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Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Stacy Reaoch

Posted On October 16, 2017

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)

I am a pastor’s wife, mother of four, and writer. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Ben. Together we serve Three Rivers Grace Church in Pittsburgh, PA. Our kids range from preschool to high school so, in some ways, I feel like I cover every corner of motherhood! It makes our life very full. This week my high schooler took the PSAT while I was teaching my preschooler the alphabet. When I’m not running the mom-taxi cab to various activities, I love being involved with women’s Bible studies, discipleship, reading, writing and exercising. I also love chocolate and driving alone with music blaringJ. I write for ministries such as Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Revive Our Hearts and here at Servants of Grace. My first book will be published this November with Cruciform Press- Wilderness Wanderings: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life.

What are you reading right now? I just finished Mark Dever’s book, Discipling. I’m also reading Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemth, Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry and am slowly working through Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot. My teenage daughter and I just finished going through Girl Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird together. I’m also working through Jen Wilkin’s Sermon on the Mount with some women at our church. Recently, I read Toy Story and an assortment of superhero books to my preschooler.

What are some books you regularly re-read and why? Choosing Gratitude by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. It’s all too easy to spiral downward into discontentment and ungratefulness when something doesn’t go the way I had hoped. Choosing Gratitude provides wonderful reminders to see God’s grace in every moment of each day. It’s convicting and encouraging at the same time.  This year I went through it with a group of women from our church. It was my third time reading it. Whenever I feel myself falling into self-pity or depression, I reach for this book.

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently? Not any recently- but I’ve enjoyed Elizabeth Prentiss by Sharon James, Susanna Wesley by Arnold Dallimore, Lives of the Three Mrs. Judsons by Arabella Stuart, and Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper.

Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith? I especially enjoyed reading the biography of Elizabeth Prentiss. I read her book Stepping Heavenward, which is a fiction book loosely based on her real life. It might be the most edifying piece of fiction I’ve read. I identified with her character in multiple ways, especially  constant battles with sin and her desire to honor the Lord. In ways, I felt like I was reading my own story. This led me to read her biography. I identified with her perspective on trials as a means of growing our faith. Also that she was married to a pastor provided keen insights on life in ministry.

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be? (my answer is specifically for women)

  1. Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
  2. Desiring God by John Piper
  3. When I Don’t’ Desire God by John Piper
  4. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  5. Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

What books have molded how you to serve and lead others in the gospel? 

Since I became a Christian in college (where I was beginning to be engulfed in feminism), much of my reading has pertained to what the Bible teaches about womanhood. It has definitely given me a vision for discipling other women and passing the spiritual baton. As I seek to encourage single women- Quest for Love by Elisabeth Elliot has been very influential. As I minister to wives and moms-  Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Wolgemuth and Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.  In regards to hospitality- The Personal Touch by Rachael Crabb. In an effort to fuel a passion for studying the Bible- Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus? 

In my weakness, He is made strong (2 Cor.12:9). I often feel like a cracked pot of clay that 2 Corinthians 4:7 talks about. I have good desires to serve others and love my family well but I often fail.  The exhaustion of daily life threatens to consume me. It’s in these moments when I realize how desperately I need the grace of our Lord each day. Life is not easy. Difficulty often surrounds us, but it’s never without purpose.  It’s often these very trials of life that draw me closest to my Savior.  And for that I am thankful.

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