Modest Is REALLY Hottest In Hell (Christians & Bikinis)

 

modest is hottest

Modest is Hottest; it’s also true in hell.

What will you be wearing on the day of judgment? Scantily-clad or not, we could be in for a surprise. The Bible tells us that on the last day there will be many seemingly good people, who in all likelihood dressed quite modestly, to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).

These individuals will be DEVESTATED because they thought they were GOOD. After all, they were covered in good deeds.

They were covered in humble dress: one-piece bathing suits, tankinis, and shorts to their knees,

They were fully-clothed in church attendance, giving to the poor, and a near flawless morality.

Wearing a one-piece or not, these individuals may soon find themselves swimming in the wrath of God for all of eternity.

How shockingly scary. This verse ought to shake our souls out of slumber and compel us to cry out for those trusting in their own goodness for salvation.  We must examine our own fragile estate and make sure we are resting on the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ and not our own triumphs.

To the religious crowd who was trusting in their own morality for salvation, Jesus said, “For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27)

Looks can be deceiving. We can look wholesome and clean on the outside, and yet our hearts can be a million miles from God.

Heaven is not a place for good girls – prudes properly celebrating each other’s goodness for all of eternity.  On the contrary, heaven is a place for those who have realized they are completely jacked up and in desperate need of being saved from their own goodness. Jesus looked through the swimsuit we were wearing and saw deep into a soul that was plagued with sin. He didn’t come for the healthy and the modest, He came for the sick and vile.

Christianity is not about wearing a bikini or one-piece.   Our hope is only found in wearing the righteousness of Christ – a garment none of us deserve or have merited.

If you have not read part one of The Swimsuit Edition: God Loves The Hoochie Mama, click here to jump in the conversation.

Let’s continue to walk through the process of deciding what to wear this summer.

 

Does it cause another to stumble?

More specifically, does wearing a Bikini cause others to stumble.  Yes, of course it does. Victoria’s Secret created an empire off of lust. Frankly, it’s difficult to see how some bathing suits are that much different from panties and  push-up bras. One might say, “It’s okay because we are at a beach.” But does lust go on a vacation at the beach? Umm . . . no. I would argue lust is very much hot and heavy on the shorelines and at the local pools. Lust has no regard for context or culture. Men and women are sinful at beaches, pools, kitchens, shopping centers, America, Spain, France (in nudist colonies), strip clubs, and church pews.

What causes us to lust? Is it leggings, cleavage, short skirts, bathing suits, smoldering Latin accents, handle bar mustaches or chiseled abs?

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Sin causes us to lust. We are all sinners who lust, and we are all in need of Jesus.

We would find a way to lust even if everyone was covered in burlap from head to toe. All of a sudden necks and earlobes would be the new sexy.

As Christian women, sometimes we simply say, “It’s my body. I can do what I want.” But again, it’s actually not our body; it’s His body.   Our bodies were purchased with a price – the price of the Son of God (1 Cor. 6:20).

Other times we’ll say, “Well, men are going to lust no matter what I wear, so why does it matter? It’s not my problem, it’s their problem.” Well, maybe that’s true, but does that mean it would be wise to dangle a crack-pipe in front of a drug addict, and just tell them to “man up” and gain some self-control? Of course not. Sometimes we make decisions not based upon what we have the freedom to do, but based upon what is in the best and most loving interest of those around us. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as our self. If what we are wearing will in a unique and obvious kind of way likely cause our neighbor to stumble into sin, are we loving them (as Jesus commanded)?

Side note:  I am  convinced that many times women are choosing what outfit to wear in order to impress other women.    We are just as bad as men when it comes to checking each other out…I’ve seen it and I am sure you have too…A woman walks into a room and she is devoured from head to toe by other women!  We can cause one another to struggle with lust(non-sexually) by stirring up insecurities of the soul.  I wonder how many eating disorders, depression, anxiety, anger, and fear are birthed from seeing other women half dressed.

 

Can we help one another lust less?

What it really comes down to is that when we become Christians, it is no longer about our body, it becomes about being a part of HIS body – the church.

It is no longer about good tan lines and getting attention. Our lives becomes one in which we die to ourselves, considering others in the body of Christ. We exists for one another.

Our brothers and sisters have told us that dressing immodestly causes them to lust, and when our family is hurting (or struggling), we should be hurting. To love a brother in Christ isn’t to tell him just to get a grip on his lust. To love a brother in Christ is to sacrificially and selflessly go out of our ways to guard and protect him the sin that so easily besets him. They struggle enough as it is; let’s not do anything to complicate the matter. Are guys going to struggle with lust regardless? Yes, probably. Yet God forbid that we be the reason for them to fall into sin.  Jesus said in such a case, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

The bikini was named after an atomic bomb. I wonder if it sets off an explosion of lust in the souls of others.

I often hear women say, “Well my husband is ok with what I am wearing.”

Husband, I am sure you love seeing your wife naked (you should and I hope you do often) but encourage her to save that sexiness for your eyes only. Don’t allow other men to take visuals of your wife into the bedroom with them at night to play in the rolodex of their minds.

