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My Favorite Book of 2016

It’s no secret that I appreciate Hannah Anderson’s writing. I wrote a review for Made for More when it first came out. I remember thinking at the time that I wished I could write like Hannah. Like Desiring God or Knowing God, I felt that Made for More would become a classic. Hannah’s writing transcends the trappings of a cultural moment. She writes in a way that my grandmother and my granddaughter could both relate, despite the century difference in the ages in which they lived. Made for More opened my eyes to the deep meaning surrounding the fact that I was made in God’s image. “We must find a North Star. And not simply because our circumstances change, but because we ourselves are more than the roles we play in this present world. We are large, deep, eternal beings, and only something larger and deeper and more eternal will satisfy the questions in our souls.”

My favorite book that I read this year, Hannah’s Humble Roots, was not the sequel to Made for More but it does work as a companion. While Made for More focuses on the ways we are like God, Humble Roots explores the essential ways that we are not. God is God, and I am not. And this simple truth is essential to find rest for our souls.

Before the official release, I rapidly perused Humble Roots and endorsed it. But once I got the final version in my actual hands, it took me a long time to read it well. Don’t mistake this to mean that it is a hard or confusing read. It is not a particularly long book, and its words are easy to understand. But it is deep and thoughtful. I long ago learned that first, I am simply not a strong reader, and second, I can only take in one deep concept at a time. If I read something that makes me think, well, I have to stop and think on it a bit. Each chapter of Humble Roots gave me something to ponder, something on which to reflect. So I took my time to reflect, never reading more than a chapter a day.

Hannah immediately pulled me in with her opening scenario, lying awake at night in her bed unable to sleep with the weight of a thousand obligations she needed to meet with home, family, and ministry the next day. I have done this. My sisters have done this. My friends have done this. Restful sleep for earnest Christian women is sometimes a far off goal. Hannah’s gardening metaphors as she pondered various aspects of humility and trust in the God who made us was a balm to my soul. Trust. Which leads to rest. It’s a simple formula, but her explorations of it in each chapter helped the principle to settle in my soul.

I finished the book a few weeks ago (yes, I really do read slowly), but I have thought about the concepts she explored probably daily ever since. I really can’t give a more glowing review than that. Humble Roots made me think. And it is still making me think. Just as Made for More made me think and does still to this day.

Hannah is my friend, and we write together here. But though I like her as a person, the great blessing of my friendship with her is that she sharpens me in the best sense of Proverbs 27:17. I have grown spiritually through my friendship with Hannah. Through her writings, I have come to a better understanding of both the God of the Bible and His revelation of Himself to us through it. If you haven’t yet read Made for More or Humble Roots, get them and read them. May you too be caused to know your North Star and find rest for your weary soul in the process.

3 Responses to My Favorite Book of 2016

  1. Anne December 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with your choice more, Wendy! Made for More was under the Christmas tree for my two adult daughters. I’m not yet finished Humble Roots as I keep going back and rereading chapters. Her writing makes me want to slowly chew so that I get every bit of goodness out of it. In her chapter, “Vine-Ripened”, on knowledge and wisdom she writes, “In God’s wisdom the process of learning binds us to him in a way that simply knowing the answers cannot.” This sentence alone has made me ponder deeply my own propensity of wanting immediate wisdom or answers apart from spending time with God and waiting for Him to satisfy, grow, and enlighten me. It also makes me more patient with my Sunday School class or my teenage daughter. I no longer feel responsible to (or want to) rush in and give them an answer that may short cut their own process of being bound to the Lord.

    • Wendy December 27, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

      You said that really well, Anne. It really is a book to ponder and reflect on. Have you gotten to the last chapter yet? It was deep and very meaningful, a good closing of the circle of the book.

  2. Anne December 28, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    I haven’t. And I’m not even tempted to sprint to the end. I want this to last :o)