Being a Woman of Integrity

It seems to me that there are a lot of articles, sermons and books exhorting men to be “men of integrity,” but there doesn’t seem to be much of a push for women to do the same. Why is that, I wonder? Is it not equally important that women – especially women who claim to be Christians – to live with integrity? I’ve been dwelling on that thought for the past several days. Subsequently, the thought has given birth to a desire for a new blog post.

First things first, let’s define integrity. A quick Google search yields this:
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 11.30.39 AMThis is a pretty basic understanding of what integrity means. As a Christian, I believe it’s even more specific and all the more more important, as we are God’s representatives here on earth. Charles Swindoll, of Insight for Living, has this to say on Christian integrity:
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That’s not a very popular view today, is it? It seems all that matters nowadays is looking after one’s self. Just turning on the television will give an idea of how society regards integrity. The most popular shows are the ones that glorify adultery, sexual promiscuity, murder, theft, violence, you name it. No one bats an eye at the idea of using lies and manipulation to further self interests. Even Christians watch these shows and without realizing the impact they’re having on our hearts. But these things are the very opposite of what the Bible teaches.

Let’s face it: being a Christian is tough. Most of the time, being a Christian means taking the path of most resistance. In a culture that glorifies living in the flesh, Christ admonishes to rise about our debase human instincts to be more like Him. A woman of integrity strives to be like Jesus in public as well as in private. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect or somehow without sin because, there’s no getting around it, we all goof. What it does mean is that we’re aware of our choices and consistently striving to choose to live according to our convictions. It’s so important to realize that when we tell the world we’re Christian, people are going to be watching us and scrutinizing our actions. What are we telling the world by our lifestyle? Are we being a light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16), or are we a part of the darkness itself? Are we obeying Biblical commands or using our salvation as a free pass to live however we please? If we never told our friends and family that we are Christian, would they still be able to know it based the way we live our lives? These are important questions to ask ourselves on a regular basis. One quote that frequently comes to mind when I think of integrity is this:

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As Christian mothers, I find it especially important that we live with integrity. Our children are watching our every move. Our choices are shaping their little hearts. When they see us living one life at church or in front of Christians friends and another life in private or with our worldly friends, what message is that sending them? Are we pointing them towards God or towards the devil?

I realize that this is a difficult topic for many of us, but it’s of the utmost importance that we talk about this as believers. Morality is on it’s way out, so it’s my conviction that living a life of integrity is more important than ever. Let us remember The Great Commission in all the ways we live our lives, not just our words and actions in front of a select few – and in so doing, we will reflect Christ to the unsaved world. Amen.

On Josh Duggar, Sexual Sin, and the Sanctity of Marriage

Anyone with an internet connection has probably heard the news that Joshua Duggar was found guilty of viewing pornography and engaging in extramarital sexual affairs. From Duggar haters to Christians who once defended Josh in spite of his actions as a teenager, the internet is abuzz with this latest gossip and many people are happily riding their high and mighty horses.  I will admit to being one of those who once stood behind Josh and attempted to defend his actions as being a teenager who screwed up but since learned his mistake and mended his ways. I promise that I will try to stay off any high horses while I write this blog post. In fact, I am stopping intermittently as I type to pray and ask for guidance in my words so that it’s not my words coming out, but words reflecting God’s heart.

Josh Duggar is a sinner. His sins, it would seem, are rooted in sexual deviancy. He looked at pornography online. I also once viewed pornography before Jesus got a firm grasp on my heart. Josh is guilty of committing adultery. I was once the “other woman” and my sole reason for engaging in those acts was to get back at the woman he was dating because she was the “other woman” while he was in a committed relationship with me. Josh sought out extramarital affairs. I, too, engaged in sexual promiscuity outside of marriage. Like Josh, I am deeply sorry for those sins in which I partook. I absolutely will not stand here and throw stones at this man for committing sins of which I am also guilty; neither will I defend his actions. He was wrong. I was wrong. There you have it.

Here’s the thing that gets me, though. The primary difference between Josh Duggar and myself is the fact that I was never a public figure and willfully drawing attention to myself and parading around pretending to be a paradigm of righteousness while living a secret double life. As Christians we are not free of sin. We still mess up and have to fall back on God’s grace daily to help us. But when we struggle – and I promise you, we all struggle – we ought not to hide it, but rather we should look it straight in the face, repent and get help. Josh is so desperately in need of that help right now, but so many people are too busy judging him to stop and offer to help. When our brother in Christ struggles, let’s try to get past the initial shock and work on building him up and freeing him from the bondage of his sin.