To be honest, my passion for helping our brothers has grown tremendously since having sons. OH. MY.

I did not have any brothers growing up so I was in shocked to discover how entirely different boys are from girls. Fixated on anatomy…just saying.

I want my boys to be great lovers one day when they are married. I want them to be naked and unashamed with their wives. I want my kids to have fantastic sex lives.  This comes through understanding who God has created them to be and the boundaries that He lovingly sets up for his children.

Yes, I want their eyes on Christ, but this is so hard because there are so many shiny things everywhere begging for their attention.

One of those things is beautiful women. High schoolers running in bra-tops, virtually every commercial they see on television, and even their sister’s Barbie dolls . . . they are all asking my boys to glance their way and stay awhile. So we tell them to “bounce” their heads when they see something inappropriate, but sometimes you can just about get whiplash trying to avoid sin.

I want to fight for their eyes, but I realize that the battle is not for the eyes; it is for the heart.

Women are to be treasured, respected, honored, and valued. Yet the media tells them women are for sex and merely objects to be used.

Women also can make this exact same statement with their clothing.

What should our take away be?

This posts asks the question, “What should Christian women be wearing at the beach this summer?”

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Freedom

“It is for freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1)

“But He rescued us to be free, so why are you trying to put the heavy yoke of a modest swimsuit on me?”

(I have a friend who compared a one piece bathing suit to a cocoon, in which a beautiful butterfly was trapped inside of.)

Do we say, “Let freedom ring, lets put on a string?”

We are free from the slavery of sin, not free to do whatever we want. We are free to love God and to love others. We are free to be loved by God.

A woman who is covered by love is going to look different from the world.

Following Christ changes our talk, dress, eating . . . it changes everything!!!!

Sometimes loving looks more like dying. Before Christ we were white-knuckling our life – afraid to let go. Christ took our lives, and now it is not our own.

Christ set the example for love when He laid down His life for us. We are free to lay down our life for others. We are free to be servants laying down our lives for others and for the glory of God. We are free to be extend peace to parched eyes, but how can we show the peace of Christ when we are waging war on the eyes of others and fighting for their attention, groveling for their applause?

Finally, we are free to take it all off!

Let’s take it all off this summer! Take off all of our pride. Take off all of our selfishness. Less is more. Let’s clothe ourselves in humility, love, and respect. Let’s be a people that bear each others burdens, instead of baring it all.

Let’ bare our souls before the eyes of God, instead of our bodies for the praise of men and women.

We don’t dress modestly because we are ashamed of the bodies God has given us. We cover because of love.

How can we make this summer a selfless summer? Just remember you are choosing more than a swimsuit this summer.

There is no doubt this post will offend people that why it has taken me so long to write about this topic. My hope is that this will start a conversation that will challenge our thinking, making us hunger to love Christ and others more.

Christian, we should not be rolling our eyes at cleavage hanging out and huffing and puffing over short skirts. We should run to these women and welcome them into our homes because they are no different from us – just different struggles.

Let us clothe ourselves in humility summer.

Stop Hatin’

Remember this ancient saying…… “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

Love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).

 

 

 

God Loves The Hoochie Mama (Swimsuit Edition)

bikini

 

In the beginning God created bikinis.

No, that’s not right . . . there were actually no bikinis, pants, shirts, shoes, underwear, boxers, or briefs.

God did not intend for us to be strutting around in bikinis. He intended for us to walk around as naked as a jay-bird.

God created Adam and Eve, and then He placed them in the garden. Here, Genesis 2:25 tells us, “the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.”

Everyone was naked, and everything was perfect.

BUT . . . (no pun intended) Adam and Eve disobeyed God and decided to eat out of the only tree from which God told them to stay away.

Lusting after a mere piece of fruit changed everything. When Eve saw that the tree was, “good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise (Gen. 3:6),” she took a bite and shared it with Adam.

At that moment, sin entered the world. At that moment, Adam and Eve (and the rest of us to follow) lost their free pass to let it all hang out. The nudist colony was officially shut down (at least in public places). Instead, the Bible tells us the couple tried to hide themselves with fig leaves because they were ashamed. It was like one of those nightmares where you go to class and you look down and realize you are naked. For the first time in human history, exposed genitalia caused faces to blush.

Why were they ashamed?

They knew that they had sinned. And guess what? We would have done the same thing (eaten the apple and ran).

God Covered Them In Love

God could have left them in their nakedness, plagued with shame and insecurity.   Instead, in a gracious act of love, He covered them with, “garments of skins and clothed them.” As the Scripture says, love covers a multitude of offenses (and in this case, love covered a multitude of awkward body parts).

This is the message of the Christian faith; it is a loving God clothing us in love. A God that opens His arms to the spiritually naked and ashamed and says, “Come, let me take your shame and clothe you with righteousness.”

The Bible tells us a story in which God says, “See my son Jesus, yeah the one hanging out with all the prostitutes, drunkards, lepers, downtrodden, and outcasts? Yeah, Him. He has obeyed me perfectly, and He is going to be sacrificed on the cross for your sin of lust, greed, discontentment, self-righteousness, anger, and failure to obey. Then I am going to take His righteousness and cover all of your flaws and shortcomings. I am going to exploit my Son, so you don’t have to be exploited. I will hang Him naked and ashamed on a cross, so that your sins will be covered by His blood. I will forsake Him so that I can accept you.”

The Gospel reminds us that we no longer have to be ashamed, because we can be hidden in Christ.

Christian, our arms should be wide opened to the naked and ashamed because our Savior pursued the naked and ashamed with His entire life. Jesus loves the hoochie mama, and you better believe that includes all of us because sisters, we were all harlots and we were all whoring after the gods of pleasure, power, and praise.

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An Explicit Summer

Summer. Oh the season when temperatures rise and clothes come off. A time when it is “okay” to be uncovered.

Our culture celebrates nakedness with songs like, “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes.”

There is nothing to be ashamed of, they tell us. After all, “it’s your body. Do what you want with it! Take it off! Get rid of those fig leaves. There is no need to hide. Don’t be ashamed of who you are!”

Let others do what they want with your body. Lady Gaga sings, “Do what you want with my body.”

Of course this makes sense for a culture that has itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny thoughts of God.

Growing up, dressing modestly was something that my youth group strongly encouraged. I remember at camp we would have to make sure our shorts were longer than our finger-tips. I always hated the fact that my arms were so freakishly long (#TallGirlProblems). Our youth pastor always encouraged us to, “guard each others hearts.” I always thought to myself, “If those pimpled face youth boys can’t control what goes on in their pants when I am around, that is their own fault. They need to get it together. Show some self control! I am going to dress however I want. After all, God gave me this body – why should I hide it? Besides, Jesus came in the flesh so they can keep their eyes off my flesh. I am actually giving them an opportunity to show the power of Jesus over sin (such compassion).”

Regardless of all of the speeches that I had heard, I put on a bikini because I wanted to look good and have amazing tans lines.

Then I took it to an entirely new level when I decided to compete in pageants and wear a bikini in front of hundreds of people on a stage with a spotlight on my rear.

I LOVED THE ATTENTION. It wasn’t just the men who were staring. The women noticed the power of the bikini as well. To say that I was on a power trip would be an understatement. Winning “swimsuit” competitions did not help with my pride that was inflating by the second (held up by an underwire pushup bra all the while). Having all eyes on me was awesome. Women were jealous, and men wanted me (or at least that’s what I thought).

One night when Jamus and I were dating in college, I remember going coming down the stairs in a pair of shorts (with “Wildcats” across the rear-end) that were entirely too short. The look on his face told it all. I had his attention, and this is what I wanted – power. I knew that I was causing him to stumble, and yet in an incredibly sinful kind of way, I liked it.

At the end of the day, God created our body to glorify Him. Psalm 139 says, “I was fearfully and wonderfully made,” in that we bear the image of God Himself. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that Jesus purchased our body with His own blood; thus, we should “glorify God with our bodies.”

It makes sense that those outside of the world are naked (or at least close to it) and unashamed. But what about Christians? Is it okay for us (those who have been called from the darkness into light) to wear bikinis?

Here are some questions we should ask ourselves in making a decision on what to wear this summer.

First, does the Bible speak clearly to the issue? In particular, does the Bible prohibit bikinis?

2 Timothy 2:9 says, “Likewise also women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.”

Let’s be clear. This verse does not say, “Thou shalt not wear a bikini.” However, what is implied is that women should dress in a humble way that does not draw attention to themselves.

A great question to ask ourselves is, “What is my purpose in wearing this outfit? What is my motivation? Does this article of clothing glorify God (or me)? Am I making much of God, or myself? Am I asking others to look at me, or Him? Does this make me feel powerful?”

The reason I will not be wearing a two-piece bathing suit this summer (besides my muffin top) is because I would be wearing it to grab people’s attention.   My tendency would be for people to think, “Man, she has been to the gym! Wow; she looks hot!” I’m certainly not implying this is the case with every woman (maybe it’s not this way for you at all), but for me, that’s just how I would roll. My ears love to hear the applause of people.

Does it hurt us?

Although we may look powerful strutting our stuff across the stage of life revealing all of our amazingness, we are actually hurting ourselves. We live in a sex-saturated culture where men and women are simply looking for the next wave of stimulation. It is all about an image, isn’t it? When we look like the culture, we are asking to be a selected for their visual stimulation. “Can I be your next image? Will you desire me?”  “Let me be your eye candy!”

Is this outfit causing me to be seen as a sex symbol? Am I blending in with my surroundings?

This is the first part of The Swimsuit Edition.  Follow me here to find out when the next one is published.

Lets start a dialogue about this topic.  Share this post and lets start chatting.

What are you thoughts concerning what Christians should be wearing this summer?  Should we let it all hang out or cover up?

 

The ‘Selfie’ Generation

Everybody is doing it!!!

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(Taking Selfies that is)

There is no doubt we are living in The ‘Selfie’ Generation…

The truth is we are really just one little “selfie” amongst generations of selfies tucked into a photo album of time. We are a made in the image of God, a portrait of the Artist who created us to reflect His brilliance and glory.

It has never been about our portrait, but it’s a story about the artist behind the lens. Art that moves people asks them a question; what was the artist’s intention in this work?

The question we need to ask ourselves is, “What was His intention when designing us?” Was I created to receive the applause or was I designed to give the applause away?

The problem with selfies is that they don’t tell the whole story, do they? We upload the highlight reel of our life for everyone to see (granted, there are several selfies I have seen that I thought someone accidentally put up) but we leave out all of the ugly and embarrassing.

God knows the moments you would hurt for other people to see. He knows you fully and has written your story – a story that cannot be changed by editing out the bad.

All that really matters is His story.

If our story is not tied into His story, then we are missing the entire point of our existence.

Our obsession with self has navigated our story apart from God, but because of God’s great love for us, He sacrificed His perfect son in our place.

What a picture of love? When we see Jesus, we see a perfect picture of God; in fact, Jesus is God. Perfection. Love. Power over death. Power to heal. Compassion.

How could we ever doubt His love for His children? He sacrificed His son. Christ’ perfection is uploaded to those who look to God in humility and ask Him to change their selfish hearts.

‘Royals’-Living The Fantasy

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Why in the world do we watch reality TV? Really though, why?

It’s because we long to escape our boring reality into someone else’s story, a story far bigger and seemingly greater than our own. Somehow the Kardashians seem to be a little bit more intriguing than changing diapers, going to the office, making dinner, and trying to find all of those missing socks (seriously though, where do they go?)

Our desire to be around greatness has created a culture of celebrity worship. Against my better judgment, I always end up on E! Entertainment. Be honest, we know you look through People and Us Weekly magazine columns out of the corner of your eyes in the Kroger checkout line. I totally get it; I do it too! We need to know which celebrity has a saggy bottom and who is getting fatter by the second. Although I hate to admit it, I’m somehow interested to see if the Bachelor has found true love (ha – ha). I mean seriously…. It’s important for me to study the downward spiral of former Disney Stars.

Entertainment pulls us in and out of our boring life’s. By switching back and forth between reality shows, are we really just seeking to escape our own seemingly dull realities?

Although we may have a dream for greatness and a drive to rule (even if it is living vicariously through someone else), not everyone can be “royals,” as Grammy winner Lorde proclaims.

And we’ll never be royals.
It don’t run in our blood,
That kind of lux just ain’t for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz.
Let me be your ruler, you can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I rule, Let me live that fantasy.”
Why has this song resonated with our culture?

Lorde is not only an incredible artist with fabulous locks and my new favorite up and comer…. she is right! Not all of us will be “royals,” but in many ways we still possess a fantasy to rule. If you are like me, you have probably come to terms with the fact that you are never going to be a real life princess. In all likelihood, we will never hold an OSCAR in our hand, and will probably never even be nominated as “mom of the year” in our hometown. We realize we may not have what it takes to rule the red carpet, but it’s okay. There are still plenty of little kingdoms that we can rule. We become Daydream believers amidst our ordinary lives.

Our kingdoms can be found in the midst of laundry piles multiplying on our couches, dining room chairs plastered in weird looking remnants from dinners long ago, surrounded by our court jesters covered in peanut butter, in a cubical with one of those swivel chairs and posted notes everywhere, pews, play groups, classrooms, seminary, and even the blogosphere.

We mock celebrities for their absurdities and lavish lifestyles; as Lorde says, “Gold Teeth, Grey Goose, Trippin in the bathroom, Bloodstains, Ball gowns, Trashing the hotel room.”

We may say, “We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair,” when in truth every one of us have been in a love affair with ourselves.
Although we may have never “seen a diamond in the flesh,” oh how long to capture greatness. (Even if its just flipping through the television.)

Even if it is simply, “driving Cadillacs in our dreams.”

We were not made to be “Royals” receiving applause; we were made to give the applause to Jesus Christ – the only One worthy of praise.

Our little kingdoms will one day be destroyed.

 

Free Sample of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full (Gloria Furman)

book cover

Thankful for this lady and her heart for the gospel!

Gloria (@gloriafurman) is a wife, mother, cross-cultural worker, and the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full.

gloria

You can visit Gloria’s blog at Domestic Kingdom.

Thank-you Gloria for letting us explore the first chapter of your new book!  How exciting! I just received my copy in the mail yesterday!

Click Here:  Treasuring Christ Sampler with Cover

Lent Is Not About Me

Although I grew up in the Methodist church and probably went to a lent service or two, I vaguely have any memories of it. Even if I went, I’m sure I did not have a clue what was going on.

lent

“Uhhh…are we supposed to give something up for lent like I did FOREVER when I was Catholic?”


“Yes, your IPhone.” (me)

“Bahaha! Ok…seriously…my pits are sweating and the memories of my upbringing is beginning to fan the flames of condemnation. I haven’t thought about what to give up?!?! I didn’t think Baptist did this-that is was a ‘Catholic members only club’ thing. I am just not prepared. They didn’t discuss this in our PVCC Church 101…I just feel unprepared”

The above message is a conversation that I had via text with a close friend of mine who is new to the Protestantism. (This is my same friend who asked if we have a “Baptist” bathing suit that she needs to purchase.) LOVE HER!!! Why in the world our church is having conversations about lent was very confusing to her.

No, you do not have to observe lent; you do not have to “give something up” in order to be in the club. On that note, just a reminder there is nothing we did to be a part of the club in the first place. Similarly, there are no dues we have to pay to remain in the club.

Initially I was very hesitant about “giving something up” because it starts to make me get all uncomfortable and legalistic sounding, and I don’t know what to do with it. The other reason for my skittishness is due to the fact that I generally fail at keeping resolutions of any kind at all. However, the Lord revealed to me how much I loved a certain something – too much. It became clear that I think I deserve this form of comfort, and even sometimes plan my life around making sure it happens.

Six hours into my “giving up” something, I caved. I told you I was bad at this. Epic failure??? Wait! Then, I realized that my failure is in some way the whole point of lent. It’s not about being perfectly self-controlled and awesome. No, the point is that even when you try “to do the good you want to do,” as Paul said in Romans 7, “You do what you don’t want to do.”

I’m really bad at lent; this is simply one more reason as to why I so desperately need Jesus. I couldn’t keep God’s law perfectly. I’ve not loved God with all of my heart, soul, and mind, and I’ve certainly not always loved my neighbor as myself. I’m a sinner who has fallen short in every regard. I’ve not just failed at lent, but I’ve failed in meeting all of God’s holy standards.

My response? Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for showing me once again that I am weak – that I often enjoy TV more than I enjoy you. That I often run to grab the remote before I grab your Word. Thank you that you are always on the station of GRACE.

Let us not make this season of lent about us.

“I gave up my I-PHONE, so I am so getting sticker on my Jesus chart.”

“I am so committed. I am so faithful. I am all over this sacrificing thing. I am so zealous.”

No. May this season of lent, we get over the “I’s” and lift our eyes to the throne and say, “I NEED YOU JESUS.”

Goodbye, Bravermans

ash
“Mommy, WHAT is on your forehead?”

How do I explain ashes to a very confused four year old? How do I tell her of frailty and mortality?

“Honey,” I say, “this is a reminder.”

Ellie says, “A reminder?” She’s obviously still confused, although very aware of her mother’s forgetfulness (keys, phone, wallet, school papers, etc.).

I reply, “Yes, a reminder that mommy needs Jesus.”

She says, “But MOMMY, you already have Him.” (Score! At least she recognizes that I “have Jesus,” because I’m sure that some days she has to wonder).

Then I say, “Yes, I have Jesus, but sometimes mommy forgets that I need Him every day – even this very moment. These ashes on my head remind mommy that I am not a superhero, and I am in need of rescuing. Jesus rescues me!”

Why Ashes?

Living in the land of entitlement where we feel as though we deserve the car we are driving, the house we are living in, the food we are enjoying, and the entertainment we are consuming, we need to be somberly reminded that the only thing we actually deserve is hell. We are entitled to God’s wrath and judgment; after all, Romans 6:23a teaches us, “the wages (or payment) of sin is death.”

I will confess that so many times, I think God owes me comfort. I deserve to sit here, watch Parenthood, and eat my popcorn because I worked hard today. “God, I did laundry all day; I deserve to sleep well tonight.”
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In a dark sanctuary lit only in candles – singing songs of brokenness and repentance – I would join a line of other sinners, who like me, were in need of a reminder. It was our sin; it was my sin that nailed Jesus to the cross.

Looking into a mirror, I take the ashes and paint my forehead with a cross. From dust I came and to dust I will return. No, I am not immortal. I will die. Someday soon I will find myself lying in a casket. Looking in the mirror, I pray that I would see myself for who I truly am – a sinner in need of grace. But there is more to it than that. I was not left to merely be consumed as ashes, but Christ covered me with beauty through pouring out His blood on the cross.

There is something bittersweet about mourning. My husband tells me I am really good at mourning. Lament could possibly be my spiritual gift. I find myself thinking and turning my thoughts towards why I sin. Oh how often I feel the heaviness of sin, and I cannot wait to see heaven’s gates open up. Then, and only then will I no longer have the desire to bow down to other loves. God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus for my sin, and He has not wrath remaining for me. Therefore, I can run freely to His throne. I don’t have to hide my sin; He knows it all, and yet He still loves me – and it’s all because of Jesus.

Mourning may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

And so we turn off our television set, not to show how much self-control we have, or even that we are keeping ourselves from something the Lord has given us to enjoy. No, we turn of the tube to ask the Lord to remind us that all we really need is Him, and that all things are a gift, even watching the Bravermans.

Seriously….Let It Go!

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This. Song. Will. Not. Let. Us. Go.

At the Oscars on Sunday night, the Tony Award-winning Broadway star Idina Menzel belted out “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. Not only did she receive a standing ovation from the crowd, but the song even won an Oscar. If you’re anything like me, you can’t get this song out of your head.

There I was cleaning the kitchen and performing what I thought was a riveting rendition of “Let It Go.” Welcome to my life – the world of Disney. It’s a magical place where dreams come true.

