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All in All Author Q&A

Andy Whisenant | Mar 20th

What led you to pen this beautiful devotional journal for girls and young women?

I work with teenage girls, and while there have been lots of moments over the years when I’ve thought about writing something for them, a few years ago I really honed in on the idea of writing a devotional book.

When I was in college, I carried a copy of Charles Swindoll’s Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life from my first dorm room to my second – and eventually to my first apartment. I wanted to write something like that for teenage girls, something they could take with them through all the transitions of young womanhood, something where they could not only be encouraged but also document the Lord’s faithfulness and care in their lives. I hope that All in All will be a companion that travels with them no matter where they go.

What sets All in All apart from other devotionals and journals?

Well, I hope that it’s funny and relational in a way that feels a little bit like home. I also think it’s unique in the sense that it’s not just a book you read; it’s also a book where you respond. So every day, after a young woman reads the devotional for the day and the Scripture for the day, she’ll also have an opportunity to think through the content by answering a few questions and writing down whatever she’s praying about.

It’s sort of an all-in-one devotional and diary, a place to read and be challenged and really process what the Lord is teaching you.

Tell us about your role in the lives of young women and why girls’ ministry is so near and dear to your heart.

In my job I’m sort of an on-campus mama at a Christian school here in Birmingham. We have a counseling staff that handles our more serious issues, but I help our girls with the day-to-day stuff: navigating conflict with friends, praying through decisions, dealing with school-related stress, realizing that there is absolutely no way to make it through the rest of the day without chocolate, etc.

Every day is different, and almost every day is flat-out hysterical at some point. I adore our girls, and if you want to see me get fired ALL THE WAY UP, give me five minutes to talk about how intricately the Lord has designed each one of them, how perfectly He has created them, and how uniquely He has gifted them. Seeing girls fall in love with Jesus and begin to chase after His plans and His purposes is one of my most favorite things.

This particular generation of young women is something else; they are fearless and smart and tenderhearted and bold. They’re going to change the world, and I’m going to cheer them on every step of the way.

How have devotionals been instrumental in your own personal walk with the Lord?

Devotionals and Bible studies have been some of my very best teachers, and I’m rarely without one. I keep all of my quiet time stuff on our breakfast room table, and if you sat down at that table right now, you’d see my Bible, my devotional book, and my journal. I love a devotional book that challenges me, that gets in my business a little bit (or a lot), and that serves as sort of a springboard straight into Scripture. It’s so helpful for me to read another person’s perspective, and it’s crazy how many times a particular day’s devotional is the perfect word at the perfect time.

What are your hopes and prayers for All in All?

More than anything else, I think, I pray that the Lord would use All in All to remind young women how deeply and completely He loves them. I pray that the girls who read will feel encouraged, convicted – and never, ever condemned. And honestly, it won’t hurt my feelings if girls think the book is funny, too.

How do you hope readers use it in their walk with the Lord?

I hope the young women who read will use All in All to cultivate and practice the discipline of spending time with the Lord every single day. I can’t think of anything more life-giving or worthwhile than investing in their relationship with Jesus, and I pray that the book will encourage them to do just that.

How is writing for teens different than writing for adults? Did you find it challenging?

I think teenagers are super-sleuths when it comes to sniffing out any condescension or, heaven forbid, any pandering. They can smell fake (and, for that matter, anything that reeks of effort) from a mile away. So from that perspective, yes, it was challenging, but I don’t think I wrote all that differently for them.

The topics weren’t the same as they might have been if I were writing an adult devotional book, but I think the tone is really similar to my other books. I tried to shoot straight in the same way I would with my girls at school, and I was always mindful that there’s a fine line between being encouraging and sounding like a motivational speaker. 🙂 Needless to say, I tried to walk that line really carefully.