Wonderfully Made (Devotional Review)

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are my own.

Theme Verse

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14

Format

Smith’s 30-day devotional explores facets of our calling and design. Each reflection title begins with the word “Made” and describes how we were made, something we were made for or made to do. Underneath the title, there’s a “she” statement. For example, “She was made for more than what her eyes can see.” The devotional, itself, mingles personal experience with Scripture and social commentary, as Smith discusses the ways that our calling looks different than the world’s expectations. Devotionals also include a call-out, plus an invitation to personal reflection. The “Be Still and Be Loved” sections include questions to contemplate, plus a daily prayer, inviting God’s intervention in the areas of focus.

In addition to the thirty devotions, the book also includes an introduction, an extended Scripture excerpt (Psalm 139:1-18; the basis of the text) and an appendix. Entitled, “Letter from God,” the appendix is such a lovely tool. It’s a series of statements from Scripture, compiled with references to read as a letter: a found poem about our dignity and worth in Jesus.

There are also book club discussion questions and even an invitation for the reader to surrender her life to Jesus.

Design

The book’s design is also worth noting, as its gorgeous exterior catches the eye. Inspired by Japanese Kintsugi, the cover design features a gold foil vein running across an ombre teal background. Kintsigi, Smith explains, “is the art of repairing broken pottery with a lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum,” and it’s also a metaphor for God’s work “in our broken lives.” With this meaning, identified in Day 13, the cover, itself, becomes an object of meditation.

The book’s interior is also soothingly colored, with teal titles and call-out/reflection backgrounds. Given that the devotional is for teens and young women, the chic aesthetic is great for its target audience.

Allie Marie Smith’s Story

In the introduction, Allie Marie Smith shares her own story. Having struggled with depression from the age of twelve, she came very close to ending her own life. She was on the way to do so when the Lord intervened through “a silver-haired gentleman with a warm smile.” The two talked, and she felt more hopeful.

While hospitalized a few months later, Allie Marie was reading Scripture and encountered Psalm 139. This was a life-changing passage for her, one which directed her “to the source of [her] true value after depression told [her she] was not worthy of living.”

In college, Allie Marie started a campus club called Wonderfully Made. The group, which began with just four members, grew into a much larger organization of women who grew together in understanding their God-given worth and belonging. Today, you can join the WonderfullyMade community online at wonderfullymade.org.

Overall, my favorite devotions were those that really highlighted relationship with God in terms of femininity, contrasted with our culture’s ideas about what it means to be a young woman.

Personal Reflection

I have reviewed a few devotionals, but this was my first time reading through a daily devotional, on schedule (as opposed to reading chapters en masse to hit a deadline). And it was such a blessing to do so, digesting it slowly as it’s intended.

The first two days of the text are pretty foundational, which Smith prefaces in her introduction. These devotions address the creation of the world and the divine inspiration of Scripture. For readers who grew up going to church, this may feel like a review, but for young women who are unfamiliar with these ideas, it’s definitely a great place to start— one that makes the book accessible to non-Christians, as well as believers.

For me, Day 3, “Made for a Relationship with God,” was where the text really started shining with meaning, expressing familiar ideas in ways that brought new understanding. From this point, I encountered many more insights concerning self-worth, calling and purpose.

Overall, my favorite devotions were those that really highlighted relationship with God in terms of femininity, contrasted with our culture’s ideas about what it means to be a young woman. (There’s a HUGE discrepancy between the two!) For example, Day 8, “Made for Beauty,” examines the meaning of beauty and the relationship between inner and outer beauty. “Physical beauty,” Smith writes, “cannot sustain the weight of our true worth.” Isn’t that profound? Yes, God has made us beautiful, but our souls are even more extravagantly lovely than our exteriors.

Another chapter that really resonated with me is Day 18, “Made for Soul Care.” Smith explains why, apart from being a cultural trend, self-care is also a significant rhythm of the spiritual life. “It is not about self-indulgence,” Smith writes. “It is about stewardship.” This is a message the Lord has spoken to me, personally, because self-care goes hand-in-hand with my perception of my worth, as a person. “Self-care,” Smith observes, “can rightfully be called ‘soul care.’”

Recommendation Status

Wonderfully Made is a title I’d recommend for teens and young women— Christian or not. Its simple devotions bring powerful truths to light, with the important emphasis on our dignity and worth as created beings that God made. Our worth is in Christ, and Allie Marie Smith’s devotional provides a space for a monthlong meditation on that truth.

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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