To continue my post from yesterday, here are two more books I read this past year. Both receive my personal five-star rating.
Because He Loves Me (Fitzpatrick) --I knew I had to read this book after taking copious notes while attending a 2-day conference at our sister church a year ago. Elyse Fitzpatrick is not what I'd call your "typical" women's conference speaker (she's hard hitting but not condemning, uses personal anecdotes with self-deprecating humor, and skips the triteness that sometimes gets sloshy coming from women afraid to "tell it like it is." )
This book is not just for women. Being a person who struggles with feeling unloved and as if I have to "do more and try harder" to measure up to God and certain humans, this book helped put me on a path to liberty. I'm not there yet, but God used this book and conference to reinforce scriptural truth to me. He loves me because He does. He loved me first. He loves me regardless what I do. He loved me before He created me.
This book helped me think more of God's thoughts and what it means to be hidden in Christ. I can still picture Elyse's hand motions when explaining the phrase " hidden in Christ." She put her left hand in front of her, palm facing her, and then tucked her right hand behind that (so audience couldn't see right hand). The left hand was Christ, the right was every follower of His. When God looks at Christ, I am "clothed in His righteousness" and hidden in Him. He treats me just like He treats His Son. I could say more, but this book was pivotal in my spiritual growth. It catapulted me into seriously believing God loves me for His sake, and I benefit exponentially! Why couldn't I "get" that before? *****
Organizing for Life: Declutter Your Mind to Declutter Your World (Felton). I have read countless books on home management, time management, organizing, decorating, and topics of that ilk. Many have spurred me on temporarily through systems and suggestions, but this book revolutionized my thinking because it dealt with heart issues. Make no mistake, dealing with these issues got ugly. Coming to terms with why I "struggle" with housekeeping. The main one? Rebellion. I won't get into it, but basically it comes down to one primary truth: we all want control in our life. Some people (not just women) find control in cleaning and organizing everything in sight. Others find control by not doing that if they feel the other partner has the upper hand by being a "neat freak". It's like anorexia; not eating is a form of control.
The secondary truth I came away with from this book was that good housekeepers prefer beauty over practicality. They want their home to be first and foremost nice to look at. That feeling doesn't necessarily come from simply having everything in its place. You can have an organized home that's dull and lifeless, but if you strive for beauty, order will be part of that. I was also reminded that God is a God of beauty. I grew up hearing He is a God of order (and, the unspoken corrolary, rooted in my Mennonite and Baptist heritage, "beauty is frivolous.") He indeed is a God of order, but one look at nature reveals beauty first! He loves to change the colors of the sky every day and night, He loves to put blue feathers on some birds, and accessorizes some animals with spots, and installs showy "lightbulbs" in certain bugs. He made the human body a thing of beautiful shape and line, not just marvelous DNA and symmetry. He didn't just design nature to function practically and in orderly fashion, although how perfectly He created beauty as well, and saw that it was good. If He says so, who am I to squabble?
How freeing to confess my rebellion, and then to sense God's approval in our spending some money to make a pretty family room (my decade-old dream) in 2010 so that I'd feel "at home" in my own space. I plan to reread this book rather soon as a refresher course since I've not arrived yet as a domestic diva. But I'm loving the beauty as well as more order in my home, thanks to Felton's quintessential book on the subject.*****