School is out, textbooks closed, summer is finally here. Barbecues, pool parties, and boat rides replace routine class schedules. After a taxing semester, students are ready to relax without school demands. But does relaxing preclude pleasure reading?
For me, summer is a time to read books that have been sitting on my shelf all year, accumulating dust. While I enjoy reading light-hearted literature with a gripping plot and strong climax, I especially enjoy books that provide important principles about how I can strengthen relationships. These three books have taken me on journeys of love, hope and forgiveness.
The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness by Kris and Jason Vallotton
Jason Vallotton thought that he had the perfect life. He was happily married and had two beautiful children. Everything seemed to be going just right. But one day, Jason discovered that his wife, Heather, was having an affair. Without warning, Heather insisted on a divorce. Crushed, betrayed and confused, Jason shared the news with his dad, Kris, a pastor who never dreamt that one of his children would go through a divorce. During the next few years, the Vallotton family walked through the darkest times of their lives.
Jason and Kris Vallotton provide a detailed account of those dark years where hope seemed lost. Using their own personal story, Jason and his dad illustrate how God brings healing in the most difficult times. This book holds the key to freedom for those who feel like they have been trapped by the pain of past memories. Jason's ability to be transparent will help the reader to feel strength and courage in the midst of personal challenges.
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
In the book, Boundaries, Henry Cloud and John Townsend show, from a biblical perspective how to set healthy boundaries with friends, parents, coworkers, spouses, children and even yourself. They emphasize that, at times, saying "no," is a loving response.
This book discusses physical boundaries-the freedom to decide who has the permission to touch you; mental boundaries-the freedom to think for yourself; emotional boundaries-the freedom to disengage from manipulation; and spiritual boundaries-freedom to separate your will from God's will for your life.
Townsend and Cloud unpack the "Ten Laws of Boundaries" and show you how to freely walk as a loving, giving and fulfilled individual, without guilt, shame and condemnation.
Quest for Love by Elisabeth Elliot
Every girl dreams of the day when Prince Charming will come and sweep her off her feet. But what if he doesn't come as soon as he should? Everyone has a longing for intimacy and fellowship, a sense of belonging that can only come in a marital relationship. Is he the one for me, the man of my dreams? This question has spurred many single women on a quest to find their life-long partner. As a result of this deep longing for intimacy, many girls have looked for their Prince Charming in the wrong places, often finding themselves wounded and rejected.
In Quest for Love, a series of answers to letters from readers, Elliot responds to the writers' confusion about their singleness and inability to wait patiently for the men of their dreams. She brings a fresh approach to concepts of commitment, integrity and honor and shows how they apply to singleness today.
Between the letters, Elliot interweaves stories of how men and women found love by waiting on God. She illustrates, through example, what happens when a love life is directed by Jesus Christ.
Editor's note: This is the 13th in a series of summer reading recommendations from World on Campus writers. Each writer chose a few of his or her personal favorites to share with readers who might be looking for something new, or old, to dive into before class starts next semester. Don't miss the other reviews in our Summer Reading series. Enjoy!