Books I Read in April

A Praying Life by Paul Miller

This book was life-changing for me in a way that I hope is permanent.  Last year God deepened my Bible study through Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word, and this year I can see God deepening my prayer life through this book.  It gives both inspiration on why we pray and practical ideas for how to cultivate a praying life.

I love how the author is so authentic about his own struggles, and so thoughtful and intelligent in his perspective.  I love stories (clearly) and I loved his emphasis on story—how God is writing a story, and we participate by praying for His will.

My favorite part was Part 4 and especially Chapter 21 since it particularly addressed unanswered prayers and how we hope in the desert.  I’ve been praying for physical healing ever since my foot started hurting in late January, and it hasn’t fully come.  This book God brought into my life at just the right time to be a lifeline of hope for me.  I borrowed it from a friend, but I want to buy my own copy and re-read.  Definitely recommend.
This book is my new favorite parenting book ever.  For me, the book was framed by how I received it—I was sitting outside a coffee shop on a warm Sunday afternoon doing Bible study with a friend from church who is a high school senior, when her parents who were going for a walk stopped by and gave me a copy.  You know how you pick certain people to listen to their advice about certain things?  These are people whose advice about parenting I want to listen to, so I was excited about this book going in.

It’s written by the parents of the Switchfoot brothers Tim and Jon.  I don’t listen to much Switchfoot, but there you go.

What I liked about the book:
  • So many “Christian” parenting philosophies seem to narrowly focus on discipline.  This book applies a Christian worldview to all of life—imagination, technology, home atmosphere, encouraging words, etc.  I loved how thorough a vision it gave, without being in any way legalistic.
  • The title itself tells you it’s on a different track than strict behavior modification authors.  Never say no?  The authors admit in the preface that statement is a little exaggerated, but they explain why they chose it—it’s parenting from a yes mindset, saying yes to who God has created your child to be and the story He has for them.  Of course you need rules, but way more important than rules, you need relationship.
  • I love how this book is written by the mother and father, so you get both a feminine and masculine perspective, and see the oneness in their marriage.  They trade off chapters, and they each have a distinctive voice and focus.
  • It has three sections: 1) working on your own heart as you respond to your family of origin and think about what kind of parent you want to be, 2) lots of practical advice for parenting children—each chapter in this section is just a nugget of wisdom, and 3) letting go as your kids grow older.

So, awesome book.  Read it.

Here is the fiction I read last month:

Fascinating story told from a number of different perspectives, both Christian and Muslim, in both America and Pakistan.  The author is not a Christian, and though she tries to write honestly and charitably about the evangelic Christian experience in America, there were a couple times when I felt like she missed the mark a bit.  She is against American military presence in Iraq and that definitely comes through, a bit heavy-handed for the story.
That said, I really enjoyed this story. I felt like the author was thoughtful and poetic, and it felt a little like traveling to Pakistan.  This book also raises important questions about how we treat our Muslim neighbors, and the intersection of politics and faith.

And this novel was my traveling to Afghanistan.  The chapters alternate between Afghanistan past and present, told from the perspective of one woman and her ancestor.  This story I highly recommend.  It’s not graphic, but some of the parts are difficult to read just because the subject matter is heavy.  Very eye-opening about what life for women is like in Afghanistan.

Fun and shallow Hercules Poirot book that I read over a couple days when I was feeling crummy.  I like mysteries that aren’t violent but instead mentally puzzling.

This tells the story of a woman born in Boston at the turn of the 20th century.  I really appreciated this glimpse into what life was like a hundred years ago, for the daughter of Jewish immigrants.  This book spotlights issues like child labor, immigration, and women’s rights, but mostly it’s just a well-told story.  Not my favorite—and I definitely got the feeling that the author’s religious, moral, and political perspective was very different than mine—but still, a great story with sympathetic and well-rounded characters.

This upcoming month I’m excited to read the book Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie with some friends of mine.  I would also like to tackle some more nonfiction books, and I’m starting with How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp.

I’ve been feeling kind of yucky, to be honest.  My whole body is fighting the Lyme in my foot and as a result a lot of the time I feel tired and gross and emotional.  So that might influence the reading this upcoming month toward books that are either particularly encouraging or particularly fun.  Let me know if you have suggestions!


  1. Love your reviews and your diversity with books you choose to read. I need to add so,e of these to my reading list! Thx!


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