When I first read the description of this book, I was drawn to it. It seemed like a book worth checking out, so that’s what I did. It was a book that took much longer than I expected to complete, but I was so grateful when I did. I enjoy the perspective of both Chris and Megan as their poured their hearts out onto the pages of this book. I completely relate to a desire to want to help women see their beautiful, their value, and their potential in Jesus, not in the answers our culture tries to provide. Although a few of their theological points were a little off and their some of the point of view shifts were a little confusing, I enjoyed the book and got a lot out of it. I also really enjoyed the chapter written by their husbands at the end of the book. If you have struggled with making peace with your reflection, this is a book I would recommend ~ Bethel
“Beautiful” is a word that is overused and even misused in our culture today. Women in our world are constantly bombarded by messages that distort their understanding of beauty and self-worth. It makes many of them desperate reach for idealistic goals that no one can achieve and may even cause self-harm in the process of getting there. This often results in an obsession over our reflection or a hatred of our reflection. Either way, so many of us don’t know how we will ever see ourselves as beautiful. It makes us ask the question: Can I really make peace with my reflection?
In the book Beauty Begins, Chris Shook and her daughter Megan Shook Alpha help their readers make peace with their reflection by finding the places where beauty does begin. This mother and daughter team walk through the lies that our culture sends that distort our perception of beauty. They help us identify our struggles in this area of self-worth, demonstrating that the scars from this area of brokenness can heal into something more beautiful. Finally, they encourage their readers to rebel against the mold that our culture tries to put them in. We are reminded that when we focus on our internal beauty through our thoughts, attitudes, and actions, that will be what will make us the most beautiful and will leave a legacy that honors the Lord. All of this is done in the context of Scriptures and stories from the lives of both Chris and Megan that make the truths they present stand out. When you come to the end, you are given hope that beauty can be found outside of our culture’s cookie-cutter mold, a beauty that will last into eternity.
This book is honest and relatable in so many ways. This mother-daughter are a great pair for this project and you will hopefully be inspired to find true beauty, if you take the time to read. I would recommend this for girls about 15 and older. Get your copy today!
*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange in this review
Male-Friendly Rating. This book is a great option for fathers and husbands trying to understand issues related to beauty in our culture, especially since there is an addendum written by the authors’ husbands, Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha, as a challenge to men. Even if their just read that portion, it could be of great value to them
Personal Rating. I had two critiques of the books. First, there were moments while I was reading that I struggled to identity the narrator’s voice between the two authors. Second, there were a few comments made throughout the book that I disagree with from a theological point of view. Aside from those small issues, this is a great book that I would recommend.
When I was part of the launch team for the book Girl Defined a year ago, our whole team received this ebook as a gift. I was quite excited about it, since I was really inspired by Girl Defined and enjoying studying the topic of modesty. When I finally took the time to read it, I couldn’t put it down! I loved Bethany’s and Kristen’s perspectives on the topic, especially when it comes to grounding our view of modesty in Scripture. This is something that millennials need to learn, not just in relevance to modesty, but in all areas of life. Although some of their opinions on modesty standards are a little more conservative than my own, I was challenged to re-evaluate my own standards, which is a good thing to do when it comes to modesty because fashion is an ever-changing presence in our culture. It challenged me to remember that my standards of modesty must always seek to honor God, which is exactly what these girls do. Their passion came through once again as it did in Girl Defined. Part of me wishes that the book could have been longer and had been a physical book! This is a great resource that I would highly recommend to women of all ages ~ Bethel
When it comes to modesty, most girls don’t want to think about it. We have all had fights with our parents about the appropriateness of our outfits. We all want to be beautiful and attractive without regarding the consequences. So many of us have bought into the lie that modesty and fashion do not go together and therefore, we can’t honor God and still keep up with the latest fashion trends. Our culture is trying to sell to us that the less clothes we wear, the more attractive and empowered we will be as women. All the while, as we reveal more of our body on the outside, we also expose our struggles with attitude and selfishness on the inside. These leaves so many of us caught in the tension of wanting to honor God, but not wanting to dress like our grandmothers. It makes us ask the questions: What does God think about modesty? Is there a way to dress modest and fashionable?
In the book Project Modesty, Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird share a biblically grounded perspective about the importance of modesty in the life of a Christian woman that wants to honor the Lord with her life. They walk through the problems with our culture’s views on how much we can take off and then they walk us through the reason why we even have to wear clothes, tracing it always back to the Garden of Eden and the first sin. They help us understand that modesty isn’t about rules; it’s an act of obedience to God and shows gratitude for all Christ did for you. They even bring in the opinions of a few guys to help us understand the importance of making modest wardrobe choices. After they walk through the reasons, they actually demonstrate what modesty looks like, and how you can still be fashionable in the process of being modest. They devote about half the book to walking through their personal modesty standards in several different areas of clothing, and then showing you how you can wear things modestly but including dozens of full color pictures of Kristen, Bethany, and their younger sisters modeling their fashionably modest outfits. In the end, you are left with a powerful challenge to honor God in your wardrobe choices, but you are reminded that you can still dress fashionably in the process.
