summer reading list

I am so thankful for time to read this summer. If only I could make more time for it during the “school year”. I doubt – actually, I know – that I won’t make enough time for it (and maybe that’s a good thing – since loving people is my job, not reading books), so I really want to take advantage this summer. Here’s the list:

Working on…

The Hiding Place – Corrie ten Boom. I’ve been reading this book since, oh, January. No, it’s not 2000 pages. I think it’s less than 200. I have this thing where I read many books at one time and for some reason, it keeps ending up at the bottom of the stack. It’s great though, and I really identify with Corrie. Also, she has made me realize (or remember) that amazing things don’t stop happening when we’re past our 20s. I sadly find myself believing that lie sometimes. She was 55 when the Lord called her to courageous action in Holland during World War II. What a story.

A Praying Life – Paul Miller. When I expressed having some trouble “making time to pray”/having a right prayer perspective to the girls on my team earlier this year, Elizabeth suggested this book. I never started reading it, and then we all received a copy at Greek Summit. Meant to be. I am learning so much and my prayer life really has changed. I am starting to understand the importance of approaching the Lord as a child, being above all honest with Him. He is my Father, after all.

Do All To The Glory Of God – Watchman Nee. Part of the “Basic Lesson Series” from the Chinese church leader. He discusses topics such as marriage, friendship, speech, clothing, eating, and finances.

Calm My Anxious Heart – Linda Dillow. Mom, Maggie, and I are reading this one together and discussing it each week. What a blessing! It’s all about being content in Christ regardless of circumstances, therefore, reducing and hopefully eliminating much everyday anxiety.

Plan to read…

The Cost Of Discipleship – Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

A Chance To Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael – Elisabeth Elliot.

Against The Tide: The Story of Watchman Nee – Angus Kinnear.

Also, I would like to re-read/finish Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands (Paul David Tripp), and read the last two books in The Hunger Games series (how have I set this aside?).

So, my list is kind of lacking in novels/fictional stories. Suggestions would be appreciated!

Three incredible books I’ve already finished this summer: Let Me Be a Woman – Elisabeth Elliot, The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis (I find myself reading this every so often – it’s so short and very rich. Please read it.), and, one that I want to spend some time writing about, a book that the Lord is using to change the way I look at myself and at Him so piercingly and beautifully, Grace For The Good Girlby Emily P. Freeman. Thank you Lauren for recommending it!!

Emily kind of wrote my biography and doesn’t know it. She articulates so well much of what I experienced growing up, before I truly understood the gospel, and still struggle with to this day. Let me share some excerpts to further explain.

If my story were a planet, then your rejection of me would be my nuclear holocaust. This fear of rejection drives me hard, eating away at my courage. And so I am cautious in my love. I am timid in my faith. My life tells a small story. I long to be seen, but feel safe when I’m invisible. 

The energy it takes to live for you is killing me — to see me through your eyes, to search for myself in your face, to be sure you are pleased as it regards me. I want you to always regard me.

If you wonder what gives you the authority to define me, I will say it is because you exist. I must have worth, and it is up to you to give it to me. It doesn’t matter who you are…

This innate desire to be good indeed protected me from a lot of heartache and baggage…but it did not bring me any greater understanding of God. It did not protect me from my own impossible expectations. Growing up a good girl was natural for me. But there were those times when it was exhausting to try to measure up. Good girls are good listeners — are always there for everyone — don’t get mad — are laid-back — roll with the punches, go with the flow, follow the leader (as long as the leader is a good girl, of course).

…but it often kept me from saying what I really meant….I avoided vulnerability for fear of being rejected or being labeled needy. Good girls aren’t needy, they are needed. And so instead of living free, I lived safe.

Couldn’t have written it better myself. This is a small picture of what my biggest inner struggle looks like. This is the selfish, hiding, try-hard lifestyle. Selfish, because if I am trying to find my worth and identity in other people, “people become measuring sticks for my goodness rather than unique expressions of God.” Sad. I’m not thinking of God. I’m not thinking of others. I’m thinking of me.

We know something’s wrong with us. We know there is such a thing as excellence, goodness, purity [freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, pollutes]. And we fall short. And we long for identity.

But I have been rescued from this try-hard lifestyle. There is another way, and it’s Jesus. It’s grace. God knew we couldn’t be good enough after we originally fell, so He sent One who is eternally good. And we were made to find our identity in Him. And we. can. rest!!! Hallelujah!

I invite all the “good girls” out there (by the way, there is no such thing) to unpack your specific people-pleasing tactics with the help of Emily Freeman’s wise, Spirit-filled words and meaty reflection questions – – and find freedom.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30.



Here is a bit of what summer has looked like for me:


Greek Summit – The Cru (yes, we are officially “Cru” now) Summer Project in Destin, Florida to which I was assigned. This project is for college students in fraternities and sororities who want to share Christ in their Greek houses. I could probably sum up the two and a half weeks with the word “incredible” and the phrase “Jesus is the end, never the means”. I know I’m leaving a lot out there, but trust me – so many changed lives, so many hearts broken over the diseases of our generation and humanity itself, so many minds set on communicating the cure (the One mentioned above!). I am thankful to have been a part of it, and thankful to have learned a little more and lived out a little more of the freedom that is the gospel.


My dear small group, from all over the place! Kansas, South Carolina, Alabama, and Ohio. I can’t wait to see what the Lord does in each of their lives and sororities this coming year, and beyond.


They also made me brownies and lemon squares, both of which were dynamite, for my 25th birthday. Such sweeties. Oh yeah, I turned 25. 2nd quarter has been great thus far : )


I can’t express how much I loooved living with these ladies for those 19 days. You know when Paul exhorts us to “speak the truth in love” in Ephesians (and probably a lot of other places too)? Morning to midnight (and sometimes later), that’s what was happening in our beach house. The Lord has taught me so much through each of these beautiful women! I long for that type of community always.

When Greek Summit ended, I spent some time with family (pictured above, minus Mom) in PCB.We did nothing but eat and relax and swim in the ocean, and then we ate some more (our favorite beach activity).

And now, I officially reside in Dothan for the next two and a half months. I will spend this time primarily raising financial support in order to return to Hattiesburg for my second internship year with Cru. I am also looking forward to reading a whole lot o’ books (more on that later), trying out new recipes (at least one per week), jogging/dare I say running? at Westgate Park, spontaneously visiting friends, and of course hanging out with family and friends around here. Oh and making fun of The Bachelorette on Monday nights with Mom and Maggie.

Much of my time with Jesus, reading, planning for next year, and basically just relaxing will take place here:

Minus the curtains, it really is a gem of a space. I have neglected taking advantage of this downstairs once-playroom in our house – until now. No one ever comes down here anymore, except for the occasional treadmill jog or ping-pong game. And it does function as a somewhat guest room (yes that’s a random bed in the background). It sure beats spreading all of my books and work all over my bed, or taking over Mom and Dad’s den. My family is starting to call it The Claire Lair. Teehee. I even have an “inspiration wall”, which I will not show now.

Fighter Verse for the week – I just started this – a little late in the year, Week 22, and starting on “Set 2”, but no matter… this is a great one to begin on. Would you like to join me?

When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.

– Proverbs 6:22-23