10 Real Stories that Will Change Your Life

Dec 5, 2012Find joy today, Heal from the past, Kingdom Uncaged

I’m so excited to share some of my favorite memoirs and biographies with you. I don’t know about you, but I’m deeply shaped by other’s stories. I learn so much from the gritty details, the failures, the overcomings, the joy, the loss. Here are ten books that make my fave list.

Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God: The Life Story of the Author of My Utmost for His Highest by David McCasland

Everyone needs to read this book. This is not an overstatement. I devoured the book because I’ve long wondered about my favorite devotional writer. In this book you’ll meet the man, Oswald, and you’ll see his humanity. And with that, an insatiable desire to bless God. I wrote about his hospitality here. Another surprising thing was that he didn’t write My Utmost for His Highest. These were a series of chapel devotions compiled by his wife after he died, and now they bless millions. Which goes to show how cool God is, and how He works in publishing in mysterious ways. Read this book!

Love Has a Face by Michele Perry. I met Michele last year at Allume (then Relevant). We both had won scholarships through (in)courage. She’d flown in from Europe, but prior to that had been in Southern Sudan, her home. After meeting her, praying with her, and sharing stories, I knew I’d met a kindred friend. This girl sees Jesus, and she is the hands and feet of Jesus in a very dangerous place.

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker.  Jen tells her story moving from southern megachurch to a downtown “barefoot” church, learning to see the world through Jesus’ eyes. This book shook me, messed with me, and challenged me way down deep. It’s inspiring, funny, and full of honest stories.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. I love-love-love how Don expounds on the elements of great storytelling and applies that as a metaphor to your life. After reading this book, my husband awakened to new adventures, something he’d relegated to the back burner since our return from France. It’s a powerful book, and it truly did make me want to live a better story.

Brother Yun Living Water. I’d actually start by reading The Heavenly Man first so you have a context for Brother Yun’s teaching and stories. The latter changed my perspective on suffering and made me long to be a better, more faithful follower of Jesus Christ. He is living proof that all you need in this life is Jesus Christ.

Speechless by Scotty Smith and Stephen Curtis Chapman. This out of print book seems like a strange addition to this list, but the book really resonated with me. The collaboration of musician and pastor blessed me, and I walked away knowing more about Jesus’ grace.

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. Stearns’ journey from corporate America to slums around the world in his new role with World Vision made me ask myself all those hard questions again. What am I doing in this life? Why? What kind of legacy will I leave right now? How will my life intersect with the poor? And why have I neglected looking at the issue? Great theology, spot on storytelling…if you haven’t yet read this book, you should.

Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner. A refreshingly honest look at a girl coming to faith. The writing was real and beautiful, and I loved reading her intellectual journey toward Jesus. A very satisfying read.

Stone Crossings by L. L. Barkat. Such beautiful prose I wanted to chew on it. Barkat has a way of spinning words so perfectly you want to live in her head. She shares hard truth, but doses it with grace and power and simplicity.

Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott. There are few authors in this world who make me honestly laugh out loud, but she (and Dave Barry) rank high. She doesn’t sugarcoat a thing. She tells the story of meeting Jesus in a winsome, invitational, raw way. She makes you want to know Jesus too. I like that.


What memoirs/biographies have you read that have changed your life? Why?