Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Spending Time with the Bible: A Review of Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan

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Over the past several years, I have been introduced to the idea of devotionals – I have read and reviewed more than a handful during this year alone. When given the opportunity to review the new devotional from Zondervan, I was excited because Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women looked like a truly lovely book. And it is! Such a beautifully designed and well-produced book from a company that I have come to trust.

How do we know as young or old women who we are supposed to be? How can we guide our daughters to be the best women they can be? As Lindsay A. Franklin states in Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women: "we're bombarded by lots of different messages" (Introduction). In this new devotion I am reviewing, young women can find out what the Bible has to stay about women and look for encouragement, wisdom, and inspiration. 

If you are unfamiliar with Zondervan, you can read more about this great publishing house that has been providing quality Christian content since 1931. Our family has several of their books in our home so I knew that adding Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women to our shelves would be a great thing. 

From the story of Eve in Genesis to the mother and grandmother of Timothy, we read about so many different women (and a few men) from whom we can learn and gather inspiration for our daily lives. And of course, there are several days examining the definition of an ideal woman as provided in Proverbs 31. 

There are many topics discussed in Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women such as:
  • Relationships (by examining the lives of Hagar, Sarai, and Abram we see how we are all entwined with others' lives) 
  • Favoritism 
  • Repeating mistakes of our parents
  • Blessings in today's world
  • Taking care in our speech and words 
  • Victim-blaming 
  • Physical attraction 
  • Female leadership
  • Pride 
  • Standing up for one's self 
  • Expectations of God 
  • Compassion
  • Hospitality 

There are also a great number of women who are discussed in Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women including the following: 
  • Sarah
  • Rachael 
  • Potiphar's wife 
  • Dinah
  • Miriam 
  • Rahab
  • Hannah and Peninnah 
  • Tamar 
  • Widow of Zarephath 
  • The Shunamite woman 
  • Esther 
  • Mary, the mother of Jesus 
  • Salome
  • Martha and Mary 
  • Lydia
  • Eunice and Lois 
  • Others throughout the Old and New Testaments 
The days and the devotions are interconnected so I would not recommend just picking it up and starting on whatever day or page you wish. It is important to read from day one through to the end, as the book is chronological. 

Through the devotions, young women can learn that – even though they are not in the spotlight at all times – they are just as important by reading about Miriam. Readers are also reminded that God cares about us – "our spiritual, physical, and emotional needs" (115) and God will help us overcome stronger problems. Through the examination of women in the New Testament, we are clearly reminded that Jesus showed compassion and we can as well. We can show compassion to those with chronic illnesses, loved ones who are hurting emotionally, those who take care of ill loved ones, and others. 

What I Like 

There are so many aspects to Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women that I enjoyed – from the fact that is a hardcover book to the inclusion of women who are not always discussed in the Bible – it is a great book for women (and men) of all ages. 

  • I like that it does not start with a date (i.e. January 1) so one could pick it up at any time of the year and read through the devotions 
  • Conversational in tone – I felt like the author was speaking directly to me 
  • Each page has four lines for reflections or notes 
  • Ribbon bookmark to keep one's place 
  • Chronological in its examination of the Bible 
  • Inclusion of women from the entire Bible – and not just the famous women 

Notes to Readers 

I do want to share a few topics that you may want to consider before you give this as a gift or purchase it for your own daughter. When discussing the story of Dinah, Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women examines the idea of victim-blaming and whether the relations with Shechem were consensual or rape. Some may find this problematic or difficult to read or consider. There is also discussion of Tamar, consent, and abuse. Personally, I did not feel any of it was discussed in an inappropriate manner but there were several pages devoted to suffering and healing from sexual trauma. 

We are presented with more than 50 ways young women can walk in the footsteps of the ladies (and men) of the Bible in Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan. While I may not have read the devotion cover to cover, I did skim through each entry and found myself reading many of them as I was writing this review. Beloved has a way of drawing the reader in and wanting to learn more so I highly recommend it as a gift for young women. 

To learn more please visit: 

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew were also blessed with reviewing Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan – I recommend you check out their opinions of this wonderful new book as well! 

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