Lately we’ve been thinking about books that we think are inspirational and would help encourage others. Here are the books we came up with:
It started with a simple question: How can we help them? It became an international movement called NEGU: Never Ever Give Up. When Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 11, she chose to focus not on herself but on bringing joy and hope to other children suffering from cancer.
During the ten months she battled cancer, she and her family worked in the “Joy Factory” (originally their garage) making JoyJars®—packages filled with toys, games, and love for other kids with cancer. Jessie first handed them out personally at the hospital where she was being treated, but the effort blossomed quickly and there were soon thousands of JoyJars® being distributed across the United States and to over fifteen countries. Today, more than 100,000 kids have received JoyJars®, and they continue shipping each week to kids in over 200 children’s hospitals and 175 Ronald McDonald Houses.
Jessie lost her battle with cancer in January 2012, but her message lives on in the Jessie Rees Foundation, which has become a beacon of hope for families fighting pediatric cancer.
Eyes That See: Judson’s Story of Hope in Suffering, by Christina Adelseck Levasheff
Eyes that See: Judson’s Story of Hope in Suffering follows two-year-old Judson Levasheff–a bright, articulate, and healthy young boy whose body unexpectedly began to rapidly deteriorate in the spring of 2007. Enter the story as it actually unfolded–through a collection of journal entries and letters to family and friends–as Christina Levasheff takes you on a heart-wrenching yet inspiring account of her family’s journey of faith as her first-born son, Judson, is afflicted with a heinous disease. Her honesty as she cries out to God, surrendering in heartache and trusting in brokenness, is powerful and compelling. This gripping book, filled with laughter, tears, and hope, will challenge all readers to view their own life from a new perspective.
The story of this blind and suffering little boy will deeply impact how you view the presence of God in the midst of intense pain. May we all develop Eyes that See.
Think Big: Overcoming Obstacles with Optimism, by Dr. Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein from the TLC show, “The Little Couple”
Bestselling authors of Life Is Short (No Pun Intended) and stars of TLC’s The Little Couple return with an inspirational book that encourages us to reach for our dreams, no matter what obstacles we may face.
Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein have faced some big challenges in their lives. On the way to becoming a preeminent neonatologist and a successful entrepreneur—as well as parents and television stars—these two have faced prejudice, medical scares, and the uncertainty and daily pressures of life with special needs children. And even though they have dealt with fear, depression, hopelessness, and the urge to give up, they have found a way to persevere. Now they share their wisdom and encouragement with everyone who is facing their own challenges.
Drawn from their most popular speaking presentation, Think Big is the inspirational guide for dreaming big, setting goals, and taking the steps to get there. Each section includes heartwarming anecdotes full of grace, humor, and wit plus a never-before-seen look inside their personal and professional lives. They have plenty of stories to tell and their unique approach to encountering life’s greatest difficulties will inspire a call to action in all of us.
Emily: My True Story of Chronic Illness and Missing Out on Life (Louder Than Words), by Emily Smucker
Emily’s the sick one . . . all of the time.
Plagued with some sort of cold or fever or bizarre aches and pains for much of her life, Emily thought the dizziness and stomachaches at the start of her senior year were just another bout of “Emily flu.” But when they didn’t go away, she knew something was seriously wrong. Eventually diagnosed with the rare and incurable West Nile virus, Emily watched her senior year and the future she had planned for go up in smoke.
“I want a normal life for a teenager. I want to ache from a long day at work. I want to be so busy that I don’t have time to post on my blog. I want to run the race of life instead of being pushed along it in a wheelchair. I want to be on the ride of my life, you know?”
Because Truth Is More Fascinating Than Fiction
You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times, by Max Lucado –
You’ll get through this.
It won’t be painless.
It won’t be quick.
But God will use this mess for good.
Don’t be foolish or naive.
But don’t despair either.
With God’s help, you’ll get through this.
You fear you won’t make it through. We all do. We fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. In the pits, surrounded by steep walls and aching reminders, we wonder: Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten?
In You’ll Get Through This, pastor and New York Times best-selling author, Max Lucado offers sweet assurance. “Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere.” Max reminds readers God doesn’t promise that getting through trials will be quick or painless. It wasn’t for Joseph–tossed in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned, forgotten and dismissed–but his Old Testament story is in the Bible for this reason: to teach us to trust God to trump evil.
