I recently had the huge privilege of contributing to a new book called Hope Rising 365. It was written to and for young women as a daily reminder that they are loved and there is a deeper hope. The book, which has an entry for every day of the year, was the brain child of Meg Cannon who works for KOKO,which is part of Girls Brigade Ministries. It has guest contributions from Ali Martin, Rachel Gardner, Jessie Faerber, Naomi Aidoo and Rachael Newham. I spoke to Meg about why she was so excited about this project.

Why are you so passionate about empowering young girls?

I really struggled as a teenager, particularly with school and with the way I looked. I was bullied at school – my dad was a teacher there, he was one of the strictest teachers and my classmates took it out on me. I found school life quite hard with friendship fallouts and things like that. I am so grateful that I now have an opportunity to explore these subjects and hopefully inspire, encourage and challenge young people.



Tell us about your new book Hope Rising 365…

I wasn’t a big book worm, I didn’t read a lot of books when I was younger. When SPCK asked me if I would write something for young girls I thought about whether I should write something that you read cover to cover or what if we could create something where a girl on any given day could pick up a book and turn to the day of the year and read something that was going to lift her and point her to Jesus and encourage her? So, we set out on this adventure of creating 365 pages and we’ve done it! 

Listen to the full interview on our radio show.

I’m so excited about it. Because it’s a challenge and when you read it, even now I am inspired by it. The book has made me laugh and it’s made me cry. And I’m really excited about getting it into the hands of teenage girls, but also university-aged girls. I was speaking to someone recently about her time at university and she said the whole time she was there she didn’t open her Bible once and I thought I’d loved her to have had Hope Rising 365, where she could have opened a page and read the truth of scripture. 

Some of the pages are literally just a piece of scripture and I’ve written at the front that if you turn to a page and it’s just got a tiny snippet, try and memorise it. Try and carry it with you through the day because I really do believe that God can speak to us through the simplest of things.

I also hope it’s accessible to non-Christians and for those who don’t have God on their radar, it will be the beginning of something really beautiful.

I would have loved this book as a teenager. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to write this and I really do hope that it gets into the hands of those girls who need a hug, who need an encouragement and need pointing in the right direction – in the direction of Jesus. 

How do we show young girls who are struggling with issues like bullying, low self-esteem or difficulties at school that God loves them?

Is it modelling it in our own lives? When we are struggling, to show that we’re authentic and we can cry and we can share the deepest things with God. I remember sitting in my car once after viewing a rental property. I’d looked for so many places to live and I slammed the door of my car and I screamed out to God. I was sobbing: “Where do you want me to live? I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where I’m going.” I was so upset and confused, asking: “God, what are you doing?” I was so lost and so lonely – I was in Manchester away from my family. And I remember thinking: “I think God really loves it when we are authentic in front of him.” When we lay it all down before him. 

I think if we can be authentic before God, we can show that to our children – that it’s OK to tell God exactly what you feel. To cry before him and, in your bedroom or in your diary, to lay it all out. That’s a great thing to show them – that you don’t have to pretend before God. He cares about the big things, he cares about the little things. And whatever is going on in your life as a teenager he wants to know about it and he has an answer and he can comfort you. 

What would you say to 14-year-old Meg Cannon? 

I’d give her a massive hug and I’d say: “You are OK. You don’t have to change yourself. You have got so many gifts. You have got so many talents. And you don’t have to be afraid of the future, because the future is really exciting. And there are going to be highs and there are going to be lows, but God has got you. And just trust God, because it’s a brilliant adventure.” 

I would say: “Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you. It’s alright to be tall (I was really tall as a teenager). Stand up on those legs and walk with confidence, because God has got an incredible adventure ahead of you.” 

I’d love to go back and speak to 14-year-old Meg, I was really struggling then.

Find more about Hope Rising 365.