The Book That Changed My Life

There is a quote floating around that says,

“You’ll be the same in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” -Charlie Jones

It’s true.

I read it the first time when I was fifteen. I was enthralled with the title, with the woman, with the dream of someday being like her.

It was not an easy book to read.

I struggled through dryness and waded through dialect that I could barely comprehend. But every time I thought to set it down — a phrase, a sentence or a paragraph would grip me and I would inhale and feel life float over me. It was a book about dying to self and living for Christ and by the time I finished it there was no changing the new course of my life. My heart was captured by her love story and I was determined to follow hard after God the same way.

It was this book that caused me to start writing. It was this book that opened my eyes to the mission field. It was this book that taught me the value of scars and pain and my desperate need for my Savior.

And most of all: it was this book that gave me my first five children.

I turned twenty that year. Plans to be financially capable of providing for myself on the mission field (I hoped to work at an orphanage in Haiti) had crumbled at my feet. I was a bit irritated with God.

Why did He ask me to give so much financially, when I was trying to give my whole life?

The house that I had bought and, at God’s direction, had given away, carried with it so many of my dreams. Mission work, apparently, hadn’t been in His plans. Now what? Did I go back to college? Did I get job?

Still, there were so many indications! I couldn’t seem to reconcile them all.

One day I stopped to look up that dream in my worn copy of A Chance To Die and my gaze fell on a section that I had starred and underlined. The Shawlies.

Amy Carmichael worked in several countries before ending up in India, but long before she went anywhere — God sent her to the streets of her town. To the girls who were too poor to buy hats so they wrapped shawls around their heads. She befriended them and taught them and showed them Jesus.

Right there in her hometown.

I felt something in my heart shift. Okay, God. I finally prayed.  I’ll go…here.

Through a strange set of circumstances, I ended up buying a little cottage on one of the worst streets in my town. I moved in with two other single girls and watched in wonder as God brought kids to my doorstep.

Including five beautiful little girls who I fell in love with.

We pulled them into our home and into our lives. We taught them. Sang over them. Danced through the living room with them. Gave them peppermint sticks and freezy pops. We held them while they cried and prayed over them when they were scared.

I’ve had many “children” over the years. Little ones that spend days and weeks and months with me…and teenage boys who call me Mom. But those five girls hold a special piece of my heart. I can remember the first time they hugged me. The first time they told me they loved me. The first time they sang a song to me. The first time they asked me about Jesus.

A Chance To Die changed my life. It changed how I think. It taught me that following God sometimes takes you next door. It taught me that having children may be something separate than bearing children. And it made me realize that I was already the mother that I dreamed of someday being. 

What about you? Is there a book that has changed the course of your life? Tell me about it!


  1. A book that changed my life is Surrender by Nancy Leigh Demoss. Out of all the books I’ve read this one had the biggest impact on me. Close seconds are Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot and Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy.

    1. I’ve not read the book by Nancy Leigh Demoss- will have to add it to my list! The other two are favorites of mine as well. 🙂

  2. One book that changed the course of my life is “Praying For Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart For His.” It helped me to realize the importance of praying for the husband God is going to bring into my life someday because he is probably facing struggles and going through things that require help and strength from the Lord. I would recomend this book to anyone who hopes to get married someday. I love that it also features testimonies from people who have actually been blessed enough to receive the answer to their prayer. I believe God answers prayers in His way and in HIs time. I think it is so important to pray to pray about finding the right person instead of rushing into a relationship because when we rush into things, we can end up with the wrong people and find ourselves missing out on Gods best for us.

    1. This is so revealing and true.

    2. I did a review on that book when it first came out. Such a wonderful resource! As I read it, I kept thinking, “Now where was this book when I was single?” 🙂 So glad that it has made a difference in your life!

  3. Okay, I cried through this. I think perhaps a part of our hearts are kindred spirits. And I think I need to read that book. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I keep mulling in my mind books that have changed my life. So many different ones impacted my life at different key moments. Sometimes the same one, like Pilgrim’s Progress, over and over again. I’m thankful for the way words can convict and compel, and for how he always guides us, even when we can’t understand why the path He points out seems so completely opposite to the one we were sure he called us to.

    1. Pilgrim’s Progress and Hinds Feet on High Places are two books that teach me something every time I open them. Love how God does that. <3

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