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
This book has had a profound impact on my life, and on my ability to live out my life as a Christian woman. Ever since the first time I read it in junior high, I have continued to find ways in which the teachings of this book have influenced by spiritual walk. In fact, I recently realized that I own every edition of this book that has ever been released. This book helped develop a passion within me to share and declare God’s truth of the subject of modesty. I also came to have a love and respect for the author, Dannah Gresh. Although I have read and been challenged by many of her books, this one left its greatest mark. Because of the seed that was planted in my heart with the teachings of this book, I eventually came to write a sermon on modesty that’s on YouTube, teach my first Bible study through this book, and even write a spoken word poem on modesty. The journey I’ve been on to understand the delicate power of modesty has been an incredible one, and one that I encourage every Christian girl and young women to go on. If you want to know more about this book, just ask ~ Bethel
Modesty. It’s a word that tend to make a woman cringe. It immediately invokes images of women wearing frock dresses, knitting their life away as an old maid. Many women find it easier to ignore what they know about the decency of clothing and instead want to use their body to their advantage to get attention or approval. They think it will fulfill them, but it usually ends up leaving them feeling used and empty. And most of time, they don’t know why. Sometimes, Christian girls know about modesty, but they end up being so in love with fashion or with the approval of others that they ride the modesty fence, dressing just modest enough for their parents’ approval, but having their hearts in the fashions everyone else is wearing. Everyone is so busy listening to the voices of our culture telling them how to fit it, they don’t even take the time to understand what modesty is really all about and why it’s important. They don’t even begin to take God’s perspective into consideration. It leaves us to ask the questions: what is modesty? And is modesty really that relevant to my life today?
In Dannah Gresh’s popular book, The Secret Keeper, you learn that modesty is not only relevant in our world today, but that there is delicate power within it, one that can be used for God’s glory. In this short but powerful book, Dannah leads you through an incredible journey of understanding this power, as well as helping you understand God’s purpose in this power. Plus she gives tips for how to check your outfits to make sure they are modest with some fashion tests. In the process of learning about your wardrobe reflects, you begin to understand that modesty is not just about what you wear; it’s a lifestyle that reflects your heart and your attitude. It becomes an expression of your obedience to the Lord. Coming to this understanding will change the way you see everything around you, if you fully embrace it. In a day and age where modesty isn’t valued or even acknowledged by the culture as a whole, Dannah’s teachings, packed with God’s truth, are needed now more than ever. If you want to know more about modesty and are ready to take God’s truth about the way we dress seriously, this is book for you. Whether you’re teen or pre-teen girl that is just trying to learn what God says about it, or you’re a young adult women who hasn’t studied on this subject before, this book is the perfect place to start. Get your copy today!
Another Great Resource
The story I’m going to share is a powerful personal journey. It’s one that I am amazed to look back on and see all that God was doing through the last several years to bring to fruition. The story of how, in the midst of a difficult season of my life, God used it as an opportunity to reveal to me a powerful truth. I eventually came to be able to share this truth publicly and see the impact it has had on other women like me. It all came about because of the phrase “A Princess Worth Dying For” and the truth associated with it. My hopes is that the truth will be even more powerfully proclaimed as I share the story behind what became my first spoken word poem.
What This Phrase Means
This phrase is applicable to every women who has ever lived and ever will live. Not only is it applicable, it’s also true of each and every women. Unfortunately, there are too many women that don’t know it’s true. Or if they have been told in some way or another, they have totally forgotten or disregarded it, and instead chosen to find their value in men or man-made things. It really and truly does break my heart to think that so many of us have been deceived in this area. I think it’s one of Satan’s strongest footholds in our society today. I know it was a foothold in my own life, until I learned what this phrase really means. Two main points stand out about its deeper meaning.
First, every woman is a princess. Now, before some of you roll your eyes at this analogy, I want to take it in a little bit of a different direction than you have probably heard it used. I use the term "princess" not as indication of her status or even the way she should be treated, but as a gauge of her value. In our world today, there are few women that are considered more valuable and precious that queens, princesses, first ladies, and the wives or daughters of those in the highest authority positions. Especially with today’s modern security measures, they are guarded like they are of the greatest value. Their security guards would give up their lives in the defense of these women, because of how valuable their lives and their work are to the country over which they preside. That’s the kind of value all women have in God’s eyes. Every women is that valued and precious in His sight. They are meant to be cherished and protected. Although I do think the princess analogy can be misused, it is one of the best ways I can find to explain this truth when presented in this way.
