The author in this book reflects on the luster of her life filled with wonderful success yet tarnished with feelings of emptiness and sorrow.
Many women know this life. We appear good, whole, and complete on the outside while sadness fills the depths of the heart on the inside. We often wonder if we will ever experience complete happiness, joy, or peace in our lifetime. Our soul cries out in anguish. When we are younger, we take on a barrage of messages, many of which are lies when applied toward the truth of our identity. Monica Schaefer reflects on how a lie twisted her purpose and identity for over 35 years until a crisis required her to face the lie, her shame, and self-hatred. The journey brought her to the life of Eve and a woman known in the Bible as “the Bride” in the book of Revelation. The mix of written reflections, contemporary portraits and scriptures relays a deeply personal and universal message of an essential truth, relevant to all women. Beautifully Prepared sheds light on the lies, offering hope to readers for happiness, joy, and peace that seemed to have escaped them.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Monica Schaefer became the youngest circuit court judge in Tampa, Florida by age 36. She later began a missionary career in Israel, where she met her now husband, Doug. Today, she enjoys the treasures and adventures of raising their daughter in New York City.
About the Illustrator:
Julie Headland is a New England based painter and printmaker. Her paintings range from her signature portraits to her distinctive narrative works. Born in 1958 in Newport, Rhode Island she did her undergraduate work at George Washington University where she studied pre-law. At the same time she was preparing for a life in the law she began to take art classes at what was then called the Corcoran College of Art. These classes in drawing, painting and printmaking became the beginning of her career as an artist and the end of her career in law. When painting she works in her studio on the grounds of her antique farmhouse in Westport, Connecticut where she lives with her husband and four children.
I was blessed with this book by the author and bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion. I am not required to review the book positively. My Thoughts:
This book was totally different than I expected. I guess I was expecting just a regular book with a story about the author and how she learned to accept herself and see herself as God sees her. Instead this was more of a coffee table style book. It is hardback, doesn't have a lot of words, and has quite a few pictures.
It was divided into three sections, each one with a piece of her story. The first one was how she viewed herself before Christ, a bit of her background and the lie she believed about women - their value, importance to God and others, and how that lie affected the way she lived. As the book progresses, so does her thinking, especially after she comes to know Christ and her value in Him. She then realizes that in-spite of her conversion, she still is trying to win favor with God and make Him love her by doing things, performing.
After each bit of background, she inserts pages with Scripture verses, and a full page of color - usually a woman drawn by the illustrator to represent the point she is making. The pictures are bold and somewhat abstract but nicely done. The Scriptures apply to the points she is making about women and their relationship to God. Monica includes a lot of verses from Revelation, and although the Scriptures are wonderful, I did not necessarily agree with her interpretation of those particular Scriptures. I know people have different views on the book of Revelation and obviously ours is not on the same plane. Other than that, the book is an encouragement to women to be all that God wants them to be and to see how they are valuable in His eyes.
I read this book in one sitting, but I think this book is one you would just leave laying out and pick up occasionally to meditate on. As women we are valuable in the eyes of God, and many times what we learn as we are growing up from media, friends, and even family can influence what we think about ourselves. Picking up this book on occasion to meditate on the verses and enjoy the art could be uplifting if you are struggling with your identity in Christ.