Posts Tagged ‘mom’

The issue of bathing suits and modesty seems to be a pretty hot topic this summer. There have been two very popular points of view circulating in the realm of social media and since I am a mother of growing girls I feel that this is an excellent opportunity to discuss the subject.

The first point of view was published in an article by Rachel Evans (click here for article) who makes excellent points about the effects of legalism; however, her conclusion implies that women should not be concerned about what impact their wardrobe has on men. According to Evans, God made their bodies beautiful and therefore they should simply dress for themselves. She insists that modesty is subjective and that as long as a woman has dignity on the inside, it doesn’t matter what she wears.

The second point of view comes from a video by Jessica Rey (click here for video) who feels that women’s bodies are beautiful but sacred and should be clothed as such. She also expresses a concern for the effect that skimpy bathing suits have on men and challenges women to be conscious of how they dress.

So what is the answer? Should we wear two piece bathing suits or should we not? Should we care what men think or just dress in whatever makes us comfortable? What do we teach our daughters to do?

First of all, I think it’s helpful to remember that everything we do as Christians is not about conforming to some set of rules or behavioral standards but about pursuing the pleasure of our Savior. In every aspect of our lives, whether it is the work we do, the entertainment we indulge in, or the way we dress, our mindset should always have the glory of His name in view. My point in writing this is not to lay out a set of rules to follow, but to challenge us to keep God at the center of our thought process.

To be honest, I don’t think it really matters how many pieces a bathing suit has, it matters what message it sends when you are wearing it. I have seen two piece bathing suits that are adorable and modest and one piece bathing suits that are as skanky as a Britney Spears music video. As women of God we need to listen to the spirit inside of us and use the common sense that God gave us … if we are distracted by all our exposed body parts when looking in the mirror, chances are everyone else will have the same problem and perhaps that bathing suit is not the best choice.

As for men, I like to think of it this way. Men are naturally more visual creatures just as women are naturally more emotional creatures. How would women respond if men said they were no longer going to be concerned with whether they hurt our feelings or not because words are not bad things and they should be free to say what they like? It seems like that would be using their freedom for their own glory and satisfaction. So as women, is it really honoring to God to say that our bodies are not bad things so we should be able to expose as much of it as we want without worrying about the affects it has on men? Seems like that would be a double standard. No, we are not responsible for a man’s lust, but biblically we are responsible to not dress in a way that exploits his weakness. (1 Corinthians 8:9 and Romans 14:13)

In regard to our daughters, I personally feel we must teach them that their bodies are beautiful, exquisite master pieces of God’s creativity and as such they are sacred. They should clothe themselves in a way that inspires respect, reflecting both dignity and beauty. This is modesty and in my opinion it does matter. I found it very interesting that in her article, Rachel Evans says that the word modesty used in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 signified orderliness, self-control and appropriateness, but insisted this definition had nothing to do with sexual, only material modesty. However, I believe this scripture encompasses both. The spirit of the passage is concerned with the hearts of believing women. In the end, there’s no difference between the woman who flaunts her wealth to incite envy and the woman who flaunts her body to incite lust.

Now I think it is also important to note, that as parents we should pick our battles wisely on this subject. I once knew a girl whose dad absolutely forbid wearing ankle bracelets because he thought they were immodest. The focus was strictly on the behavior, there was no concern for the heart of his daughter and the result was rebellion. As I mentioned before, it is not a set of rules we are pursuing but the person of Jesus Christ. If we teach our children to fall in love with Him then the glory of His name will be the focus of all they do including how they dress, and to me that is the best any parent could ever hope for.

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For The Moms

Posted: June 12, 2013 in Favorite Articles
Tags: ,

An excellent post from the pastor at our church… Be encouraged!!

http://jasonjohnsonblog.com/blog/the-good-mom

I don’t think there are many who would argue with the statement that motherhood is the most thankless job in the world. We don’t remember the years that our mother’s got up with us in the middle of the night, changed our dirty diapers, fed us and cleaned up the countless messes that we made. We take for granted the fact that we always had clean clothes, three meals a day and that our mom sacrificed most of her free time investing in all of our activities and education.

So on this Mother’s Day week I would like to share a list I made of all the forgotten things my mom did to make me who I am today. I realize there are many who struggle with strained relationships with their mothers, but I hope I can at least encourage everyone to look for the good things your mom did and maybe take the time to tell her thank you. After all, don’t we want our kids to be merciful and remember the things we did well despite all our mistakes? I know I do.

All The Things My Mom Did Right:

1.She loved Jesus.

2. She taught me what it means to really love a man by how she loved my dad. She never talked badly of him, she respected him, she served him, she never left and they are still in love today.

3. She was resourceful. My dad was a teacher so we didn’t have any money but my brother and I never really noticed. She was just so good at making what we had work.

