If you’re looking for hope in a hopeless time...
If you need a reason to keep hanging on…
If you’re desperate to believe that God actually loves you without condition…
During the darkest days of my life, these books became the friends that cheered me on and reminded me that I wasn’t alone. They can do the same for you.
They’ll whisper, “You’re not crazy” as you read. They’ll sit silently with you as you weep. And they’ll help you get up and keep fighting when you feel like you can’t go on.
Are you recovering from the worst day of your life?
Are you deconstructing the faith narrative of your childhood?
Are you hungry to move away from a life rooted in fear, shame, and guilt?
Are you ready to integrate your mental, emotional, and spiritual health?
Here’s your chance!
These are the books that literally changed my life.
As a bonus, I’m including a signed copy of 4 of my books, plus a copy of Love is Oxygen, by Jarrid Wilson. That’s a total of twenty-one books!
I wish I could send these books to each of you, but only one winner will be chosen.
(And if you want EXTRA CHANCES TO WIN, share it with your friends, follow me on social media, and sign up for my free online resources. Good luck!)
*U.S. Residents only. No purchase necessary.
Giveaway begins 9/29/2019 at 7am CST and ends 10/15/2019 at 7pm CST. 1 Winner will be announced 10/16/2019 at 10am CST.
I’d like to think that if I had written From Pastor to a Psych Ward while watching the sun rise over a foggy London square, it might have sounded a little something like Reasons to Stay Alive. (Pip pip. Cheerio.) If you’ve ever read one of those “Notes to My Younger Self” letters, this feels like that. It's all about finding healing and hope in the midst of deep, dark, aching depression.
It’s Richard Rohr, y’all. Do I actually have to say anything else? If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like if Jesus facilitated your AA group, here you go. This book helped me understand how to dive below outward behaviorism and learn how to live from the inside out. (And that’s not just a cheesy Christian worship song.) If you want to move beyond codependency and a life filled with dysfunction, you need this book.
I have two brothers, and I’ve never wanted a third until Jonathan Martin. He gets it. His words make me weep. I could read this book over and over again because I find a God who is with me in the midst of deep suffering. Jonathan knows something about failure and finding the inescapable love of God at the very bottom of the sea. He makes me want to keep being a Christian. (Or maybe learn how to be one all over again.)
Sweet baby Jesus! Jen Pollock Michel is the most digestible mystic I’ve ever read. She helped me find boldness in calling myself a Christian Agnostic. She allowed me to lean into the questions, and find God there. This book is wise and kind and lyrical. It smells like old leather, expensive cigars, and Jesus. (No, I don’t actually know what Jesus smells like.) But this book - you’re going to love it. Forreals. It’s the definition of both/and for the Christian life.
Oh, Hannah Brencher, would you please move in next door? I want to have coffee. I want to share our little herb garden and be weird together and share our dreams and ugly cry and let our dogs be best friends. You must be the coolest chic in Atlanta and I seriously can’t thank you enough for giving me permission to take a deep breath and love myself through the journey of adulting. Cause it sure ain’t easy.
Over the past couple of years, Suzanne has become a dear friend. Her writing is brilliant, but her message is even more beautiful. This 90-day walk through Scripture is an affirming devotional for LGBTQI+ individuals and the people who love them. If you long to believe in a God who has made space at the table for ALL, you're going to love this devotional.
I just can’t. Every word is an “amen” or an “oh my gosh.” The message of Searching for Sunday continues to wreck my wife and me in all the best ways possible. Rachel's thoughts on both communion and healing are two of my favorite pieces of writing and theology ever.
Nadia Bolz-Weber is like the youth group rebel who sneaks out of Sunday School to smoke cigarettes, but would absolutely kick a bully’s ass for picking on the gay kid, no questions asked. Accidental Saints is about the holy ordinary, about wrestling and struggling and questioning together, and finding God in the midst of it all. (And that ain’t no accident.) This is the first book I read after realizing I was deconstructing my childhood faith. And what a gift it has been.
I want to be Jamie Tworkowksi when I grow up. His work is the perfect balance of hope, encouragement, and practical help to get better. Reading If You Feel Too Much is like opening a love letter from your very best friend. This may be your favorite of the list. It’s certainly one of mine.