I love how theological sound and straightforward this book is. Bethany and Kristen pack a lot of great truth into this ebook and this is one that I highly recommend. This ebook is currently only available for purchase on Bethany and Kristen's blog, Girl Defined Ministries. To purchase a copy, click here. Get your copy today!
Personal Rating. My only criticism of the book is that their personal standards of modesty are possibly a little too conservative in relevance to the topic of swimwear. (Although I agreed with most of what they said, I personally believe that there are modest and appropriate ways to wear one piece bathing suits.) However, even though I did not completely agree with the standards they presented, they challenged me to re-evaluate my own standards, as I think it would for you too. So in the end, I still love this book and would recommend it to anyone!
Another Great Resource
If you are interested in learning more about the topic of modesty, then I recommend that you also check out the blog of Bethany and Kristen’s younger sister, Rebekah. Hello Modesty is a website dedicated to “inspiring Christian girls to dress modestly while still looking totally adorable.” Like her sisters do in Project Modesty, Rebekah shares pictures that demonstrate ways to dress modestly for all sorts of occasions. If you like Project Modesty, then you definitely want to check out Hello Modesty (click here)!
When Heather Hart (an acquaintance from a book launch team) approached me about reviewing a book she co-authored, I was excited. Although it took much longer than it should have to finally read it (like 9 months after I first received it! Opps!), I was grateful that I finally did. This book is powerful, relevant, and necessary in our culture today. Shelley worked hard to make her original edition of the book more relevant by bringing Heather on as a co-author, and I think it really paid off. As an adult, I find that I need to be reminded of my worth in God’s eyes, especially in the middle of a world that gives so many unfulfilling methods to find our value. Not only do I think that this book is great for teen girls (the primary target audience), but as a youth leader, I think this book is a fantastic resource for anyone working with teen girls, because it covers so many relevant topics. I also found that like Shelley and Heather, I too have a heart to proclaim similar truths about finding confidence in Christ to women that need to hear it, especially teen girls. This is definitely a resource I will use in the future. Thank you Heather for reaching out to me to review this book. I was greatly blessed by it. I know that any other woman or teen girl that reads it will be too ~ Bethel
Every girl wants to be beautiful. We all want so desperately to be thought of as attractive, especially by guys our age. But unfortunately, in the process of trying to achieve that beauty, we often turn to the wrong sources to find and keep our beauty. Everyday makeup, inappropriate clothes, overdone hairdos, relationships (good or bad) with guys, and the list could go on. In addition to that, as we seek affirmation, we also struggle with what the world tells us about how to live our lives and where we can find our happiness and contentment. They all look appealing, especially since everyone else is doing them, but none of them really work. All of this makes it hard to live life as a young woman in our culture today while keeping our self-assurance and our self-esteem intact. It makes us ask the questions: How can I find assurance in our world today? Am I really beautiful, or is there another way to measure my value and worth?
In their book, Mirror Mirror…Am I Beautiful (2nd Edition), authors Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart answer the questions of where women (especially teen girls) should find our value as well where to find assurance in our culture today. They take the opportunity to address many relevant issues that are so prevalent in our culture, and they share ways that we can understand them from a biblical perspective and demonstrate how we can use our responses to honor the Lord in the process. What makes this book so relevant is the number of topics it covers. This isn’t your typical Christian book on beauty and self-esteem; it’s really a guide book to help you find your confidence in Christ and to live your life in such a way that expresses that confidence. And this confidence in Christ will be what will make you beauty, not anything you can do to yourself or for yourself. All of this is communicated in easy to understand language and relevant examples from the lives of the authors and from other girls and women just like you. There are even discussion questions for each chapter in the back of the book that can be used for a Bible study. Whether you struggle with not having enough confidence in Christ, if you find you have too much confidence in the world’s ways, or if you find you’re somewhere in between, this book is for you. I would recommend to any teen girl around 15 or older, or anyone that works with teen girls, like parents, youth sponsors, or teachers.
