I was looking forward to the release of Lauren Scruggs’ new book, Your Beautiful Heart, from the moment I first heard about it. I’ve followed Lauren’s story for a while, and as a survivor myself, I can relate to many of her struggles and triumphs.
In 2011, Lauren was injured by an airplane propeller blade in a tragic accident that caused her to lose her left eye and hand. As a fashion journalist, Lauren worked in the fashion industry, where beauty takes center stage. Her accident caused her to struggle with her new reality, the true meaning of beauty, and everything she believed about who she was.
Your Beautiful Heart is Lauren’s message to young women about what true beauty means and where it comes from. This book would have benefited me enormously when I was in my twenties. I was injured in an assault and had to deal not only with physical and emotional recovery, but also my new reality of changes in my appearance. Spending most of my twenties with rehabilitation and recovery, the emotional impact of feeling like my “light” had dimmed took a long time to get over. Coupled with physical injuries and scars, self-esteem and body image issues became even more prevalent.
God’s love in your heart is your beauty (p. xvii).
Beginning at a young age, girls want to look pretty, and though most people mean well, the focus on your outfit or your hair can cause us to give those things more importance than we should. It’s easy to say that inner beauty is the most important thing, but when you are faced with a drastic physical change, that truth can be difficult to accept.
Lauren’s story is inspiring–and even more inspiring is her message. Your Beautiful Heart is a series of thirty-one short chapters that deal with common issues like body image, self-worth, peer pressure, relationships, and more. Everyone struggles with these things, and you don’t have to have suffered a tragedy to relate to the book’s lessons. The overriding message is that God’s love is the source of beauty. When you have God in your heart, his love outshines anything else.
Through reflections from her own experiences, Lauren reaches readers on a personal level in a conversational manner. This makes Your Beautiful Heart not only easy to read, but also compelling and difficult to put down. The inspiring artwork throughout the book and the overall design make it inviting and fun. Lauren continually points readers to Scripture, with verse references and biblical applications. Each reflection is concluded with an example from the Bible, reinforcing and applying the lessons from her stories.
But here is the point: God’s Word held the answer I was looking for. Yes, God wants all of me, less-than-flattering emotions and minor breakdowns included. yes, he wants me to know that he is with me and for me, through all of it. No, I don’t have to filter or censor myself when I come before God. yes, I can tell him whatever it is I need to get off my chest, with real and raw feelings to boot. But the point is even bigger than that: I can know and trust these things and more, because the Bible teaches them clearly (p. 54).
The discussion questions add a nice element to this book, making it a wonderful tool for personal growth and reflection, a great journal idea starter, and a good resource for small group study. I think Your Beautiful Heart will benefit young women in their daily walk, and even as someone a little older, I find it to be an important addition to my library. Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your story and for being “a girl who shines.”
Tyndale House Publishers provided a review copy of this book. Photo credits: Lindsey Brittain and Kat Harris.