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True Beauty Hardcover – March 31, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


“This book contains fascinating and eye-opening information about our American beauty habits. Carolyn and Nicole have acted as our research assistants to open our eyes to the vanity of physical beauty and our hearts to the power of true beauty.”
Dannah Gresh, best-selling author and creator of Secret Keeper Girl

“Our society is obsessed with the cult of beauty, and it is high time we recognize that this cult is nothing less than the worship of an idol. Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre deliver a prophetic word against this idolatry, but more importantly, they rescue beauty from the clutches of the idol and present a biblical understanding of true beauty. This book should be read by every Christian woman and it should be put in the hands of every young girl as soon she can understand it. These gifted authors have not only written a book; they have launched a revolution.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Mary K. Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and his wife, Mary, Director of the Seminary Wives Institute at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 

“In a world where a woman’s identity can easily be defined by how she looks, what she wears, or how she feels about herself, Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre challenge us to something greater: the discovery of the truth about who we really are as God’s crowning creation. Whether single, married, wife, mom, husband, father, brother, or boyfriend, True Beauty is a must-read. With so much wisdom, knowledge, and practical advice, this book will awaken your spirit to understand, to fight, to inspire, and to love.”
Webb and Dowd Keith Simpson, Professional golfer, PGA Tour, and his wife, mother of three

“‘Delight in his flawless design’ is an incredible statement from the pages of this inspiring book. You will delight in the timeless principles and truths that, when applied, reflect the work of our wonderful Creator.”
Karen Loritts, author; conference speaker; blogger, MomLife Today; mother of four and grandmother of eight

“Finally, a book about beauty that gets to the heart of the issue. As much as I’d like to blame my inadequacies on my clumpy mascara, outspoken personality, or spotty fitness routine, Carolyn and Nicole remind me that my problem is actually much deeper. It’s not that I’m concerned too much or too little with my appearance; it’s that I’m concerned with the wrong thing altogether. True Beauty puts in his rightful place the Source of all that is beautiful and good, and begs me to look there instead of my bathroom mirror. It’s about time. How refreshing to finally get my eyes off myself!”
Lisa Anderson, Director of Young Adults, Focus on the Family; Host, The Boundless Show

“Combining the eminently practical with the deeply theological, Carolyn and Nicole give us a work that is both terrifically up-to-date and rooted in God’s unchanging Word. With plenty of personal anecdotes and an inviting conversational style, True Beauty will meet women of all ages right where they are. But it won’t leave them there! Carolyn and Nicole expose the lies we have picked up from the world and the half-truths that get passed along from well-meaning but misguided believers. We will recommend this book often and set it aside for our daughters to read as they grow up.”
Kevin and Trisha DeYoung, Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan. Kevin and Trisha have been married for 12 years and have six children.

“What woman hasn’t struggled with the impossible standards of beauty bombarding her from magazine covers to her own mirror? We owe a debt of gratitude to Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre for taking on this confusing ‘crisis of beauty.’ From self-loathing to apathetic acceptance, from closets to curbside, from plunging necklines to plastic surgery, the authors help us dig down to the real issue—our pursuit of self-glory. They show us the link between a woman’s heart and her purity, modesty, and body image. True Beauty is theologically astute as well as practical, offering deliberate suggestions without being dictatorial, freeing us to develop our own Christ-honoring tastes as we see and savor authentic beauty in God and his Word. True Beauty will help every reader steward her beauty effectively for Christ. Read it. I can’t wait to see the results!”
Jani Ortlund, Executive Vice President, Renewal Ministries; author, Fearlessly Feminine and His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy

“Finally . . . the book I’ve been wishing someone would write—a book that helps women like me who obsess about our own beauty (or more accurately, our lack there-of) to the detriment of our souls and our witness to the beauty and sufficiency of Christ. The answers Carolyn and Nicole put forward to our consuming and crippling desires to be beautiful on the world’s terms are neither square nor simplistic but rather completely scriptural and deeply satisfying.”
Nancy Guthrie, Bible Teacher; author, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series

“This is a wonderful, enjoyable, highly readable book that teaches God’s true standards of beauty in contrast to the misleading standards promoted in popular culture today.”
Wayne and Margaret Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary. Wayne and Margaret have been married for 44 years and have three children and three grandchildren. 

“In a culture befuddled about femininity, True Beauty helps define what women are really looking for in their quest for that illusive thing called beauty. Carolyn and Nicole have tackled a subject that women everywhere care deeply about and really want to understand. Though the world has the microphone when it comes to peddling beauty, the promised payoff never satisfies. This book gives women a much-needed biblical response to the world’s sales pitch.”
Nancy Wilson, Pastor’s wife; author, Fruit of Her Hands; True Companion; Our Mother Tongue

“A misunderstanding of what beauty truly is can tangle us up and keep us from walking in the freedom that all who trust in the Savior can enjoy. I recognized my own struggles through the pages of this book and was encouraged and renewed by the higher, broader, eternal, more beautiful vision of beauty it unfolded before my eyes: a vision made and grown and held together in Christ.”
Kristyn Getty, hymn writer and recording artist

“Rare is the woman who doesn’t struggle with her appearance. With four daughters and five granddaughters, we should know. This is a timely, relevant, and much-needed book, filled with gospel-fueled and theologically informed counsel. While relatively short, it contains a massive amount of hope and direction for women who confront the ongoing lies of our culture and their own hearts. Carolyn and Nicole address practical issues clearly without imposing personal standards, and share inspiring stories of women who have found grace in the midst of their battles. Whatever your season of life, True Beauty will lead you to behold and reflect the beauty of the Savior who is worthy of all our love and praise.”
Bob and Julie Kauflin, Director, Sovereign Grace Music, and his wife