Daring Greatly is the book that opened my eyes to the power of shame and gave me powerful tools on how to conquer it. Brene Brown is the older sister we all wanted as a kid & the one we still need as adults. Daring Greatly changed my marriage more than marriage counseling. Seriously.
Wait. You mean we’re all imperfect? You’re telling me you’ve screwed up, too? You mean that when I’ve totally blown it, I’m not actually a failure, and there might be some beauty and goodness, just beneath the surface of my biggest mess-ups? Yes. And this is the book that taught me exactly that. We are all perfectly imperfect. Hallelujah.
Oh, Annie. You read like a chain-smoking poet. The kind of chain-smoking poet I’ve always wanted to be. Your words are a balm. And in the very next breath, they are an oh-my-God-I-can’t-breathe-what-did-she-just-say-gut-busting-laugh. Traveling Mercies gave me permission to keep on failing as I stumble toward Jesus. It’s hopeful, strangely ordinary, and every other line could be an Instagram quote. No, really.
I stopped reading the Bible for several years. But because I’ve been a fan of The Robcast for a long time, I knew I had to read this book. And I’m so glad I did. What is the Bible? helped me love the Bible (and maybe God) again. Each page challenged me to look beneath the surface of the traditional story to find a whole new world of possibility.
Ed Bacon is one of my dearest friends. Lindsey and I love Ed and everything he stands for. I’ve said, “God is Love” for several years, and 8 Habits of Love helps understand how we might embody that kind of Love in daily life. What if your only spiritual practice was Love? And what if that was enough?
In the midst of deconstruction, it's so important understand that you're not alone. Brandon Carleton's book was like sitting down with a trusted friend who wasn't afraid to say, "Oh yea, I've been there too." I'm grateful for this journey, and I have an itching suspicion that this guy hasn't walked away from faith at all.
Liz Edman was my first Episcopal friend. And the first priest I ever met who is openly gay. She quickly became (and remains) one of my favorite humans. I love Queer Virtue because it empowered me to move beyond the “Is being gay a sin?” question to the “How can queer Christians teach the rest of us to better love God?” This book changed me in ways I still can’t quite verbalize. This book is like sitting with a wise, way-too-smart-for-words, compassionate friend who will hold your hands and love you exactly as you are.
In my latest book, I venture beyond the borders of "Christianity" and "mental health," and write from the heart for anyone who feels overwhelmed. If you're desperate to come up for air and breathe again, I think you're going to love this book.
2. I Love Jesus, But… - by Steve Austin and Robert Vore (signed by Steve)
Robert and I have both spent time wrestling with mental illness in the context of the Christian faith. Countless times, we've said things like:
In this little book, we reflect on the statements above and provide you with reflection questions, resource suggestions, and lots of encouragement.
3. Self Care for the Wounded Soul - signed by Steve Austin
This 21-day journal will help you take ownership of your life, and that begins with good self-care. It’s hard work, but you can do it. No more running, no more hiding, no more masks. No matter what your journey has looked like so far, recovery is possible.
4. From Pastor to a Psych Ward - signed by Steve Austin
I wrote this (my very first) book for anyone who has hit rock bottom, and for the folks who love us through the chaos. It's a story about wounds, failure, redemption, and recovery. I live my life with the Bible in one hand and my prescriptions in the other. Sound familiar? Then you're going to love this book.
5. Love is Oxygen - Jarrid Wilson
In Love Is Oxygen, you will engage with the reality of God's love as something you can know and personally experience. This love transcends fear and circumstances, and it pushes us into places we never imagined. After all, living God's love is like breathing - it gives life as we breathe it in...and then we can't help but breathe it out to the people around us.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
My 5 Favorite Books of the Year
4 Ways Your Church Should Look More Like a Psych Ward
It’s Time for the Church to Confront Mental Health (via USA Today)
Suicide: Let’s Talk about It (podcast)
Pastors and Suicide: How Do We Keep this From Happening Again?
Suicide Survivors: 7 Things to do the Day After You Leave the Psych Ward
GUEST POST: The Velveteen Rabbit, Impossible Magic, and Finding Authentic Faith
Guest Blog – Worthy and Unashamed: Facing Mental Health Stigma in the Church Head-On
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