5.31.2013

Modesty: what it's all about for this Mommy

If it wasn't Friday, I would think today is Modesty Monday.

Is it just me or have there been several posts about bikinis/modesty lately on Facebook and Twitter? Not complaining by any means, as I shared one myself on FB, I've just noticed a lot of them. I'm sure it has everything to do with it being swim suit season.

I've read a few of them, all from a well-meaning Christian perspective, but I wouldn't necessarily agree that they are all biblical.

A popular thought among women seems to be that it is a male's responsibility to not fall into temptation when he sees a particularly attractive woman in a bikini (or whatever she might be wearing...or not wearing). That women can and should wear what they want and flaunt what their momma gave them and if the men lust, well, that's their problem. They should learn to control their thoughts.

Yes. Men should take responsibility and self-control over their thoughts and actions. And they certainly are powerless to do so without the help of God. If they are easily tempted when they see a half-naked woman, then a nude beach is probably not the wisest place for them to vacation. Duh! But just as men should be held responsible, so should us girls. We have to show self-control as well over what we buy and how much skin we allow to be seen. There really isn't a clear boundary, the discretion lies between the girl and God. But I think it's pretty obvious what is modest and what is not, and a lot of that has to do with our body type.

As one girl said in something I read, she is big busted and because of that she can't be modest in anything she wears. But let's not throw our hands in the air and wear just anything simply because we can't be as modest as someone else. When choosing between A, B, or C we can choose the option that is most modest. That's better than nothing, right?

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. 
1 Corinthians 6:12a

This isn't an issue of bikinis vs. one-pieces, as there are some one-piece swimsuits that are almost just as revealing as a bikini.

The issue is a lot of other things. Attitude. Motivation. Ignorance. Irresponsibility.

But I'm not here to say what's already been said. I'm going another direction to discuss my reasons as a mother that I don't allow Lily to wear a bikini.

It has very little to do with swimsuits, actually.

I want to protect her from crazy men that are somehow turned on by a little girl. Thankfully, this is not every man, or even most men. But, let's not be ignorant. They are out there.

I also want to guard her purity.

But that's not my end-goal in not allowing her to wear bikinis.

The world's standards say to flaunt what you have and wear what you want because you own your body. But that is the complete opposite of what God's word says,

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Jesus paid a lofty price for Lily. One day, I pray, His Spirit will reside in her and her body will belong to Him to be used by Him for his glory.

I want to teach her the lasting and flawless beauty of being holy. Set apart from the world. I want her to be confident that doing things God's way, while it may be a sacrifice, produces good and satisfying results. And this applies to all areas of her life, not just her clothing choices.

All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything. 
1 Corinthians 6:12b

As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.
1 Peter 1:15

I'm not going to tell you that wearing a bikini is wrong. They are all I wore until I had Lily...when my stomach was less flabby and I had time/money to tan so that my stomach that never sees the sunlight matched the color of the rest of my body. If I put a swimsuit on now, you better believe it's not to sunbathe. What mom has time for that? I'm headed out to play in the pool or on the beach with an active little girl, and I guarantee you I want anything flabby as contained as possible for all that activity!

I will make the claim, though, that a bikini is usually not the better choice.

But, again, as a mom, it's about way more than a swimsuit style.

It's about holiness. It's about being set apart. Or as R.C. Sproul puts it,
The primary meaning of holy is 'separate.' It comes from an ancient word that meant, 'to cut,' or 'to separate.' Perhaps even more accurate would be the phrase 'a cut above something.'..This means that the one who is holy is uniquely holy, with no rivals or competition...'When the Bible calls God holy it means primarily that God is trascendentally separate. He is so far above and beyond us that He seems almost totally foreign to us. To be holy is to be 'other,' to be different in a special way. The same basic meaning is used when the word holy is applied to earthly things.

Wearing a bikini is not necessarily wrong, but that doesn't mean a girl has to wear one. A child of God is not dominated by this world. She is a stranger on earth and a citizen in Heaven. She is free to be different and unique. Holiness in a girl is an absolutely gorgeous thing that is far more attractive (to the right boy) than the cleavage squeezing out of her bikini top and her flat, tan stomach or that stupid coveted thigh gap. Ladies, Suzanne Somers did not achieve the thigh gap simply by sitting on the couch while using the Thigh Master. 

However, holiness can't be beautiful without humbleness. Just as a girl should not flaunt her body, she should not flaunt her holiness. Holy and unfading beauty comes from a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4).

Ask Lily Who made her pretty and she'll tell you "God". Ask Lily what makes her pretty and she'll tell you "my heart for Jesus".

I want Lily to have the confidence to be beautifully different from the world with a humble attitude and assurance that God created her for holiness. I want her to know that if God called her to be holy, then holiness is attainable and all-satisfying. He's not going to ask something of her that can't be done or isn't for her good.