4. She made holidays special. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine’s Day, it didn’t matter what the holiday was, she always found a way to make it special for the whole family.

5. She was and is always there for me. Even as an adult there is not one time in my life that I can ever say my mother wasn’t there for me. Many times I have needed her and no matter how inconvenient it might have been, she was always right there.

6. She knew how to have fun. My mother loves to shop, eat junk food, go on family excursions and be spontaneous. One of my best memories of her was the day we skipped school to go see the Houston Symphony and watch the Sound of Music all afternoon.

7. She homeschooled my brother and I even when it cost her everything. My mother started homeschooling in the 80’s when it was not the movement that it is today. She not only lost all of her free time but the support of her family as well, and with limited resources she worked extremely hard to make sure we got a good education. Her sacrifice in this will always be an inspiration to me.

8. She taught me how to really care about people. Whenever my mom saw someone who was struggling or hurting, she would always do something; whether it was flowers, a card or just a phone call, she would always find a way to let them know they were loved.

9. She never left. Now that I am a stay-at-home mom I realize what a feat it is to simply stick with your kids when things are difficult. In a world where so many mothers abandon their children, I am so grateful that my mother showed me what it looks like to persevere even when you feel like running.

10. She became my friend. Some have said that you are not to be your child’s friend and that is true to an extent especially when they are small. However, as parents we are to cultivate a relationship with our children in addition to teaching them how live by standards. This is so that when childhood gives way to adulthood, a friendship can indeed blossom. My mother spent much time cultivating a relationship with me, especially as I got into my teen years and this relationship has grown into a friendship that I cherish to this day.

So thank you, Mom for everything you did right. I know there is a lot that is not on this list, but these are the things that have meant the most to me and I just want you to know that you were very good at your very thankless job. I love you so much and Happy Mother’s Day!

“Her children rise up and bless her;” – Proverbs 31:28

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Since today is the first day that the Supreme Court will begin hearings regarding the issue of “marriage equality” I felt it was appropriate to re-post a blog I wrote on the subject last year… I know it is a bit long but I hope everyone will take a moment to read it, think about it and maybe challenge themselves to re-examine their world view in the light of Scripture.

Last Friday night I saw a theatrical presentation of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It was a conscience wrenching, powerful performance and it has inspired me to talk about an issue that is probably the most controversial in our culture today… Homosexuality. I have long hesitated to address the topic on my blog, not only because of its polarizing nature, but also because there is a horrific tendency by those of us who oppose homosexuality to view those who practice it as the enemies. This is not so. Satan is our enemy and homosexuality is merely another device he uses to rob the human soul of the joy and satisfaction it was created for. In fact, I think it is worth pointing out that heterosexual promiscuity is an equal rejection of God’s design for sexuality and our acceptance of these practices is the foundation for where we are today with homosexuality. Everything from pre-marital sex and co-habitation to pornography, it all screams that we do not believe that there is a God who cares what we do. All sin is an equal rejection of God’s boundaries… A man who has a problem with pride or anger is the same as the man who is a homosexual and both men are the same as me… a sinner with a whole bunch of problems that God desperately desires to redeem. I hope everyone will keep that in mind as I proceed.

There are two reasons that I have decided to write about the subject… The first is because as a mom, it is painfully apparent that my children are growing fast and it will not be long before they are asking me questions to which I must have a good response. I want to encourage all you other moms out there to take a stance on what you believe with your kids because if you don’t, someone else will undoubtedly seize the opportunity provided by your silence. The second reason is that C.S. Lewis boldly challenged the moral culture of his day in writing the Screwtape Letters and I feel that homosexuality is a moral question to which too few people are willing to offer a biblical answer. To be clear, I do not believe the question should be whether homosexuality should receive the same privileges as heterosexual marriage, but rather is homosexuality just an alternative lifestyle or is it in fact a wrong use of sexuality that God has condemned as destructive to his most precious creation? If you answer that question, then it is easy to determine whether a society should sanction or fight against such behavior. Let us remember, however, that the fight is NOT AGAINST the people who practice homosexuality but FOR the people who practice homosexuality. We are fighting FOR the freedom of their souls and against the lust that has enslaved them.

I believe in the God of the Bible and I believe that He loved us so much that He gave us boundaries so we could live in true freedom the life he has given us on this earth. It’s just like a good father sets boundaries for his children so that they are as safe as they are free. These boundaries are the things we call right and wrong and their existence is most obviously demonstrated by the person who says there is no such thing. If you were to harm this person or steal something from him, he will automatically recoil in horror and demand retribution, thus acknowledging that there is wrong and you have done it. God created sexual pleasure and it is ours to enjoy within His boundaries and design. In Romans 1:26-27 homosexuality is clearly described as against this design and I therefore believe it is not only wrong but will ultimately prove harmful to those who practice it no matter what the media or popular culture may say to the contrary. If God is a good father who sets boundaries because He loves us, then you can be sure that the things he says are wrong will somehow ravage our souls whether now or later. Both heterosexual and homosexual promiscuity are forms of insatiable lust and lust will destroy the soul it feasts upon no matter the object or the method of its pursuit.