The last thing that I want to address is how this all affects the sanctity of marriage. Joshua Duggar hypocritically went around speaking out against homosexuals and lobbying for Washington to put an end to homosexual marriage because of the negative impact it would have on the sanctity of marriage, meanwhile he was privately violating the sanctity of his own marriage. The Christian community as a whole needs to stop sweeping the subject of sexual sin under the rug. It’s time to address the giant pink elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. We Christians tend to be quite fond of being vocal about how wrong homosexuality is, meanwhile we’re turning our heads to those among us who are having sex with people to whom they aren’t married, living with significant others before marriage, and divorcing and remarrying left and right. Y’all, this is absolutely an epidemic of sexual immorality we’re dealing with. We tiptoe around these people scared to death to call them on their sin because it’s not “PC” (even in the Christian world) to talk about those sins. But, hey, let’s all go throw stones at the homosexuals. Hello, brothers and sisters, it’s time to wake up! The sanctity of marriage is not in jeopardy because of the LGBT community; it’s in jeopardy because of lukewarm, apathetic Christians who no longer value fighting for biblical morality.

If you are professing to be a Christian while viewing pornography, having sex with someone to whom you are not married, partaking in sexual fantasies that are not being righteously fulfilled (a.k.a. within the boundaries of marriage), or even not “technically” engaging in sexual acts but are trying to bring sexual attention to yourself and causing others to stumble because of it, you need to repent immediately and seek out help. If we’re going to defend the sanctity of marriage we need to first stop pointing our finger at others for their sins and turn that finger right around and look at our own sins. When we get right with God, then we need to pray about finding a way to lift up our fellow brothers and sisters and help them overcome their obstacles in a spirit of love, grace and forgiveness.

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Should Christians Watch or Read 50 Shades of Grey?

This movie has been a topic of much debate lately. There are those who love the movie and see nothing wrong with it. There are those who are indifferent and say, “To each, his (or, in this case, her) own. Live and let live!” Then there are those who are vehemently against it. I’m not going to lie to you – I am in the “vehemently against it” camp. It’s not because I think people should be persecuted for what they read. I’m not even suggesting that we ban the book, contrary to what some people may think. My views are solely that of a Christian with a biblical world view. What I have to say will probably be irrelevant to those who are not saved and do not care to be held accountable to God’s standards. If that is you, you might as well quit reading now. If, however, you are a follower of Christ then please read on.

First things first, let me start by saying that this isn’t just about 50 Shades of Grey. There is an entire genre of books and movies (and so much more) that caters to a similar mentality of promoting lust, perversion, adultery, pornography and…well, sexual sin of all sorts. It’s not an innocent book/movie when you are a Christian. God expects His followers to be above the world’s standards. We are told time and time again to rise above fleshly desires, including sexual sin.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Do you see what Paul is exhorting us to do there? We are not to be conformed to the patterns of this world. Our bodies are living sacrifices for the Lord. Think back to Old Testament times. Sacrifices and offerings were given for atonement of sin. The Hebrews would choose their firstfruits, spotless lambs, and the very best of their crops to give to the Lord. God deserves nothing but the best we can offer Him. Going even further, 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, the temple, or Tabernacle, was the Most High Place and the dwelling place of the Lord. Since Jesus’ death, our bodies have become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Knowing this, that our bodies are a sacrifice for the Lord and a temple for the Holy Spirit, how then can we ever justify partaking in such sexual sin? Should we fill the temple with thoughts of sexual immorality? Should pornography be the entertainment found within God’s temple? If those passages alone do not convict you, then I believe you will find the answer plain as day right here:

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

You, my friend, are a child of the King. You are an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). As such, your body is the dwelling place of the Lord here on earth. You are royalty! Your worth and value are defined not by the carnality and immorality of this world, but by God’s love for you, and Christ’s sacrifice to assure you a place in heaven. I encourage you to use Philippians 4:8 as the filter for everything in your life, from the books you read to the shows you watch to the conversations you have. Let’s strive to honor God in all we do!

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Truths About Divorce

Divorce. It’s an ugly word, isn’t it? But as nasty as it is, it’s so much more common than it should be. Per DivorceStatistics.org, every single couple that walks down the aisle has roughly a 50% chance of ending in divorce. And that’s just first time marriages; if it’s your second marriage, you have 60% to 67% chance of divorcing, and if you’re on your third marriage, that number jumps to 70% to 73%. The trend that I see there is that once you’re accustomed to bailing on your marriage, you’re more inclined to do so in the future.

I do not speak as someone who simply reads the statics and draws conclusions; I speak as someone who has been there. I am on my second marriage. (For the story of my first marriage, click here.) I know what it feels like to make a commitment that should last a lifetime, only to find myself divorced (and a single mom, to boot) a year later. You see, lots of people talk about divorce statistics and the importance of keeping families together and can quote statics all day long, but they have no idea what it’s like to actually BE that person. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to educate people about the importance of staying married! But they can never prepare you for what’s it’s really like, and the scars you will carry for the rest of your life as a result. Until you’ve been there and gone through it, you can never fully comprehend how difficult the consequences are, and how long they will stick with you.

As I was cleaning and organizing my home today, I found myself going through some old papers and trying to decide what should go in the safe. I wasn’t expecting to find the divorce decree in that stack of papers. I found myself staring at the documents with the official stamps of the court, signatures of lawyers and judges, all in legal jargon that I still don’t fully understand 10 years later. Also in the stack I found my old marriage license, the restraining order I was issued, and various other documents that came up throughout that period of time in my life. My mind began flashing back and I found myself in tears as I relived it all. Even though it’s been a decade, there’s still so much hurt. This man I was supposed to spend my life with inflicted so much pain on me, and the damage didn’t stop when I filed for divorce. It didn’t end when the divorce was finalized. It didn’t even end when he stopped harassing me and I got him out of my life for good. There are so many implications that I never was able to foresee.

I was one of the lucky ones and found love again two years later, but I still carried the baggage of my first marriage. It was so hard to open up and trust someone again after I had been betrayed. You are never warned what it’s like to try to fall in love again after you’ve been divorced. There’s a stigma out there, especially if you are a single mother. Your future in-laws may be hesitant to accept you for fear that your baggage could harm their son. You will struggle to get close to anyone because you fear getting hurt. One of the hardest consequences of divorce is on those with children who are products of the marriage that ended. I wanted so much to have a father in my child’s life, but I also wanted desperately to protect her. It’s a fine line to walk, trying to open up and love again while also protecting yourself and your child if things go badly.

Once the trust was established and our relationship grew we decided to get engaged, but with that came a new problem. What would my child call her stepfather-to-be? How would we go about explaining things to her when she was old enough to understand? He wished to adopt her, which was a beautiful blessing, but his decision was met with negativity from those wishing to protect my new husband from being used by me. He did adopt her and we ended up having the support of those around us, however the road to adoption (which we thought should be a joyful one) was filled with even more obstacles and heartaches. My ex didn’t want to relinquish custody, we had to pay lawyers to fight for us and to prove parental abandonment, our pasts were dug into and our motives were questioned. Even once the adoption finalized, we had to go through the process of getting her name legally changed and her birth certificate amended (nearly 7 years later, I am still fighting with the state of California to give me an amended birth certificate).

Even with all that, it’s still not over. I can never get rid of my memories. I can never change the fact that my eldest child is the product of a divorce. I am doing everything I can to make sure that fact doesn’t negatively impact her life or her view of herself, but the truth is that it does. I try to teach her that marriage is permanent and that when we say “I do” it should be forever, and yet I have to be honest with her and explain that I did not live up to that expectation in my past. She will at some point, I am sure, wonder about her real father and perhaps even consider meeting him. One day I will have to cope with that (though I thank God that day is not today). You see, it will never truly be over for us, and it’s never over for anyone who has been through a divorce.

When the Lord created marriage, He knew how beautiful it could be. He also knows how devastating it can be when the marriage promises are broken, and I believe that is why He wishes marriage to be forever. My advise to everyone is this:

Please, do not walk down that aisle unless you are absolutely sure. Make sure you truly know the person and that he or she is really is the one you wish to spend the rest of your life with. And once you are married, make sure it’s for good. For your sake, your spouse’s sake, and most importantly, the sake of any future children, do not take marriage lightly. You will never fully understand the consequences of divorce until you get there – but let me assure you, it’s rarely worth it. When you make the choice to wed, make it for life.

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Gay Marriage: What’s All the Fuss About, Anyway?

Disclaimer: I would like to preface this post by stating that I am not a “bigot,” I do not “hate” gays, and I am not “homophobic.” I believe without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus teaches us to love others; but I also believe that He encourages us to speak out against sin. Love the sinner, hate the sin. It is the physical act of homosexuality which I am referring to in this post. Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s get on with it.

One question that liberals are fond of asking Christians is this:

“Why do you object to gay marriage when it doesn’t have anything to do with you, and won’t have any impact on your life?”

