A friend listed the five most influential books in their life (aside from the Bible) on their blog recently, and asked what ours were. So here are mine:
The Wounded Healer by Henry Nouwen
I read this book when I was studying a few pastoral care subjects at Morling (our lecturer, John Reid, often referred to it!), and really loved what Henry had to say. He has helped shape my thinking in terms of suffering and how God can use this for His glory, that my woundedness enables me to help others with similar struggles and to share with them the lessons God has taught me amidst my own suffering.
A Heart Like His by Rebecca Manley-Pippert
A friend from Texas either gave me this book or suggested I get it when she stayed with our family about 15 years ago. I loved it - it's very easy to read, it's encouraging and challenging. It's real. She talks about David's realness and how he deals with the struggles of every day life and brings everything to God, questions and all, yet still trusts in God's faithfulness amidst it all. I think it might have contributed to my love of the Psalms.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
I was loaned a copy of this a few years ago and it made me see God's love in a new light. Until then I hadn't read the book of Hosea, and it inspired me to read it. I was shocked and baffled that God would expect Hosea to marry a prostitute and continue to love her despite her unfaithfulness. But the book helped me to see that THAT is just how amazing God's love for us is. Despite our continued 'unfaithfulness' and disregard of Him, He still loves us.
Esther by Charles Swindoll
I loved this book about the character of Esther. I enjoy Charles' writing - easy to read, challenging, inspiring, practical, insightful. It made me want to be like Esther, a woman of strength and dignity. But when I say a woman of strength, that's the strength that God provides me with - nothing of my own. The Bible tells me that in my weakness His strength is made perfect.
Charles also wrote a book on David which is excellent too.
Perfectionism: A Sure Cure for Happiness by Drs. Lorraine and J. Clayton Lafferty
Lorraine, our HR Manager, loaned me this book when I was her Personal Assistant at AGL about five years ago. She knew I struggled with wanting to do everything just right and said I needed to read this book. I remember reading it and identifying some actions to stop being so perfectionist... can't remember now what they were specifically, but remember it was really helpful for me at the time.