“This is more than a book on beauty or a book on how to see one’s self as ‘beautiful in God’s eyes.’ True Beauty points us to the beautiful One. The authors help us see God’s pattern for reflecting the beauty of Christ in our hearts first and foremost, but also in the care of our bodies, in our fashion, and in other areas of life where beauty for its own sake tends to be a temptation. May all who read this book come away with greater desire to reflect the beauty of God in all of life.”
Thabiti and Kristie Anyabwile, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, and his wife

“What a breath of fresh air this book brings to the complicated and far-too-often consuming relationship women have with beauty. Our culture is consumed with pursuing almost unattainable standards of appearance, and all of us have been influenced more than we know. This book reminds us of biblically sound, gospel-oriented truth. The authors help us see areas of self-absorption, and give us practical wisdom on how to grow in being absorbed with God and his glory. They help us examine our hearts and inspire us to grow beyond being women of ‘good looks’ to being women known for good works. I highly recommend this book for women of all ages, that we may become more oriented toward God’s perspective on beauty, inward and outward.”
Jodi Ware, Homemaker; Faculty Wife and Instructor in the Seminary Wives Institute, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

About the Author

Carolyn Mahaney is a wife, mother, and homemaker. Having spent over thirty years as a pastor's wife, Carolyn has spoken to women in many churches and conferences. She is the author of Feminine Appeal, Girl Talk, Shopping for Time and True Beauty. She blogs with her daughters at, a blog focused on biblical womanhood. Carolyn and her husband, C. J., are the parents of three married daughters and one son, and the happy grandparents to twelve grandchildren.

Nicole Whitacre is a wife and mother of four. She is the coauthor of Girl Talk, Shopping for Time, and True Beauty, and blogs with her mom and sisters at, a blog about biblical womanhood.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (March 31, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433540347
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433540349
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Taryn on March 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The newest book by mother-daughter team Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre is wonderfully encouraging and a helpful resource for discovering the source and purpose of True Beauty.

What this book is not:

This book is not about "inner beauty". In fact, the authors give a very clear explanation why this line of thinking is unhelpful.
This book is not prescribing a certain dress code or diet and exercise plan for Christian women. The authors expect us to think carefully about how our beauty reflects God's beauty and decide what is most appropriate and God-honoring as individuals.

What this book is:

It is an encouragement to think neither too highly or lowly of oneself. We all have value but apart from Christ, we are all ugly sinners who need to be rescued from sin.
It is an explanation of how beauty is a gospel issue. Through the beautiful sacrifice of Jesus, we have a way to understand our Creator's design for us and we can desire to reflect Him.

In seven chapters, the authors discuss how we should view True Beauty in relation to our culture, God, our hearts, our bodies, clothes, our trust and works.

Examples of great take-aways from this book:
Our Culture: Our culture has it all wrong. The standard is unrealistic and fake plus it is constantly changing.

God: God is the only perfectly beautiful being. He designed beauty and created us to reflect His beauty.

Our Hearts: Our hearts are jumbled and confused about what true beauty is. It can only be found in the redemptive work of Christ on the cross.

How we view beauty can have a large impact on our priorities and desires. Every woman would greatly benefit from reading this book to gain a godly perspective on True Beauty.

*Special thanks to Crossway through for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David Steele on March 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre tackle the sensitive topic of beauty in their book, True Beauty. The "benchmarks for beauty" are constantly changing and most of the criteria is propaganda which caters to worldliness. This book, on the other hand has a simple goal, namely - to point women to true beauty which is found in the pages of Scripture.

True Beauty challenges readers to see things from God's perspective. Henry Scougal writes, "The worth and the excellency of a soul is to be measured the object of its love." Herein lies the real value and beauty of a woman - as she contemplates and worships her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: "He is the ultimate, unchanging, eternal standard of beauty. He is the Author, Creator, and Bestower of beauty. His beauty transcends time and culture. It never changes and never fades." Therefore, true beauty is not fleeting. True beauty is not bound by cultural expectations. True beauty is rooted in the radiant beauty and majesty of the living God. He is the most beautiful Being in the universe. Therefore, all beauty must be measured according to his design.

Mahaney and Whitacre alert readers to the final standard of beauty - which is found in Jesus Christ. Women, must therefore, develop a "taste for beauty." However, "sin has blinded us to the beauty of God, and when we lost sight of this beauty, we lost interest." So instead of delighting in God, we delight in other things - things that are in the final analysis, tantamount to idolatry. This fascination with the mundane, with anything less than God is nothing new. Israel struggled mightily with the sin of idolatry: "Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods?
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stefanie Kamerman on March 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through Net Gallery. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I loved this book. Really, I did.

Carolyn and her daughter, Nicole, start their book out by explaining the gospel according to beauty our society preaches to us and flat out tells us how that gospel is one big lie.

Yet again, God blows me away with how He uses authors-especially these two women-to preach His gospel and to show how the gospel applies to every aspect of our lives. Beauty included. Carolyn and Nicole explain how women-of any age-will be transformed by the truth in the gospel of Jesus Christ once they learn what true beauty is. Because it isn’t the latest hair styles, clothes, make up techniques, face lotions,or botox. It is the true Beauty of God. His Eternal Beauty. His design for us. His craft of man-kind.

This book addresses topics like our hearts, body image, clothing, eating disorders, and the beauty of our works as Christians. They surround these topics with God’s truth and wisdom. The gospel in which they preach sets us free from the limitations of our culture’s idea of beauty and directs us to the limitless beauty that rests in our Savior and God’s unfailing wisdom about beauty.

Praise and Glory to Jesus Christ for Carolyn and Nicole for writing this book. It was eye opening and life changing in many aspects.
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