I was making crystal ice castles out of thin air, and my spirits were soaring along with the song. That is, until my 4-year old little girl (who is a Frozen expert), said “Mommy, you don’t look like Elsa at all!”

What! I was shocked! “Is it the nasty yellow sweatpants I have on or my seriously crazy-looking eye brows that need a good waxing?”

NO, I don’t look like Elsa, but at least my eyes are in proportion to my wrists.

Although Elsa and I apparently look nothing alike, we share one thing in common: we both love to hide.

I hide in a number of ways. I frequently cancel appointments with friends; I don’t answer phone calls. Often, I simply run into the bathroom and lock the door. Much of the time, I get lost behind the screen of my I-Phone. In doing so, I’m building my own “Kingdom of Isolation” – a kingdom in which I’m the queen.

“No, I don’t want to build a snowman. Can you just take your cuteness somewhere else and leave me alone?”

Why do we hide?

The phrase, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them see,” is something that many women can relate to. We know the awful, ugly, hideous sin that we are capable of and we dread the thought of others seeing it. We’re afraid for them to know the real us, because if they did, there’s no way we would be accepted (or at least that’s what we think).


Because we are petrified of being exposed for who we really are, we hide. Sometimes we simply lie and say we are doing great (when we know we’re not). If and when we speak about our sin, we tend to speak in very general terms, avoiding the details that genuine humility and confession requires. Other times, we don’t say much at all; we simply smile through the pain of the condemnation that we feel on the inside.

Be The Good Girl You Always Have To Be

Every time I hear this line from “Let it Go,” I’m reminded that in and of ourselves, we can’t be the “good girls” we’re supposed to be. In fact, the Bible teaches us that the only goodness in us is the righteousness that we receive from Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:10, 2 Cor. 5:21). The church is not for good people. It is for people that realize they need a goodness and righteousness outside of themselves; it is for people who trust in the goodness of another Person – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even once we are Christians, we don’t have it all together. We still sin. Historically, some have held to the view that when we become Christians, we just stop sinning altogether. Even if we believe this to be impossible, perhaps we subconsciously live with this expectation of perfection. In those cases, no wonder why so many of us freak out when we sin and are sent into a whirlwind of confusion and doubt. Listen, I get it. It would be great to not sin anymore – and someday in glory, we won’t. But in the mean time, we have to, “let it go.”

Now, when I speak of sin and say, “let it go,” I don’t in any way mean to belittle the magnitude of sin, nor the hatred that God has towards it. Christian, we must not “be okay” with our sin. Rather, we must “be killing our sin, or our sin will be killing us” (to quote the old Puritan, John Owen).

However, when we think about our remaining sin, we have to “let it go” in the realization that because of the cross of Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven of all of our sins – past, present, and future. Every single ounce of the wrath that we deserved was poured out on Christ Jesus. When God let Christ go to the cross, He let our sin go with Him. Our sin record was “let go” when the blood flowed from the side of the Son of God; sisters, if God can let it go, we too, must let it go. It displeases God when we seek to pay for something that has already been paid for. Jesus died for our sin not so that we could live in guilt and condemnation, but so that we could experience peace, joy, forgiveness, and freedom.

It is only trusting in this Jesus and His deep love for us that can melt a frozen heart

Don’t be shocked by your sin. When you sin, run to the arms of Christ and be thankful that even your sin reminds you of your great need of a Savior. As one of my favorite songs says, “the only fitness He requireth is to feel your need of Him.”
So, what happens when we are found out, and we are standing there exposed? Like Elsa, do we cry, run away, and hide in a castle up on a mountain?
We cannot escape ourselves by escaping people. God uses people to reveal our sin so we can come to Him for healing.

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The Christian life was not designed to be lived in isolation. If fact, it can’t be lived in isolation. We are the body of Christ. We need one another. In fact, there are nearly 60 “one another” passages in the New Testament. Without other Christians in our lives who love us enough to tell us the truth, and to correct us when necessary, we’ll never finish the race.

The beauty of the Gospel is that we are already exposed. All of our sins and flaws were exposed the day Christ was nailed to a tree. When Jesus died, He announced to the world, “She is a sinner!”

Because we’ve already been exposed, there’s no longer any reason to hide. Let us strive to be real, take of the mask, and stop concealing. We’ve been found out, and yet God chooses to freely accept us.

Paraphrasing from Tim Keller, in any relationship, to be loved and not fully known is comforting, but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved (still), is unbelievably rare, and yet that’s exactly what it’s like to be loved by God. This God became a Man and He died in our place – not because of how great we are – but in spite of how sinful and rebellious we’ve all been.

Let it go, sisters.

Adoption Scares Me

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Joining the Sacred Scared movement today and taking off the mask
(I am literally letting it all hang out…and letting you see what I look like in the mornings…ahhh!!!!!) My husband just called and asked “What is up with that picture on your blog?” hahaha He is scared for me.

