Senior Calli Townsend wanted other girls to experience a rich, personal journey of learning about the Bible and themselves in relation to it. That is why she wrote her own devotional book for young girls.
After almost a year, Townsend’s passion project has become accessible for all, and it started at home. Townsend thought of writing a devotional book while running an online Bible study for middle school girls in her hometown. She was stuck making videos with biblical messages but thinking there was another avenue to reach these girls.
“I’m better at writing than talking, so I stopped doing videos and started writing the book instead,” Townsend said. “Writing I felt like I could do a lot more with. I could reach a lot more people.”
A devotional, Townsend said, was different because it felt more personalized, and growing up, devotional books were an important part of her faith building.
“For me, it was a much easier way to understand and absorb the Bible,” Townsend said. “That was a huge part of my faith growing up — being able to experience the Bible in that kind of way — so I knew it would help other girls as well.”
The devotional is a 16 week book with discussion questions and journaling built into it, so each girl can write in her own story. It targets 12 to 18-year-olds, and Townsend said she took a survey of the girls in her Bible study to see what they were struggling with at their age.
“It basically takes you through the foundations of faith, like knowing who God is and what he thinks of you and how much he loves you, and then how much that plays out in your life,” Townsend said.
Townsend gave Hillsdale College Athletic Director Mike Roberts four complimentary copies of the book for three of his four daughters and his wife to review and experience. Roberts and his wife wanted something to encourage their daughters to journal and set aside quiet devotional time.
“It is sometimes difficult to find devotionals they connect with,” Roberts said. “The neat thing about Calli’s is that they know of the person that wrote it …and given her proximity to high school, I think it puts her in a unique position to write to girls of that age because she was just there and she has this wisdom now of three or four years of college.”
Roberts said Townsend’s book is a “practical piece” that urges youth not to“wait untill college to figure out who you are.” He also said he is impressed by Townsend’s mindset and work ethic.
“It’s so easy to get in survival mode during college,” Roberts said. “That she kind of went outside of her comfort zone to serve others and do something that wasn’t a requirement, but something that God led her to do, is something I really admire.”
Townsend announced her book on July 24 and opened the book to buyers on Aug. 21. It became a sort of mini business, she said. She also designed the cover on her own and said, besides formatting, being patient was the hardest part of the process.
“I was just so excited and wanted it to be done, but there are just so many little steps you have to take,” Townsend said. “I feel really proud and also really excited.”
Her church’s youth pastor Chelsea Zalewski praised Townsend’s book as “an excellent devotional full of relevant topics that speak directly to young women of today.”
“Calli writes with a genuine voice and a godly wisdom that so desperately needs to be heard in today’s world,” she wrote. “God’s love shines so clearly through this book in a way that is sure to change the reader.”
Townsend said she hopes the devotional will help girls understand themselves through God.
“The goal is to help girls understand who God says they are and his love for them in a more clear and deep way,” she said, “and to allow that to transform their lives into something more purposeful and fulfilling.”