It took me awhile to pick the first book. My favorite books section is bare in my profile because I can't choose. (And I won't tell you which child is my favorite either.) But I can readily name the book that ushered big changes in my life when I read it last year.
Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller
Now, don't moan. I know everyone is talking about it and it has all the buzz. I tend to avoid popular titles, especially when they show up at my local WalMart. (Go ahead. Call me a book snob. I can take it.) It is quietly making its way onto the NYT bestseller list, just one notch above Mere Christianity today. There are plenty reviews out there that do this book justice, so I don't feel the need to reinvent the blessed wheel. This is my personal testimony, if you will.
When I finally gave Miller a shot, I had been church shopping for about 5 years--seeking God and trying to find a church home. I was cranky and cynical. My spiritual life stank and I worried that my kids would grow up unchurched and worse, uninterested in God. I picked this book up one Friday night, read it and started attending Imago Dei, where Don attends, that Sunday. I share that story with countless others in the Pacific Northwest. But I believe that if I had read this book half-way around the world, it would have given me hope. Not to give up faith or on God, just because I was a church misfit, lost and disillusioned. We've been at Imago ever since.
Over the past year, my kids have grown to love God. My daughter was baptized over the summer. My family is surrounded by a loving community. All because one guy sat down and wrote down his thoughts.
I have often wanted to tell Don what this book means to me. I don't know what I would say. (I don't go to a lot of author signings for the same reason. I'm such a groupie, silly and awe-struck.) But if I wasn't such a wuss, I would start with 'thank you.'