Are you ready to blossom?
Faith is like a flower. In order to grow, it needs soil, water, and sun—food for the spirit. That’s just what this devotional is. Spiritual food to help your faith grow strong and beautiful.
Featuring 365 days of wisdom from your favorite Faithgirlz! authors, as well as quotes and questions from real girls like you, this devotional offers pages of inspiration on everything from navigating friendships, to taming the tongue, to trusting God in everything, big and small. Growing up can be tough, but Jesus is guiding you every step of the way.
Beauty of Believing combines the talents of Faithgirlz! authors Tasha K. Douglas, Mona Hodgson, Kristi Holl, Lois Walfred Johnson, Allia Zobel Nolan, and Nancy Rue, and their words of wisdom will help your faith bloom and flourish as you grow into the girl God wants you to be.
About the Author
Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband, Jim, have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.
Allia Zobel Nolan is an internationally-published author of over 200 children’s titles and adult trade titles. Her books reflect her two main passions, God and cats. Zobel Nolan lives and writes in Connecticut with her husband, Desmond Nolan and their two feline children.
Friend of families Lois Walfrid Johnson is a speaker, teacher of writing, and former instructor for Writer's Digest School. She is the author of the Gold Medallion Book Award winning series Let’s-Talk-About-It; Stories for Kids, the best-selling Adventures in Northwoods novels, the Riverboat Adventures series and the Viking Quest series. Readers from more than 40 countries have written to say, "I love your books. I can't put them down." Lois and her husband are the parents of three married children.
Kristi Holl is an award-winning author of dozens of middle-grade novels and six devotionals for girls. As a writing instructor with a background in elementary education, Kristi's books are on many recommended reading lists and have been nominated for numerous Children's Choice Awards. Kristi is married and has three grown daughters. She lives in San Antonio, TX. Visit wwwkristiholl.com to learn more.
Mona Hodgson is the author of nearly 30 children's books and also writes 19th century historical fiction. In addition to writing and speaking, Mona likes to read mysteries and love stories, hike Arizona, travel to Africa, play table games, and play Wii Tennis. She lives in central Arizona where she spies roadrunners, quail, cottontail rabbits, and even an occasional skunk in her yard.
Tasha K. Douglas is a daughter of the Father, a wife, and a mother of four. A believer in the transformative power of stories, Tasha communicates the message of the Father’s love to women and girls, whom she calls sisterfriends. A native Texan, Tasha and her family live near Dallas.
Read an Excerpt
The Beauty of Believing
By Tasha Douglas, Mona Hodgson, Kristi Holl, Lois Walfrid Johnson, Allia Zobel Nolan, Nancy Rue
ZONDERKIDZCopyright © 2014 Tasha Douglas, Mona Hodgson, Kristi Holl, Lois Walfrid Johnson, Allia Zobel Nolan, Nancy Rue
All rights reserved.
Section I—Growing Seeds of Faith
* * *
Let Your Christ-Light Shine
I've never been what you would call "model material." I wasn't voted Homecoming Queen or named "Cutest" for my high school yearbook. In fact, in middle school I probably would've been chosen "Most Awkward" if they'd had that category! And you know what? It was hard to be the tallest, the one with the most pimples, the one with the haircut most likely to be laughed about when all the Very Cool Girls were gathered in the bathroom. Nobody ever used "Nancy" and "beauty" in the same sentence, unless it was to say I wasn't one.
About grade nine, I started accepting that I wasn't headed for the Miss America Pageant, and I decided that the one thing I had going for me was being able to make people laugh. Since people like to laugh, they liked me. Then I discovered that I just automatically encouraged people and helped them see the good in themselves, so I did that more. Pretty soon, people who had problems (even the Very Cool Girls) were coming to me to vent. Eventually, I thought less and less about how not-so-cute I was next to the VCG's.
I didn't realize while all that was happening that God was behind it, that the changes in me were happening because I believed. I was simply showing the beauty within. My life pretty much revolved around the church and I prayed every day and hung out with other believing kids. But it still didn't occur to me until years later that it was all God's doing. I had the beauty of believing and I didn't even know it.