So as a mom, I would encourage you to be bold and teach your children that homosexuality and heterosexual promiscuity is wrong because God did not design us to work that way. But what should we teach them to do with that belief? I say teach them the golden rule. Treat others how you would want to be treated because you are just as bad a sinner as anyone else. God treats us in this way despite our wretchedness; it is His patient love that woos our souls unto Him and changes us from the inside out. He does not condone sin and neither should we, but we can be certain that He is able to handle the sin in His own children and He does not need our help to do it. So teach them to cling to truth but love those who have not found it because God does the same with us as we struggle in our own sins. So now that I have gone on quite long enough on this difficult subject, I have written my own Screwtape letter to offer a bit more perspective. I hope everyone will at least be willing to listen and take away the idea that there really is a design for us and it is born from love, for our protection not our misery.

My Dear Orexis,
It is my sincerest hope that you will be more successful with your new patient than your cousin Wormwood was with his. Of course you are well aware of the fate he suffered for his failures, so I advise you to take extra care that you do not follow in his miserable footsteps. I am, however, most delighted to hear that you have already spotted a most advantageous struggle within your new subject… It is that of sexual preference. I see that he is already quite immersed in pornography, but as our father below has so designed it, he is beginning to lust for more and is now ready to be introduced to a new outlet for his desires. Oh this is most delightful!! As with all things embedded in the sinful nature of humans all you need to do is encourage what is already there and get them to go as far as you can without looking to see where they are going. I also see from your letter that he is a student at the local high school… All the better! As you know, our father below has already forged a very successful campaign against the education system. Everything is considered relative now and we have convinced even some of the most intelligent to believe that there are no standards for right and wrong, it’s really just a matter of whatever makes them happy. Use this to your advantage. Encourage him to indulge his curiosity under the guise of exploring his sexuality or trying to find his happiness by finding himself. You and I both know that our enemy has designed these humans to only truly find themselves in Him, which makes the pursuit of finding oneself in oneself absolutely fruitless but this is what we want!! The longer we can keep him chasing empty promises of happiness, the longer we can keep him from finding the truth and that, my dear Orexis, is something you must avoid at all costs. We have successfully convinced the majority of the world that truth does not even exist, but it does indeed exist and you must never EVER let your subject find it or he might be freed from our grasp forever! I don’t need to remind you what will be done to you if that were to happen.

Now as you convince your subject to satisfy his growing lust in sexual activity with the same sex, there will be the inevitable matter of guilt that will begin to creep into his conscience; you must convince him that this is just because society has imposed their bigotry on his sexual freedom. This guilt, of course, is a weapon that our enemy uses to whisper to the human soul that they were designed for better things. Silence this whisper at all costs and make sure your subject remains unaware that there is a design or purpose for his life at all. A purposeless being feels under no obligation to do anything that does not please him and he then becomes obsessed with the pursuit of pleasure which as we discussed earlier will never come to him. If he becomes depressed, send him to one of our psychologists… they will condemn the feelings of guilt as low self-esteem or something to that effect and put him on some very useful medications so that he continue on this journey of “sexual exploration”. Now, I understand from your letters that his parents are in fact Christians, which is very disconcerting, but you say that he and his father have a hard time understanding one another. Use that to alienate the boy from any influence they might have. Destruction of that insidious thing called “the family” is always of utmost importance. The family was of course designed by our enemy to be a protective structure for humans, particularly women and children and it is what all societies are built on…. So if the very idea of strong families is done away with as bigoted and obsolete then the society itself becomes weak and is practically ours for the taking!!!

So let us review your course of action for your new patient… (1) Encourage his sexual exploration as natural and merely a pursuit of happiness. (2) Erase any idea of truth or right or wrong. (3) Keep his family from having any influence in his life as this is always poisonous to our purposes. (4) Never let him see that the pleasure he is chasing will never satisfy his lust. (5) Always reiterate to his mind that there is no God with a design or purpose for his life and anyone who says differently is bigoted and a hate monger. If you successfully do these things you will effectively enslave your patient’s soul to an endless pursuit of pleasures that will never satisfy. He is in fact deeply loved by our enemy who designed him for freedom, but if you do your work well he will die enslaved to his lust and never know what he missed until it is too late.

