He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. Psalm 18:30
There are seasons to our lives like there are seasons during the year. Some seasons we look forward to, some seasons we can't wait for them to finish. This past year has been a season for me that I wouldn't wish on anyone and it's one that I hope is nearing the end.
No matter the season of life, Scripture is important. Ground yourself in the Word during the good and the not-so-pleasant seasons. During this season I'm in, I have found that reading some additional books to help me make sense of Scripture has been good practice. Below is the list of books that I found helpful and they are listed in no particular order.
The Cup and the Glory: Lessons on Suffering and the Glory of God by Greg Harris:
I had actually started reading this book before the not-so-pleasant season began. Looking back I can see God's hand at work with me finding the book and picking it to add to my nighttime reading pile. Harris does a great job using Scripture to explain suffering. This is not a book to read through fast. Take it slow so that you may fully understand and process the concepts that Harris is discussing. Sometimes Greek words are pulled into the discussion but the words are defined well and not in such away as to be above anyone's head.
As Silver Refined: Answers to Life's Disappointments by Kay Arthur:
This not a short book but Arthur's style of writing demonstrates how much she cares for her readers; how much she wants them to see God at work in the disappointments we go through in life and to trust in God and His sovereignty. There is also a Bible study section at the back of the book in case you want to use that to help you dig even deeper into the concepts Arthur discusses in the book.
Living Victoriously in Difficult Times by Kay Arthur and Bob & Diane Vereen:
This is a simple way to do inductive Bible study that you can do on your own or with other people. The first half of the study focuses on suffering: how we are not immune to it, it will not separate us from the love of God, and it is part of God's process to refine and purify us to reflect His image. The last half of the study looks at how we are to live out the truths of suffering in our daily lives.
Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free by Tullian Tchividjian:
Tchividjian sets out to look at the reality of suffering in this book. He points out that suffering is going to happen - Scripture says so - and that there is a wrong way to look at suffering. When suffering brings us to your knees, we should be looking to the cross remembering Who suffered for us and suffers with us and the grace He provides us.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero:
'It's impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.' Scazzero sets out to prove this through Scripture, research, and his own personal journey as a pastor, husband, and father. There is a discussion of the symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality, the six stages of faith, how to deal with the 'Wall- the dark night of the soul', and how to grow into an emotionally mature adult. Each chapter also ends with a prayer. Give this book a try to learn more about your own emotional maturity level and how it affects your spiritually.
The Emotionally Healthy Woman by Geri Scazzero:
Written by the wife of the pastor that wrote Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, she talks about 8 things that women need to quit. Quit being afraid of what others think and quit denying anger, sadness, and fear are 2 of the 'quits' that she covers. Scazzero uses Scripture, her own personal experience, and research to support her list of 'quits.'
How to Forgive When You Don't Feel Like It by June Hunt:
This is a book that my mom gave me. I'm thankful that God pointed her in the direction of this book to have it sent my way. This is a great book to give to someone who is struggling to forgive another person. I wouldn't recommend giving it to a person right after they have experienced a painful event (abuse, an attack, betrayal, etc), but when the person comes around to knowing that they need to forgive the other person, this book is a great resource. I also recommend that people read it even if they have no one in particular to forgive. The book does a great job of using Scripture to define what forgiveness is and is not and that is extremely important because not everyone has the correct definition of forgiveness. Examples: Forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation; forgiveness is not excusing the wrong or letting the guilty 'get away with it;' Forgiveness is handing the offender over to God and trusting that God will provide the consequences to the offender in His time and in His way.