Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: Brave Beauty

Media today inundates our girls with messages about bravery. Movies like Disney's Brave tell them that bravery comes from within. That they just need to search themselves for the bravery to change their fate and be whatever they want to be.

It sounds all nice and good. It motivates us for a few days or weeks or months. We cheerleader ourselves into an excited frenzy and go for the gold. Until we deplete the cheers and we search far enough into ourselves to realize we're empty. At rock bottom.

Unless... Unless we've got Christ living within us. The Christ Who tells us over and over in His Word to "Fear not," to "Take courage, for I have overcome the world."

Miss Esmé is 10 years old. How did this happen? She started a new adventure this year by enrolling in Roseburg Junior Academy, a small Christian school. Twelve students in her class, a mix of grades 5-8. She's "the new kid." After three years of schooling at home, it takes a little bravery to get up every morning and walk into the classroom.

So we've been starting every morning with a devotional reading from the book, Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You, by Lynn Cowell. Aimed at tweens like Esmé, the book is a set of 100 devotionals that invite girls to think about who they are in God's eyes. It's a gorgeous hardcover book with attractive, easy-to-read layout. The author uses a conversational tone to tell stories, some from the Bible and her own experiences, to inspire girls to face their days with bravery and confidence. Each chapter ends with a "Becoming Brave" or "Getting to Know You" interactive section, followed by a "Courageous Call," or first-person prayer personalizing the day's topic. While it's meant to be read by the girl alone (like a diary) to encourage honesty and intimacy with God, we've been reading together for purposes of this review.



Synopsis of Book
What will my life be like? Who will I be? Whether girls put these concerns into words or struggle anxiously with these thoughts, during this season of change, girls have questions. Sometimes these questions also come with fears and they need a safe place to process these fears. From Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and blogger, Lynn Cowell, comes Faithgirlz Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You. For girls 8-12, Brave Beauty brings tweens 100 courage-building moments to reflect on Scripture and find confidence in God, rather than in someone, some place, or some thing, as culture will all-too-soon tell them to. Lynn will also prepare girls to:
  • Overcome confidence-defeating thoughts and stand on who Jesus says she is.
  • Shape her self-worth on Christ and overcome the temptation base it on environmental factors.
  • Build a strong foundation to face the fickle and flippant opinions of others.
  • Find approval of herself even when she lacks the acceptance of others.
  • Find security by turning to Christ as she steps through the exciting, yet scary world of growing up
 Formatted as theme-based mini chapters, these moments can be read as one-a-days, one-a-weeks, or at the reader’s own pace. Simple and empowering, Lynn’s voice is relatable and conversational, making it easy for girls to feel like they’re spending time with a friend. This inspirational read will be set as a gorgeously foil decorated hardcover, with beautifully formatted pages in line with the well-known and loved Faithgirlz look, and with an easy-reference index to look up any topic.
About the Author
Lynn Cowell is a part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaking team, speaking to pre-teens, teens, multi-generational and women’s conferences and retreats on a regular basis. Girls often come up to her saying, "How did you know that's what I was going through?" Hearing direction and guidance on critical issues they face, Lynn encourages them to reach their fullest potential by finding the relationship in Christ they were created them for. For the past 18 years, her ministry has helped thousands of girls and their moms:
  • Replace loneliness, rejection, and pain with acceptance, affirmation, and approval.
  • Make decisions that lead women to reaching their fullest potential, rather than being a victim to emotionally-based decisions.
  • Shift faith in Jesus from a parental influence to a personal, growing relationship.
  • Develop and stick to boundaries that protect the heart, mind, and body.
  • Communicate with guys and other girlfriends in a healthy and positive way.
 In addition to speaking on the national level, Lynn reaches many through her writing as an author of three books, blogger, and devotion writer. As a regular contributor for the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ daily devotions, Encouragement for Today, her devotions reach an audience of over 800,000 subscribers. She has been a regular contributor for The Whatever Girls and The Mom Initiative. Lynn and her husband, Greg, of 30 years, are the parents of three young adults: Zak, Mariah, and Madi. The Cowells reside in North Carolina where they enjoy hiking in the mountains, wearing well-worn sweatshirts and eating anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter. 
Genre:  Christian girls' devotional; ages 8-12
Physical Description:  Hardcover, 320 pages
List Price: $15.99
To Buy: http://www.zondervan.com/brave-beauty

Mom’s Review:

Physical Book. This book is available in Kindle format, but I highly recommend the print version. Receiving the book was like receiving a sweet gift - just beautiful and a delight to page through with a modern, eye-catching design. In addition, there are spots to write in the "Getting to Know You" and "Becoming Brave" sections - these are definitely easier to utilize with a physical copy.

Focus. While the conversational tone is highly personalized and relevant to the reader, it's about God's work in you rather than simply about you. Unlike most self-help books, it ends each devotional with a conversation with the God who is the source of brave beauty. It starts with the very basic message of God's love and salvation (appropriate for even those with no Christian background) and grows from there. While there are plenty of scripture quotes, they are thrown naturally into the narrative rather than highlighted as a "verse of the day" (ensuring that they get read rather than glossed over... :))

100 Short Chapters. I've enjoyed my share of calendar devotional books, but I must say there's something to be said about simply having 100 chapters. You can start on any day of the year rather than waiting for January 1. You can read just on certain days (school days for us), and if you miss a day, you don't have to play catch-up, but just start where you left off. The chapters are short enough to fit in a busy day, but not shallow - the ending sections pull the reader in for introspection and connection with God.

Relevance. The author shares a lot of stories from her own tween years to make the book personal and relevant. To be honest, as an introspective former diary-keeper, I probably relate more to those stories than my daughter, who is a tackle-the-world-head-on extrovert who would rather write and share songs than journal about events and feelings, but there is still plenty for her to relate to.

Overall, this is a sweet way to add some God-given courage to each day and to counteract some of the self-focused messaging (both positive and negative) that your tween girl is constantly bombarded with. It would make a perfect gift for significant events like birthdays and Christmas, but can be started on any day of the year.

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"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Handlebar for coordinating this book for review and to Zondervan for providing the book. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

2 comments:

ann said...

I love the pictures with your tween girl and her brave book - beautiful smiles! And the pictures help to tell the story of the book also. A nice review!

Lynx said...

WOW! Looks amazing! Where can we get a copy?