Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Womanly Work

First and foremost, I am not a feminist. I firmly believe that whereas men are not better than women, they are better at alot of things - because they've been made that way by God to be better at them. I firmly see in the balance of life, that men have strengths that women do not. Men are men.

Of course, I also see that there are things that women are better at, too. God created man...and God created women. Two separate things. Each with gifts that the other does not have. But what I want firmly established before further reading, is that I am not a feminist in my thinking, in fact, I'm a staunch supporter of men's role of leadership and strength.

But I just ran across a girl's profile description of herself, and in it, she said that she is a real girly-girl...but sometimes she still likes to get out and get dirty working outside...as if she was being "manly" to do that. And I was like "wait." When did "working outside and getting dirty" become a guy thing?

Take a gander at Proverbs 31 and the "excellent woman" passage. Geez, that woman is all over the place working hard outside - buying a field, planting a vineyard, working with sheep ("she seeks wool") and harvesting flax...This woman, the woman lauded as the excellent woman in Scripture, does some pretty hard work outside. Tending vineyards and shearing sheep are not dainty chores, but she was leading the way in getting those things done around the house. While still being all-woman.

It's still womanly to work outside. In the house chores are usually what the woman will be doing, but we women are still just as womanly when we don our overalls and head to the great outdoors.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Disclaimer on Modesty

In lieu of my last post, I wouldn't want anybody reading this to misunderstand where I firmly stand as far as modesty goes. I am NOT an "anything goes/follow your own heart" person when it comes to modesty. I do believe there IS a line that should not be crossed in our choice of clothing. I believe God does have a very distinct opinion about it, too.

To the woman who believes in her heart after seeking the Lord for what He would have her do (that's the KEY here), that modesty is wearing dresses down to her ankles and sleeves to her elbows, then in her eyes, I AM dressing immodestly. To the girl who after seeking the Lord for what He would have her do believes that pants are immodest, then to her, because I wear pants, I am immodest. To lots of people, I AM an immodest dresser.

With this philosophy of "relative," we could take this as far as we want, until we are in a sense condoning bikini's and cleavage-busting tops. Like I said before though, I do believe there is a line in the sand where immodest IS truly immodest. No matter who the person and what they believe, immodestly becomes just immodesty.

The trick is not necessarily FINDING that place...but being honest with yourself about REALLY seeking God to find where HE draws the line and exercising self-discipline in staying within those boundaries. That is alot harder than one might think. The woman or girl who will totally surrender her entire wardrobe (and indeed, image and reputation) to God with no-holds-barred and allow the Lord to speak to her heart is a RARE woman. Most women will go by their feelings, what they were raised with, or a stubborn determination in what they allow to be modest...without really surrendering their entire control over it. To determine God's line in the sand on modesty, a woman has to love the Lord enough to be willing to wear even the most frumpy of modest outfits if that's what God called her to. I don't see Him doing that with most people...but full surrender is being surrendered to the what-if. It's in our total surrender of our style, our looks, our image, our reputation...that we will find the line in the sand.

So, yes, I believe in the line in the sand. I believe that there's a point that immodestly really becomes immodesty, no matter who's wearing it with what beliefs. To unveil what I believe that to be would be a post for another day, probably another life-time, as I still wrestle with and honestly have NOT attained that level of surrender in my wardrobe, thus not giving me the credentials to write something of that magnitude. It's probably just not for me to write, period.

But that line IS there before the Lord. And I think that a woman with a fully surrendered open heart that views modesty from ALL angles (God's view, men's eyes, our own desire to gain attention, etc), we will find that it's very, very true.

"Father, I see that You are drawing a line in the sand,
and I want to be standing by Your side, holding Your hand."
- Let the Worshippers Arise,
by artists Phillips, Craig, & Dean

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mutant Modesty (Not Your Typical Sermon)

"Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothes - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is very precious."
(1 Peter 3:3-4)

Over the last few months, I've been tapping into different sources of "women talk" going on, whether in blogs (specifically blogs), conversations with friends, books, or whatever other resources are out there that talk alot about the Christian woman. And one of the BIG topics is, of course, modesty. 

I've found blogs that are all about "modest fashion," and showcasing different outfits that that person believes to be modest. I've found blogs that discuss the "modesty" verses, such as the one above. I've read blogging articles about too tight, too low, too short...and interestingly, also blogs about too loose, too high, too long, too frumpy, too homeschool....needless to say, everyone has their own view of what modesty is. But what I know and believe in is that GOD also has a view on modesty, and THAT'S the source we need to go to, not our fellow man.

But as I've been silently stalking these different sources of modesty input (and not just blogging!), and evaluating alot of what I see, I've begun to pick up something. Something that is not right.

Has anybody notices that in the popular "modesty" verse above, it does NOT say that it's wrong to braid your hair (21st century interpretation: cut your hair; style your hair; put some effort into making your hair look nice). Neither does it say that it's wrong to wear gold (ie. jewelry; earrings; necklaces; etc). It may SOUND at first glance like it is, but it's not. Because if we were to take this as literally as it sounds at first glance, then the next stanza would REALLY be an issue: "the putting on of clothes." Yikes! Going by first glace interpretation, if we aren't to do our hair, aren't to wear jewelry, then by golly, we aren't to wear clothes! Now...we ALL know that a skin-baring nudist is not walking in the true spirit of the Lord, so there's GOT to be a bigger picture here.

And the bigger picture of that verse is this: don't let what you wear be your beauty. Whether you dress trendy or you dress in jumpers or you balance in the middle somewhere - that's not the adorning the Lord wants most from you!

Our clothes, whether simple or stylish, are not to be our main focus. They are not to be too important to us. The thing that we should do the MOST in beautifying ourselves is adorning ourselves with the INNER BEAUTY (the quiet spirit, the gentle spirit). In doing this, that doesn't exclude "doing ourselves up to look nice on the outside," but rather just not letting that be the source of our beauty. This modesty passage really is just saying "you're outside is not where your true beauty comes from, so don't focus on your hair, your jewelry, your clothes, etc, as your ticket to godliness; but rather it comes from your heart, so focus on beautifying your heart!"

There are the obvious mini-skirt and bikini-wearing Christians who are breaking this biblical rule. But right now, there are also ALOT of conservative skirt-wearing Christians who are violating this verse in the exact same way. There is a HUGE facet of conservative people who are taking HUGE pride in their modest adorning, and glorifying "modesty" to the point of idol-worship. And consequently, are in violation of 1 Peter 3:3-4, despite their yes, modest apparel. This is JUST as wrong as the women who obsess over fashion and trends. Honestly, in some ways, it's even worse.

When we look to our clothes and any other kind of exterior means of beauty as a way to measure up to what God wants from us, it's improper adorning whether it's a slinky outfit or a head-to-toe jumper. It's displeasing to God whether it's a stylin' hair cut or floor length hair. Whether it's earings or no earings. Make-up or no make-up.

"For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."
(Psalms 51:16-17)

The sacrifice that is MOST pleasing to God is what is in our HEART, not on our body. What we put on our body IS very important, but that's not the most important. What's on the body will be influences by what's in our hearts most of all. It's our heart attitude that God is looking for. Not our works, not our actions, not our physical "sacrifices" or "burnt offerings."

I find it very interesting, also, that King David wrote this Psalms during the days when sacrifice and burnt offering WERE the means of atonement. Burnt offerings were VITAL. Yet for David to say that God does not desire that, he knew that what the heart of God really wanted was not an animal burning on an alter (or a type of clothes worn). The Lord wants a heart that is beautiful, and a life is seeking His FACE more than His alter

What I'm seeing is scores of girls and women letting their arts of modesty become just an act of righteousness, and taking immense unholy pride in being supposedly so much more "virtuous" than others.

Wear what you believe before God is modest, but don't add the accessories of pride and self-righteousness. Don't wear your clothes like they are earning your brownie points in Heaven. Modest adorning is not just of the body. It's mainly of the heart.

Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart
with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which in the sight of God is very precious.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This post is going to have absolutely no "purpose" other than to tell you about a movie I just fell in love with. A purely frivolous thing to write about, but when I love a movie...I really love a movie and it totally embeds itself it my soul until something else takes it place. I blame it on hormones. =) I'm usually pretty careful about what movies I endorse, because I know it's such a varied topic of standards for different people, and especially since my own standards fluxuate. But...I'm gonna risk it this time! =)

My new favorite movie is:
Ice Castles (2010)

I wish the cover wasn't quite so "provocative" of romance, but since there IS romance in the story, I guess it's ok. This is the 2010 remake of the old 70's original movie Ice Castles, and the music itself is amazing! I've never been one to aspire to figure skating, but I still totally love watching other people doing it and so this movie was up my alley.

It's about a girl who skates (duh). She's begins professionally competing and leaves her small Iowa hometown to follow that dream. But the pressure of professional skating and all it's glitter and glam get to her, and things kinda start falling apart. Then something happens, and she is left with a physical handicap (since I had no idea that it was going to happen when I watched it, I wont say what it was on here, since it was kinda fun not knowing until it happened). Through the efforts of her supportive family and boyfriend, she learns to overcome this handicap and continue with her dreams of skating. Ok, that's my own personal lame synopsis of the movie.

One of the things I really loves about this movie, was Lexi's (the main gal) sweet spirit. Also her supportive family. In so many movies (including the 70's original) the message on the screen is to defy your authority and "follow your dreams." Lexi here gets to follow her dreams, but with her family right there helping and encouraging her.

And then there's the romance...despite it being really sweet, I really loved how the Nick totally poured himself out for her and believed in her. He had a strength of character that was really admirable.

And last but not least...my new favorite song sung by Britt Nicole (yah, a Christian artist!) "Through the Eyes of Love." My new favorite song on repeat. =)

And drum roll...this movie is 99.9% clean. There was 1 bad word (but don't shoot me if there's a second, it definitely would NOT have been more than two), and other than the fact that she's a skater (ie. tiny too-too dresses, tight athletic pants, etc) and there's some kissing, it's a totally watchable without fast-forwarding or closing the eyes movie (unless you're young enough to think kissing is gross, haha). If you're looking for a good, chik-flik movie, definitely consider this one. =)

My only other caution, mainly for single girls, is that like I already said, there IS a sweet romance angle on the story. If you are struggling with being at peace with where God has you as a single girl, I don't think this is the movie for you. Just want to put that out there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Mom

Me & Mom at the Lake (two years ago)

It was like I could finally breath againe the moment we found out my mom DOESN'T have breast cancer. Our life stays the same: no changes, no fears, no loss. I was just as shaky after hearing the news that she was fine as I had been all day waiting for the results...but in a much, much better way. Thank God.

My mom is my best friend. She's my rock. My strength. Sometimes my very sanity. She has set an example for me all my life of a gentle spirit and a virtuous heart. All I am that is good I have learned from my mom. She has walked with me through fire and I know she would have stayed in the fire herself if it meant I could go free. She has spent countless hours praying with me, and even MORE hours on her knees on the side of her bed in earnest prayer for each person in our family.

My mom walks with God and He speaks to her, because she has set her heart to hear His voice above all else. My mom is a picture of wifely submission and respect. My mom has a fount of wisdom; her words, inspired by the Lord's presense in her heart, always hit the mark in my heart; she always knows just what to say. She sees my failures, my faults, and she guides me to overcome - sometimes by telling it to me straight, or subtly guiding me to discover it myself.

My mom is a spiritual work in progress - she is never too proud to show her own children where she has has failed. In THAT she has set an even greater example that if she'd been perfect. I have often seen tears falling down her face, and in those moments, my mom has never looked more beautiful. She is kind, selfless, giving, compassionate, never failing.

I don't know who or where I'd be if it weren't for my mom. My mom is who I want to be when I grow up. I want to be just like her.

"Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."
(Proverbs 31:28-29)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Everyone in my family has been struggling with fear this past week. There is the potential for something excruciatingly painful and hard to strike our family, and today is the day it will be revealed. I have known fear, but I have never known THIS fear before. I sound cryptic, but as yet, I must leave it so for now. Suffice to say is that we've been tempted to worry and fear of a sort we've never faced before.

I have been afraid. But in this rhema from the Lord, I have found my strength to face with courage and trust whatever the Lord allows in this family:

"And behold, the Lord passed by, and a mighty wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire, the sound of a still, small voice."
(1 Kings 19:11)

Whatever comes our way, the Lord is not the wind, the earthquake, or the fire.
  He is not the bad thing.
He is the still, small voice that comes with it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dealing With Breakups: The Strength to Sit Still

The hardest thing is not always finding the right words to say...but rather knowing that you have to let them find it out on their own. And that's hard. Because even when you know their pain and you know right where they are at emotionally and even spiritually and you know the answer...it will do no good only hearing it from you - it's something that they just have to learn on their own.

That was me last night. I stood talking to a good friend who just had his almost-finace' brutally break-up with him. I saw underneath his facade of "everythings ok," that he wasn't as ok as he thinks he is. It was like looking into a mirror of myself 1 1/2 years ago. I knew what phase he was in in the grieving process, I knew the boiling questions fermenting in his mind, I knew what he needed to learn and had yet to realize...and I also knew that me telling him would do no good, possibly add more harm. I felt like I held the key in my hand, but if I tried to unlock the door, it would only slam shut even harder. And so I remained silent. And that was so hard.

There is a time to speak. And there is a time to remain silent. People who are hurting, specifically people suffering the loss of love and being stabbed in the back for it, can't process even the most truth-speaking advice. In a phase like that, you are struggling so much to keep from having a serious breakdown (both emotional and mental) that you go into survival mode. You can't see beyond yourself and your struggle for survival. And so, buoy's of truth most often float on by, sometimes only knocking off balance a drowning swimmer. There will come at time for the words to be spoken, but those times will be few and far between. But when they are ready to be heard and spoken at the right time, they will go a long way.

After I left last night, I looked back at myself, and I realized how so many people dealt with me so wisely when I was going through that. I remember so many times talking (more like ranting) with family and friends, telling them where I was...and they nodded, listened, and let me be. They had the wisdom and strength to sit back and let me learn it myself - which was exactly what I had to do.

And now as I watch my own friend ranting through his pain, I realize that wisdom and strength they showed.  Times of truth-speaking came and those people valiantly spoke that truth into my heart, and in the right time, the Lord pressed it into my heart, and added it to the lessons I was learning myself as I navigated my breakups.

It's harder to be silent and watch someone's pain, than to try and fix it. If you know someone who's hurting like that, don't try and fix it. Ask how they are. Listen. Nod. Care. It will meant the WORLD that you have just listened and cared, and didn't try to fix them or tell them they're wrong (they already know they're a mess). And then pray. God really is the one who will bring them through. He's the one who did it for me.