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Authentic Beauty: The Shaping of a Set-Apart Young Woman Kindle Edition

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Length: 274 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leslie Ludy has a powerful message of hope for her generation. She and her husband, Eric, are internationally known speakers and the bestselling authors of ten books, including When God Writes Your Love Story and When Dreams Come True. Leslie and Eric’s passion is to challenge young adults to pursue a life completely devoted to God. The Ludys live in Windsor, Colorado with their son Hudson.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Erosion of a Feminine Dream

Somewhere between my encounter with the breathtaking heroine in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and my introduction to Malibu Barbie (who came complete with five evening gowns and a hot-pink convertible), I made my decision. Somewhere between watching the lovely Sugar Plum Fairy twirling around on stage during a local production of The Nutcracker and trying on my mother’s satiny wedding dress, I decided beyond a shadow of a doubt exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up…a beautiful princess. The fact that princesses were unheard-of in modern-day America did not bother me. I was convinced that somehow, someway, someday I would become one. It was not that I considered myself especially beautiful or princesslike. In fact, staring into the bathroom mirror one morning at my stringy hair and crooked teeth, I decided that the only remedy was a makeover, which I skillfully applied after digging in my mom’s makeup drawer. (The story of my memorable venture out into public that day with my bright pink cheeks, dark green eyelids, and vibrant orange lips is quite an unfortunate tale.) That was the end of my makeup escapades for the time being, but I held out hope that one day I would grow into a dazzling beauty like Cathy Henderson (my all-time favorite baby-sitter), with her supercool, neon pink nail polish and Barbie-like locks.
But much more than polished nails and eternally good hair days, it seemed to me that the really necessary requirement for becoming a princess was to find a noble prince: a knight in shining armor who would consider me the most desirable girl in the world, sweep me off my feet, rescue me from peril, carry me away to his castle, and cherish me forever. Sleeping Beauty had Prince Charming. Malibu Barbie had Ken. The Sugar Plum Fairy had the Nutcracker. The Beautiful Bride (a.k.a. my mother) had the Handsome Groom (a.k.a. my father). Even Cathy Henderson had the curly haired Scotty Darnell wrapped around her finger. Finding a prince of my own seemed like a reasonable goal.
It was a childish dream, a girlish desire that budded in my heart long before I knew anything about the real world. But for some inexplicable reason, it was a dream that I longed to come true more than I had ever longed for anything in my entire life. I desperately wanted to become a princess. It was a dream that I treasured, even as I grew older. It was a desire that remained rooted deep within my heart long after Malibu Barbie and her convertible were packed away in Styrofoam peanuts up in the attic. But things were about to change, and change dramatically. In my early childhood innocence, I had no way of knowing the weighty price that would soon be demanded of a young girl who dares to enter the real world holding on to the foolish dream of becoming a princess…

