Don’t we all just want to escape reality right about now?

We’ve got the news bombarding us with COVID and the election and craziness and it’s just so darn depressing.

And I know that these last two months, as I’ve talked about libido and orgasm, that many women are feeling like they’re missing out on something big and they’re sad.

I believe that The Orgasm Course can change all that for you! We’re putting so much work into it–it’s the best course I’ve ever created, and it’s really comprehensive. And it launches next Monday (but you can pre-order it now!)

But I’ve also read some books lately that can help get us out of that funk and feel better and more hopeful about ourselves!

I don’t always know where to put book recommendations on the blog, because I seem to always have so much to say, it’s hard to find places to mention them. So I thought today I’d invite you to brew a nice cup of tea and order one of these books that I think can change your perspective and make you more hopeful, empowered, and energetic. And can help you see that Jesus is at work today, too!

And I’d like to mention some books by smaller authors, and not necessarily the big name ones, that had a profound influence on me. So here goes!

Affiliate links follow.

Try Softer by Aundi Kolber

This little book has seriously hit a nerve! Published earlier this year, it’s become a runaway bestseller because its message resonates so much.

Instead of trying harder–try softer.

I’ve been on full tilt ever since COVID began. I’ve had to write one book (The Great Sex Rescue); release another (31 Days to Great Sex); create a course (The Orgasm Course); start work on another book in November–and it keeps going. I get tired.

And I know I have to build more margins into my life (I’m trying! Ha! I need to try softer!).

But one thing I’ve been doing is giving myself permission, when I’m tired or just done, to be done. To not push myself. To knit. And I’ve knit A LOT during COVID. Did I show you my blanket yet?

(And, as always, please follow me on Instagram! It helps me so much. I’m 65% of the way to 10,000!)

If you’ve been measuring your life in productivity, in success, in things accomplished–and you’re just run ragged–then maybe another approach is needed. One that feeds instead of steals.

Wisdom of Your Heart

Try Softer

Don't try harder.

Try softer. What if our approach to how to handle our to-do list, our stress, our daily life is all backwards? Lean into what rest and grace really mean.

You Are Enough by Jonathan Puddle

The only devotional on my list, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

I don’t tend to like devotionals. I find a lot of them trite or overly emotional, or too spiritual and not practical. I like a mix of both.

What Jonathan does here is look at how trauma-informed therapy, and practices like mindfulness, are not just consistent with Scripture, but rooted in Scripture. And how discovering God’s love for you isn’t a matter of just reading and memorizing verses or berating yourself for feeling distant from God; it’s actually developing new habits and new ways of looking at things that change your thought patterns.

He’s so real, it’s so humble, and I found it very helpful. And Aundi Kolber, who wrote Try Softer, wrote the foreword, too!

You Are Enough

A 30-day journey to actually love yourself.

Like yourself even. This is a devotional that won’t make you feel like you have to do hard homework or make you feel like you’re not trying enough. Instead, it’s one of the few that has really shown me how to actually feel God’s love.

Theology of the Womb by Christy Bauman

Part-memoir, all theology. This is a book that will resonate, make you cry, make you laugh–and most of all, free you from residual shame that you have felt for having a woman’s body.

Whether it’s fear of leaking when you’re a teen, fear of not being able to conceive, the grief of losing a child, the pain of giving birth–women’s bodies often give us pain, shame, and fear.

But what if instead we could see the cycle of women’s bodies as telling us something about God?

After I wrote my series on periods in the summer, Andrew Bauman, an amazing, insightful counselor and writer I’d like to feature more on this site in the future, sent me his wife Christy’s book. I devoured it one afternoon while camping, and I wanted to make sure I told you about it.

I admit I cried at the parts about losing babies. But I also cried happy tears when I realized how much shame about periods had affected me and how God saw that–and that was AFTER I had already written my period series and thought i had gotten it all out of my system.

I thoroughly recommend Theology of the Womb!

Theology of the Womb

Part theology, part memoir.

All deep, intimate, and validating. It will take you to hard places within yourself–and see that your biggest griefs, your biggest pain, even your biggest joys–are actually shared by God as well. And they’re all hardwired into the body of a woman.

Talking Back to Purity Culture by Rachel Joy Welcher

This is the only book on my list that isn’t actually released yet–it comes out in November. But I’m so excited about it! I’ve been following Rachel for a while now, and I think what she has to say is going to match so well with our book The Great Sex Rescue (which is now available for pre-order, too!).

Here’s what Amazon says:

It’s time to talk back. The generation born into evangelical purity culture has grown up, and many have started families of their own. But as time goes on, it’s becoming more evident that many still struggle with purity culture’s complicated legacy―its idolization of virginity, its mixed messages about modesty and lust, and its promise of a healthy marriage and great sex for those who follow the rules. In Talking Back to Purity Culture, Rachel Joy Welcher reviews the movement carefully, examining its teachings through the lens of Scripture. Compassionate, faithful, and wise, she charts a path forward for Christians in the ongoing debates about sexuality―one that rejects legalism and license alike, steering us back instead to the good news of Jesus. It’s time to talk back to purity culture―and this book is ready to jump-start the conversation.

I’ve written before about how purity culture has messed up so many. And we definitely talk about purity wrong. I’m glad that people are finally realizing it, speaking up, and inviting the rest of us to an important conversation that can bring us back to healthy sexuality.

Talking Back to Purity Culture

Virginity. No kissing until you’re married. Lust. Modesty. Porn.

If you grew up with confusing messages about sex that have led to sexual baggage, it’s time to talk back–and reclaim Jesus!

Why I Didn’t Rebel by Rebecca Lindenbach

I wasn’t planning on including Rebecca’s book (she’s my daughter) in this list, but yesterday Brittany from Equipping Godly Women mentioned in the comments that she finally read it–and loved it. And I realized how well Rebecca’s book fits in with the other ones we’re talking about.

Why I Didn’t Rebel is a parenting book like no other. Rebecca doesn’t tell you how to parent; she wrote it when she was only 22! What she does do is share stories from millennials, some who did rebel and some who didn’t, to give their perspective on what parents do right, and what can often backfire.

If you could sum up the stories, they’d fit with Aundi Kolber’s message–Try Softer. It’s not about trying to be a perfect parent, or having the best rules and boundaries and having the perfect home. It’s simply about being authentic and real and keeping communication open with your kids. Relationship is what matters. 

Just like with the purity culture, we’ve received so many toxic messages in evangelical circles about parenting. Rebecca identifies those that are toxic, and invites you to talk back to the parenting culture you grew up with, and find a more Jesus centred one.

And you are enough for that.

Why I Didn’t Rebel

It’s the kind of parenting book that makes you feel, “Oh, I can actually do this!”

Because it’s not about being perfect. It’s just about relationship and authenticity. Be YOU. 

Read the stories, catch the vision. 

I know we’re bombarded with messages like, “Take care of yourself during COVID.”

I swear, half of the news articles i see are about caring for your mental health during these turbulent times. Sometimes it can get to be a bit much.

But I do think we need to get out of negative headspaces and into positive ones, and these are five books that I have found help take you away from shame, stress, and pressure, and invite you deeper into the heart of God.

Jesus at the centre, always.

Have you read any of these books? Or have you read another book lately that was like a healing balm or a breath of fresh air? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find BIBLICAL, HEALTHY, EVIDENCE-BASED help for their marriage. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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