This book, as well as a leader’s guide for the Bible study, are available on Amazon (both paperback and Kindle) as well on the book’s website: www.FindYourTrueBeauty.com. Get your copy today! (Remember to look for the 2nd Edition from 2016. The 1st Edition was released in 2008 by just Shelley Hitz)
Personal Rating. My only criticism of the book is that the quality of the printing and style of the book make it apparent at times that the book was self-published. I also did not completely agree with their conservative view on swimwear or their plan on salvation. Other than that, this is a great book and a great resource
Jessica Rey first came to my attention when Ted-Talk style video titled “The Evolution of the Swimsuit” went viral back in 2014. In this video, she talked about the progression of women’s swimwear, the scientific research that explains the consequences wearing bikinis has on men’s minds, and how we came regain a sense of modesty in today’s culture. I was so compelled with she said, I shared with the girls of my Bible study a few months later. In this video, she mentioned that she was writing a book called “Decent Exposure” about the topic of modesty, and I knew that it was a book I definitely wanted to read. Although it took me a while to finally get a copy, I was so excited when I finally did. This book was written to be a guide for young women about how to be modest and feminine yet still fashionable in a culture that is sending too many wrong messages. Although the book is a little more expensive, it is totally worth checking out if you want to honor God with your fashion and femininity ~ Bethel
We live in a world that tries to define a woman’s femininity by how confident she is in her sexuality. But the problem is that the standard of what defines that confidence continues to change. The amount of clothes that is considered socially acceptable continues to decrease. Women exposing their chests, backsides, and mid-drifts is normal, and in the process, the quality of the men that are attracted to these women also decreases. Yet at the same time, our world continues to convince us that we must be equal to men in order to have our proper value in society. What results is that many of the women in our culture have become hard-hearted and in reality are no less confident than when they started. It makes us ask the question: is there a way to be decently exposed in today’s culture?
In their first book, Decent Exposure, Jessica Rey and Leah Darrow walk you through what it means to be decently exposed in a culture where standards on decency are out the door. These ladies walk you through the lies of our culture, including how they want you to be dissatisfied with your appearance and how we aren’t truly equal to men in everything except our value. They discuss the consequences of following the world’s standards of decency, including its impact on the guys around you and your romantic life. And finally, they give you practical standards on how to determine the decency of the clothes you wear, as well as practical tips for fixing issues if your clothing doesn’t measure up. They make sure that you understand that you can dress modestly and fashionably at the same time, even if the world tries to tell you otherwise. This is all done in the content of a book with beautiful and colorful pages that will engage and challenge every women that takes this message to heart. This book speaks to the heart of what young women of this generation need to hear about modesty, but does it in a way that is inviting and appealing.
I would highly recommend this book to any young women 15 or older, and well as any older women that want to find ways to communicate the truth about modesty to the younger generation. This book is primarily available on the book’s website or on Jessica Rey’s website (which is the best deal), but you can also find it for resale on Amazon. Make sure to get your copy today!
Personal Rating. My only criticism of the book is that there is not Scriptural content at all. There is one reference to checking the personal standard of your "church or synagogue" and that's as far as it goes. Aside from lacking Biblical content, this book is a great resource on the topic of modesty I would likely recommend
As this year draws to a close, I wished I had more time to write. Between having a few small jobs and other commitments, finding time to write just proved to be very difficult this year. However, one of the things I find write about more this year is books. I have essential become primarily a book blogger. It’s something that became bigger than I realized, and something I did not initially imagine myself doing when I started blogging. My first year of this blog (2015), I reviewed only two books, and they were books I reviewed because of my involvement in their book teams. This year, I have reviewed over a dozen books, only two of which were because of book teams. I have found so much joy in getting to summarize such great books so that I recommend them to others.
When it comes to reviewing books, I have three ways a review comes about: 1) I write a review of a book I know so well, I don’t have to reread it. 2) I remember some of a book, but I choose to reread it in order to properly review it. 3) I heard great things about a book I’ve not have the chance to read and I write my review just after I finish it for the first time. This post will give you the list of the best books from this third category that I’ve reviewed over the course of this year. I enjoyed all of these books immensely, so it was really hard to rank them. But in the end, I went the messages that made of the greatest impact on my life over the last year. Here it goes:
There you have it. I have many other books, both I haven’t read before and books I have read previously, that I look forward to reviewing over the next year. Many next year I can get 2 dozen books! Anyway, if any of you have a favorite among this list, or if you read some great books this year, I’ve love to hear about it in the comments. I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
Living in the Redemption of the price Jesus paid for you and me.
My name is Bethel, and welcome to my site, Princess Worth Dying For, where I hope to share Christian reviews, Christian Spoken Word, and a Christian Insights on everything from modesty to musicals. My main focus on this blog is book reviews, and the main focus of my YouTube channel is spoken word, but I do crossover work with both.
Like My Facebook page here: