Thursday, July 10, 2014

NO Judgment

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised."
Proverbs 31:30

While perusing Facebook this evening, I read an interesting blog post. The title was "Why Christian Girls Post Seductive Selfies."
It really got me thinking. 

Where was this post when I was in high school?


But even if it had been around, would I have read it?


Heeded it's advice?

Probably not. 

I was that girl.

Almost desperate for attention from the opposite sex, it reflected in the way I dressed and often in the way I acted.

"Selfies" weren't what we called them, but I definitely knew how to take the "right" picture.

I hear a lot these days that parents should control and monitor how their daughters dress/act/etc.

And that's true, to an extent.

Christian parents are judged and berated by other Christians for not "having a handle on their kids."

Well let me tell you, I have wonderful parents who were quick to let me know when I was wearing something inappropriate.

(I STAYED grounded in high school!)

But like any teenage girl, there were times, a lot of times, when I just didn't care and just didn't listen.

It wasn't until I developed my own deep relationship with Christ that I was convicted enough to care.

I made a profession of faith as a preteen, but it wasn't until I was in my 20's that I truly understood what it meant to have an actual relationship with Christ.

As I sit and reflect on this, I think I see what we're missing with our girls.
It's more than just telling our girls that dressing and acting a certain way for attention is wrong. 

Let's be honest. They already know that.

I knew that.

It wasn't until I understood God's love for me that I finally saw that I'd been looking for attention in all the wrong places.

And that's where we have to start. 

We need to teach our girls about God's love first.

Not by telling them to read their Bibles, say their prayers, and follow a list of rules. 

We need to read our Bibles with them, disciple them, pray with them, listen to them without judgment, and show them God's love through us.

Will this always work?
No, it won't.

No parent can force a child to do anything that child really doesn't want to do. 

But let me tell you a little secret.

It's not just the parents job to show our girls God's love.

It's every Christian's job, especially the women.

Don't just spew criticism and judgment toward our teenage girls and their parents.

Love them.

Love changes everything.

And that's what our girls are seeking in the first place.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Embracing Imperfection

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:8-9

I know I've already written a blog post today, but I've had an epiphany. 
Are you ready for it?

Here it goes. 

Don't tell me you already knew that? 
Okay, you did.

And I knew it too. 

I just haven't been living like it.

You see, I have this problem. I have this tendency to try so very hard to be perfect ... and when I fail, because I always will... I condemn myself. 

I feel defeated.

I feel guilty.

Why CAN'T I be the perfect wife? The perfect mom? The perfect daughter? The perfect sibling? The perfect friend? The perfect Christian?

Oh that's right.

I'm not God.

And let's be honest, I have a head knowledge of that. 
I know that realistically, I can't be perfect.

But man if I don't wake up every single morning, making my to-do lists, and trying my hardest to prove something to someone.

But to who?

I prayed before my devotion tonight, begging God to show me what I most desperately needed to hear.

This is what I learned:

God does NOT condemn me for my sins.

I have already been forgiven.

I was forgiven the moment I confessed my sins and asked Jesus into my heart!

But yet, I constantly condemn myself.

I feel like if I admit my failures, it makes me less of a person.

But in reality, I'm less of a person for hiding them. 

There is FREEDOM in embracing my imperfections.

There is FREEDOM in letting go of my pride.

Yes, I said it. 


 What else makes me want to check off a list of how "good" I've been all day?

I have nothing to prove to anyone.

Not to you.

Not to me.

Not to God.


I am FREE to be ME.
So here it is.

My confession.

I am NOT a perfect person.

No matter what my Facebook page or Instagram account reflects.

I mess up DAILY. 

And you know what?


My new life goal is to show you God's GRACE in my life - not my attempt at perfection.

I'm not perfect.

But He is.


"Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:58

This has been an awesome week for me, as far as running goes! Last Wednesday, I ran a 5k on base and although I didn't PR on my 5k time, I DID PR on my 2 mile time! (18:57!) It was an extremely hot race, but I can tell that I'm slowly getting faster and stronger! While running, God brought Isaiah 40:31 to mind, "But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint!" It was just what I needed!

Yesterday, I surprised myself AGAIN by breaking my 1.5 mile and 2 mile records! (13:11 and 17:51!) I almost threw up afterward, but I was pretty excited! The current training I'm doing is preparing me to pass an Army PT test. (No, I'm NOT joining the Army!) My goal was to run 2 miles in under 18 minutes and I did it!

I've also started cross-training on my bicycle! I try to bike every other day. I can usually ride around 6 miles in 30 minutes. On Saturday, I rode 13.5 miles in an hour and 10 minutes and it was wonderful! The roads were empty and there was a nice breeze. I spent a lot of time talking to God and it was great!

I wish I had something amazing to blog about today, but I don't. In fact, I had a little bit of a rough week. In spite of my rough week, God proved his faithfulness over and over again. So I'm actually thankful because I've been able to see God working in my life, yet again. 

God always sends, or allows, things to happen in my life to either teach me, prepare me, or both. The more quickly I can recognize those instances, the better! Although I wholeheartedly believe that Devin and I are answering God's call by going into the ministry full-time, I've been so fearful that I wouldn't be able to handle it. Even though we aren't "officially" there yet, God has shown me that we CAN handle it, with His help, and that He is our protector and defender. 

Whenever I question what I should do, or how I should handle a situation, God always gives me the answer. Whether it be in His Word or through the Holy Spirit's conviction, the Lord always shows me the way. Most of the time it's hard, and it's usually not what my nature wants to do, but in the end, when I listen, I'm so grateful that I have a loving Savior who cares enough about me to show me the way.

While writing this just now, God showed Himself to me, yet again. I couldn't decide on a verse or a title to use. My dad usually sends out a verse every morning, but for some reason, he just sent it out as I was writing this. The verse was exactly what I needed to hear. "Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58) As long as I make every decision based on what God wants from my life, nothing I do is in vain. That makes every heartache or difficulty worth it.