If I had known it, I could have avoided some mistakes, like sneaking the makeup my mom said I couldn't wear and hurting two really nice guys by secretly dating both of them at the same time because they both said I was cute (seventeen can be a very clueless age, just so you know). If I'd been even closer to God, I would have been aware that the beauty of Christ's light shining through is better than mascara and compliments. I hope what you're about to read will teach you the same thing.
* * * 1
"And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again."
—Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
God is the master builder, in charge of constructing your life. He began his good work in you, and he will keep building your life until it is finally finished. Ephesians 2:10 says, "we are God's handiwork" or "masterpiece."
Masterpiece, huh? What about the days you're a rotten friend, a mouthy daughter, an insensitive sister? Are you still God's handiwork? Yes, without a doubt.
God is building a great work of art in your life, but many days you won't look, act, or feel like a masterpiece. It takes time. Like the buildings you see go up, the beautiful and sturdy ones aren't built in a day or a week or a month. Some days they don't look like a masterpiece at all—no one would guess how beautiful the finished work will be.
Your life is like that. Each of us is a "work in progress." God loves us just as much on the days we mess up as the days we shine for him. He knows our life is a learning process—and he sees the finished masterpiece he has in mind.
More to Explore: Philippians 1:9 – 11 and 3:13 – 14
Girl Talk: Do you feel like you are under construction? Can you see God working in your life?
God Talk: "Lord, thank you for never giving up on me. I want to keep working toward being a masterpiece for you. Amen."
From No Boys Allowed by Kristi Holl
"How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands."
—Psalm 119:9 – 10
The Ultimate Coach
Olympic skaters and gymnasts have their own coaches. These professionals are with them constantly, long before the big event, working them for hours every day to get them ready.
They have their athletes out there running and doing pushups and lifting weights—things an audience will never see them do, but which are totally necessary if they're going to be in shape for competition.
Living your life isn't like preparing for some big event, because your events are happening all the time. But in order to be in shape for all the things that are going to come your way, you too need a Personal Trainer. Guess who?
God is there to train you to have great relationships, to serve him to the fullest, to make a difference in this world. Those are things other people will sit up and notice. But to do those things, God will put you through some things no one else may ever see. Things like praying long and hard, listening when it seems like the answers will never come, confessing with big tears on your face, obeying in little things nobody will think to praise you for.
Sign up for his training program, and you'll be ready for anything.
More to Explore: 1 Corinthians 12:27
Girl Talk: What is something that God is training you to do?
God Talk: "God, thank you for caring about me so much and for being my own personal life coach. Make me strong even when no one is watching. Amen."
From That Is So Me by Nancy Rue
"[God said,] 'What I want from you is your true thanks; I want your promises fulfilled. I want you to trust me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you and you can give me glory.'"
—Psalm 50:14 (TLB)
Whatever the circumstances, no matter what, we should always have "Thank you, God" on our minds. After all, the Almighty has given us our life, parents, BFFs, our health, our pets. We can see, hear, speak, smell, taste, and feel. We live in a beautiful world full of beautiful creatures and landscapes.
Jesus continually thanked his Father for everything. That tells us how important an attitude of gratitude must be.
Okay, but what if we get an "F" on our finals, or don't make the cheerleading team, or our parents divorce? We can't be expected to think Gee, thanks, God for that.
Well, actually, you can—and should. Life is tough at times, but there is at least a hint of good in every situation that you can be grateful for. The Bible says, "Give thanks in all circumstances: for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When we do this, we're saying to God that we believe he's a loving Father who has a plan for us. And though we might not understand what it's all about, he does. We can trust that God will use even the hard stuff for good before all is said and done.
More To Explore: Psalm 106:1 and Ephesians 5:19 – 20
Girl Talk: Jesus healed ten lepers. But only one returned to thank him. When God does something spectacular in your life, do you say, "Thank you?"
God Talk: "Dear God, remind me not to complain about what I don't have and focus instead on thanking you for what I do have. Amen."
From Whatever: Livin' the True, Noble, Totally Excellent Life by Allia Zobel Nolan
"Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives."
