Books that Challenged my Comfort Zone (February 2017)

For being a gal who loves traveling and lives overseas, I gravitate to comfortable.  I don’t like messy.  The thing is, I am finding that following Jesus requires stepping out of my comfort zone.  Life with Jesus gets messy.  One thing I love about books is they often give me a nudge in the right direction.  In the comfort of my chair, I am challenged to learn from others who are different than me, to love deeper, and to live braver.  The next step is for me to take what I am learning and to take a step of faith outside that comfort zone.  So here are the books that nudged me this month…

1. Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

One of my students had to read this book for her English class so I decided to join her.  This book was the true story of Enrique’s journey as a teenager from Central America through Mexico to North Carolina to find his mother.  It was full of heartache, bad choices, and no easy answers.  The author did a great job of showing all sides to this immigration issue.  

While reading, I was challenged by the village in Mexico that instead of ignoring the migrants on top of the train, they purposely threw gifts of food and clothing to them to help on their journey.  Who is God sending my way that I need to give to?  How do I need to be more purposeful in how I live?

2. Unashamed by Lacrae Moore

In his autobiography, Lacrae shared growing up year, coming to faith, and the challenges he has faced.  Lacrae spoke frankly about both his successes and his failures.  I liked how he discussed the different stages of his walk with Christ and the growth through each one.   I appreciated his honesty as he spoke about how God used Lacrae in spite of Lacrae. This book challenged me to remember God uses us in all seasons even when we have some things to work through.  It also challenged me to engage the culture.  I don’t think I will ever be a fan of his music (since I don’t care for rap music) but appreciate what he is doing to redeem the culture and reach out to those who need a voice.

3. Red Rose Bouquet by Jennifer Rodewald

In this novel, Cheryl aka Ice Princess heads home only to find her past coming back to challenge her in the form of Brock, a friend of her brothers.  This is a story of love and healing even when it is hard.  It is about forgiveness and not letting your past define who you are now.   I was most challenged by Brock’s mother and the  way she loved on Cheryl.   She loved on Cheryl because her son loved Cheryl but also because God had called her to love.  In the same way, God calls us to love even when someone has a past that makes us cringe or a past that we don’t understand.

4. Kept by Sally Bradley

We live in a broken world, and this book is a reminder of that.  Miska is a mistress to a baseball player.  She knows there is more to life, but right now she is holding tightly to the life she has.  Enter Dillion and his brother who move across the hall.  Along with the brother’s fiancĂ©  they become her friend and love on her despite knowing she lives and thinks differently.  I especially appreciated the unconditional love of the fiancĂ© towards Miska.  She went out of her way to be a true friend with no conditions attached.  This is story of loving in a broken world and speaking the truth in love.  It challenged me to make friends with whoever God puts in my path not just those that I feel comfortable with.

What books have you read this month?  How have they challenged you?   Once again I am linking up with Anne Bogel at Modern Ms. Darcy in her monthly book link up.  Check it out to get other book recommendations. 
(Affiliate links are included in this post)


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