This reading list consists of my favorite books for Christian moms—they cover a variety of topics, not just parenting. This isn’t an exhaustive list but just some of my favorites. I’ll add more soon!
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When I was in college I remember wondering what it would be like to read for fun. I felt like there was no way I could fit in reading as recreation when I was up to my eyeballs in academic research.
And then I became a mom (one month after I finished grad school, incidentally). And I came to realize that if I wanted to read, I would just have to make time for it.
And so I do. For me, reading is an essential part of my personal growth, happiness and wellness. While I enjoy fiction from time to time, I decided that here I would list the best of the best nonfiction books for Christian moms that I recommend. These are the ones that I refer back to often, lend to my friends, and sometimes read more than once.
This list is certainly not comprehensive, but it makes me warm and fuzzy inside. These viijs are not all necessarily Christian authors, but they all offer practical wisdom that you can easily combine with a Christian worldview. They are generally not what I would call “devotionals,” Bible commentaries, or guides. I still recommend that you pursue Bible reading separately (related post: Quiet Time Bucket List).
Okay, without further ado, here are my top recommended books for Christian moms.
Secure in Heart by Robin Weidner
This is an independent author (who happens to be my husband’s aunt), but this book is phenomenal. I read it as a newlywed and then again a few years later. Different points stood out to me each time. It’s currently on loan to a friend!
The idea is that every woman faces insecurity in some form; we just express it in different ways. Robin goes to the root of “why” and helps you dig down deep and assess the lies that began with Satan in the Garden of Eden and have continued for women throughout history. This book can help you confront your past, your hurts, your marriage, your relationships and more.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
This is just classic Christian women’s literature, in my opinion. Ann Voskamp has a very dreamy writing style but packs a powerful, truthful punch. I first heard about this book at a women’s conference and was blown away by the concept of thanksgiving and its necessity in a life-giving relationship with Christ.
The subtitle is “A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are,” and that message still resonates with me even though I read this book several years ago. If you’re struggling to find joy in your everyday, this is a must-read.
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
I first read this book probably about a decade ago and have read it through one more time since then. I still refer to it regularly. These principles have applications in so many areas of our lives:
“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership…Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. If I know where my yard begins and ends, I am free to do with it what I like. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. However, if I do not ‘own’ my life, my choices and options become very limited” (p. 29).
When you have poor boundaries, you take more ownership than you need to in stressful situations. You try to fix problems that aren’t yours. You have a hard time saying “no.” Not only does this steal other people’s freedom to own their own problems (even within your own family!), but you can start sliding down the slippery slope of resentment and blame.
Proverbs 14:10 says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” While you can empathize with other people’s problems, coach them, and pray for them, you can’t and shouldn’t own them. Cloud and Townsend have several other “Boundaries” books too.
Related post: Stress Management: 5 Surprising Truths for the Busy Mama
You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth
This book pulled me in with just the title. And it gets even better. Holley Gerth is a life coach and this book is for any woman who is struggling to find her purpose. She offered me some very practical ways to get over my perfectionism and people-pleasing tendencies and helped me identify what I’m really passionate about. After reading it, I cut out a lot of the busyness in my life and started focusing on what I believe God has called me to (including writing this blog!)
I read this as part of a reading group. To get the most out of it, I highly recommend following the journaling prompts and meeting with other women to discuss what you’re learning.
His Needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley
This is another book my husband and I read together as part of a marriage class we took through our church. We agreed that it finally helped give us a vocabulary for a lot of the things we were feeling in our relationship but didn’t necessarily know how to put words to.
The premise is that each partner in a relationship has needs, and that everyone’s needs are different. Going through the book together helped us discover what our own needs were and what each other’s needs were, as well as think through practical ways we could show each other love.
You may have heard of the “love bank” concept in marriage, where you can make deposits to and withdrawals from each other’s accounts. That concept is explored in this book.
Finances and Possessions
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
Jen Hatmaker has several great books, but this is the first one that I read and it really stuck with me. She and her family did a seven-month experiment, during which they would give something up each month. Each month they tried to build around the number seven, as that number represents wholeness biblically.
It’s an interesting and hilarious read that is also full of conviction and will get you thinking hard about the materialism in your life.
Your Money Counts by Howard Dayton
Even though it’s not explicitly a marriage book, this book about biblical finances influenced our marriage tremendously. When we first got married, we were pretty clueless about stewardship and how we could work together as a team to manage our finances.
Couples fight about money a lot, and I think one of the reasons why is because they don’t even know what they believe when it comes to money management.
We read this book as part of a class we did at our church. Since that time we’ve become debt free, and now we’re working on our long-term financial goals.
Related post: Why Couples Really Fight About Money
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
You might be surprised to see this one on the list, but bear with me. A couple of years ago, after reading 7 (see above) and some other books on materialism, I was convinced that we needed to declutter our possessions. But I didn’t know how to do it. Until I read this.
This book explains the KonMari technique of decluttering. Basically, you go through your entire house by category rather than by location. You pick up every item and assess whether or not it “sparks joy.” If it doesn’t, you get rid of it.
Fair warning: there’s a bit of energy mysticism and “woo-woo,” but I think you’re probably smart enough to filter that out. Other than that, I find that the whole concept pairs very well with a Christian worldview.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp
I had to include at least one parenting book in a book list for Christian moms. To be honest, there just haven’t been a lot out there that have blown my mind enough to warrant being listed. There are so many nuances in this art of parenting, and most of the wisdom I’ve found has been through personal mentorship rather than a magic formula from a book.
However, if you need a good foundational book, I’d recommend this one because I do agree with the principle that parenting starts with the heart rather than the behavior (in the spirit of Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”) I don’t know that I would follow every practical suggestion in this book, but it’s a good starting place.
Growing Your Faith
Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight by Norman Wirzba
I was a little hesitant to recommend this one because it’s a bit more on the academic side and is not easy reading. However, it has had such a profound influence on the way I think about rest and stewardship of our resources that I had to include it.
Sabbath can be a confusing concept. It was one of the Ten Commandments, yet few Christians follow it today. Do we need to keep a Sabbath? Why did God institute it in the first place? Are there some deeper spiritual principles that apply? This book explores all of those questions and has given me a greater respect for the institution of rest and all of its implications in everyday life. It is non-dogmatic and will help you come to your own conclusions.
Jesus the Same by Charles Edward Jefferson
This book is so obscure I don’t even know how I stumbled upon it, but it is my favorite book about Jesus, hands down. Each chapter explores one of Jesus’ character traits. He truly understands us in all of our weaknesses, and we can take courage knowing that he’s on our side.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
I read a good number of psychology books and this one stands high above the rest. As an introvert myself, I finally feel normal, understand what makes me tick and how I communicate, and recognize just how much American culture (including the church) values the extraverted personality type. While this book isn’t explicitly Christian, it has endless insights with spiritual applications, like recognizing and embracing the ways God has crafted each individual person (Psalm 139).