THE DREAM BEGAN to fade when I was ten. I was standing by the water fountain with Mandy and Katie, my two fifth-grade bosom buddies. We were deeply engaged in an animated discussion about the many virtues of Sour Patch Kids, the latest candy craze to hit Crestview Elementary since Nerds had come on the scene a year before. Then, seemingly from out of nowhere, a small group of fifthgrade boys surrounded us, laughing obnoxiously and jolting Mandy out of an awe-inspiring tale of her recent attempt to eat five Sour Patch Kids all at the same time. Katie rolled her eyes and looked at the boys in annoyance.
“What do you want?” she demanded.
The ringleader, Andy Archibald, only smirked at Katie. Andy was a loud, skinny kid in baggy Levi’s who brought three or four Twinkies in his lunch nearly every day of the week. (I had noticed this fact with great envy, since my mom was a health nut, and the “treats” in my lunchbox were usually carrot sticks and sugar-free granola bars.)
“Go away!” Katie ordered in an irritated voice. Andy didn’t budge. His sly grin grew wider. He stepped a little closer to her. The rest of the boys began to snicker.
“Timmy likes you,” Andy finally announced triumphantly, as the snickering grew louder. Timmy immediately shoved Andy against the water fountain, protesting loudly with a swear word. I quickly looked around to see if any teachers had heard him. Fifth graders were not allowed to cuss in school (we were told that once we reached middle school we would be grown up enough to say whatever we wanted in the halls). I expected the Cussing Police to come rushing over, grab Timmy by the earlobe to drag him off to the principal’s office, and force-feed him a bar of Dial. But no adult was anywhere in sight. I found myself strangely disappointed that Timmy’s great sin had not created more of a scandal.
My thoughts on this were short-lived, however, because Andy had recovered from Timmy’s outburst and seemed to be gaining momentum. “Timmy thinks you’re a babe,” he crooned to Katie in his grating, prepubertized voice, as Timmy yelled, “Shut up, dude!”
Katie’s face had turned bright red, and she was staring at the floor.
“Yeah,” piped in Jason Smits, a squirrelly kid with oversized glasses, “Timmy thinks you’re hot, cuz you re de-vel-op-ing!” He pointed at Katie’s chest. “You have to wear a training bra!” At this, the entire group of boys burst into wild, uncontrollable laughter. Katie pursed her lips together in humiliation and hugged her science book tightly against her chest. Mandy glared at the boys but remained speechless. I looked around the hallway again, realizing that there were still no adults anywhere near us to come to the rescue. I decided it was up to me to defend Katie’s honor.
“Leave her alone, you jerks!” I burst out. I immediately wished I had kept my mouth shut. The hyper group of boys suddenly turned their full attention on me, and I went from feeling like Wonder Woman to Minnie Mouse in a matter of seconds. Andy curled his lip cynically and looked me up and down.
“Hey,” he said, nudging the kid next to him, “check out this ugly chick—she’s flatter than the plains of Kansas!” The boys howled. Jason quickly opened his mouth to outdo Andy’s insult, but before any more verbal abuse could occur, our teacher decided to appear.
“Okay, boys and girls, let’s get back in line. Our break is over. It’s time for our science lesson!” she called out happily, oblivious to the drama that had just unfolded. The snickering group of boys quickly dispersed, and we were herded into the classroom to learn about the exciting process of metamorphosis.
While Miss Thompson began her lecture on the larval stage of a caterpillar, I was vaguely aware of new, confusing emotions dancing around in my heart. Since I was only ten, I hadn’t had much experience being scrutinized, criticized, and discarded by members of the opposite sex. It was a strange sensation, and it created a knot in my stomach that seemed to linger there all afternoon. Andy Archibald’s words rang over and over in my ears. It wasn’t supposed to work this way, I told myself in bewilderment. There was a marked difference, I noticed, in the way Andy Archibald had treated me and the way the beautiful princess was treated by her prince in all the stories I had grown up with. The men in the fairy tales treated women as valuable treasures, to be prized and cherished. The “men” in the fifth grade at Crestview Elementary seemed to treat us the same way they treated their soccer ball—like something to be roughly kicked around for fun, then tossed unnoticed into a corner of the playground. The longer I sat thinking, the more I found it hard to believe that boys actually noticed which girls were wearing training bras and which were still wearing pink cotton undershirts, like me. I had never been insecure about it until that day; in fact, I had never really given it much thought. My friends and I were usually too busy discussing Sour Patch Kids and Care Bears to obsess over our bodies. And until that day by the water fountain, the boys in my class had always spent most of their energy trading baseball cards and telling the latest Peewee Herman jokes. But now, they seemed to have found a new, more exciting pastime—tormenting us about how we looked.
Boys like Andy, Timmy, and Jason had always tried to irritate the girls by flipping their eyelids inside out or cracking all their knuckles at once. But now, overnight, they seemed to have realized that they could get a far bigger reaction from us by brutally teasing us about the fascinating new phrases they had learned last week from Miss Thompson in health class. They had started using new words like developing, or Katie’s most recent downfall, training bra. Though Miss Thompson had emphatically explained that these matters were nothing to giggle or be ashamed about, the boys hadn’t seemed to catch the part about not laughing. As for not being ashamed about it, I found myself suddenly wanting to ask Miss Thompson how a tenyear-old was not supposed to feel embarrassed while facing a group of boys howling about the fact that she had not yet developed. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that Miss Thompson and our new workbook called My Body were partly to blame for
this strange and unwelcome change that had come over the Crestview Elementary fifth-grade boys.
Another possibility I considered might somehow be related was the magazine that Andy Archibald had discovered under his older brother’s bed. I had heard Andy telling Jason Smits all about it during Susie Montgomery’s oral report on the planet Jupiter a few days before. From what I could tell, it was a magazine with nothing but pictures of women who apparently were not wearing very many clothes, and the boys used the word babe repeatedly as they whispe...

