Life Coach Magazine

Whatever Teen Devotional for Girls

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Allia Zobel Nolan is an internationally-published, award-winning author of over 170 children’s and adult trade titles with close to three million books in print. Her books reflect her two main passions, God and cats, and include such varied titles as Cat Confessions: A Kitty-Come-Clean Tell-All Book, The Ten Commandments for Little Ones, and The Worrywart’s Prayer Book

A former journalist and columnist, Nolan held the position of senior editor at Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing for nine years.  She currently writes both religious and trade books for various houses.

Zobel Nolan lives and writes in Connecticut with her husband, Desmond Finbarr Nolan, and their three feline children, Sinead, McDuff, and Angela.

Leave a comment and I’ll draw a winner on Monday for the Whatever Teen Devotional

 Welcome to Writer…Interrupted!

Whatever Teen Devotional for Girls
You have an interesting story about how your first devotional came about which eventually led to your teen devotional. Tell us about it. 

I had written a book called, THE WORRYWART’S PRAYER BOOK, which was my first devotional; it was for adults. And that book came as the result of a promise I made to God.  I had broken my wrist and developed a syndrome, much like shingles, called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, and my hand, was for all intents and purposes useless.  I had pain, burning, and stiffness in it for about six months, during which time, I got depressed, and I worried all the time that I would lose my faith, my husband, my friends, my career, and started to give up hope as I was in pain 24/7.  I did all the therapy I was supposed to and it didn’t get better; and I kept praying to God to help me.  Finally, in frustration, I just let out a scream: “God, you have got to help me because I can’t do this by myself, and I can’t take this anymore.”  People kept on reassuring me it takes time. But I still continued to worry. Then I made a bargain with God; get me out of this and I will praise your name high and low, and to boot, I’ll write a book about worry.  Long and short of it was: He did and I did.

So that’s how I got into the devotional format.

As for WHATEVER; I didn’t originally propose it as a devotional; it actually went through about four different formats; first, it was to be a children’s book, with a bracelet attached; then some of the editors thought it would make a great diary, journal type book, similar to Wimpy Kid…so I tried that.  But I think in my heart I always knew it would wind up something bigger.  I wanted it to be like the start of a movement…you know, like WWJD, What Would Jesus Do? ….. only WHATEVER: change your thoughts; change your life.  Finally, the publishers said they didn’t want to nix it completely, but asked me to hold off, because they did like it.  And it landed under the FaithGirlz umbrella, which is where it finally – two years afterwards – ended up.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

I’m a slow writer, and I had to do a lot, and I mean, a lot of research.  When you’re trying to apply Scriptural precepts to a work, it’s a huge responsibility to get it right. And after I wrote sections, I also had it vetted by a Biblical expert to make sure there was nothing untoward. It was slow-going, and you know, I sought advice from other people well-schooled in the Bible. I also prayed a lot. These are not things I do when I write a 60-page one-liner cat book.  Do you think God had an ulterior motive in giving me this book?  I do.

The book is based on St. Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8…You’ve dubbed it the “Whatever  Scripture”:   “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8 NIV)   How did you relate that Scripture to the modern, every-day faith girl today? 

As I said, I thought about the idea because of the popularity of the word WHATEVER, because I knew it was a word that kids today can identify with.  With that as my starting point, I applied it to the Whatever Scripture of St. Paul, breaking the book into ten chapters; the first focusing on thoughts themselves and how they affect our lives; eight chapters on each individual value, for examples, whatever is lovely…I focused on girls thinking about lovely things instead of gross or stupid things; and the last chapter I focused on peace, and how if you keep your mind full of the Whatever values, it will lead to a more peaceful life.

It was really difficult because some kids today don’t even use words like admirable and lovely; much less know what they mean and how they apply to them.  So it required a great deal of Scripture reading and research on the things that girls of the tween age could identify with and own. But I had a lot of help…..from upstairs…so I think I was led in the right direction.

Can you give us an example of the kinds of experiences, challenges, opportunities you cover in the book? 

I cover things like worry, suspicion, being appreciative; the problem with more; how spouting out things without thinking can hurt. I challenge girls to think about things that are lovely and uplifting; how not to feel so sorry for yourself; how you’re never too young to be noble and do noble things, like friending someone everyone shuns or forgiving someone, or stepping up to help someone in trouble. I also cover things like cutting out sarcasm—being a rose in someone’s day—not a thorn;  being an expert witness; giving the praise to God and not seeking glory for ourselves; chillaxing—being still and letting God do his job…those are just some of the topics I cover.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I’d love it if this book would help girls realize they, through the grace of God, have control over their thoughts—that they can choose to think about godly, uplifting, lovely, important, meaningful, interesting, world-changing, humorous, and awesome things rather than violent, sexual, vapid, dumb, depressing, hopeless, selfish, disgusting, and crass things.

I’d love it if they could realize they are in this world, but should keep their eyes on the next, which is way hard, but doable.

I’d love if they could choose friends who love Jesus and have the same values so they can have buddies who think alike.

I’d love it if they realize how the Bible has the answer to any question or problem they may have, and that though they may seem gi-normous at the time, there are no problems bigger than Jesus.

Finally, I hope they read these devotions not once, but several times, and think about them.

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