Set Apart

Set-Apart Femininity: God’s Sacred Intent for Every Young Woman is unlike the average book at your local Christian book store.  As the title implies, it is most definitely set apart from the rest.  It is not a book about being a happy, fulfilled, Christian woman-at least not in the terms we normally think of happiness and fulfillment.  In fact, the furthest thing from other Christian self-help books, this is a book about denying self.

Set-Apart Femininity is not a book that makes the reader comfortable.  But the message rings true when compared to God’s Word.

Unlike Leslie Ludy’s first book for girls, Authentic Beauty-which, while I wholeheartedly agreed with its premise, I felt gave too many graphic examples of impurity in a book about purity-Set-Apart Femininity goes straight to the heart of the message.

Leslie’s question is this: “Is Jesus Christ merely a part of your life?  Or is He your entire life? (pg. 96).  Using unforgettable stories of women like Sabina Wurmbrand, Leslie shows clearly how far our typical Christian lives are from being set apart for Him.  The chapter on decorum is filled with questions to help you evaluate how you spend your time, who and what really has a claim on your life.

The book is worth buying just for the chapter on the design of beauty.  Leslie cuts straight to the heart of today’s popular message for Christian women on self-worth and beauty, showing it for the self-centered ugliness it is.  Yes, she agrees, our feminine desire is to be found beautiful, to be that princess we always dreamed of:

“But the solution presented, all too often, does not flow from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because it keeps self alive.  It convinces us that we can look inward and find worth, beauty, and value within ourselves.  It keeps the focus on us; on our feelings, our attributes, and our beauty…

“It is not our unique beauty that must shine for this world to see.  It is not our own beauty that we must discover and embrace-it is His… The secret to becoming the beautiful…princess…is forgetting all about self and becoming completely consumed with only one thing-Jesus Christ.” (pg. 45, 47)

And then there’s the chapter on prayer-on cultivating a real, vibrant, every-moment relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Leslie makes a clear case that “our problem is not that we expect too much of God, but that we expect far too little of Him” (pg. 128).  Rather convicting when coupled with Leslie’s description of the abundant hope and life we can and should have in Him: “Not day to day surviving, but day to day thriving” (pg. 127).

Of course, the book wouldn’t be written by a Ludy without some great stuff on romance and guy-girl relationships.  Like about how our generation doesn’t need lower expectations of marriage, but higher ones.  (And I can only say amen to that!  Watch for my review of The First 90 Days of Marriage, which is the Ludy’s entire book about that very subject.)  But Leslie brings our thoughts of ardor and mystique back to the center of where they should be with this:

“If you ever catch yourself ‘putting off’ happiness until you finally get married or thinking that when you finally meet your spouse all of your dreams will be fulfilled, that’s a sign that Christ hasn’t fully captured your heart.  If Jesus Christ isn’t enough right now, then He won’t be enough after marriage either.  And you’ll always be seeking fulfillment from the wrong things-setting your marriage up for disillusionment and tension.” (pg. 185)

If you really read it, Set-Apart Femininity can challenge to the core the way you live your life.  It doesn’t take a very long look around to see that we need Christians to live up to their name now, more than ever.  As another favorite author of mine, Josh Harris, always used to say: “This country will not survive another generation of Christians that fit in.”

The only way to be a part of the counter culture is to be set apart.  The only way to be truly feminine is to be set apart.  The only way to be a radiant princess, a daughter of the King, a child of God is to be set apart.

Read Set-Apart Femininity.  Visit  And together, let’s live set apart lives for Him.

P.S. Congratulations to Leslie and her husband on the Father’s Day arrival of their newest little girl…another one to be set apart for Him!

Gretchen Louise
I'm a farmer's wife and mommy to our three curly-haired children. I love words and The Word. I write in CSS, HTML, PHP—and English. I collect old books, vintage kitchenware, cute aprons, and dark chocolate.
Gretchen Louise


follower of Jesus, wife to my farmer, mommy of three, connoisseur of words & code, community leader at @KindredGrace, blogger at @Adornabelle & @INWCW
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Gretchen Louise

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conversations between sisters in Christ

  1. Lisa says

    Thank you for writing this! I have not read the book, but in the past couple days I have been visiting the website, and it has really helped me. I have been having trouble with letting go of bitterness and being quick to forgive, and reading some articles in the back issues of Leslie Ludy’s webzine have really helped.

  2. Judith says

    Gretchen, I’m so glad you shared your thoughts about “Set-Apart Femininity” – out of all the books I read last year (’08), it was probably my favourite, in as much as it touched my heart and changed my life more than all the other books I read. Unlike “Authentic Beauty,” I think that it can be read by girls of a reasonably young age – say, 13, with strong parental guidence. Honestly, I wish I’d read this book when I was 13 and lived a more set-apart existence during my teen years, motivated not by what other people expected but by what God wanted. On the other hand, I love, love, love that fact that “Set-Apart Femininity” is not a book for teens or collegites or singles or marrieds – but for ALL young Christian women, however old and however single or married! :)

  3. Elizabeth says

    I definitely agree with you on Authentic Beauty. I am sure there is a good message in it, but to many graphic examples. I haven’t personally read it, but my mom has. Set-Apart Femininity is definitely a great book. Some chapters have challenged our entire family. It is really amazing and challenging.

  4. Laura says

    I agree with you about Authentic Beauty… I think the graphic details did more harm to my purity than the good parts to help me, but this new book sounds good!

  5. says

    I wholeheartedly agree with your review! Set-Apart Femininity has challenged me all 3 times I’ve read it, and it is a book our culture desperately needs today! Though it looks different and won’t always be comfortable, there is so much joy and peace to be found in being set-apart for our Lord!

  6. says

    Would you recommend this book for young teenage girls (about 14)? We are currently trying to start a bible study in our area for the young Christian women. We recently had quite a few of the young women in our home school group come to the Lord, and we would like to include them as well. But we are trying to find a bible study that could be used for girls aged 14-24. It’s kind of hard to find…. we don’t want to compromise the innocence of the younger girls, but we want it to be edifying to all.

    • Gretchen Acheson says

      That’s really hard to say, Katie. I would definitely not recommend Authentic Beauty for that wide of an age group. Set Apart Femininity was much more appropriate for all ages, but it would depend on how “sheltered” your group was if they would find a few references (mostly in the first chapter) objectionable. But you’d probably have to read it for yourself with your group in mind. I do recommend it unhesitatingly for older teens/young adults.

      • says

        Thanks! It’s hard to find something… I would say that some of these girls are definitely sheltered (probably even more than I was when I was a teenager). But we are going to look through quite a few materials this week and see if we can find something appropriate.

        And I appreciate all the book reviews y’all do on here. It’s so nice to have recommendations for books that are truly uplifting!!

  7. Rachelle says

    Thank you for the convicting post. God has been teaching me a lot about being set-apart lately so when I saw the title, my jaw dropped open! I just recently ordered two of Leslie’s books and am now looking forward to reading them more than ever! As always, thank you for this wonderful Fellowship.

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