Caravan Sonnet: The 5 Books That Have Impacted My Life the Most

9/14/15

The 5 Books That Have Impacted My Life the Most

picture found on internet
For as long as I can remember I have carried a book with me everywhere I have gone. There are a stack of books beside my bed, in bed with me, and there can always be at least one found in my purse... sometimes two. At different times different books have impacted my life in different ways, but today I wanted to share with y'all the 5 books that have impacted my life the most:

(1) The Bible

Without a doubt, the Bible has been the number one book that has impacted my life. On good and bad days I find a love letter from the most important in my life (Jesus) and fall more in love with my precious Savior. On difficult days, scripture shouts to my hurting heart and reminds me of the truth of who Jesus is. 


A couple of years ago I shared here on the blog about this book and the impact it has had on my life. This book tells the story of Darlene who was a young newlywed in the pre-World War II era and her experience as a missionary in the jungles of New Guinea and then her four years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The title of this book is perfect because she truly is honest in her experience of the way that the Lord often appeared silent but His hand was continuously orchestrating protection over her each and every day, providing "evidence not seen". There are so many nuggets of truth and encouragement that I have walked away from after reading this book and I have made it a tradition to read this book once a year in the Spring or Summer. Each time I do I am struck again by this woman's faith in God despite her horrific circumstances. You can read more of my thoughts about this book HERE if you are interested!

Robin Jones Gunn
(Okay, lets be honest ALL of Robin Jones Gunn books *smiles*)

When I was 13 years old I was handed my first of many books I would fall in love with from Robin Jones Gunn and haven't stopped reading them over the last 22 years. I have read, re-read, and re-read a thousand times the adventures of Robin's characters while I have been encouraged in my faith and strengthened and challenged to return to scripture. Robin takes what some might call ordinary characters and weaves a beautiful story line that challenges me to fall more in love with Jesus, to spend more time in scripture, and to love those that the Lord has placed in my life in big ways with lots of grace. Her characters are so memorable that you feel that you are reading about friends, but beyond her talent for writing is a woman who obviously loves the Lord and has changed countless lives, including mine. 

No matter your age- whether you are 13 years old to your early thirties (and beyond) you will love these books. Throughout the last few years of my health journey I have re-read these series and books thousands (literally!!) of times, have handed out countless copies to people on airplanes, in hospitals, and even once in a grocery store line. The beautiful way that Robin writes mimics the beautiful way that the Lord calls people to Himself- with lots of love, lots of grace, and lots of beauty. 


There was probably not one single book that impacted my time working with teens as a youth leader, a coach, a teacher, and now founding Grace Engaged as reading this book when I was a college student. I found this book at a garage sale and it was definitely a "God-thing". Although written about a woman who lived in the early 20th century, this book impacted my life and the way that I viewed ministry and working with people in a profound and life-changing way. 

Henrietta Mears is known as one of the great Bible teachers of the 20th century, impacting hundreds of students, including notable Christian leaders such as Richard C. Halverson, Luis Evans Jr., Bill Bright, and many others. Billy Graham was affected by her work and said of her, "Her enthusiasm for the Lord Jesus Christ was contagious". Henrietta Mears spent many years as the Christian Education Director at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood and built one of the largest Sunday Schools in the world and wrote curriculum that was in such high demand that she had to publish it. She later founded Gospel Light. If you work in ministry or just have a heart and passion for people, I can't recommend this book enough. You will be challenged and changed to place the Lord first in ministry and to follow Him in this area. 


I picked up the first book in the Mark of the Lion Series at a used book store when I was 14 years old and was looking for some encouraging Christian fiction. From the first sentence of the book (“The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles.”), to the last, I was transported back to ancient Jerusalem, Germania, Rome, and Ephesus to a time that was frought with war, danger, and the faith of those mentioned in Hebrews 11. The Mark of the Lion series follows the story of a young slave girl (Hadassah) and Marcus, who is the brother of her owner. Hadassah experiences extreme horror and yet struggles to share her faith with the family that she serves as she grows to love each of them. At the same time the book also follows the story of Atretes, who is a captured soldier from Germania who is forced to become a gladiator. I don't want to ruin anything for you, but I can't recommend this series enough. You will be challenged to fall more in love with Jesus no matter what your circumstances are, and challenged to think about how we share the love of God with those we love the most.

Honorable Mentions

(1) Any Books by Elisabeth Elliot 
(2) God on Mute by Pete Greig - a beautiful help for those walking through seasons of unanswered prayer.
(3) And the Shofar Blew (by Francine Rivers)- a challenge to consider the Church of Jesus Christ and what it looks like
(4) One Light Still Shines by Marie Monville - in the midst of the horror of the Amish School Shooting Marie (the shooters wife) and her children were the recipients of extreme forgiveness and love- a challenge and encouragement to all of us about the power of bestowing grace to a person's life
(5) The Atonement Child (by Francine Rivers) - a beautiful story of sacrifice, redemption, and the question of abortion
(6) Left at the Alter (by Kimberley Kennedy)- a wonderful help for those who have experienced relationship heartbreak and rejection

I could keep going but what about y'all- what are the 5 books that have impacted you the most in your life? What would you recommend is next on my list to read? 

13 comments:

  1. What a great list because I haven't heard of any of them (besides the bible of course) You are always full of so much knowledge!

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    1. Caroline, you've got to read The Mark of the Lion series. Have you read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers?

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    2. I am definitely agreeing with kelli!! = you have to read the Mark of the Lion series!! YOU WILL LOVE IT. SO SO SO GOOD. Want me to send you my copy?!?? :)

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  2. I need to check out Evidence Not Seen, it combines so many of my favourite book topics - memoir, spirituality, history and WW2!

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    1. Oh my goodness yes, DO!! I seriously can't recommend it enough- It is absolutely life changing!! :) If you read it let me know!! I would love to hear what you think!!
      Blessings, Rebecca :)

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  3. I am so impressed by how much of the blogging community is made up of ladies of faith. Nothing beats your number one book :-)

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    1. Mackensey- Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!! Yes, I am loving connecting with so many ladies of faith in the blogging community!! What a blessing that is!! :) Thank you again for your comment!!
      Blessings, Rebecca :)
      p.s. I would love to have emailed you back directly but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!

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  4. Love that you put the bible! It is definitely the best book to help you grow and to impact your life! Yes!!!! I live the Mark of the Lion series!? How did I not put this on my list. This is an amazing series about true faith! Love it!

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  5. I LOVE all of Robin Jones Gunn's books too. Christy Miller is my fictional best friend. Haha. I love finding other people who love these books like I do! I included them all on my list as well.
    http://www.housegirlhaley.com/2015/09/5-books-blog-tember-14/

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  6. The Mark of the Lion Series is SO good! Really, anything by Francine Rivers is amazing ( I loved "And The Shofar Blew" too). And yes, anything by Elisabeth Elliot is amazing! "Let Me Be A Woman" is on my list

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  7. I love pretty much all Francine Rivers books :) Redeeming Love was my favorite, then The Mark of the Lion Series and The Atonement Child. Others that have impacted my life besides the Bible: The Meaning of Marriage (Tim Keller), The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom), and Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World (Joanna Weaver)

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    1. Kelli- I LOVE your suggestions!! i haven't read the Tim Keller book but will definitely have to check that out and the Joanna Weaver one that you mentioned! I think I read it but I am not quite sure! :) AND yes, oh my goodness LOVE redeeming love- that one definitely should have made my list!! :) Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment and share!! I hope that you have a wonderful week!!
      Blessings, Rebecca :)

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