Destiny In Bloom

Authentic Beauty, True Prince, and a Real Love Story

Authentic Beauty, True Prince, and a Real Love Story

posted 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!

Leah Outten

Leah Outten

15 Responses to “Authentic Beauty, True Prince, and a Real Love Story”

  1. Incredible article Leah, your story inspires me every time I hear it or remember back to that time, I might have to look at reading the When god writes your love story book, it sounds really good and having a little princess of my own, Authentic Beauty sounds like we need a copy too!!

  2. Welcome to the team Leah!! Loved your review and can't wait to read both the books you talked about. As a mother of a daughter (granted she's only 18 months) I think a lot about teaching her about true beauty and purity. I'm very interested to read them now! Looking forward to reading more from you! <3

  3. Leah,
    Welcome!! So glad you are apart of the Destiny in Bloom team!! Your article was so beautifully written. Practical and authentic. I have two daughters and see the importance of portraying and teaching them to fall in love with the true Prince of Peace!!
    Thank you for the great resources too!!
    ~Maree

  4. Dear Leah, A resounding AMEN! a testimony that translates to any circumstance any age! Wonderful!

  5. Leah, this was a great article. Thank you for sharing these words of truth.

  6. Leah, welcome to Destiny In Bloom! I loved your first article!! I have a daughter who is 10 and I will definitely be looking up that book for the future! I really enjoyed your writing, very easy to read. I love how you shared with us your own journey and where the Lord has brought you today. I too had it all backwards as a teenager and I am so thankful we can be that white lily once again! I look forward to reading more from you! Blessings!

  7. I absolutely *love* the Ludy's writings! They are so refreshing/encouraging/challengin in today's world. I am so glad someone is raising the standard for this generation! We so desperately need it…

  8. What a wonderful, wonderful treasure your willingness to be completely vulnerable and honest about how the King swept you off your feet! Leah I LOVE your story of "happily ever after"….God is so good and He has a rich annointing over your sweet life. I have a daughter that is only two and I am already devouring books that will give her the tools to live, battle and be victorious as a daughter of the King…thank you for sharing yet another inspiring resource…yourself! Thank you and I cannot wait to know you more!!! Great Love sweet sister!

  9. Great post Leah! I love to hear beautiful stories about adoption and redemption. So happy to have you aboard and look forward to getting to you more and more through your writing!

  10. Wow Leah, I finally had the opportunity to read this….and wow! This was an amazing article, I'm so excited that you have become a Destiny in Bloom woman also :-)

    What authenticity you display through your stories, I look forward to many, many more.

    Blessings!!!!!!

  11. What a wonderful article! As a grandmother, and mother, I still enjoy reading books and hearing testimonies that will help in setting God's children free. I know you just did that for so many women, young and old alike. I will purchase the book and read it so that I can recommend it to others. You wrote about a very serious, emotional subject that came through encouraging and uplifting to so many! Bless you Leah for sharing your heart.

  12. Leah, welcome to DIB! I enjoyed your article and look forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing your story.

  13. Hi, I loved your article and wonder about that book-Authenic Beauty– My daughter is struggling with middle school issues of peer pressure–I think she may be ready for that book-I'm going to look it up and see if she's old enough—what do you think? She is 13. Thanks for such a beautiful article and I could totally relate to your upbringing feelings of "never fitting in". Take care and Blessings, Nadelle

  14. Leah, wonderful article! When I was younger, my parents did not discuss/educate the serious facts of life. So in my walk in the now, I see it is very important to be open to discussion and provide education to children. Offer support, wisdom, guidance and listen. God is using you as a vessel to share your story and educate and let others know there is a choice is how one handle's difficult situations. I love how you are blooming!

  15. I love the Ludy's!!! :D I got to meet them 3 times. I love Authentic Beauty. Their heart for encouraging the set apart love relationship with Christ absolutely champions my run. So glad to meet another set apart sister! Blessings to you! :)