When she's older, if she wants to choose a two-piece I very well may let her. But, her choice will hopefully be saturated with discernment and wisdom from God and be void of the idea that she has to wear a bikini for whatever reason.

That goes with all other things. I want her decisions in life to be based on her assurance that she is making a choice that pleases the Lord (because we have taught her to seek after that which pleases Him, not the world) and her confidence that God's approval is the only approval she needs or wants.

I do not want her to succumb to the same choices the world is making because she feels like she has to. I want her to confidently, humbly, and quietly live above the world's standards because she is free to and she is called to by the God who created her and knows what's best for her.

The issue of modesty goes far beyond physical appearance and clothing choices and goes straight to the heart. If we lack the confidence that our heart for Jesus is what gives us true beauty, then we will be careless about how we dress and carry ourselves. If we possess this confidence, we will be comfortable and content with being set apart from what everyone else is doing.

There are a number of things I will say "no" to for the rest of Lily's life (or for as long as I have a say in her choices). And, like a two-piece swimsuit, there are some things I might eventually say "yes" to. But I won't say yes until she has a foundation of confidence that her value is in Christ alone. She is enough for Him and He is enough for her.

And Mommas, building this confidence in our daughters begins with us. We have to be confident that the holiness God desires from us is satisfying and be willing to make sacrifices so our daughters can see that we value God's approval only.

5.29.2013

Happy 6 Years!



Six years ago Brent and I said our "I dos" and made a vow before God to stick together and love each other through thick and thin. Actually, our wedding date is May 26, but we were out of town and I failed to write this post before we left...GASP!


We celebrated the way we have for 4 of our 6 years...Melting Pot. It is one of my favorite things to do with Brent. The food is good, yes, but I love the fact that it takes nearly two hours to complete the 4-course meal...which means Brent and I have two uninterrupted hours to just talk to each other (and get really stuffed). It's funny how anniversary celebrations change when you drop an income and add children to your family. Our first anniversary we paid cash for a 4 day trip out of state. This year, we had a Melting Pot budget (and got excited that they changed their menu so we spent less), stayed in a hotel using Brent's hotel points, rode in his company car and had free gas, ate breakfast the next day at Cracker Barrel using a gift card, and dropped Lily off with the free babysitters grandparents.  

We reminisced on the surprises/changes of each year. 
1st Year: Move from Ft. Myers to North AL, bought a house, I started my first teaching job (all of this happened in the first 3 months).

2nd Year: Brent and I both changed jobs, found out we were pregnant with Lily


3rd Year: I changed jobs again (AKA finally found a full-time teaching job at a school I LOVED), Lily was born



4th Year: Brent loses his job on the same day I tell my principal I'm not returning the next school year, Brent finds new job

5th Year: Move to Bham (moved twice while there), can't sell house so we become landlords, Brent and I both start new jobs...which we HATE, we have a miscarriage

6th Year: Brent gets new job in North AL, we find out we are pregnant, we buy a house and move back

I think we can all agree the the past two years have exceeded the amount of change one cares to face in two years. We are hoping the only major change our 7th year has in store is the birth of our son!

There hasn't been a year that we found God unfaithful to us and His promises. And there won't be one. He is faithful, good, true, and sovereign...all the time.

I'm convinced that I am the most blessed wife/mother on this planet. God gave me a man that loves and serves me like Jesus and makes me laugh all the day long. Doesn't get much better than that!
  

5.16.2013

Thank you Hollywood and my farewell to The Office

There are only a handful of TV shows I've watched consistently. I tend to not be interested in anything but a light comedy or very very light drama. I don't like story lines that are complicated nor do I like shows that are unrealistic. I like to keep it simple. Give me a good comedy with maybe a few story lines to follow throughout the show, and I'm all there. You won't find me glued to CSI, Walking Dead, Law and Order (although I did enjoy an episode or two of Night Court as a kid), or anything similar.

You will also never ever EVER find me watching anything on Lifetime or Hallmark. The acting is terrible. Just not into it.

What you will find me hooked on are the realistic shows like Full House, 7th Heaven, and Gilmore Girls. I say realistic because I can picture myself in each show. I cannot, however, picture myself as a zombie or a man that has 24 hours to save the world. I recorded the last episode of Full House on VHS so that the memory would be captured forever. I cried when Michelle fell off the horse and was THRILLED when Steve showed up to take DJ to prom.

I also loved Friends. That show and Gilmore Girls ended while I was in college. I never let anything educational get in my way of watching them weekly. The nights that the series finales aired were a big, big deal.

Thankfully, another show began while I was in college to take their place. The Office. I remember where I was and who I was with for the pilot episode. Brent was with me, of course. We were eating dinner at some of our friends' trailer. If I remember correctly, no one really knew what the show was or what it was about. But, someone knew the pilot was airing that night so we watched it.

