I’m surprised that at age thirty-six, I can still remember my college-entry essay from age seventeen. Because I was totally overwhelmed by the concept of choosing a person in history I’d like to meet, I chose to write my college-entry essay on “The Life of the Mind.” I remember writing something about how I would always have an active life of the mind because I gave it regular exercise through reading. In that steady assurance that only a high school senior can maintain, I confidently asserted that though my body may slow and fail, the life of my mind would always remain acute.
Nearly twenty years later, I feel no such confidence. If I’m honest, reading has become particularly difficult for me lately. I’m not old by any stretch of the imagination, but my body is aging and my mind is along with it. Of course, managing a household of five and the constant, pervasive distractions of the internet doesn’t help the matter. So now, I must fight to keep my mind engaged.
Growing Our Minds for His Glory
I’m here to say that the battle is worth it. Reading books may not come easily to you—reading your Bible may not come easily to you either—but it’s worth it. God gave us bodies and minds that would grow and then slow, and we can use both for his glory. The Holy Spirit can use our most feeble attempts to bring about growth and change in our lives, and he often does so through the ministry of a body of believers, in person and in written word.
That’s why we are committed to recommending good books by godly mentors to you, and that’s what makes our annual Read a Mentor selections so important. These are the books that have sharpened our minds and transformed our lives in this past year, and we pray that these recommendations may help you discern what books to prioritize in this coming year. We hope that you’ll resolve to develop the life of your mind by reading some (or all!) of these books in 2022.
Renewing my mind,
Read a Mentor Giveaway
We’re giving away copies of all twelve books along with our This Moment Matters 2022 Wall Calendar, Highlighter Set, and In the Word Accessory Pouch! We’ll select one winner from today’s @wellwateredwomen Instagram post and one winner from today’s Facebook post (you’re welcome to enter in both places!). Don’t miss your chance to win!
Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn
I was first introduced to Elisabeth Elliot when I read her book Through Gates of Splendor (which I also highly recommend!). I was thrilled to hear that a biography was written solely about her life, from childhood through the martyrdom of her husband and after. The pages of Becoming Elisabeth Elliot challenged me through her straightforward approach to Christianity (she doesn’t mince words), her total dependence on the Lord as she walked through widowhood with a toddler, and her love for the tribe that murdered her husband—a love so deep that she went back to live among them. All this really points to her ultimate love for her Savior and her unwavering belief in the gospel as good news for all people. Reading this book made me examine my own walk: Am I obedient to the Lord? Do I sacrifice for others? How do I respond to hard, even tragic, circumstances? Do I truly lean on the Lord for all my steps each day? Elisabeth’s story is definitely one that will stick with me for a long time! –Andrea, Shop Assistant
Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners by Dane C. Ortlund
There are many times in our lives when our spiritual growth feels stuck. Our hearts are lukewarm, we lack the desire to read the Word, and we continue to fall into the same patterns of sin. In those moments, we may think that if we force ourselves to read the Bible or slap our hands every time we sin, then we will grow in holiness and love our Savior more. If we’re honest, none of these work. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. In his book, Dane Ortlund explains that as we go deeper into the wonders of the gospel, our hearts and lives are transformed. It’s not about what we do or stop doing, but whom we are fixing our eyes upon. I invite you to pick up this book and ask the Lord to captivate your heart and transform your life. –Fernie, Staff Writer
Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves
When my sister first told me about this book, I thought she was exaggerating about how biblically rich Delighting in the Trinity was. But she was absolutely right! There were many times that I cried while reading it, overwhelmed by the faithful love of the Lord. This book has significantly expanded my understanding of the structure and exceptional beauty of the Godhead. If you find yourself struggling to understand or explain the Trinity, this book will be such a blessing to you. –Sarah, Fulfillment Specialist
God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible by Vaughan Roberts
If there’s a book I would encourage every Christian to read, it would be this one. Studying the theme of the kingdom of God this year has helped me better grasp the continuity and structure of the Old Testament leading into the New Testament. Dr. Roberts writes with clarity and enough detail to give the reader a better understanding of the big picture of the Bible while simultaneously sparking a desire in their heart to know more and continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ each day. –Gretchen, Founder
Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-Hurrying Your Heart from an Accidental Farm Girl by Jennifer Dukes Lee
Growing Slow is a timely word for a tired and worn-out generation. In an age where the mindset of hustle and hurry leads us to burnout and exhaustion, Jennifer Dukes Lee invites us to the ancient way of Jesus—of growing slowly by his grace. Not only was I refreshed and encouraged as I read this book, but it also reminded me once more that God has not called me to do it all but to enjoy fellowship with him as I follow him in obedience. –Gretchen, Founder
There are a handful of books I’ve read that I would say have genuinely changed my life. Heaven by Randy Alcorn is one of those books. The first time I read Heaven, I hadn’t lost anyone close to me, and death wasn’t really at the forefront of my mind. But for some reason, in God’s providence, I decided to pick up this book, and it changed the way I view this short life and the one to come. If you aren’t overwhelmed with excitement at the life to come and don’t think about eternity on a daily basis, you need to read this book. –Whitney, Co-Owner and Finance Director
Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him by Jackie Hill Perry
Earlier this year, I read The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul with my small group and was captivated and humbled by this characteristic of God. When Holier Than Thou by Jackie Hill Perry released, I immediately purchased it and began reading. Jackie has an incredible way with words. As a poet, she writes with eloquence and poise that makes you ponder deeply and worship wholeheartedly. This book will leave you in awe of God’s holiness with a hunger to know and trust him more. –Gretchen, Founder
When I first discovered It’s Not Just You, I was too afraid to pre-order it on Amazon, concerned that the people I share the account with would wonder, “Why does she need a book like that?” I was stuck in habitual sexual sin while dealing with the shame of my past and searching for a way out. Today, I find myself walking in the light, living free in him who set me free, shouting about this book from the rooftops by his grace alone. If you’re in the same place I was, it’s not just you, and this book is for you. If you’re walking alongside someone struggling with sexual sin, unsure of how to answer her many questions with the truth of the Word, it’s not just you, and this book is for you too. Every woman will leave better equipped to pinpoint, address, and fight sexual sin in her own life and alongside friends upon reading Ashley Chesnut’s Scripture-soaked book, It’s Not Just You. –Alexis, Digital Marketing Specialist
Man: The Dwelling Place of God by A.W. Tozer
Some theology books can be hard to read and understand, but Man: the Dwelling Place of God by A.W. Tozer is not one of them. It’s a small book with short chapters, making it a great read during your devotional time. Each chapter speaks to walking with God in the everyday, and Tozer minces no words while challenging areas of weakness we all have as believers and spurring us on to walk in faith. Even though the book is over fifty years old, the truths are as timeless and relevant as if it was written today. It’s a book I plan to read at least once a year! –Andrea, Shop Assistant
If you’ve found yourself stressed out by our culture’s expectations for motherhood, your never-ending to-do lists, and the immense weight and responsibility of raising children who will grow up to love Jesus, Motherhood Without All the Rules was written for you. Maggie Combs (our very own Content Director here at Well-Watered Women) writes in a relatable and down-to-earth way. As I was reading this book, it felt like I was talking with a friend who continually pointed out lies I didn’t even realize I had started to believe and brought me back to the freedom of the gospel. –Whitney, Co-Owner and Finance Director
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller
Tim Keller undertakes a bold task in his book simply titled Prayer. Recognizing the lack of approachable content on this vital subject, Keller aims to make Prayer as practical as it is theological, giving the reader steady ground for steps of faith and growth in this discipline of the spiritual life. In his classic style, Keller interacts with theologians of old, ideas from other religions, and cultural norms to establish the need for a life steeped in prayer, inspired and made possible by Christ himself. –Lauren, Content Editor
I often struggle with a wandering heart and mind in prayer, so I reach for The Valley of Vision on days when it’s hard to focus or when I feel particularly distressed. The rich prayers of the Puritans help me align my heart with Christ’s and lead me to both deeper worship and deeper reliance upon God. I’ve used this book for several years, alternating between integrating it into my daily devotions as liturgy and opening it for help to refocus my heart on God when life feels unexpectedly burdensome and painful. –Maggie, Content Director
*We love sharing resource recommendations with you! However, when we recommend a resource, please keep in mind that we are not endorsing people or ministries in their entirety. We do our best to recommend solid content, but the only infallible endorsement we offer is of the Word of God!