This is probably not the book you would recommend to a teenage girl who had just become a Christian. Yet it began a journey of reading Christian books. These days I wouldn't agree with all of Norman Vincent Peale's theology but back then I knew nothing about theology. I had not grown up in a Christian family but had come to faith through a church youth group.
The book, A Tough Minded Optimist, gave me the one thing I desperately needed at the time, hope. I was a deeply depressed teenager and I read and reread this book, filled with story after story of people who had turned their lives around by trusting God and changing the way they thought.
I had always been an avid reader; it was a way of escaping the real world and getting lost in another. Now I had found a whole new genre of material. I stumbled across John Powell, David Seamands, and when I had my children, James Dobson.
However the next life changing book moment came when a friend gave me a copy of Selwyn Hughes' quarterly devotional, Every Day With Jesus. For the next 20 years I read these devotions. I also read Selwyn Hughes' other books and went to one of his conferences when he was in Australia.
From Selwyn Hughes I discovered Neil Anderson who wrote along similar themes, then there was Larry Crabb, Dan Allender, R.C. Sproul and Mark Buchanan. I said to someone recently I can't give my books away because, although I won't read them again, they have sentimental value because they changed my life. They replied, "If you gave them away they might change someone else's life." Ouch!
I am grateful to each and every one of these authors yet none of them know they changed my life. It motivates me to tell my story through the things I write when I realize how much other people's stories have impacted me.
We may never know whose lives we touch, encourage and motivate with our writing. However if we seek God as we write we know that God will use our written offerings to bless others.
abooklook.blogspot.com.au. She is also a librarian.