The challenges for women are many: Time pressure, changing gender roles, taking care of yourself and others, navigating relationships with God, family and friends, Bible study and personal faith.
The number one way to save time reading is to pick the best books. My favorite can’t miss books for busy Christian women are The Lazy Genius Way, The Five Love Languages, Hannah Coulter, Women of the Word and Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.
It helps to have some wise words in the areas where we struggle or have less experience.
If you’re looking for a place to start, these are some of my tippy top picks that have also been loved by thousands of women.
Consider it a jumping off place.
Not all are written by women. Not all are written for women. They are not even all Christian authors. But, they are ones that I’ve found to be helpful for a broad spectrum. Your next favorite is waiting.
Note: Book Cover Images are an Amazon affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase through Amazon a percentage of your purchase will support this site.
Must Read Books for Christian Women: Home and Hearth
The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
Be a genius about the things that matter most and be lazy about things that don’t is the Lazy Genius Way.
In easy to digest, bite sized pieces, Kendra Adachi lays out the rationale and outline for living life as a Lazy Genius. “Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t and Get Stuff Done ”.
The Lazy Genius Way uncovers the root of the life management problem, deciding what matters.
Paradigm shift is overused, but that describes it. Call it creating a new mindset, seeing things differently or approaching life management without the guilt.
One reason self-help books often don’t help is that they don’t have universal principles that are transferable. Getting up early, exercising or meditating first thing in the morning doesn’t work for everyone.
Kendra outlines principles that are transferable— Start Small, Decide Once, Ask the Magic Question, Go in the Right Order and Schedule Rest. And that’s just the beginning.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo’s little book is getting a lot of buzz, for good reason.
She attacks common myths such as “do a little every day.”
She poses a question when deciding what to keep and what to toss, “Does it spark joy?”
Simple, profound principles to help you get your living space in order.
The Nesting Place by Myquillen Smith
The Nesting Place takes a unique approach to home decor. Like the subtitle says, It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I loved Myquillan Smith’s practical ideas and low stress philosophy. The objective is to serve your your family by how you decorate.
Making your home useful and beautiful as a process, not to be showpiece, but to serve the family. Choose pieces slowly, decide the purpose of a room and make your home serve your purposes rather than you serving your home. It’s great for beginners, for those who don’t know where or why to start.
Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines is best known for her HGTV show Fixer Upper that she starred in with her husband, Chip Gaines.
But, her cookbook has gotten lots of attention for it’s down home, traditional recipes. A woman’s life can be highly invested in feeding the people she loves. A guidebook to do it better is always an asset.
Can’t Miss Books for Busy Christian Women: Life Management
Margin by Richard Swenson
“Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Today we use margin just to get by. This book is for anyone who yearns for relief from the pressure of overload. Reevaluate your priorities, determine the value of rest and simplicity in your life, and see where your identity really comes from. The benefits can be good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for God’s purpose.”– from Amazon
When we live without margin, we live on the edge. We live on the brink of breakdown because of the overload.
Swenson argues that we need that cushion of unclaimed resources as a buffer for times of crisis. We need margin in our lives in the areas of emotional energy, physical energy, finances and time. Using the maximum of every resource increases our stress and pain. Leaving some unused margin in our resources reduces our stress and pain and allows us to rest.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The 7 Habits is a classic for a reason.
The seven habits are highly actionable and give a framework for life.
Covey fully explains the seven habits as well as fleshing out practical implementations with some of the best stories in all of self-help literature.
The seven habits:
- Be Proactive.
- Begin with the End in Mind.
- Put First Things First.
- Think Win/Win.
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.
- Sharpen the Saw.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
In the avalanche of self-help books, Atomic Habits stands out from the pack. James Clear communicates clearly about habits, routines and systems making profound observations about the science of transformation.
There’s several reasons why Atomic Habits is such a great book. First of all, is the depth of understanding of how habits work in our lives and how powerful they are for life change.
Another reason is the power of habits to increase focus and productivity in our lives.
The third reason is that it’s a ground breaking book from a thought leader that challenges the status quo.
On his website, James Clear lists his top 100 recommended books, many in the areas of personal development and life change.
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Out of all the financial gurus out there, why listen to Dave Ramsey? What sets Dave apart is his understanding of human nature and the emotional roadblocks that keep people from make good financial decisions.
Part of his signature advice is the “debt snowball”. Arranging your debts from smallest to largest doesn’t necessarily make sense, except, you need the encouragement of seeing progress, of seeing a debt paid off . . . “sometimes motivation is more important than math”. This encouragement keeps you on track to meet your financial goals.
Another thing that sabotages a good plan is an emergency expense. Planning for emergencies is a bedrock principle for success financially, according to Dave.
He suggests two ways to do this. First is a small emergency fund. Later, a larger fund is created in preparation for a financial tidal wave.
It takes an intensity and focus to succeed financially. Dave calls it “gazelle intensity”.
The book oozes with stories of people who have overcome significant obstacles to achieve financial freedom. These serve as an inspiration and encouragement to those in the trenches.
Can’t Miss Books for Busy Christian Women: Relationships
Love and Respect by Emerson Eggeriches
Emerson Eggerichs articulates how couples can get out of the crazy cycle that puts their marriage in a tailspin.
He outlines a foundational mindset for building a strong marriage.