To these short-sighted liberals, it’s as simple as this:

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If it were that simple, then I can honestly say that my objections would end right there. I realize that I cannot force my Christian beliefs onto others (even those who call themselves “Christians”). I cannot make others see something as sinful when they believe it is not. If it were simply a matter of live and let live, then I would not be sitting here typing out this blog post right now.

The problem is that it is NOT that simple. Proponents of gay “marriage” are not content with “equal rights” and nothing more. There is an agenda there, even if you refuse to see it. They don’t simply want the right to have their unions recognized under the law. They want religious institutions (often times, institutions with which they do not normally identify themselves) to be forced to marry them. They want children to be taught about their unnatural lifestyles from an extremely young age. They champion for schools to make terms such as “mommy and daddy” politically incorrect. They want the courts to go after anyone who holds an opposing view. In short, they want to force their beliefs onto us, and force us into silence if we have even the most remote objection. They want to destroy the institution of marriage as we know it, as well as destroy anyone who supports the true institution of marriage.

Don’t believe me? Look at Canada. Look at Australia. These countries allow homosexual unions, but the homosexuals are not happy. They are doing all of the things I listed above, including indoctrination within schools and attempting to legally redefine marriage. There are also long-term implications that people are refusing to see, and that is the lasting effects this leaves on our children. I believe Life Site News states it best in this article:

“The greatest tragedy resulting from the legalization of homosexual marriage would not be its effect on adults, but its effect on children. For the first time in history, society would be placing its highest stamp of official government approval on the deliberate creation of permanently motherless or fatherless households for children.

The article goes on to list study-proven statistics regarding children raised in motherless and fatherless homes. Substitutions to traditional marriage are proven to have permanent effects on society. Children raised in motherless and fatherless homes (and yes, this includes homosexual relationships in addition to divorced heterosexuals) are proven to have higher rates of premarital sex, premarital childbearing, drug use, behavioral problems, school failure and even expulsion, and much more. When we undermine the traditional family – the very foundation of our country – we do damage which goes much, much deeper than we may first see. Future generations will see the impact, and it will be great indeed.

The lesson to be gleaned here is this: if we value the future of our children, we simply cannot stand aside and allow our nation to continue its current downward spiral of morality. History has shown us what happens to once-great nations that turn their backs on God, and America will be no exception.

What is “Modesty”?

I have always been of the opinion that when Christians have a question, we should first and foremost look to the Bible for answers. So why is it then, that when approaching the issue of modesty, we so often look to society’s standards and not God’s? The answers are there, if we are willing to look and listen to what the Lord has to say.

Sometimes, as we all know, we have to cross-reference different passages in Scripture in order to gain a clear understanding of God’s position on things. In my extensive research, here’s some of what I’ve found pertaining to modesty. (The emphases are mine.)

A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 22:5)

And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs.They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him. (Exodus 28:42-43)

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

I think these verses paint a clear paint a pretty clear picture as to some basic guidelines for how to dress ourselves. We should make sure we are covered from waist to thigh to cover what the Bible defines as our nakedness; women should not dress like men, and men should not dress like women; and we should dress in a manner that does not draw attention to ourselves. There’s more, however:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves. (Luke 17:1-3)

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! (Matthew 18:6-7)

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)

So, while the Bible does not clearly define the breasts or cleavage as “nakedness,” it IS clear that women should be very careful not to tempt men. Our culture has sexualized breasts, and breasts are something that women know full well they can use to their advantage over men. Understanding the verses above, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that we should dress in a way that covers our breasts and cleavage, so as not to be a stumbling block to the men around us. If we desire to trust the Bible to be applicable to all aspects of our lives, then I believe that, per the Bible, these are the guidelines we should use when selecting clothing: women should dress as women and not as men (skirts and dresses, anyone?), they should make sure their bodies are covered even down to the knee so as not to expose our nudity, and we should also adequately cover our breasts as they are widely seen by men as sexual objects. We should dress with discretion, taking great care to make sure that we are drawing attention to our hearts and minds, not our physical assets.

As I’ve said, we can gather through these verses that it’s a grave sin to cause someone else to sin. And according to Matthew, a man merely having sinful thoughts about a woman is equivalent to adultery. As Luke says, we need to watch ourselves. Are we intentionally dressing in a way to bring attention to ourselves? Women, we need to ask ourselves, will our short skirts or shorts, tight clothing, or low-cut tops cause men to lust after us? If so, we are in direct violation of God’s command. Jesus went to far as to say “woe” on us if we cause someone to stumble. I don’t know about you, but I never want to hear Jesus look and me and say, “woe is you” for something I’ve done! That’s a scary place to be!

