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Ethics & Religion
Column #1,965
April 18, 2019
Protecting Girls from Suicide
By Mike McManus

Every day in the United States more than 3,000 young people in Grades 9-12 attempt to commit suicide. They are so successful that more teens and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease - combined!

The problem is often compounded by bullying which make those victims 2-9 times more likely to kill themselves.

Fortunately, there is a new answer for teen girls - a book called The Keeper of My Heart by Ashley Wichlenski. It is formatted as a series of letters from "The Keeper of Your Heart" who turns out to be Jesus.

Each letter is addressed in a way that builds confidence in the reader, whether they are being addressed as "precious one," "brave girl," "beautiful girl," or "sunshine." In contrast to the negative messages about their self-worth in the world, a reader is called "beautiful one."

The book underscores the unconditional love of God that is complete, forever, consistent, whole and without restraint. In one letter, The Keeper of my Heart writes, "I promise to keep your heart safe and love you forever! You are mine and I am yours."

Most "chapters" are written on only one or two pages, with a large illustration, followed by two blank pages for the young girl to add her own reflections.

Each chapter contains inspirational Scripture that is meant to build up the confidence and self-worth of the reader. Here is Lamentations 3:23-25:

"God's love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They are created new every morning. How great your faithfulness. God proves to be good to the man who patiently waits, to the woman who diligently seeks"

Wichlenski writes, "Teen suicide rates are sadly soaring at an alarming pace. If we show our teens their worth in Jesus and who they are in his eyes - that they are loved, forgiven, His masterpiece, strong, brave and worthy, I believe the trend will go down."

Chapter 1 is "You Are Beautiful." The Scripture is Psalm 139:14: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

The text asserts: "You are an actual work of art, a masterpiece, which means you are completely unique with a special mind, body and soul."

Unfortunately, many young girls compare themselves to others, and feel diminished. The chapter warns that "when you compare yourself" to "what you see on are wishing away the things that were carefully considered. You are your Heavenly Father's beloved creation. He is proud of you. I am proud of you."

Chapter 2 is "You Are Loved." It begins with a question: "Do you know that I love you so much that I will NEVER LEAVE YOU?"

He proves how much He loves her by recounting what happened over 2,000 years ago: "I willingly laid down my life for all of your past sin and your future sin. I gave up my life even BEFORE you know me, so that you could be FREE of the punishment of sin."

"You Are Forgiven" is Chapter 3. The Lord says "When I look at you, I don't see what you see. I see a beautiful girl, dressed in white, who is clean from the inside, pure In heart...I see you, not what you've done."

He asserts that she is "like a beautiful, precious bride waiting for her groom in a delicate, white dress." He pleads, "Let me heal you and make you new. Let me build you back into the amazing girl you are supposed to be."

This book by Ashley Wichleriski grew out of her own quest for truth about herself. Though she is a wife, a mother and a business woman - she did not want those roles to define her. She discovered that her voice is not growing out of what she has done or not done or how the world looks at her - but on how her Maker sees her.

This book gave her the chance to share what she found with all the daughters of the world, so that they can find their own identity in the truth.

She asserts to her young readers, "Jesus is waiting for you to write a Letter back, in you most true, rare authentic form."

The Keeper of My Heart is the perfect gift for a daughter or granddaughter.


Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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