Recently, I read two really good books. They were very different from one another, though. One was good and it took concentration and effort to read; while with the other, I made myself put it down after each chapter so that I could savor it and make it last.
The first book was The Blessing of Humility by Jerry Bridges. This book was not what I expected. It surprised me with insight that I had never understood before. I'm in my 40s, yet I had always seen the Beattitudes as a group of verses that were grouped by pattern, rather than meaning. In this book, I felt like Jerry Bridges opened my eyes to see the pyramid that the Beattitudes form--each verse building upon the previous to help us understand God's plan for our salvation. The book was very insightful and helpful to me when I was teaching a group of 2nd to 5th graders about the Beattitudes this summer. I found time and time again that the curriculum book missed the point of the verses. I had to abandon the book and turn to Bridges' book for help understanding the verses and how they connect together. If you have never delved into the Beattitudes, I would highly recommend this book! I have always found Jerry Bridges' writing to be very easily understood and I found the same with this book.
The second book on my desk is titled Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices by Cynthia Ruchti. I recently read several fiction books by this author and discovered this book by her on Amazon. The title made me very curious because of my own life and some struggles close friends of mine are walking through. Ms. Ruchti wrote a wonderful, encouraging book. Each chapter of the book was about a crisis someone has walked through or is still walking through (some trials affect our lives for a lifetime). After the stories, Ms. Ruchti talked about how God sustained the people and their perspectives. She included questions at the end of each chapter about how the story might relate to you personally and then how it might relate to someone you know. She includes wonderful suggestions about how we can love people better who find themselves in situations like these.
I remember when I had a miscarriage before I had my oldest daughter. Several people didn't talk to me because they simply didn't know what to say--they were paralyzed. When I mentioned this to a family I know, they said they had a similar experience when one of their children died. There were some people that never talked to them again--because they didn't know what to say. Sometimes eventhough we're called to love one another, we can be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing and making someone's hurt worse. I think this book can help with ideas so that we don't end up not doing something when people we care about are hurting.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of The Blessing of Humility from Tyndale books for review, but I purchased Ragged Hope because the title was something I thought I needed to read--and I was right.