Friday, December 7, 2018

Drawing Closer to God with a Devotional for Young Women {A TOS Review}

At the beginning of the year I started on a journey of reading through the Bible in three years in an attempt to get into the Word of God more consistently. It was also my desire to have my older girls, Tabitha and Amelia join me, so they could get into the routine at an earlier age than I did. This is definitely a habit I want to instill in the children. Unfortunately, even though we are only reading a chapter a day, they still fell behind and weren't able to catch up. I realized this expectation was still a bit much for them at 10 and 11 years old. However, I still want them to have a desire to wake up each morning and start their day with God. So, when I had the opportunity to review the devotional titled Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan, I decided to have Tabitha give it a try. 

This lovely 384 -page, hardcover devotional is designed for young ladies from the ages of 13 to 18. Even though Tabitha is only 11 1/2, I thought it would be suitable for her, and I was glad she agreed to give it a shot.   

After a short, one-page introduction, the author, Lindsay A. Franklin, shares 365 daily devotions which are also no longer than one page in length. Each day's reading begins with a short Bible passage from the NIV Bible. These passages range from one to three verses in length. This is then followed by a short, two to three paragraph devotional reading which focuses on topics that young ladies will find relevant in today's world. Each page concludes with four blank lines which are meant to be used for journaling or a short prayer to reflect on the day's reading. 

Here's a look at a couple of the pages.

The devotions begin by letting the reader know she is very much important in God's plan. Even though the Bible is inundated by stories of men, there are many women who are also important, women whose stories can inspire us, teach us, and show just how much we are valued, or beloved. After several days of looking at Song of Songs, Genesis, and then Proverbs where the reader takes a quick look at what an ideal (or nobel, or virtuous, or excellent) woman should look like, the reader will make her way through the Bible from Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers in the Pentateuch, into the historical books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd Chronicles, and Esther, before heading to the New Testament. At the end of the year, Tabitha will have read the stories of approximately sixty women from the Bible. 

As the reader goes through this devotional, she will find herself focusing on the story of one Biblical woman or girl at a time, sometimes for several days. The author focuses on one to three verses at a time, digging into the story and pulling out details that are made relevant to the reader. Sometimes there will be a day in the midst of a story where related Scripture is looked at, such as looking at verses from Micah when reading about Miriam, or looking at significant verses from Matthew, Hebrews, and James when learning about Rahab while in the book of Judges.

Let's look at a couple of the women that Tabitha and I have read about.

When looking at Eve, young ladies will be reminded that they are not defined by their mistakes because God sees beyond them and cares for them. From the story of Abigail, which is focused on for two weeks, young ladies are reminded that they should turn their anger over to God, not seek revenge, pursue peace, fill their lives with relationships with those who love God, but have room for those who we can share God with as well, and celebrate the good things that happen in life, along with quite a few other lessons. 

And that is just two examples of the women that are focused on in this devotional. Young ladies will also read about Noah's wife, Sarah, Hagar, Miriam, Ruth, Bathsheba, Tamar, the Queen of Sheba, Jezebel, the Shunamite woman, Mary the mother of Jesus, the Samaritan woman, Martha, Eunice, and so many more.  Each of these women's stories has something to teach young women.

Parents should be aware that  because of the wide age range this devotional is designed for, they may deem some material inappropriate for their child.  For instance, three weeks are spent on the story of David and his many missteps. This includes the stories of Bathsheba, and the mention of the difference of sex in marriage and outside of marriage, and the story of Tamar who was raped by her half-brother. In light of this, I would definitely say that this devotional is not appropriate for younger girls. It deals quite frankly with such topics in a way that is biblically sound, but still not needed for younger children to know. 

That said, this is a wonderful devotional for a teenage young lady, and even older women. I know I have gotten some interesting tidbits out of these stories, and the author has a way of making these stories relevant to our day and age, even talking in language that young women can relate to.

Tabitha has been reading this devotional by herself in the morning, and sometimes, if she is in a rush, she will also reread that days' reading before going to bed at night. She has been enjoying learning about different women in the Bible and how the characteristics apply to everyday life.

I have also been reading some of the devotional. Mostly so I could be able to write an informative review. However, I am getting quite a bit out of this book, and think I will continue reading daily. I started reading toward the middle of the book, as that is where my personal daily readings have been, in the book of 1 Samuel. That was how I happened to notice all this detail about the women in David's life.

I love the simple beauty of the devotional, and how it is so feminine with soft pinks and floral designs. I also appreciate that the devotions are not dated, but numbered, so a young lady can start at any time of the year. And if a day is missed here or there, it isn't going to throw her off track. 

I definitely recommend this devotional for the young ladies in your life. This would be a lovely gift for Christmas, to start the new year with these devotions, or even on someone's birthday or other special occasion. Personally, I would definitely wait at least until the teen years. I know I am debating if I really want Tabitha to continue into some of the details of these stories mentioned above. 

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Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates have to say about Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women.

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}
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