Product Details

  • File Size: 3789 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; Upd Exp edition (February 19, 2009)
  • Publication Date: February 19, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002ZFGJ6W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,640 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Leslie Ludy is a bestselling author and speaker with a passion for helping women become set apart for Christ. She and her husband, Eric, have published over nineteen books with well over a million copies in print and translations in over a dozen languages including "When God Writes Your Love Story," "Authentic Beauty," and "Set Apart Femininity". Leslie is the founder and director of Set Apart Girl, an international ministry that provides Biblical encouragement and training for Christian women. She and her family live in Colorado. Visit Leslie at and

Visit Eric and Leslie's Facebook at and follow them on Twitter: @Eric_Ludy.
Visit Set Apart Girl's Facebook at and follow them on Twitter: @LeslieLudy.
Visit Ellerslie's Facebook at and follow them on Twitter: @ellerslielt.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Liolania on September 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
I would like to get my one complaint about this book out of the way, and that complain is Leslie Ludy's overuse of the phrase "Lily-white"; Other than that there is nothing wrong with this book. In fact I would say that as usual the Ludy wrote a timely and much needed portrait of what Godly purity is. Non-Christian women see no need for purity, and even Christian women begin to shake their heads after a while because no one ever explained why God requires us to be pure.

As I said before Ludy does use the phrase "Lily-white" a lot, and probably could've been a little more creative in that respect, and felt that in trying to reitterate her point she was making me feel like a third-grader. At the same time, because many women(especially young women) are not accustom to what purity means, she uses that phrase to make her point of what purity means.

Ludy uses a lot of personal testimonies about how she lived a not so pure life growing up. She explains that even though she grew up in the church, she was just always taught not to "go all the way". Now, I know that growing up I was told the same thing by my parents, and they never told me what true puroty was. Leslie uses her personal experience and other woman's experiences to explain what true purity is. It is purity in your mind and heart, it is about being wholly blameless before the Lord. She explains that it is not something we can achieve on our own, and involves a lot of one on one time with Jesus Christ who purifies us as we draw closer to him.

I felt the most important message in this book for Christian women to get is that we will never be fulfilled by a man. It is only we we come to our savior just as we are and seek fulfillment in him, then we will feel whole and satisfied.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By tabbycatsdesigns on April 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this as a teenager and again as a college student. When I was a teenager and had never dated, let alone been asked on one, this book was yet another addition to my repertoire of my "focusing on the Lord, pursuing purity" while being single. For me at that time, it was easy to follow Ludy's advice and find comfort in a woman who was so passionate about her walk with God. You can see the rich love and dedication for God she has, and it is inspiring to hear her journey of growing closer to God's heart rather than focusing solely on dating relationships.

However, as I entered young adulthood, some of Ludy's concepts really weren't as applicable, and I think they can nip at legalism. I found it ironic that for a woman who met her future spouse at 16 and married at 18, Ludy was offering quite the excessive advice about "staying content" while being single and "making Jesus your Prince Charming" (not her words exactly, but pretty much the way the book laid it out). Ludy had no experience with extensive singleness or the pain that some of her readers that were much older and still single wrote in to her.

It is always beautiful to see a woman who loves the Lord, no matter what her stage in life, but should a woman in Ludy's position offer such advice when she has no personal knowledge of it? I would say no. The concept that Christ should also substitute a flesh-and-blood relationship is also not accurate, as there are no Biblical supports to make the equivalency of Christ to a husband. There are passages of the church being the bride of Christ, but not us being the bride to Christ. Jesus is not your Prince Charming, nor should he be placed in that same mold. He cannot satisfy you physically. He cannot speak to you in person.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steph on August 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I could get lost in Eric and Leslie's writing. I have often spent many nights staying awake reading their books over and over. Authentic beauty was no different. This book is a must read for ever girl, young and old. It shows God's heart for a women. Every girl longs to hear that they are someone's beloved and every girl wants to feel beautiful. In our generation we often turn to mankind to me that need, but that is only a need that God can feel. Mankind's version of beauty can fade, but God is unconditional. His love for us never wavers. I had the amazing opportunity to meet with Leslie a few years back when I was a senior in High School at Summit ministries in Colorado, and I was able to here her and Eric speak on Courtship and dating and lets just say that after reading their books you will never look at Love the same. It makes me want to hold out and be patient for God to bring the one person he created for me to be with. Our world is so fixed on instant gratification, but true love is worth waiting for, it is worth fighting for!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Share *The Romance Book Lover* on February 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was exactly what I was looking for. Leslie Ludy lets tells you like it is...she doesn't hold back and thats what I like. A lot of young girls can relate to this book because this author is not just writing it...she's lived it. I think that's what makes a difference. I'm in my early twenties and this book has helped me. So I would recommend it to anyone who just wants to stay pure for Jesus and who wants a closer relationship with Him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shelly M. Foshee on September 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I used this book with it's study guide, which ws helpful, but not mandatory, for a book study club at our church. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It is great for all ages.
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