With the compassion of a pastor, the heart of a storyteller, and the joy of one who has seen what God can do, Max explores the story of Joseph and the truth of Genesis 50:20. What Satan intends for evil, God redeems for good.
“I have cancer. Cancer does not have me.”
Sophie Sabbage was forty-eight years old, happily married, and mother to a four-year-old daughter when she was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. Since that shocking diagnosis, she has been on a remarkable journey of healing and renewal that has reshaped her life—for the better.
The Cancer Whisperer chronicles Sophie’s extraordinary relationship with cancer and the very effective methods she has used for dealing with her fear, anger, denial, and grief. The Brené Brown of cancer, Sophie empowers readers to reject the traditional adversarial relationship with cancer by teaching us how to listen to it; how to be healed by it as well as how to seek to cure it; and how to be emotionally free even when we are physically curtailed.
Beautifully and poignantly written, The Cancer Whisperer encourages cancer patients to:
• Direct their own treatment while preserving their personhood in a system that tends to see them as patients more than people.
• Engage with fear, anger, and grief in healthy and healing ways instead of toughing it out, trying to be falsely positive, or collapsing into despair.
• Radically shift from being a cancer victim to a cancer listener—fostering an understanding of cancer as a symptom of other underlying causes and engaging with whatever changes it calls on them to make.
As authentic as it is revolutionary, The Cancer Whisperer calls for an end to “the war on cancer” and the start of a more transformative dialogue with the disease.
When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1, MEV
What happens when things don’t go as planned? What happens when the storm you face is completely out of your control? The Buchanans’ precious son Christian was born with a medical condition that is so incredibly unique, it’s one of only fifty known cases in the world. This story has captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands.
In Through the Eyes of Hope Lacey Buchanan tells this compelling story of trusting God in the face of adversity. You will be moved and inspired to hold on to God’s promises when things go wrong and find joy in midst of any storm.
Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl and Her Amazing Story of Healing, by Christy Wilson Beam
In a remarkable true story of faith and blessings, a mother tells of her sickly young daughter, how she survived a dangerous accident, her visit to Heaven and the inexplicable disappearance of the symptoms of her chronic disease.
Annabel Beam spent most of her childhood in and out of hospitals with a rare and incurable digestive disorder that prevented her from ever living a normal, healthy life. One sunny day when she was able to go outside and play with her sisters, she fell three stories headfirst inside an old, hollowed-out tree, a fall that may well have caused death or paralysis. Implausibly, she survived without a scratch. While unconscious inside the tree, with rescue workers struggling to get to her, she visited heaven. After being released from the hospital, she defied science and was inexplicably cured of her chronic ailment.
Miracles from Heaven will change how we look at the world around us and reinforce our belief in God and the afterlife.
Holly Reese’s gripping odyssey to the edge of despair and back is one of rare beauty and powerful insight. While she graphically plumbs the raw reality of chronic illness, Ms. Reese ultimately draws redemption and healing from seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Told with keen wit and a self-deprecating humor that captivates the reader, this beautiful tale of survival against the odds is essential for others challenged by devastating ill health. She exemplifies the truth that our greatest weapon against illness lays not in hospitals or laboratories but within one’s own inner spirit. This remarkable, triumphant story offers a ‘light in the darkness’ and is one I will definitely recommend to patients -Ursula McGarry, MD, Emergency and Family Medicine, Almonte, Ontario, Canada “Holly’s story is the epitome of what it takes to conquer chronic illness, she moves you from total pain and dark desperation through her quest for her personal holy grail in this powerful voyage of self-healing and transformation. . . . It is the ultimate healing miracle story, a pure gem for truth and result seekers and health professionals” -Marina Dufort, bestselling author of Aromatherapy Secrets for Wellness “Holly’s journey from the depths of hopelessness and despair is a gift to all who are suffering from earthly physical and mental “dis-eases” Sharing her heart and soul with all of us reveals what a true LIGHTWORKER and healer is. This is a story that will touch your soul, giving the reader hope, joy, laughter, and love in the mist of unbearable misery. -Sarah Dennison, PhD, founder of holistic health center, “Beams of Light”
If you have read any of these books would you please share with us what you read and what you thought of that book? We would love to hear how any of these books have helped you.