It's fun to look back and see major growth in my life. And often, when that happens, I can trace the thread back to certain books that really impacted me in those areas.
I thought it would be fun to recap some of the major ones. The ones that have really helped me establish basic life principles in the various areas of my life. So here are the books that fit that category, and the life principles I have taken from them, and applied to our family.
For education, it would definitely be Thomas Jefferson Education. I had already started to realize the current system of education had some major flaws. And I was starting to nit pick and figure out what they were. But when a friend lent TJE to me, I was so excited, because it brought together all of my frustrations and concerns, and had an answer for me, to overcome those! I felt like I had found a kindred spirit. I have read many books with a similar philosophy since. And they all have given me encouragement and more ideas to implement. But TJE is my 'classic' to which I turn to, when I find myself getting discouraged or when I just need some motivation.
It's not TJE that I love of course. But the principles he lays forth, in a simple to read and understand format. It's the principles of joy in learning by trial and error and practice, by allowing one's self to fail and think and try something different. By learning to really think and understand truth and reality. By using classics and mentors to learn rather then the conveyor belt style of teacher and textbook. By learning about history in-depth and coming to our own conclusions that will help us 'not repeat history' ourselves. Basically, by understanding ourselves and how God made us, so we can best utilize our bodies and brains for His glory. And I am starting to really see these principles work in our lives and it's so exciting!
Spiritually, the overall principle that I have come to really appreciate is that it's not about me, but about God. And that we need to have joy in our service to Him. For that, I go back to Desiring God by John Piper, every few years. A must-read for every Christian in my opinion. Again, it's the principles behind it. I've read numerous other books that teach the same principles. But Desiring God is what God really used to solidify the truths he was teaching me.
The principles I took from that book are that a person who is truly filled with the Spirit will find joy in God being glorified.. They won't look for joy elsewhere. All joy is from God and for God. And if we are not filled with that joy, then we need to seek God's face and question our salvation. The fruits of the spirit ARE joy, peace, love... They don't just happen to show up if you try real hard. They are the fruits that come from a branch that is connected to the vine. No fruit=no salvation. Of course, fruit shows up differently in each person and we can't judge others, since often the fruit shows only in the person's heart. I can verify that one! I have changed so dramatically over the last 10 years, but yet no one sees it because I was always such a 'good girl'. *sighs* At least I know! And Drew and the kids see it too. The other principle that I learned was that God is sovereign and He has called some people to repentance and not others. Boy howdy, did I fight that one! But, after studying Scripture looking for answers, and after realizing that all fruit is from the Holy Spirit's working in my life, it was no longer possible to deny the doctrine of election. I hated it with all my being, but I am a sucker for truth, and I could not avoid that truth any longer. And looking back, I can see how my whole life has been shaped by those two truths-true joy in the Lord and election.
For food, my Eureka moment came when reading Nourishing Traditions. And I still love that book! I also learned a ton from Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. And I actually refer back to NT for recipes ALL the time. And I refer back to NPD for confirming what society rejects in regards to food. I know it, but then I start to question it, and I go back to NPD for encouragement. :)
But, my mentor/classic for bodily healing is my favorite book/author Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) by Natasha Campbell-McBride. I believe NT is a great way to eat for life, but for healing principles, I have come to appreciate the GAPS principles. Like education and spiritual learning, I have read these principles in many other books, but GAPS, to me, just brings it altogether nicely. And the healing we have seen in this family, by following those principles has rocked my world lately! Hallelujah!!
The principles I learned from NT and GAPS is that the body has needs that must be met, or disease happens. And the best way to get those needs met (the only in my opinion) is through nutrient dense foods. But, the gut must be able to break those foods down into their various nutrients to be used. So NT addresses the nutrient dense foods, and GAPS addresses healing the gut so those foods can be utilized.
For marriage, God has used so many books, the Scriptures and people to change my attitude. But, the one that I would call my classic is Created to be His Helpmeet. Much like the doctrines of election, I did NOT want to believe the message in Created. I avoided that book for years. I knew I'd hate it with every bone in me. And I did. But I was also tired of being miserable and having a lousy marriage, and I knew, after all the spiritual changes I'd seen, that doing things God's way is always best, even if painful at first. That whole 'truth' thing-gets me every time. The Holy Spirit knew I was finally ready to read it last year, so he allowed me to borrow it from a good friend. Somehow that softened the blow. :) I have since had the opportunity to discuss it with Drew and other wives in similar positions as myself. And looking back, I can see a huge change in my heart and actions, after reading that book. All of the changes had been slowly happening underground for a few years, but this book finally brought them out of hiding. I still refer back to it often.
The principle is simple really. Following the Bible's plan for families and society, I needed to respect and submit to my husband. I needed to stop trying to usurp his role and do his job, and simple perform in the role the Lord has called me to do. Ouch. That really, really hurt. It still stings a little to be honest. I know it's ridiculous, I have seen such huge changes in our family since I started to submit to and respect Drew. The peace, the growth. It's like there were spiritual chains that were cut, we were set free. The bondage I allowed myself to be placed into was nothing compared to the bondage we were set free from!
And I think that would apply to all the areas I have mentioned. I was set free from the stress and depression of trying to force my children to learn in ways that are harmful ultimately. But it placed me under a new stress-I had to find joy in learning myself. I had to lead rather then push them. That's a lot of work! For spiritual growth, I was set free from guilt and a need to control everything in my life, but I put myself under the bondage of daily feeding on the Word and fighting to keep God's glory first in importance-above ALL else. I was set free from the stress of disease and allergies and exhaustion and insurance, but I had to agree to the bondage of not eating foods I wanted, and spending hours in the kitchen every day, preparing and cleaning up after the meals that I knew would heal us.
I gave up the big, scary battles, and traded them in for daily, sometimes monotonous ones. But, there is something freeing in knowing that the war has already been one, I am just fighting in some skirmishes in the meantime. The victory is mine!!! But, vanity, vanity, all is vanity.
So, these are 4 books that have rocked my little world, and all for the good. I have read, probably literally, hundreds of others. Some just as good as these. But, these happen to be the ones that God really used in my life.
And, let me end that, while reading all of these books, I was in the Word regularly, seeking God's face, begging for Him to show me truth in all areas of my life. I do not agree with any of those books 100%. I never read something and assume it's true. I think about it all, compare it to my own experiences, test it and pray for wisdom. The one book that has fundamentally changed my life, in every area and aspect, and the only one that is 100% true, is the Bible. While I can interpret it wrong, I still can rest assured that is is TRUTH, and I can trust it to lead me in all areas of my life. The others just help. :) And I thank the Lord for all of them.