As a former youth minister for eight years in full-time capacity in two different, very large churches, I worked with young women ages 12-22, between the 500 or so girls who were in the ministries at any given time. In addition, we had several dozen year-round female volunteers and usually around 11 female summer staff we hired each year. From those experiences, as well as my own, I believe in building up young women in biblical and theological acuity and understanding and that this – understanding themselves in light of their identity as image-bearers of god – is their best foundation for their correct (and, yes, positive!) self-image.
At my writers guild annual meeting in Chicago last year, I met a really neat colleague named Sharla Fritz. She struck me as truly genuine and extremely approachable, as well as compassionate and biblically astute. So, it didn’t surprise me when I learned she had some books that reach out to women and girls, encouraging them to know the Word better and in such a way that it transforms they way they view both God and themselves.
On Sharla’s website, I read “In her writing and speaking, her message enables women to:
- Dig into God’s Word
- Throw out unattractive and uncomfortable attitudes
- Embrace new mind-sets that are God-pleasing and freeing
- Draw closer to God’s heart
- Discover God’s design for their lives”
When I had the opportunity to feature her book and an interview with her on my blog, for her book’s blog tour, I jumped at it, even though I’ve never hosted anyone on a blog tour before. Having already had an opportunity to preview one of her books, I knew her books were something I wanted to support – something you can really look forward to reading and using as a study. The book I’m featuring today, Divine Makeover, is one you can give with confidence as a gift to a young woman.
Without further ado, I’ll let Sharla tell you about her book Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful.
Why do you think God prompted you to write this book?
After my first Bible study, Divine Design, came out, I heard about some groups of mothers and daughters doing the book together. It was so exciting that women of all ages could come together and discover their true beauty in Christ. But I thought young women would enjoy having a book that taught the same principles while using examples of their own struggles. So I wrote Divine Makeover—essentially Divine Design for a younger generation.
What struggles do you see in the younger generation?
I remember as a teen thinking that no one would ever think I was beautiful, no one would ever love me. Almost all of us go through an awkward stage where we doubt our beauty and worth. In this age, the emphasis on physical beauty is greater than ever before. Every year hundreds of thousands of teens are so dissatisfied with their looks that they resort to plastic surgery. I’m hoping that Divine Makeover will help young women discover their worth not in the clothing of their character — not what clothes they physically wear.
How did you obtain the young women’s point of view?
Admittedly, I am a long way from the teen years! So I met with some amazing teens at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, Illinois every week. They candidly shared their views and struggles. I was truly impressed with this group of young women who clearly loved the Lord. Their faith and commitment to serve was very inspiring. Some of their words and stories are included in the book.
What are some of the topics discussed?
Divine Makeover is a “What Not to Wear” for the soul. It talks about hanging up the uniform and letting go of your inner control freak. It encourages young women to get rid of the handbag of worry and live with an attitude of trust. I also talk about three modern myths of modesty: It’s old-fashioned, it means wearing a burlap bag, and it means following a strict set of clothing rules. Modesty is an enduring principle because the Bible tells us that “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1 Timothy 2:9). Because God’s Word never goes out of style, this advice is not just for women of Timothy’s day, but for us too.
You include some dramatic stories of teens who struggled with self-image. Tell us about them.
Some young women graciously shared their stories with me. One young woman battled anorexia for a time. In the mirror, she saw herself as fat, even though she definitely wasn’t. She shares how she eventually discovered that she had become obsessed with food and a totally skewed view of her body. Eventually she learned to choose to see herself as God saw her—His much-loved daughter.
Another young woman discovered she had alopecia. She lost all of her hair. In this society that worships thick, long manes of hair, she struggled to see herself as beautiful. She doubted that any man would ever love her. She has never regained her hair, but she has regained a healthy self-image because of her trust in God.
Both of these women are now in their twenties and happily married.
What practical tips do you share with readers?
The book concentrates on our inner beauty, but does have some fashion fun. Every chapter ends with some Fashion Finesse: a few words about finding the right clothes, building a wardrobe, and looking your best. Some of the practical tips include choosing a cute yet useful purse, finding your best colors, and discovering the best style of sweater for your shape. After the chapter on the prom dress of pride, I included seven tips for a fabulous formal.
What one thing should potential readers know about this book?
I pray that every girl who reads this book will take away one important truth: that in Christ she is beautiful. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we always look lovely in God’s looking glass. Our heavenly Father sees us not as we are, with our mammoth mistakes, our messy sins, our major bedhead. He sees us as we will be—perfect. The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Tell everyone a little more about yourself.
I’m a Christian speaker and author who loves to communicate the truth of God’s transforming grace. I love meeting women around the country at retreats and conferences. I live in the Chicago suburbs with my husband, who is the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church. Together we shared the adventure of homeschooling for 15 years with our two children. They are all grown up now and moved away from home. My daughter moved far from home—she now lives in China!
In my other life I am a church musician and piano teacher. I love traveling (especially to China!), going out to lunch with friends, and reading. If I’m not sitting at the piano or my computer you might find me at the thrift store stalking fabulous fashion finds.
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