The Baptist Messenger recently sat down with award-winning TV anchor Robin Marsh and 2007 Miss America Lauren Nelson to discuss their new book, God, Girls and Getting Connected: Spiritual Apps for a Teen’s Life.
Baptist Messenger: We want to talk about your new book you teamed up to write called God, Girls & Getting Connected. What prompted you to write this?
Marsh: We see what girls are going through. I have a son, but we are around young girls all the time. Our friends have daughters. There is an attack on our kids—an attack on what they look like and where their worth comes from. Lauren and I realize that God opened a big door for us to encourage them. Part of our mission is to help young girls and women become confident in what they are in Christ. A lot of these are good Christian girls, but they get sidetracked. The world tells them the wrong message, and they are drowning in it. Even those who know the Lord feel trapped. It has been our heart through this book to get God’s Word in their hands. We want them to know there is a way not to be drowning in drama, worry and fear.
Nelson: It’s so true. Like Robin said, I think a lot of it, where the enemy gets us, is regarding our identity. It’s wrapped up in how we look and what we do. I think the enemy also digs a ditch for us to live in our past mistakes. We want these girls to know they have another choice when it comes to how they live. Their identity can be found in Christ and not in what the world says. If I’d had a book like this in middle school or high school, maybe I would not have made some of the mistakes I did. The topics we talk about also affect college-aged women—women of all ages really. I have told a lot of women that mean girls turn into mean women. There is a lot of drama as adults. In our book, we talk about gossip. We talk about girl drama. We talk about how to have a good relationship with authority figures. We talk about how to navigate guy-girl relationships and physical boundaries and purity—any topic you can think of. But all of it is based on God’s Word. The foundation should be a relationship in Christ. We are called to be imitators of God. But if we are not in His Word, we don’t know who He is and cannot imitate Him. So we want to get God’s Word into their hands to give them some encouragement.
Messenger: The format of the book is appealing. As you said, it covers the waterfront on topics. The pressures that young ladies face today are appalling in this barbarian paradise we live in. The world is sending all of the wrong messages, and this book points in exactly the opposite direction. You used an acronym. Could you talk about that?
Marsh: As we started laying out the devotions, we realized there were really four areas the book was breaking into, even before we had the acronym G-I-R-L. G is for God of course. I is for our identity. R is for relationship. L stands for life. I was so grateful God was first, because that really is our heart. We have a plan of salvation (printed) in the book. The premise of the book is very similar. It’s about text messages. It’s like a girl with a text message. One chapter talks about the importance of why to study the Bible and have a devotion. The text message back from God is, “These are not idle words. They are for your life.” Each page has a devotion, then a daily application. The format worked itself out. We knew this was easy and short, but had some meat to it. We wanted girls to see that they could do this—that they could start their day on the right note, or end it with a devotion time. Or, I could put the book in my purse. You cannot navigate the waters of this life if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Regarding their identity is where we really get socked. They usually have either self-loathing or self-arrogance. Either way it is self. We all deal with relationships, and there can be a lot of drama in those relationships. Then looking at life, we wanted them to know what they believed. So that is how it all came together.
Messenger: One of the devotionals was called “I’m bored.” It’s topics like this that are at the tip of what young people are facing. It seems as though the book was put at a level that any young lady could digest.
Nelson: What was so neat about this project was that we had a group of friends help with this. We had an OSU cheerleader and a high school cheerleader. We had moms of daughters and moms of sons. We had me, who has no children yet. We had a group of ladies who thought “I want to help write these devotions.” We wanted to remember, “What were we thinking when we were that age, in middle school and high school?” What were we going through that was tough? That is how we approached it. We wanted to get on their level; get in their world. So we wrote the devotionals short, simple and sweet, and got straight to the point.
Messenger: Have you received a good response so far?
Marsh: We really have. It has been overwhelming. When we started this, it just came from our heart. We didn’t know where it was going to lead. We met with a team of friends, so we didn’t have to go it alone. To get a publisher today and never have been published is very rare. We have been blessed to hear moms say, “I am doing this book with my daughter,” or to hear a young girl say, “I’m reading your book!” It’s blessed us, and we are hoping it’s a blessing to those reading it.
Nelson: What is so neat about it is that it’s not just young girls reading it. I have a friend in her mid-20s. She just tweeted, “I just got through reading your devotional, Lauren, and it so helped me!” I think that happens because these are topics every girl goes through, no matter what age.
Messenger: That’s right. How can people get a copy of the book?
Marsh: You can order online at Amazon.com or go to Mardel, who has our book. Online Christian bookstores have it, too.
Messenger: Thank you, ladies, for writing this series of devotionals and for all the ways you are working to expand the Kingdom of God.
To listen to the complete podcast interview click here.