I would love to journey up Mount Everest in Nepal. Well, really what I mean is that I like the idea of backpacking through massive mountains only if backpacking looked a little more like a helicopter dropping me off at the peak of the mountain (or wherever it is that helicopters drop off). I imagine the view is like what you would see in a National Geographic magazine, but even better. After all, I wouldn’t be merely reading about it but I would be seeing it with my own eyes. That is completely different, isn’t it? Ahhh, now that would make a great photo to upload. Don’t get me wrong. Purchasing some expensive hiking boots and a new Northface backpack and Canteen (vocab coming back from my short lived days as a girl scout) and vest would make me feel awesome – totally legit. But the excitement quickly wears off when I am reminded of the work involved in climbing up the highest mountain on earth (I am an expert on the work because I am a student of Google).

First, there is the issue of oxygen, you know, that thing we breathe in that we don’t really think much about until we don’t have it. If I understand correctly, it is somewhat crucial for LIVING.  Google informs me that there is a “death zone” as one travels to the upper most parts of this mountain and it’s a struggle to breathe as one climbs into higher altitudes.  Apparently climbing crazy, tall mountains can also cause hallucinations, dizziness, and umm – brain swelling. Then there is all the huffing and puffing that would make me lose more oxygen. Not to mention the potential avalanches, hypothermia, and sunburn! Also, I am fairly sure that I am not prepared to fight off the host of wild animals that would not be so fond of me huffing, puffing, and stumbling all crazily through their home. They are not ready for this; that is for sure.  Then I am just trying to think logistically through this daydream; for example, where would I sleep? Where would I bathe and what does one eat?  Do I have to kill my own food?

Generally speaking, I am not a person who enjoys doing hard things.  Yes, I am that girl who quits in the middle of a Jillian Michaels’ workout video because my muscles are burning. I realize it is good for them but I. Just. Cant. Keep. Going.

Can I be painfully honest?

Peace, comfort, control, easy, and fun are things that I highly value.  For this reason, adoption scares me.

Our family has been praying through adoption for quite some time now, and I want to share with you my biggest fears.

The reasons I am struggling in my flesh to adopt are as follows:

1.) I do not like to do hard things.  Although I love the idea of rescuing a child, I realize it’s anything but easy.  I find it difficult enough to love, feed, teach, and play with three children.  I can barely take care of the three I already have, much less adding a fourth to this chaos!  All three of my children are sleeping now; what if this child doesn’t sleep?  What if this child has leaning disabilities that the medical history did not show?  What if the child was abused?  What if I just do not love this child as much as my biological children?  I fear that I am going to mess up my current children and adding another to “arrow” to the mix- freaks me out!

2.) Financial challenges.  It already seems like mission impossible to stretch out our groceries and it doesn’t exactly help that my children have the talent of being hungry every hour.  How in the world are we going to afford an extra mouth to feed?  Medical bills?   School?  Clothing? I enjoy being able to go on family vacations and with an extra child, will that happen? Will I ever see an ocean again?   What if we do not have enough money to go out to eat and I have to cook every meal the rest of my life?

3.) Finding babysitters.  Let’s face it. The more kids you have, the less people are standing in line to offer assistance.  In babysitting, you’ll rarely find “the more the merrier” mentality.

4.) I like control, and adoption seems completely out of my control.  Here is the deal.  My natural tendency is to manage my life in such a way that I have to exercise very little faith.  Every other hour I feel like I have my life “under control.” I know our schedule, when to take the kids, and when to pick up. I’ve finally learned what subjects to avoid in order to prevent siblings from breaking out into a civil war.  I know what food my kids will (and will not) eat, and our bedtime routine is finally down (for the most part).  In fact, at least a few nights a week, we still have time to watch an episode or two of Parenthood.  I just feel like I have the THREE kids thing down, but really, I totally know that I don’t have it down.  After all, every other day I have an emotional episode of telling myself why I’m the worst mom on the planet.  Is it even right to bring another kid into the equation to be stuck with my inadequacies and failures?

5.) This is a busy season of life.  My husband is in the middle of his Ph.D. (when the rest of us go to sleep at night, he goes “to school” until 1 or 2am). He is also leading a church that is experiencing rapid growth.  There is a constantly flow of building meetings, deacon meetings, meetings with members, marriage coaching, counseling, funerals, weddings, etc.  Additionally, I am currently writing a book, taking care of the home, trying to be an intentional mother, exercising, trying to meet with women in the church, singing on the praise team, involved in accountability groups, speaking at churches, and blogging.  As a family we are leading a missional community group, involved in school activities, extra curricular activities, etc.  I’m not whining; most of you have as busy if not busier schedules.  It’s just life, but still, it FEELS very busy.

6.) We will be THAT family.  You know, that family that should know, “how that happens by now!”  Even with the three kids that we have (a relatively small amount compared to a number of my friends) we still totally get the dirty stares in Target (What!!! I know my kids are wearing their lunch all over their mouths and that their shoes don’t match, but I was desperate to get a pack of diapers because my three year old still isn’t potty trained!)  Let’s face it; families of four and over are like a walking circus and people are buying tickets and chomping on popcorn waiting to see what happens with you walking on that tight rope.