My life was changed for the better, forever. Seriously. And for the next 9 years, I faithfully watched the show every Thursday night (unless something interfered--which was oh so irritating--but I always found a way to watch it later; haven't missed an episode). Brent and I have completely different taste in TV shows, but comedy is a common ground for us. The Office became our "thing" on Thursday nights. We always attempted to watch it together and if that couldn't happen we would watch it separately and discuss later. We've been together for almost 12 years, so to say goodbye to The Office is like saying goodbye to a favorite part of our relationship. There will be a void. I hope we survive. Thank God for reruns on Netflix.

At first the show was just plain silliness and sarsasm. Comedy that not everyone will think is LOL funny like I do. Kinda like a modern-day Seinfeld. But the Jim/Pam relationship started taking off and the show became my favorite combination. Sarcastic, dry comedy and a completely relatable TV relationship.

Can I just say how much I love Jim and Pam? Seriously, is there any better TV couple? I don't think so...and don't argue with me.

Brent said it first, but the reason I think I love them so much is because I can see so much of us in them. In real life, we aren't Jim and Pam but by golly we would be best BEST friends with them.

And then there's the looks Jim gives the camera crew all the time. Perfection. Love them so much that I find myself giving the same looks to a fake camera crew (usually Brent) when we are in an awkward, secretly hilarious, or unbelievable situation.

I do. I pretend to be Jim and I give Brent facial expressions like he is the camera crew on The Office.

I know a lot of girls have "man crushes". I have a "couple crush" on Jim and Pam.
Man, I sound obsessive.

This last season, though, has made me an emotional basketcase not knowing for most of the season if they were going to make it. And, no, the emotional roller coaster I've been on with Jim and Pam has nothing to do with me being preggers.

It was obvious early on in this season that they were having issues. A lot of things led me to believe they weren't going to make it. I've been a nervous wreck. I just knew their relationship would end because Hollywood is responsible for the story line. I lost all hope in their reconciliation. Especially when they stopped communicating effectively and then Pam seemed to have a thing for the camera crew guy.

The show became so real this season. Many marriages get stuck in a hard place like theirs did. Jim begins a new job that requires a lot of his time, Pam nearly becomes a single mom since Jim travels so much, Jim gets so enamored by his work that it takes place of his family without him really noticing, Pam notices and begins to resent Jim, their communication falls apart, another man offers comfort and Pam accepts because it seems her husband won't listen, and all of this causes their marriage to suffer. Turns out that Pam never really wanted Jim in Philly anyway.

The end of a marriage doesn't start with a spouse randomly deciding one day to have an affair and leave. It starts when communication and honesty breaks down and it just snowballs from there.

I am so thankful that the producers showed America a suffering marriage that did not end in divorce. I was worried there for a very long time that Jim and Pam were over and I really truly hated it.

But that recent episode where we all finally got a glimpse of hope that everything would be fine had me in sobbing tears. The producers allowed Jim and Pam to go back to the beginning of their marriage. To their vows. And not just any vows. Scripture.

Love suffers long.


Isn't that what we should all do as spouses? Bring to mind what you promised to God and each other on your wedding day? Always--but especially through the tough stuff.

I'm also thankful that the producers decided to give Jim a chance at a bigger opportunity with AthLead and he chooses Pam and his kids over his career.

So, Hollywood, I'm here to thank you.

Thank you, first of all, for producing one kick butt hilarious show.
Thank you for creating a very real-life couple that I feel like I know personally.
Thank you for showing that marriage should be valued.
Thank you for showing that marriage is worth fighting for.
Thank you for showing that marriage is HARD and communication and honesty is vital.
Thank you for showing that marriages begin to crumble for lack of communication and honesty.
Thank you for showing a marriage that went through a fiery trial.
Thank you for showing a husband and wife who, instead of giving up and going for the big D, survived and restored their marriage.
Thank you for showing a husband that joyfully chose his family over his career and reputation.
Thank you for showing that divorce is not an inevitable result of a marriage gone bad.

I must say I didn't expect this from you, Hollywood. It's definitely a nice and welcome surprise.

Jim and Pam, I love you. Goodbye.

5.15.2013

Baby Update #7

How far along: 32 weeks, measuring 33 weeks

Baby Bump: You better believe it. And that bump has spread to my rear end and thighs. Weird, because I thought a baby grew in my belly? :)

Maternity Clothes: Absolutely.

Total Weight Gain: Here comes the weight...+6 lbs since last visit. BUT I didn't take my shoes off this time and I was wearing jeans. That's like 7 lbs of clothes, right? So really, I've lost a pound :).

