Authentic Beauty, True Prince, and a Real Love Storyposted on September 3rd, 2010 / by Leah Outten / 15 Comments
Once upon a time we were girls. Most of us dreamed of fairytale castles, beautiful dresses, and most importantly a handsome prince to sweep us off our feet. However, like the 99.9% of us who aren’t real princesses and figured out it is nearly impossible to become one in reality, we were disappointed with the “frogs” we were given instead. Many of us settled for frogs, even if just during high school, while some waited for their soul mate princes to come. Now that we are grown women and many of us have daughters dreaming the same dreams, I have to wonder, do we want our girls to take the same road? Sure life turns out fine usually, but I know I personally could have bypassed a lot of heartache if I had known about Authentic Beauty and got to know the True Prince before I looked for love, beauty, and acceptance in the wrong places.
We all want a better life for our children, we wish for them to learn from our mistakes and make better choices than we did. And while that is not always possible, the least we can do is prepare our children and set a foundation with Truth. Leslie Ludy’s book, Authentic Beauty: The Shaping of a Set-Apart Young Woman was that ticket for me once I became a Christian as a teenager and I will pass this along to my daughter when she is older. Prior to giving my heart to Christ, while I “knew” God and was raised by Christians I did not truly know God. My childhood wasn’t the easiest, being split between two households, moving every few years only to have to start over each time, and dealing with the internal issues of childhood sexual abuse. I often felt like I did not quite fit in, and as a girl turned into a teenager, that meant doing anything to feel like I belonged and people liked me. Of course, having a boyfriend was one way to achieve that but we all know Princes don’t really hang out in the halls of middle and high schools. I went through many, many frogs as a teenager and the older I got the more serious the issues became. I tried to keep the image of the “good girl” to family and peers but inside I was being eaten alive by my choices in sin. I did not understand the value of True Beauty or know my True Prince to understand that I did not have to wear immodest clothes, change my music tastes according to the guy I dated, wear makeup to be liked or find value/power in myself. Sure, my choice in friends might have been different and I might have been single during high school, but is that really so bad compared to the heartache of my bad choices?
Just after my 16th birthday I found out I was pregnant. I still remember staring at those two pink lines, excited to be a Mom, oblivious to the real consequences and the situation that lay ahead. My so-called-boyfriend made it clear he did not want to be with me or parent our child but I set my mind to parenting her, whether he would support us or not. The next 7 months were easily the most tortuous months of my life, feeling my maternal instinct clash with what I knew God was knocking at my heart’s door to decide on: Adoption. What does all this have to do with Authentic Beauty? Well, God used this experience to open my heart to really know Him, His forgiving love, and reveal my True Beauty. With a large belly and feeling my baby girl’s movement inside, I not only chose an open adoption but I chose Him. In turn, I chose a new life set apart in so many ways.
After giving birth and placing my daughter into a wonderful family’s arms, I was determined to change. During my adoption process God lead me to my best friend who is also a birthmother. One visit she introduced me to Eric and Leslie Ludy’s book When God Writes Your Love Story and it revealed a whole new perspective on love and God for me. After that, I devoured their books gathering any information I could to be a truly set apart girl while waiting for my set apart guy. I went back to high school, starting my senior year a few months later and my outlook was different this time. Instead of flirting with guys or writing notes, I often sat in my classes reading Authentic Beauty whenever possible, taking in all I could about being set apart. I was too busy getting to know a Real Prince, while waiting for my soul mate, and discovering the beauty that was hiding inside under sinful baggage to be interested in the shallow guys anymore. Over 2 years later of singleness, I did meet my future husband and earthly prince.
Looking back I wish I had this information and perspective, holding onto a pure and realistic dream of love with God as the lead rather than my insecurities. While I know there is no guaranteed way to protect our children’s hearts or choices, I feel like Leslie’s book is a great way to introduce hard topics and let Truth take root before the world does. She begins by addressing the issues that young women face today, the crisis of losing our Authentic Beauty and Femininity in exchange for a fake, shallow girl. I love, love, love the image she uses to describe a set-part girl: A lily among the thorns. Isn’t that a beautiful image? I also love that instead of focusing on how to find the right man (as our culture often forces our girls to do and I was obsessed with at one time as well), she instead directs the reader on how to find a True Prince (God) and how He then can lead the way to her earthly soul-mate in His time. Among her personal stories throughout the book, she creates an easy to read and enjoyable road map of how to be a set-apart girl. Such as, how to begin creating an inward sanctuary for God and how that will reflect on the outside lifestyle, and preparing for the future as a wife. She even deals with becoming “lily white” again if a girl has made mistakes as I did. And, oh, can I tell you what a relief it is to experience that forgiveness and know that I could be lily white again.
This book does deal with sexual impurity (in a tasteful way, of course) so make sure you daughter is ready for that and be prepared to discuss these issues with her. I would definitely suggest reading this book before you give it to your daughter so you educate/remind yourself of what she is going through as well as being ready to discuss the book with her. This could be a great tool to open communication between you two! Even if you simply keep a notebook and “talk” about “embarrassing” things in there, it helps to know where your daughter is in life and helps her to know she can come to you about anything.
Leslie and her husband Eric Ludy have a ton of great resources online and other books, including ones for young men. So, even if you don’t have a daughter there are books equally enjoyable, encouraging, and educational for your sons too!