—Leviticus 19:17 (NLT)
Be Heart Smart
Your relatives might do things that you hate. Even so, don't think about it all the time. The more you meditate on it—the more you replay the incidents in your mind—the more hate will grow.
Riley knew about hate. Although she spoke politely when face-to-face with her grandmother, her real feelings were another matter. "She's ruining my life!" she told her mom. Grandma had gambled away her savings and then moved in with Riley's family. Riley had to give up her bedroom and crowd in with her little sister. Grandma snapped at Riley about everything: her clothes, her friends, her music, her manners. She even complained that Riley's room was too hot in the afternoon for her nap. "Then give me back my room and go home!" Riley yelled, finally snapping too. Riley—and her parents—were horrified at what she'd said. But Riley had been nursing hatred in her heart for months. It was bound to come out
What could Riley have done instead? What can you do if you have such negative feelings about someone? "When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25 – 26 NIV).
More To Explore: 1 John 2:9
Girl Talk: Do you have to hide your real feelings about someone close to you? Have you asked God to help you get rid of those awful feelings?
God Talk: "Lord, I'm having a really hard time with _________ right now. Please take away my anger and hate toward this person. Show me ways to be kind. Amen."
From Shine On, Girl! by Kristi Holl
"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."
It was a beautiful summer day, and Dakota was outside playing baseball with some of the boys in the neighborhood. Her dad had asked her not to play in the street, but there wasn't a lot of traffic this time of day, so she decided it was ok.
Mick was pitching, and Dakota knew he'd give her his fastest ball. Taking a firm grip on the bat, she waited. Sure enough, there it came—a little low, but right over the plate.
Dakota swung and connected. A fly popped off to the right. Then C-R-A-A-A-S-S-H! The sound of broken glass shattered the air.
Dakota looked around and felt sick. Sure enough, it was Mrs. O'Rourke's window.
One moment everyone stared at the house. The next instant every kid scattered in a different direction. Every kid, that is, except Dakota. Everything within her wanted to run. At the same time, something held her there. Finally, Dakota crossed the street, her feet dragging. Dreading what she was about to do, Dakota climbed the steps and rang the bell.
"I'm sorry," she said when Mrs. O'Rourke answered the door. She wanted to blame the other kids and say that it wasn't her fault. But only four words came out. "I broke your window."
"I know." Mrs. O'Rourke surprised her. "Just before the ball hit, I saw you out another window."
Full of misery, Dakota apologized again.
"I forgive you," Mrs. O'Rourke answered quietly. "I respect you for coming to talk with me. I know that was hard to do."
Suddenly Dakota's gaze found the older woman's eyes. Something Dakota saw there drew her to Mrs. O'Rourke. Why have I always thought she's crabby?
Aloud she asked, "What can I do to pay for the window?"
Mrs. O'Rourke swung the screen door farther open. "Why don't you come in? We'll talk about it."
Dakota drew a deep breath. For some strange reason, she almost felt as if she had a new friend.
More to Explore: Philippians 1:27
Girl Talk: Can you think of a time when you did something wrong but made the right choice? What helped you do that?
God Talk: "God, thank you that you always forgive me when I mess up. Please give me the courage to confess my mistakes to other people as well. I love you. Amen."
From Girl Talk by Lois Walfrid Johnson
"For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."
—Psalm 107:9 (NLT)
How Hungry Are You?
Would your body be happy with one meal per week? No! In fact, many people eat much more than three times a day to feel satisfied. Your spirit needs feeding too, and the Bible contains our spiritual food. Sitting in church for one hour per week feeds your soul as much as one meal per week would feed your body. You can become depressed, anxious, fearful, critical, and impatient—all signs of a starving and malnourished soul.
Set aside some time to be quiet with God every day. Start out small, if this is new to you. Five or ten minutes of Bible reading, plus five or ten minutes of prayer is fine to start. Making it a habit is your first goal.
Suppose you just don't feel hungry for God's Word. Most days you don't even think of reading your Bible or praying. Then pray and ask God to increase your spiritual hunger and thirst. He delights to answer prayers like that! When we're hungry and thirsty enough, we'll go to the source of our food and eat till full.