At the end of the day, one more child is more huffing, puffing, grasping for oxygen, dizziness, and my head literally swelling.  BUT . . . one more child is also more laughter, joy, stories, learning, growing, climbing, seeing, hoping, and clinging – to Jesus.  Oh how I do need to cling!  Maybe the harder the climb, the more dependent and thankful I become and the more I realize I need HIM to breath in me and through me. Jesus is my source of strength; He is the vine in which I abide.  Apart from Him, I can do nothing.  However, sometimes it takes desperate situations to compel us to cling to Him.  If having another child will cause me to cling more firmly to Him, then it is a beautiful thing.

Then there is the doubt-maybe there is not enough oxygen at the top of that mountain!! I am fearful I will run out of grace.  Does grace ever run dry?

Yes, it’s great to read about rescuing the orphans, but what about actually putting on my back pack, lacing up my shoes, and getting ready to work?  Now, that’s different.

Will we do hard things?  I can tell you one thing for sure. I am scared. This totally freaks me out.  I am a manipulator of life; I manipulate things to make them easy.  I sort of pick and choose things to allow into our life so that I can roll with the punches.  Yet while safety, comfort, and ease are commodities that I highly value; they are not values that you will find in the Scripture.

After all, God Himself did hard things.

In the person of Jesus Christ, He gave up the glories of heaven to come down and rescue orphans (us) out of our orphanage of sin.  The only reason I’m even able to think about adoption is because my Father in heaven first adopted me.

He chose to be with people who were not well put together, clean, and amazing.  The people that God chose to call His children were a complete mess, abused, needy, dependent, and in slavery to sin.

Adopting us was costly.  God gave up His one Son to gain many others.  I want to be like Him.

Pray for my family as we need the grace to do hard things. Join me over here at Twitter

Win A FREE Copy!!!! Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family

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Giving away 3 copies of Exploring Grace Together:  40 Devotionals for the Family by Jessica Thompson!!!!!!!!!!!

I am thrilled to have Jessica Thompson over here today at The MIss America Reject!!!  This lady is a champion for the gospel and I personally have gained from her authenticity as a mom and lover of Jesus.

How can you win a FREE copy?  All you have to do it….

1.)  Read and Share this post written by Jessica Thompson (love this lady!)

2.)  “like” The Miss America Reject page over here at Facebook and then “share” it with your friends

3.)  Comment on The Miss America Reject Facebook page and let me know you would like  one of the 3 copies

Winners will be selected at random and Crossway will be sending the copies out soon!  I cant wait to purchase a copy for gifts!!!!
One of my favorite things to do is to take a hike. Preferably up a very large mountain, where I get angry ¾ of the way up and refuse to talk to anybody that is with me because it is their fault that I am feeling like I am about to die. I hate the “almost there” part, it is the worst. But I love the top. I love standing looking down on our city and getting a new perspective. I know that might sound cheesy, but I am always surprised at how my eyes are opened at the top. I look down and see things that feel so big to me when I am next to them and now they seem miniscule. It feels like I can breathe differently, more freely. It may be because I am lightheaded and out of shape, but whatever.

For me, Revelation 5 is a view from the top. I read it the other day and had the same sort of lightheaded, teary-eyed feeling. I would love for you to go ahead and read the whole chapter when you get a quiet moment. It starts with an angel asking “who is worthy to open the scroll and break it’s seals?” Seemingly there was no one, all hope was lost. John begins to “weep loudly” because of the lack. And then there is a shocking turn in the story. One of the elders leans over to John and probably says with a slight smile, “Weep no more; behold.” And there He is. The One who is worthy. The One who has conquered. The Lion of the tribe of Judah. So John dries his eyes and looks and sees “a Lamb standing, as thought it had been slain.” Our crucified Redeemer, risen, triumphant. And the Lamb takes the scroll and His worthiness causes the elders to break out in worship.
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you have ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (vs. 9-10)
That worship from the elders was contagious. How can we hear that He was slain and by his blood we have been purchased to be a part of God’s kingdom and not have our hearts warm to His holiness? John looks around and sees the angels “numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands.” And they all can’t help but to join in too. The gospel that the elders were celebrating the “angels long to look into.”(I Peter 1:12) They celebrate Christ’s worthiness and proclaim;
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
And then the praise culminates with “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them saying;”
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
What a vista from these heights! This is festivity is what all of history is leading up to. My heart is overwhelmed at the thought of such a joyous party. To see our Rescuer, slain from the foundation of the world being worshipped and enjoyed and made much of by every thing… every single living thing.
My encouragement to you today is when you are in the midst of it, whatever it might be, motherhood, a go nowhere job, a broken down car, bills, serving your neighbors, a boss that doesn’t appreciate you, a spouse that is distant, children that are rebellious, whatever it is… remember that even though it feels very big, you aren’t at the top. There is a day coming when we will see our Savior and we will shout out his worthiness and rejoice with “joy unspeakable” forevermore.

CLICK HERE to purchase Exploring Grace Together

jesslou
Jessica Thompson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology. She co-authored Give Them Grace with her mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick. Her newest book, Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for Families, is due to come out in February of 2014. She holds to the truth that salvation is “naked confidence in the mercy of God.” She has been married for 18 years to her high school sweetheart. Together they have three kids ranging in age from 14-9.