Drawing from biblical teaching, he zeroes in on the essential need women have to be loved and the need men have to be respected.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
This book has remained a perennial best seller as more people discover better ways to express love to the people that they love.
Gary Chapman explains the five main ways people express love and how to understand which way communicates best to individuals.
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron
What’s all the buzz about the enneagram? Why is there such a following for an ancient system of personality typing that seems to have no research behind it?
I put it in the same category as The 5 Love Languages. It gains a following because it rings true.
Of course. I should have seen it all along. But, of course, we didn’t. It seems so obvious when it’s all laid out. Yes. That is what I’m like. That’s how my friends and family tick. It all makes sense now. I get it. Because it rings true, it gains a following.
Can’t Miss Books for Busy Christian Women: Spiritual Growth
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
In the bestselling daily devotional Jesus Calling, Sarah Young writes as if Jesus is speaking to you directly.
This is my current favorite. I love the large print edition that has the scripture verses printed after the meditation.
Relevant and timeless.
Other highly recommended devotionals are Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies and Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. For a longer list of devotionals, read The Best Devotionals to Use or Gift.
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie OMartian
Stormie OMartian has written a series of popular books on prayer. All of them are helpful, and, if you’re married, The Power of a Praying Wife is a good place to start. If not, get yours hand on a copy of The Power of a Praying Woman. It includes practical helps to know what to pray and how to pray. Believing in something isn’t the same as knowing how and why to do it.
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkins tackles the challenges of Bible study head on. She admits that the work of Bible study can be difficult. She even admits that there are seasons in a woman’s life when serious Bible study isn’t possible. Another giant exhale. She addresses the problem of Bible literacy and the obstacles to Bible Study. She discusses how to use tools to study the Bible and some strategies and approaches to take. She even takes readers step by step through an example using the book of James. Beginners and seasoned Bible studiers alike can learn a lot. She articulates so many important things, even down to the difficulty and challenge of studying the Bible, and the importance of understanding the context, culture and original audience. She also gently points out the fallacy of making the Bible all about us instead of all about God.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Every person in the world knows pain and heartache. And every person can number their blessings.
Ann Voskamp challenges us to be intentional about looking for and expressing gratitude. It colors my thinking to this day.
I understand that her poetic prose doesn’t appeal to everyone. Grammar Geeks beware. But the message is universal and important.
Can’t Miss Books for Busy Christian Women: Inspiring Lives
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The ten Boom family takes their Christian faith seriously. They believe the Jews are God’s Chosen People and risk their lives to protect them.
Holland hides Jews from the Germans during World War II. Corrie ten Boom’s incredible true story of espionage, imprisonment and forgiveness.
They continue to trust God in spite of horrific circumstances and they see His hand at work.
Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
Five missionary men were martyred in Ecuador in 1956.
Elisabeth Elliot, one of the widows, tells their stories.
Each one knew the dangers of the mission field. Each one willingly gave their lives before it was taken.
This book is a clear reminder of counting the cost and complete surrender.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi
In 2017 I wrote 55 book reviews for my blog. The best book I read that year was Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi. I heard him speak at my daughter’s graduation from Biola University in December of 2016. At that time he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, which took his life in September of 2017.
If you don’t know much about him, here’s an overview of Nabeel’s life and impact.
I loved the account of the raw, treacherous journey that Nabeel Qureshi took to find faith in Jesus. The sacrifices he made, the intellectual, emotional and relational barriers that kept him from finding faith in Jesus and the story of overcoming those barriers.
Statistics are one thing. One person’s story is something else altogether. What difference can one person’s story make?
Why do we need to know Nabeel’s story? There are millions of devout Muslims on the planet. If we understand Nabeel’s story, we come closer to understanding the Muslim mindset.
Understanding opens the door to greater compassion. We share the same humanity. Our desires and dreams are common to the human experience.
If you’re interested in more compelling biographies or Christian apologetics, read my post Books Like Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.
Can’t Miss Books for Christian Women: Compelling Fiction
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
Hannah Coulter takes the panoramic view of a person’s life, the progression of a lifetime.
Sometimes when we sit down to a novel, we are looking for perspective, to find meaning for the daily grind. We need to see that what we do day after day matters. Hannah Coulter gives us a clue. For many women, all those meals cooked, all the time serving and caring others adds up to a lifetime of meaning.
Then there’s the small town, rural community. I think our deep longing for community resonates with what happens in small, rural towns where people know each other and care for each other, where lives intertwine in romance, conflict, partnership, friendship and commerce. And no man lives as an island, no matter how solitary they choose to live their lives.
Finally, there’s the strong female protagonist in Hannah Coulter. You might not realize she’s strong. Not at first. She’s the type of woman that is the glue of a community. Keeping her family together. Working the long hours to grow, process and prepare the food that keeps the whole engine running. She tends to the sick, stands by her man and brings up her children. She’s the backbone, the unsung hero. Being unassuming makes it hard to recognize her as strong.
Check out more books like Hannah Coulter.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Redeeming Love pops up on so many best of lists.
Few people are brave enough to craft a retelling of the biblical book of Hosea. Fracine Rivers wades in where others fear to tread.
This is the story of Angel, the prostitute, and her righteous husband who loves her consistently through her ebbs and flows.
One criticism that Christian fiction gets is that it’s formulaic. This is not. Somehow, Francine is able to confront the depth of evil and sin, while keeping the graphic parts off camera. Exposing the darkness emphasizes the light. What a remarkable feat.