I was sent this book to read, and one evening I wanted something that didn’t look too long to read (and it’s designed for a younger audience than I am, so thought it would make for a good read) – and it was a quick read – but designed to take longer if you go back through for the exercises.
The book tackles the topic of school, image, friends, family, church and personal relationships with God. The author has been mentored by Sharon Prior of the Sophia Network, and this shows in her honest – and earnest – reflections on her life with God. The book is structured to look at:
- The big picture – where are the voices of pressure?
- The close-up – a focus on real-life stories which offer examples of the issue
- Considering what God says – how does the Bible speak into this topic?
- Finally, headphones time – take time out to reflect, journal, listen to God
Looking at school, she reflects on the pressure to be perfect – and something I recognise from my experience teaching – the students know the answer – they were discussing it before the lesson – but none want to share in class in case they get it wrong! Leading by example, the teacher shows how it’s possible to get things wrong, which encourages the students to share and risk more. In looking at image, she focuses particularly on those ‘if only’ moments, when we spend so much time trying to look a certain way as we fear the judgements of others, speaks of the way she’s been influenced by the blog A Girl Like Me, coming to terms with the idea that beauty and image can be part of a Christian girl’s concerns – especially in looking at the journey of Esther. In friendship we look at the particular concern in looking for acceptance, in which it’s safer to put others down than be the one who is put down. The family considers a very traditional family, although there’s recognition that this may not be true for all readers. In the focus on church there’s an encouragement to find a good church – and if you already have one – to welcome others who may feel lost and awkward there, and the final chapter focuses on finding space for personal time with God – offering different rhythms for prayer… and she quotes Anne Shirley:
“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.”
There’s lots – particularly for mid-teenage girls – to digest, and at the end Hannah gives links to further blogs and websites to move young women forward on their journey.
This book was provided to me courtesy of BRF in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
Image taken from book launch.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.