence the extraordinary dream He is birthing in you. His dream for you is far greater than the dream you have for yourself. It’s not your identity or income or influence that will make this happen. Like Zechariah 4:6 says, “’It’s not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.” It’s time to play with fire. Learn more…

9. Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

The enemy wants us to feel rejected… left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.

In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection — from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers:

  • Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt.
  • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence.
  • Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.
  • Stop feeling left out and start believing that “set apart” does not mean “set aside.”
  • End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue. Learn more…

10. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequest

In a culture that values speed, efficiency, image, and busyness, some of us are aching for another way to live: more intentional, more connected. Simpler, slower, richer. Many of us have believed the myth that achievement and success bring us contentment, only to find it’s actually things like connection and meaning, not success and achievement, that provide true peace and genuine happiness.

Present Over Perfect is bestselling author Shauna Niequist’s motto for how to live a rich, engaged, and loving life in the midst of what often feels terribly messy and imperfect. Similar in format to Shauna’s previous books, Present Over Perfect is a collection of essays that focuses on the journey from frantic and tired to connected and free. Many of us find ourselves busier than we want to be, missing the sweetest moments along the way. We end up resentful and distracted, full of regret and feeling disconnected. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out to a new way of living — full of grace, space, and connection.

As a wife, mother, friend, and writer, Shauna shares with vulnerability and transparency about the reality of living wholly present in our relationships with our families and the others we love and inspires readers to discover their own path to this more fulfilling way to do life. Learn more…

11. The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp

How can it be? When we’re naked and ashamed and alone in our brokenness, Christ envelopes us with his intimate grace. When we’re rejected and abandoned and shattered beyond wanting, Jesus cups our face, “Come close, My Beloved.” When we’re dirty and tear-stained and despairing, Jesus Christ proposes undying, dying love: “All that you painfully are and are carrying — I’ll take. All that I perfectly am and have — is yours. Just take Me.”

There is a wooing that washes our wounds. Falling into this intimacy with Him is the one thing we pray to never recover from. This kind of intimacy can only be tasted and swallowed, and it burns a holy yes through our begging veins.

Am I willing to take all that I have, break and give to Him?

Because all that He is, He broke and gave to us. Learn more…

12. Falling Free by Shannan Martin

Shannan Martin had the best life she could imagine. She lived with her husband and three adorable kids in a cute little farmhouse on six rambling acres and had enough money, plenty of friends, a great church, and a safe, happy existence. Then the bottom dropped out when they lost their jobs and God called them to something radically different.

Their world shifted to a small house on the other side of the urban tracks, an income on life support, a challenged public school, and the county jail (where her husband is chaplain). And yet their plunge from “nice, safe, and happy” was the best thing that ever happened to them. Falling Free chronicles the Martin family’s pilgrimage from the faulty, me-centric wisdom of this world to the topsy-turvy life of God’s more being found in the less, challenging readers to rethink their own assumptions about faith and the good life. Anyone who yearns for something beyond status quo, middle-class Christianity but hesitates out of insecurity or safety concerns will find encouragement, food for thought, and practical guidance in this sweetly subversive book. Learn more…

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Your Turn

Exciting, right? What can you hardly wait to read this year? Come share with us on our blog! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full

Laurie McClure

Laurie is a Jesus apprentice, a single mama of five (three homegrown, one Kentuckian, and one Ethiopian), a writer, beach lover, and is addicted to radical grace, Perrier, and yoga pants. Here at FaithGateway she is the editor, the leader of Faith.Full, our women's community, and curator of Devotionals Daily.

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