Second, every women is worth dying for. Every woman wants to know that someone loves her enough to lay down his life for her. The problem is that most women think they are unworthy of that kind of sacrificial love, which is heart-breaking to me. They think the guys that are that genuine would never be interested in them. But in reality, this quality in a guy isn’t just meant to be like Prince Charming of our dreams, but it is really meant to be the standard for what men should strive for. In other words, a guy that willing to lay down his life for a women should be an expectation or requirement, not an elusive dream that can’t be achieved. Especially once a man and a woman are married, this sacrificial love should be the standard of the relationship.
The truth is that we have had a man that laid down His life for each and every one of us. His name is Jesus Christ. The place where we should find our value is at the foot of the cross, because that is where Jesus declared that in His eyes, you were worth dying for. Your value is something no one on this earth has the right to define, because it was already determined on the cross. Regardless of anything you have done or what has been done to you, anyone can find this value in the sacrifice of Jesus. All you have to do is accept it for yourself. Once I started to understand this phrase in this way, things were never the same.
Where It Started
By the fact you are reading this blog post, you can probably assume that I like to write. Although it is true that I had only been blogging a little less than a year at the time I'm writing this, I have been writing in other ways for so much longer. But one of my greatest writing projects I’ve ever completed has, for the most part, never seen the light of day, and that’s because it’s a Lord of the Rings Fanfiction. I have essentially completed a sequel to LOTR that took me about 12 years to write. Really the only ones that know my story very well are those that have read my story on Fanfiction.net or on YouTube. There are several other friends in my life that know about my book, but haven’t necessarily read it. Some of these friends have asked me why I have been so determined to finish this book that I knew I'd never be able to publish. I think that what I'm about to tell you will explain the answer to this question.
One of the reasons I kept writing is because it was such a fun and creative way to write about the lessons I was learning in my own life while I was writing. I started to write this book around the same time that I made the decision to commit my life to Christ and be baptized. Because of this, the book became a reflection of my spiritual journey, especially in the life of my heroine. When I came to a time in my life when I was struggling with my self-esteem during college, I wrote this conflict into her life as well. Her struggle was so deep that when her best friend (King Aragorn’s son Eldarion) confesses his love for her and says he would die for her, she initially can’t even comprehend the feelings as true. She had gotten to the point where all she could see was the opinions others had of her.
One day in fall 2012 (probably September or October), as I was working on my book, I was specifically focused on this scene and struggling with finding the right words for Eldarion to break through her mental barrier and prove he loved her. Whatever I had previously written simply wasn’t working. But suddenly, out of nowhere it seemed, this line popped into my head:
“No matter what anyone has ever said, you are my princess…a princess worth dying for.”
I typed it out and stared at it on my laptop screen for a couple of minutes. I realized what a powerful truth it was, both within the context of this fictional story, and in my own life as it related to the powerful truth about Jesus’ love for me. This single line was what in the end sold this scene to me and to the few people that have read my book. And funny thing was, as much as I wanted to develop other parts of my story, I kept coming back to that scene again and again just to reread that passage. The lines surrounded this one expanded over time, but this line was the essence of what drove the scene. Sometimes, just reading it on the page makes me cry.
[If anyone is by any chance interested in reading my fanfiction online, click here. The scene I described here is in chapter 16]
Interesting thing was that for some reason, this line and the powerful truth behind it just wouldn’t go away. I was usually able to put my story away and not be thinking about it all the time, but that scene just wouldn’t go away in my mind. The connections to my understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross continued to get stronger over time. I eventually realized that this was a truth I wanted to maybe share with other women someday, but I wondered how I could, since the situation with sharing my fanfiction was complicated. Then, I figured out a small way to do it.
Fast forwarding to the next semester (Spring 2013), I was in a class affectionately called “chick preaching” (Biblical Communications for Women) and had to write a topical sermon. I decided to tackle the topic of modesty and as I mentioned in last week's blog post, this is a topic that is not only close of my heart, but also very directly connected to a woman’s understanding of her value. If you really believe that Jesus died for you, you are going to dress that you believe you are redeemed by the blood of Christ. As I wrote this into my sermon, my special phrase “a princess worth dying for” fell onto my heart again, and I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to share it. When the girls I shared the sermon with told me how much they appreciated what I had to say, I sensed that this was just the beginning of this powerful message.
When I Wrote the Poem
Some of you that read my post about meeting Jon Jorgenson have already heard this part of the story, but I'm going to share part of it again to illustrate the whole journey. As I mentioned in that post, although God was at work in my life during this time, I was in such a strange place mentally, emotionally, and spiritual during this whole time I was just describing. Although I knew this special phrase, I was still having a hard time accepting it. Just after I shared this sermon, a few things happened that made my singleness stand out, and I started to struggle with understanding why my relationship status has never changed. For several months, this struggle was always in the back of my mind, even as I entered my last on-campus semester of college. It was to the point that I had almost forgotten about my special phrase. Then in October 2013, someone on my dorm floor shared this video, which made me stop dead in my tracks.
