While attending the recent Speak Up Conference, I had the pleasure of sharing a coffee chat room via Zoom with Michelle Nietert. Immediately I was drawn to her bright smile and warm personality. She was one of those people that, had we been together in person, I would have reached over to hug as soon as I’d had the chance…
To say that I am blessed to have this opportunity to highlight her recent book being launched, is an understatement. I’m beyond blessed.
Loved and Cherished is one of those books that I’m looking forward to adding to my own collection and reading with my daughter as she grows. The heart of the message is vital to young girls: Do you know that you are loved and cherished by God? With all the mess in our society, with all the confusing signals girls are receiving, it is imperative that we surround our girls with truth and build them up in the knowledge of God’s heart toward them.
The book itself is completely gorgeous: beautifully adorned with floral designs which continue on through out the pages within the hard cover. It would make a lovely gift for a girl’s birthday, for Christmas, or for a special “just because you’re you” reminder. Especially in this current world of isolation: where hugs are few and far between and where social interactions are so strained, now is the time to get this book into the hands and hearts of our girls!
I asked Michelle a few interview questions to share further depth into the book, and her words have excited me all the more.
ME: Tell me about your passion behind writing this devotional for young girls.
MICHELLE: Our passion for the book came from our own life changing understanding of the father-heart of God and how much He loves us. As a mental health therapist, I was so aware of the rejection and fear of rejection that middle school girls face, as well as the fear of not measuring up. We felt that if we could ground girls in the confidence of God’s love they would be less likely to be devastated by these dynamics in middle school and hopefully be protected from some of the depression and anxiety that is seen in kids today, as one in four will have a mental health diagnosis by the time they are 18.
ME: Tell me about the three sections of the book, and why they are so important for young girls to be rooted in, in your opinion.
MICHELLE: The three sections of the book are: Loved, Cherished, and Secure. We wanted girls to understand how loved they are, no matter what. To know they don’t need to change themselves to be like someone else and get into that comparison trap, and to teach them that they could fail at something and still be loved by God. This is an important concept to teach kids since we live in a culture where success in the area of academics and athletics and extra curricular activities is often so over-valued.
Cherished was a different way to say that they are loved– to actually say that God sings over you, that God watches over you when you rest. You are never alone. To cherish someone is to invest time and energy into them, and we want these girls to understand that depth of love that God has for them.
Finally, security: when we are secure in who we are in Christ, and who we were created to be by God, knowing the purposes He is calling us to, it keeps us from getting so distracted by the ways of the world. In mental health, I see this play out a lot with eating disorders in young girls. If we can be secure in who we are and whose we are, we will be less likely to fall to the temptations of this world, and especially for young girls falling into the need to embrace an unrealistic standard of beauty. This is so important right now as we see songs hitting the number one spot in music charts that value women as a sexual object and a Netflix show where girls look like dolls.
ME: Name a couple of the top devotions you wrote that were especially meaningful, and tell me why.
MICHELLE: It is hard to narrow down just a couple, since all of the 100 devotions feel so needed and meaningful for girls. But one of my favourites is Dream Big on page 152.
Dreaming is such an important part of girlhood–allowing God to speak into girls’ lives without being fearful of the “what-ifs.” Its such a time for girls to explore and grow in their confidence, to learn what they like to do and what they don’t like to do, what they are good at and not so good at. We serve a big God who can do big things. We want girls to dream, and dream big!
There’s been a huge response from another devotion I wrote called Anxiety and the Worry-Gobbler. It’s one of my favourites, too. But one that was especially on my heart to write is called Young Warrior on page 50. I was a leader at a young age, and I’m raising a daughter who’s already exhibiting leadership skills at the young age of 12. I wanted my daughter to know that she was okay just as she was made, that there’s nothing wrong with her. I’m also aware that as a faith-based book, this message will get in the hands of a lot of young girls who are called to be future Kingdom leaders. I don’t want to see their lights diminished. Rather, I want to see them really grow in their walks with God and truly become warriors, equipped to face the spiritual battles that come alongside being a warrior in the kingdom. We are all vulnerable to temptation and spiritual attack. It’s important to learn and apply the armor of God, and also to have people pray for you.
Such truth! I love that the devotions are written “big-sister” style, as Michelle and Lynn speak directly to the girls from a place of adoration and understanding.
When I perused through the pages myself, one of the topics that stood out to me was Safe at Night, on page 92. As I looked back on my own life, I remember having lots of crazy dreams at night, and I actually still struggle to shut my mind off and fall asleep now. I realized that those repetitive, stress-filled dreams in my youth were my mind replaying my world and my deep inner desires, and also fears, that I wasn’t able to express. My own sleep struggles are likely quite common, and I’m sure a tool like this would have made a big difference while growing up!
Michelle and Lynn provided practical tools in this devotion to show girls how to train their minds to rest at night, confident in and comforted by their awesome protector, God. Such a useful tool that is often overlooked! And it’s impact, a more rest-filled sleep which provides immediate help towards days ahead…
Beyond the topical reading, the book also shares Bible verses to meditate on with the encouragement to memorize them and at the end of each reading is a specific application spot with room to journal, as well as a special prayer for the girls to pray as they reflect on the truth they are absorbing.
Loved and Cherished is a treasure of a book. I encourage you to grab a copy off Amazon or through Michelle and Lynn directly. If you thought it couldn’t get any better, wait! There’s more! If you purchase a copy before September 30, 2020, Michelle and Lynn have committed to sending one copy to a girl in foster care. Their hearts are especially to see this vulnerable section of young girls transformed by the message of God’s love for them.
So there you have it! Grab a copy today, Friends! Our girls need to hear and be changed by the message of truth contained within!