Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women is just that – a devotional book created just for those young ladies who are going through their pre-teen and teenage years, as they strive to grow into women of integrity, women of God. Published by the well-known company Zondervan, this is a lovely book that will visually appeal to just about any young lady.
Hardbacked with a foil-enhanced image of flowers on the front, this is a comfortable size. It is not a heavy book, even with the number of pages it contains to have one page per day of the year. The ribbon bookmark is secured in the binding and matches the lovely flowers just perfectly.
Each page has a motif that matches the cover, only without the foil enhancements. The day is a fancy font and it is a day (Day 1, Day 2, etc.) rather than a date (January 1, January 2, etc.) so that this devotional series can be picked up and begun at any time of the year. The Bible verse for the day is printed in pink (which is a tad hard to read for these old eyes) but complements the colors perfectly. The devotion thought is printed in black, making it stand out well. The end of the page has four lines for whatever the young lady would like to use it for: journaling, doodling, adding reference verses, etc. It is a visually beautiful book.
Let’s talk a bit about each devotion. As I mentioned there is a scripture followed by a few short paragraphs regarding something from the verse. These are fairly simple, without any challenging language or difficult sentence structures. Each devotion takes less than 10 minutes to read, think about, and discuss. My oldest would do each in about five minutes, which is a bit short for devotion times, in my opinion. Most of the devotions end with a real-life application of some sort, such a failing a test, dealing with someone who is unkind, or being afraid. Some of the devotions end with a challenge of some kind, such as the devotion regarding Naboth being killed by Jezebel that challenges the girls to not feel overwhelmed but to pick ONE thing and try to do it. (Day 264)
One thing I really like about this set of devotions is the number of women that are discussed. Your normal heroines are most decidedly included – Ruth, Esther, Mary, Naomi, Hannah and Sarah. However, there are some not so commonly thought about women included as well and that makes this an over-the-top good book, because even bad women can be good examples (of what not to be). Take Jezebel, Hagar, and the mother of Jephthah (the book uses her to reinforce that God can use any circumstance for His plan). While these women might not be ones that you would think of to say “be like her”, you definitely can use their lives to discuss what TO be and that is what this devotion does. Other women in this study include Zelophehad’s daughters, Manoah’s wife, Caleb’s daughter Aksah, and the woman Jesus healed from 12 years of bleeding. There are many, many role models here.
Our Use As A Family –
We used this devotion book daily as part of our morning time. I would read the verse from the book and then the devotional thoughts. We would discuss the things that the girls caught in the reading and then address any thoughts or questions they would have. We would do 2 or 3 of these each day. An example of some of the discussion we had involved Noah and his family. The girls wondered about other family members that would not have been on the ark – any other children, any daughters, his wife’s family, his daughters-in-law’s families, any grandchildren. It sparked some interesting thoughts and ideas. We pulled out the Bible to read more of the account and discuss what it really entailed for Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law to be on that boat. Heartache must have been a part of it yet these women were there.
Another family discussion we had was in regards to Hagar and Sarai. We talked about trying to take control of something away from God and how difficult it can be to wait on the Lord’s time. We also talked about how in the process of taking control of the situation, something came between Hagar and Sarai. So we talked some more about friendships and how to mend hurts. Day 23 talks about Hagar being ugly to Sarai after Hagar became pregnant and how that affects both of them.
Our Use As A Mother-Daughter Time –
Miss J and I were also reading this at our bed time readings. We had the book of Charlotte’s Web going so we just added a couple of these devotions to our time together each night. It was easy and only added a few minutes but it added a lot in terms of discussions and bonding. Miss J always had a comment to make about the reading (contrary to what it looks like with her quote below!). She often asked to read the passage from the Bible or to continue telling the story from the Bible. Some days, when she didn’t have much to say we might read three of the devotions. Other days, we would only get through one. This time allowed me to tailor the thoughts a bit more to her 9-almost-10-year-old-thinking. And it worked well.
A Heads-Up! Day 237 is a discussion of sex. No anatomy discussion or anything like that but it does talk a bit about the difference between martial relationships and extra-marital ones. The context is David and Bathsheba. For some this might be a deal breaker; for others, they just want the heads-up. So here it is. . . I have not read every single devotion so I cannot tell you for sure if there are other days that may have topics your young lady is not ready for.
The recommended age for this is 13-18. Middle school and high school girls could easily use this independently but I think it is appropriate for younger girls as well, just pre-read if you are concerned about content.
Thoughts from Miss E:
I think this is a really good book but I would enjoy it more if the devotions were a little bit longer. It felt like there wasn’t enough space for there to be a fully-formed thought on some of them. It felt like it didn’t go deep enough to really be a devotional and I would enjoy it more like that. Also, I like the fact that they included lots of lessons on good role models. Ruth and Naomi had a number of lessons each. Even though Ruth only has 4 chapter in the Bible, the devotions captured different characteristics of each woman and had a single devotion for each of those characteristics. I really liked that. I would really like to have seen this include an index that grouped the devotions by topic such as getting married, choosing your career, handling disappointment, and others. That would make this useful in more ways.
Thoughts from Miss L:
The ones we have done as a family have been good. I have enjoyed them. It doesn’t take a long time for each devo to get to the point so each one doesn’t take a long time.
Thoughts from Miss J:
I liked it. The flowers were very pretty. It was nice to read together.
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