Your Affectionate Uncle,
Screwtape

If you are interested in seeing the theatrical version of the Screwtape Letters I highly recommend the one put on by the Fellowship For The Performing Arts http://www.screwtapeonstage.com/

Last night I was at our small group meeting and the topic of discussion was barriers to godly communication in our marriages. Now, all of us in the group are parents of small children, and anyone who has kids knows that managing a family is the chaotic form of an Olympic. It requires endurance, perseverance and a steady supply of chocolate. However, this frenzied pace of family management has a tendency to build up massive amounts of frustration, which seemed to be the most common barrier mentioned by everyone in our group.

Frustration has it’s source in many different places. For moms it usually comes from managing the kids, the house, the bills, relationships with family and whatever else happens to come across their path during the day; for dads, frustration is often sourced in the demands of work, fighting rush hour traffic to get home in time to see the kids and balancing the needs of their wives and families. For most parents, including myself, all of these little sources of frustration tend to build up until the end of the day when our spouse comes home and says that magical phrase “How was your day?” Suddenly every tantrum the kids have thrown and every item on the checklist that didn’t get done comes flooding out of our mouths like an angry bull finally released from its cage. Hence the conditions are perfect for a fight.

So the question posed by our group leader was how do we remove the barrier of that frustration in order to communicate our struggles in a way that honors God and does not wound our spouse? The first thing that came to my mind was stopping at the end of the day when the kids are asleep and set aside time to just focus on each other. While this is a good thing to do, one of my friends in the group said something that made me think about the subject a little deeper. She said that in the moments where the day seems to be swallowing us alive and frustration threatens to poison the rest of the evening, we must refocus our mind on what it means to love our spouse in that moment instead of just focusing on what needs to happen to make the issues go away. Focus time with our spouse should always be a priority, but when the pace of life makes that impossible on any given day we have to know how to elevate our spouse above our frustration so that managing the issues can become a team effort that is edifying to our marriage. For instance, speaking in an agitated, confrontational tone might serve as an outlet for my frustration but it wounds my husband. Choosing to speak with kindness elevates my husband above my own desire to relieve stress and there is opportunity for the frustrations of life to be managed in a team effort that reflects the love of Christ, instead of being compounded in opposition.

This perspective from my friend added new depth to my original line of thinking and my challenge to all of my other fellow parents out there is to shift your focus from simply trying to attain that quiet moment to learning how to redeem the daily chaos by elevating the needs of your spouse in the moment. In doing this, the quiet moments will be that much sweeter because the love we practice every day adds depth to our marriage and gives life to our souls.

Death of a Girl

Posted: March 8, 2013 in Personal Moment
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On a typical morning I sat sipping my coffee and staring blankly out the window. My children ran wildly around the kitchen table and the question running through my mind was “How did I get here? I am in my pajamas at 10:00 in the morning, I haven’t brushed my teeth or my hair and I am surrounded by wild monkeys disguised as human beings… What happened?”

I then began to retrace the steps of my life and in my head I could see an idealistic girl just out of high school with romantic dreams of getting married, starting a family and being a perfect mother of perfect children. I was going to be in control; not like all the crazy mothers I saw at Walmart and everyone would look to me for wisdom and advice.

Then I flashed forward to reality and realized I am the crazy mom at Walmart. Life has long put to death that young, delusional girl in so many ways and that fact begs the question… Do I wish things were different? Do I wish that girl of so long ago was right about everything and still alive somewhere inside of me?

I think almost every mom comes to this place. It’s the place where we must either decide to embrace the journey of becoming a woman or spend our life mourning the loss of a girl we thought would live forever. Every day I spend with my kids, I am convinced that motherhood is a tool that God uses to change us from little girls who think they are always right and can somehow control everything, into women who know that only God is right and we can control nothing. Please do not misunderstand me to say that in becoming women we should lose our sense of fun or passion for life. However, I think it is safe to say that there is much foolishness in our youth that God means to put to death on the battlefields of motherhood and if we are wise we will let Him do it no matter how painful it can be at times.

So for me, the answer to the question “Do I wish things were different?” is no. The girl that I was, with my unrealistic ideals and desperate need to be seen as perfect, is not the person I was meant to be forever; that girl was meant to die so that a woman could be born. And the good news is that the woman I am today is not the woman I will be 10 years from now… God isn’t done with me yet and the little monkey children running around my kitchen table are His gifts to me not because they are easy but because they wreak havoc in the areas of my life that no one else can get to. This is what gives life depth and beauty even though it is much harder than it was before. Quiet moments are not just empty spaces to fill with more activity, they are little pieces of heaven; People are no longer an audience I must perform for, but partners in a journey; Prayer is not just an abstract idea, but the essential element of daily survival, and on I could go…

So what about all the other moms out there? Do you wish you could go back to the girl you were or can you see a depth to the woman you are becoming that far outshines your youth? If I had to guess, I bet you are more beautiful now than you have ever been… even in your pajamas. 

1 Corinthians 13:10-12