Cravings: really really really cold milk and breakfast items with real blueberries (pancakes, bagels, muffins)

Food that nearly makes me vomit when I think about it: Anything that may cause indigestion...which is basically everything.

Symptoms: Any symptom you can think of that would be normal during the 3rd trimester: fatigue, weight gain, EXTREME insomnia, back aches, Braxton Hicks contractions, emotionally unstable (haha), indigestion, etc.

Sleep: I have discovered that if I eat a bland dinner no later than 5 (to decrease the chance of indigestion) and use lavender lotion at night in combination with sleepy herbal tea, I average about 2 good nights of sleep per week (minus the constant bathroom interruptions).

Movement: Yes! Not quite as spastic as it has been. I think he's running out of room.

Gender: It's a boy! Scott is his name. And let's just go ahead and nip this in the bud: I'm not ok with calling him Scotty.

Belly button in or out: In

What I miss: Not getting exhausted after doing something so simple: like walking up a half flight of stairs.

Best Moment: Lily went to my last doc visit and of course she had to know every detail of every thing my doc did. She thought it was HILARIOUS when I peed in the cup! She uses her little doctor kit to measure my stomach and listen to Scott's heartbeat.

Biggest Challenge: Getting through the day on very little sleep. I am so very blessed that Brent works from home. Although he doesn't actually work at home all day every day, it's nice to have him around when he is home. He is such a selfless husband/father and works his rear end off to provide for us and also keep up with his demanding wife and daughter :). He never ever complains. 

5.01.2013

Dear Little Man

Hey buddy.

I'm pretty sure the two of us have a rough two months ahead of us. Well, I guess I do. You are warm and cozy. You have been growing into a precious bundle of joy for 30 weeks now. It's like my body recognized that we're in the third trimester and decided to bring on a whole world of pregnancy symptoms and amplify the symptoms I already have. I'm not going to lie. I'm incredibly miserable, fatigued, uncomfortable, sick, and have this CONSTANT burning pain in the top of my stomach due to some extreme indigestion. No blame on you, although if you think about it, none of this would be happening to me if you weren't taking up ALL the room in my torso. I mean...that's just the truth. So maybe I am blaming you, but I'm certainly not complaining about you or the misery you are causing my body.

The mere fact that God decided your daddy, sister, and I are deserving of you is humbling.

Your Nana and T-Bone bought you a few things. The UPS man delivered them today and I just sat in the living room floor and cried. To say my hormones are making me emotional is such an understatement right now. That and not sleeping...the combination of both is so very scary because you just don't know what might make me cry.

I'm trying really hard to not wish away these next two months for many reasons. It's so easy, though. I mean the physical pain is one thing. Yes, I would enjoy a night of sleep. Or even a nap. Much more than that, though, is my absolute excitement for you to be here. Unlike when I was pregnant with your adorable sister, I am not nervous about what the heck is going to happen when you enter the world. Your sister taught me that all the difficult things are just seasons. Good things can, do, and will happen. And I know that even the hard stuff can be viewed in the rear view mirror as a good and missed memory.

I know this time around that sleepless nights end, formula is not from the devil and I'm not making a unwise choice if I don't breastfeed, liquid poop that smells like hot pepper soup does come out of clothes, it's completely acceptable to cover up the remains of a leaky diaper at 3am with a towel and change the sheets in the morning, not everything that goes in your mouth or hands has to be sterilized in a boiling pot of water for 15 minutes, Dreft is just a ploy to get me to buy expensive detergent, putting your diaper bag on the floor at a restaurant doesn't necessarily mean that a deadly germ is going to climb into your closed container of formula, thumb-sucking isn't the end of the world and your teeth will be just fine, the dog will eat your spit-up before I can even comprehend that you spit-up, and I don't have to do what the "experts" say because I'm your mom and know you better than them.

More importantly, I know you have a daddy that loves you like Jesus does and he will sacrifice everything for you. I know that because he does it everyday for your sister and me. And I know that you have a sister that is more excited about your arrival than a kid headed to Disney World. She is nurturing, loving, thoughtful, and oh so caring. You are one blessed brother to have her to show you the ropes.

Most importantly, I know that you have a Father that fearfully and wonderfully formed you in my womb. He has good and perfect plans for your life. He loves you with a flawless love, more than we could ever imagine loving you.

Oh yeah, and you have this insane dog named Sanibel that will lick you until you think you can't possibly be licked anymore, then she will lick you some more. It's really annoying, but she's not going to stop. It's her love language. And despite what others think, it's not a big deal at all. Lily has survived thus far with lots of kisses from Sanibel. I think you will too. Think of it as a way to strengthen your immune system.

I'm ready for July. I know all the good that is to come and it makes the hard stuff secondary. We are ready to kiss your face and make memories with you.

With all my love,
Mommy

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