Since I was a little girl, I loved reading. My mom read to me for countless hours and once I learned to decipher words myself, I’d spend hours curled up in chairs or under my covers, reading when I was supposed to be asleep.
Now as a mom, my love for the written word is still strong, but the amount of time I have to crack open a book (or even listen to an audiobook!) is quite limited!
This year, I’m continuing one of my goals–to read the amount of books that are in the year number: so for 2023, to read 23 books (and book titles that begin with The Boxcar Children or The Berenstain Bears don’t count–ha!).
These are all books that will:
- transform your faith
- change the way you mother
- help you see the world through a broader lens
- give you tangible, practical ways to grow as a Christian woman
Here are 23 Christian Non-Fiction Books You Must Read This Year!
23 Life-Changing Non-Fiction Books Every Christian Woman Should Read in 2023
These first 12 books are my recommended must-reads. We all know that life gets away from us, and so I wanted to make a priority list among my list of 23 so that you can see which ones are my favorite :)
When Strivings Cease: Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace (new addition for 2023) by Ruth Simons Chou – I think that perfection is something many Christian women struggle with and I’m looking forward to reading this book to help me find that balance between pressing on in sanctification and resting in the grace of God in how I live.
- Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg – A Christian woman’s journey through cancer and how she found biblical joy even in the darkest hours. This book resonated with me in such a powerful way. I sent it to my mom (who survived cancer) and she loved it too.
- The Crucified Life: How to Live Out a Deeper Christian Experience by A.W. Tozer
- The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard by Kristen Schell – Desperate for a way to slow down and connect, Kristin Schell put an ordinary picnic table in her front yard, painted it turquoise, and began inviting friends and neighbors to join her. Life changed in her community and it can change in yours, too. This is a quick, encouraging read with practical ideas, and I absolutely loved it!
- Idols of the Heart: Learning to Live for God Alone by Elyse Fitzpatrick – This book is new to me in 2023, it is a revised and updated version of an earlier book. These past few years, we’ve had a lot of occasions to face our American “idols”–comfort, convenience, and control. I think that reading this book can help us take this understanding to heart and learn how to place our anxieties, struggles, and imperfect desires before God so that He can be in His rightful place in our hearts and lives.
- She’s Gonna Blow by Julie Barnhill – The most helpful book I’ve ever read on dealing with “mom anger”. I read it 5 years ago and am going to read it again!
- None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin – This is a devotional study with 10 lessons. Best read when you can spend some time thinking deeply! Really though, this is what we need more of as Christian women—no fluff!
- Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth – This book goes through the different principles of Titus 2 (with a gospel focus) in relation to mentoring and building friendships with other women. I especially love how it lays out how to create friendships and connections between different generations.
- Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze – This is a practical book on saving and spending well, written by Dave Ramsey’s daughter. I’ve watched her YouTube channel and have appreciated the things she has to say and I also liked how easy the book was to read and apply to my life! She takes a slightly different approach than her dad but with the same overall principles.
- The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make by Bill and Pam Farrel – The Farrels wrote the book Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti, which we read during marriage counseling! I’d never read one of their parenting books, so I was excited to hear about this one on a Focus on the Family podcast, which I read in 2019. They offer ideas for loving and nurturing special needs, strong-willed, and prodigal children. From Amazon: With real-life examples and biblical inspiration, this book examines the 10 best decisions parents can make to unlock the unique gifts inside their children, including temperament, goals, talents, spiritual development, and leadership abilities (best for parents with older kids).
- Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children by John Townsend and Henry Cloud – This book is all about teaching character in your kids from a Biblical perspective. These authors are practical and straightforward in their other Boundaries books, and really offer advice that makes you go, “Oh! I never thought of that!” I found the same with this book!
- The Strong-Willed Mama: Surviving and Thriving Raising Strong-Willed Children by Tami Overhauser – I have a couple of these personality types in my family and am excited to read this book in 2023!
These next 10 are great additions to your reading list too!
- The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
- Wait and See by Wendy Pope
- The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch
- All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth
- Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men by Meg Meeker
- Hands-Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
- 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith by Michelle DeRusha
- Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
- 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke
- It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst – I read this in 2019 and will go through it again: a comforting, biblical, and life-changing book for those who have gone through deep tragedy and betrayal.
- Refined by Fire by Brian and Mel Birdwell – this is actually an older book that I just came across about a man who survived the September 11 attacks and his physical and spiritual battle back to wholeness.
5 Ways to Get Great Books for Cheap or Free
If you buy every book you want to read, it can get quite expensive! While I don’t mind having a few around that I know I’ll refer to again and again, I usually like to find a free or cheap way to get the book when I read it for the first time, to make sure it’s one I’ll love. Here are 5 ideas for doing that.
1) Check and see if your library has Hoopla or OverDrive as part of your system. These are websites that offer eBooks, Audiobook, movies and music that you can borrow for free through a participating library. You digitally “check out” the books and have a couple of weeks to listen to or read them before they’re automatically returned. No worrying about late fees and it’s so easy to check the book out again if you need to finish it!
2) Start a FREE trial membership with Audible through Amazon and get two free audiobooks. Even if you cancel the membership, you can still keep any audiobooks you’ve gotten, forever.
Another nice thing is that sometimes there are great sales on Audible audiobooks and you can purchase, download and listen to them with the Audible app (so you don’t HAVE to have a membership). But it’s worth trying it for free and getting the two free audiobooks!
3) Start a Book Swap with friends and you’ll be surprised what everyone has! A friend of mine buys a lot of books and she borrows them to me once she is done. I’ve shared a few with her as well, so it’s a win-win.
4) Scout out garage sales and (clean) thrift stores. So often I go to these places and find books in excellent shape for $1-$2. This is a great way to build your collection of children’s books too!
5) Buy books on the Mercari app. Mercari is an online shopping platform, similar to eBay but in my opinion, easier to use. I sell and buy things on this app quite often. You can find a lot of books, especially those that are a couple years old or more.
Obviously, check your library. Many times, if the books you want to read aren’t available, your librarian will take your suggestions and purchase some of the books on your list. Libraries receive grant money, sometimes to bulk up certain genres of books, and so they appreciate extra ideas! Your library may also have an inter library loan (ILL) system that allows you to get books from another library in your state or town delivered to your closest location for free.
Any other non-fiction books that I NEED to read this year? Have you read any of the books on this list that you do or don’t recommend? Share in the comments!