What am I Waiting For? And…2023 Good Reads

I captured this picture, representing thoughts going through my head concerning “failure to claim what is waiting for me.” I received this gift card, pictured, for a one-hour massage. I don’t remember the occasion for the gift; I just know I received it about eight or nine years ago. Yep, nearly a decade ago!  I have not forgotten that it lies dormant in my wallet, I have simply been waiting for the right moment to use it…when I really need it. Because who knows, perhaps a “heavy shoe will drop,” when I can truly appreciate it.

What an absurd, laughable (and sadly, true) thought! In the time since receiving this gift, I spent several years caring for my husband until he died. I retired, moved, finished a masters and doctorate program, began a business, and watched my house (that I own next door) burn down. These are just a few of the events/stressors I experienced when perhaps redeeming this gift might have proved timely. But, for some crazy reason, I kept thinking that perhaps there would be a better time to redeem it. Someday. Crazy, I know.

You probably know where I am going.

What has God already given you that you haven’t allowed yourself to receive and use? We (I) can live as if God does not continually pour His love into our hearts (Rom 5:5) or freely dispense the gifts from His Spirit in limitless ways, never running out (Gal 5:22-23).  Do we claim His promise for soul-rest every day? (Mt 11:28-29)

The blessings and gifts are rampant, but too often lie dormant somewhere, hidden away for “safe-keeping.”

I plan to redeem this gift from my kids this week. And most importantly, I desire to keep growing toward more freely and fully accepting God’s gifts. I am confident they won’t run out. Thankfully, unlike the gift certificate, redemption isn’t a one-and-done thing in God’s economy. He continually redeems and restores. How wonderful.

I pray your new year is filled with God’s rich blessings and with eyes that recognize and redeem those gifts. Thank you to all who have engaged me in messages and comments from this website and FB. You are encouraging. And, as I strive to serve my coaching clients,  I have been so blessed to learn from each one.  Christian coaching seems a good fit, and as you will see from the next paragraph, I needed to start a business to support my Amazon book purchases! 😊

Each new year I share books I  read that have been meaningful to me. I learn from each one. I approach reading with curiosity, prayer for humility to have a deep learner’s heart, and discernment to “eat the meat and spit out the bones” as appropriate. These have proved helpful. I have done more reading than writing this year, except for finishing a dissertation…which I do think counts as writing 😊. I have a couple of books on the burner I hope to complete this year, and always appreciate prayers for these projects.

Happy New Year! Here’s to redeeming our gifts, learning with humility, and staying curious. May you (we) have a year of growth and a deeper understanding of God’s indescribable love.

My 2023 Reading (in no particular order, except the first one is the most recent and is quite good!)

How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen by David Brooks

Pivot by Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer

Embracing Prodigals by John Sanders

Joyful Journey: Listening to Immanuel by Wilder, and others

Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology by Daniel Migliore

When a Friendship Falls Apart by Elizabeth Laing

The Grief Journey by Timothy Sumerlin

Transforming Encounters: Baptism, Assembly, and the Lord’s Supper by John Mark Hicks

A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story

The Other Half of Church: Christian Community, Brain Science, and Overcoming Spiritual Stagnation by Jim Wilder

Forming: A Work of Grace by David Takle

God Has a Name by John Comer

Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd

The Pastor as Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life by Craig M. Barnes

Who is the Holy Spirit? A Walk with the Apostles by Amos Yong

A Women’s History of the Christian Church by Elizabeth Muir

When the Soul Listens by Jan Johnson

At the Blue Hole: Elegy for a Church on the Edge by Jack Reese

Raised to Stay: Persevering in Ministry When You Have a Million Reasons to Walk Away by Natalie Runion

Permission to Speak Freely: How the Best Leaders Cultivate a Culture of Candor by Matt Kincaid

Come to the Table: Revisioning the Lord’s Supper by John Mark Hicks

When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James

40 Questions about Women in Ministry by Kelley Matthews

Showing Up: A Comprehensive Guide to Comfort and Connection by Jen Marr

To Pause at the Threshold: Reflections on Living on the Border by Esther de Waal

Celtic Christian Spirituality by John Phillip Newell

He Loves Forever: The Message of the Old Testament by Thomas Olbricht

All My Knotted Up Life: A Memoir by Beth Moore

The Box Must be Empty: A Memoir by Marilyn Kriete

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne

Rethinking Church by Ron Highfield

The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days by Kate Bowler

Participating in God’s Life: Two Crossroads of Churches of Christ by Leonard Allen

Poured Out: The Spirit of God Empowering the Mission of God by Leonard Allen

Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups by Ruth Haley Barton

Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions by Casey Tygrett

Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Steps by Richard Rohr

Guerrillas of Faith: Prayers for the Battle by Ted Loder

How the Bible Actually Works by Peter Enns

“History, Hermeneutics, and Church Polity in the ICOC (Jamaica)” by Courtney Bailey (dissertation)

“Lost at Sea” by David Pocta (dissertation)

“The Relationship Between the Restoration Movement’s Pattern Hermeneutics and Spiritual Formation” by Jeanie Shaw (dissertation)

Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings by Beth Richardson

The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement by Douglas Foster…(disclaimer…this is a tome, and I have only perused this great resource)

Around the Bible in 80 Days by John Mark Hicks

Asking Better Questions of the Bible by Marty Solomon

Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life by Jack Levison

Jesus and Women in the First Century and Now by Kristi McLelland (just started and very good)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (fiction)

The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews (fiction)

The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews (fiction)

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  1. Rhoda

    Thank you so much for this list Jeanie – I’m looking forward to reading some of these!
    I’m learning the attitude of abundance – I remember so many things had to be saved for ‘best’ and then were ever used, – or ‘saved for a rainy day’ and therefore never enjoyed – I’m learning to trust the promise of God’s abundance in my life.

    • Jeanie Shaw

      Thanks, Rhoda. Great to hear from you. Yes, how easy it is to save things for another time, and miss their abundance. I love that…learning to trust the abundance of God’s promise in your life. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Debbie Mackie

    I am amazed that you could read all those books in one year!! I thought I had a pretty good list although I will confess most of my reading is for pleasure other than my Bible study in the morning. But some of these topics have piqued my interest so thank you for sharing. So good to keep up with you this way. Happy 2024!


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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