The truths declared in this video are so powerful. For me, it was a reminder of not only how valued I am in God’s eyes, but also that I am capable of doing the things that I have been called to do, and that when I do, I can help bring change to our broken world. In the weeks that followed, I started making some changes in my life that needed to be made, especially in regards to my view of myself. I finally got to a point where I was healed from some hurts I had in relation to both my singleness and even my body image. It felt like I had literally been freed from a burden that had been weighting down on my heart for about two years. Even as I was on my knees praising God in tears of joy, my special phrase, “a princess worth dying for” fell upon my heart again. Suddenly, something clicked in my head to help me understand the fullness of what this phrase meant. The inspiration and most of the words of my poem flooded my mind over the course of a few days and I wrote them down on my document on my computer. It was crazy to see how fast the inspiration came, considering I’d never written a piece like that, but I also felt like God was giving me the words to say.
For that point on, this phrase really did start to become a sort of catch phrase. A little later in the semester, the girls on my floor were encouraged to make a two sided sign out of cardboard, one side having a phrase about your old life or struggles, and the other side about your new life in Christ or personal victories. It wasn’t hard for me to figure out what mine would say. The back said “Not Good Enough” and the front said “A Princess Worth Dying For.” We shared this signs with each other at our weekly dorm floor devotions. It really did feel like a moment of personal triumph when I showed the girls my sign and they applauded for me. It was a very special moment.
I thought that my poem was good, but I hesitated to widely share it at first. I decided to share it with a few of my college friends by asking them to read it and see what they thought. Even from the five or so friends I shared it with at the time, the response was so positive. I even had one friend that shared it on her blog. But beyond that semester, I kind of put the poem away for a while. I did pull it out on occasion and make a few revisions to it, but I didn’t try to share it again for quite some time.
When I Made the Video
About a year later, I was teaching a junior high girls Bible study on modesty, my poem came back to my mind. I thought about turning it into a video, but I was a little hesitant at first. Although I do enjoy video making, I didn’t have great video equipment and had no experience making that kind of video. But I couldn’t help but feel I needed to do it. I did want to share this message, especially with the girls of my Bible study. So in the end, I made to decision to go for it. I recorded this video in the same room where I did the teaching for the Bible study in my church building. In hindsight, it wasn’t the fanciest video I could have made, but for the resources I had at hand and the fact I made it by myself, it was good. I felt like I was faithful to what I was called to do with what I had.
[If you have never watched this video, please do!]
When I shared this video, the girls were so sweet about how much they liked it. Because I filmed it in the room I taught the girls in, I left the cross from the end of the video on the wall and used it as a prayer station for a prayer/reflection time I did with the girls after I showed them the video. At the end of the night, I also gave each girl a white stone with their name on one side, and on the other side it said, “A Princess Worth Dying For”
A couple of days later, I uploaded the video on YouTube and started to share it on my social media. Although it is not my most viewed video, I know that those that have viewed it have been touched. The share and comments I have gotten from people have been amazing. It is rather incredible to think how writing this poem about my personal experience has become such a powerful tool to help women see their value. It was in part from this reaction that I decided to seek out other opportunities to do more spoken word poetry on my YouTube channel. It all started with a short but simple phrase that taught me about my value in God’s eyes.
As I look back on this personal journey, I am still in awe of the powerful lesson God taught me and how I have been able to share it with others. As the time I am writing this, this video only has about 250 views, but I know it has made an impact in the lives of the few that have seen it. It’s awesome to see the impression it has left on the last few years of my own life. It has become one of the truths that I am most passionate about sharing with others. As I said earlier, this really has become a sort of catch phrase. Even as I was recently updating my bio on my social media sites, this was what ended up coming to my mind.
This really does describe me and my heart in so many ways, and I want to spend the rest of my life declaring that I worship the Living God because I am a Princess Worth Dying For. I hope that some of you have found inspiration in this story. If you have, please consider share this blog post or the video itself with someone that you think needs to hear it. If you are into the hashtag thing, use #princessworthdyingfor when you share. Let’s see how many women will believe this truth for themselves.
A Quick Update
Because this video and poem are so close to my heart, I have always wanted to reach as many people as possible with its message. For this reason, I took the opportunity to recreate this video. With the help of a friend that had the right video equipment, I was able to make the quality of video I wanted to make in the first place. I am adding this tag to this blog post the day I am releasing the new video, so I am not sure how well this new version will do. But I am hoping that no matter the outcome, I am being faithful with the little opportunities he places in front of me. And again, consider sharing the blog post or this video with the hashtag #princessworthdyingfor
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.
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