So dig into God's Word first thing every morning and eat your fill. It satisfies!
More to Explore: John 6:35 and Matthew 5:6
Girl Talk: Do you have that spiritual hunger for God's Word? Do you want to be filled by God?
God Talk: "Thank you, Lord, for giving me food to sustain my physical body. Please increase my spiritual appetite, so that I may grow closer to you. Amen."
From No Boys Allowed by Kristi Holl
"Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near ... Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God."
—Matthew 3:2, 8 (NLT)
Change from the Heart
In the verse above, John the Baptist was preaching about repentance. Repenting is not only changing your mind—it's a total turnaround of your life. It involves turning from sin and turning to God.
You may find a younger brother or sister very annoying. He hogs the TV after school. She wolfs down all the good snacks and then eavesdrops on your phone calls. Usually, before the night is over, you've swatted a sibling at least once. Your brother or sister runs screaming to your mom, who in turn scolds you. "I'm sorry," you always mumble. Sometimes you truly are sorry. One night, though, your mom says, "I don't want another apology, honey. If you're sorry, then show it. Stop hitting."
You need to do more than say you're sorry. If you really regret your behavior, you'll change. However, repentance doesn't start with altering one's behavior. For change to last, it must begin with a change of heart. And what is the reaction in heaven when a sinner repents? "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance" (Luke 15:7 NKJV).
More to Explore: Ezekiel 18:30 – 32; 33:1
Girl Talk: Do you apologize just so someone will stop being mad at you? Or do you truly intend to change your behavior?
God Talk: "God, I can't change myself. I've already tried! Please change me from the inside out. Amen."
From Chick Chat by Kristi Holl
"Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?'"
The Perfect Potter
Imagine you're making a snake out of Play-Doh, and it suddenly looks up at you, opens its big clay mouth, and says, "What do you think you're doing? I don't want to be a snake. I want to be an elephant."
Obviously that isn't going to happen, which is exactly the point of this verse. God is like a Great Potter, creating each person just the way he wants him or her to be. As his creations, we don't get to say, "I want to be something else!" But we try it anyway. Have you ever heard yourself say ...
I wish I were more ___________________.
I wish I weren't so __________________.
If I were more like __________________, things would be better.
The first step in discovering your one-of-a-kind-ness is accepting that you are made by God to be exactly who God wants you to be. He decided who you are and will be, and eventually he'll reveal that plan to you—one wad of clay at a time.
More to Explore: Psalm 139:14
Girl Talk: What are some things about you that make you different from everyone you know?
God Talk: "Jesus, you knew exactly what you were doing when you created me. Help me to love the person that I am—every part of it. Amen."
From That Is So Me by Nancy Rue
"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
The book of 1 Samuel tells the story of Hannah and her husband Elkanah. Elkanah, like many other men of his time, had another wife. This other wife, Peninnah, had given birth to many children, but Hannah had no kids of her own. Back then, people placed a lot of importance on having children, and Peninnah loved to rub this in Hannah's face.
Every year Hannah and her family traveled to worship in the temple in Shiloh. On those trips, it was especially hard for Hannah to avoid Peninnah's insults. Peninnah's meanness hurt Hannah so much she'd cry and not eat. One year, standing in the temple, Hannah cried out silently in her heart: "O Lord Almighty, if you'll see your servant's misery and give me a son, I'll give him to the Lord for all the days of his life."
Excerpted from The Beauty of Believing by Tasha Douglas, Mona Hodgson, Kristi Holl, Lois Walfrid Johnson, Allia Zobel Nolan, Nancy Rue. Copyright © 2014 Tasha Douglas, Mona Hodgson, Kristi Holl, Lois Walfrid Johnson, Allia Zobel Nolan, Nancy Rue. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERKIDZ.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsSection I Growing Seeds of Faith, 9,
Section II God's Promises, 97,
Section III Finding Strength in Hard Times, 181,
Section IV God Speaks to Us, 265,
Section V A Helping Body of Believers, 315,
Section VI The Beauty of Believing, 365,