I know that it’s unpopular to dress modestly in our culture. I realize that it tends to make us stand out like a sore thumb, and many people don’t want to make such a big, bold statement declaring that we are different. Christians nowadays want to live with one foot in heaven and one foot in the world, but this is not what God wants for us! We are called to be set apart – we are not of this world.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

We’re only on this earth a very short time; do we want to spend our time bringing glory to ourselves and our own bodies, or do we want to spend that time focusing on expanding God’s body, the body of Christ? Pray about it!

Why Skirts?

One question I get a lot is, “Why do you and your daughters only wear skirts and dresses??” The way we dress tends to bring us a lot of attention when we’re out (well, that, and the fact that we’re a larger than average family), and at times people can be outright rude. (Though, mostly, people are very sweet, and we often get compliments on how beautiful all the girls are!) It seems that, to some, our values are a little offensive, and are perhaps a symbol of female oppression… but, no matter! We’re very happy with our decision, and we love dressing modestly! Since some people are a bit uncomfortable to ask, fearing that they might offend us by asking outright, I thought I’d take a chance to explain the story behind why we decided to dress the way we do.

About 3 years ago, the Lord began laying on my heart the desire to dress more modestly. I didn’t start out intending to wear nothing but skirts and dresses, rather simply to try to wear things that covered me more. It all started when I was reading a book called Raising Maidens of Virtue. This book (which is amazing, by the way!) greatly stresses the importance of dressing modestly, in a way that does not draw attention to ourselves in a sexually enticing manner. I was deeply convicted that I needed to dress in a way that was more respectful; not only to me, but to my husband, and to other men as well. While I am not responsible for the lustful thoughts of other men, I am responsible for the way I present myself. If I am intentionally dressing in a way that would cause men to stumble, I am not following God’s will. It’s also disrespectful to the wives and future wives of these men of God. I remember reading a quote on Facebook once, which said something along the lines of “Dress the way you would want other women to dress around your husband.” How convicting that was! I certainly don’t want women flaunting themselves around my husband, so I should be respectful enough of others to refrain from flaunting myself in a similar manner, no?

So, I began to dress in clothes that had higher necklines and not too snug, and I made sure the bottoms I wore were not too tight and came at least to the knee. As the Lord continued to transform my heart, I began to see the value in dressing more femininely as well. Our culture has really blurred the gender lines, and sometimes it can be very difficult to tell men from women, and vice versa! The traditional role of women has been so devalued, and with wave after wave of feminist movements, it seems that it’s now very prevalent in our society for women to want to be, well, men! But I believe that God designed a very special role for women, as wives and mothers, and it’s something we should treasure and be proud of! I no longer desired the things that “feminists” desire. The more God worked within my heart, the more I have began to love being a wife, a mother, a woman. With this newfound joy, I realized that I wanted to dress in a way that was not only modest, but also celebrates my femininity. And so, I began to wear skirts and dresses! It’s been about 2 years now since I made the switch, and I have never looked back, and I do not miss wearing pants at all! I love how comfortable and flowing my skirts are. I love when my children tug gently at my skirts to get my attention, or when they are sleepy and snuggle into the folds of my skirts. I especially love that my husband admires me every single day for the way I dress. He has told me more that once that it’s such a treat for the eyes to see me dressed so nicely every day – which is so funny, because even my “around the house” skirts, which seem so frumpy to me, still seem to appealing to him!

I’m sure that to some I may seem completely crazy. I’m okay with that, as it probably is at least partly true! 😉 The way we choose to dress is a very personal decision, and for many people, it’s not a spiritual issue the way it has been for me. I respect that we all must dress in the manner which seems appropriate to us. But if you have ever been on the fence about this issue, let me be the first to say, nothing feels more wonderful than to be shown the amount of respect I have been since we began dressing more modestly! I began to feel for the first time in my life that people (read: men) were finally seeing me for who I was, and not just the cleavage I had exposed, or the form-fitting clothes which left very little to the imagination. It’s a wonderful thing to have a conversation with someone who looks you right in the eyes, not glancing down at your chest, or legs, or whatever else is showing. I have doors opened for me, and young men calling me “ma’am” and show a level of respect I never knew before. It’s amazing, the difference! And all because God put it on my heart to clothe myself in a way that would be honoring to Him. These are the principles I have been instilling in my daughters, and will continue to impress upon them as they grow and reach the age when they will be torn between wanting to please the Lord, and also wanting to keep up with their peers. I pray that they will respect themselves and their bodies, and choose to clothe themselves in a way that brings honor and glory to the Lord. Amen!

Christianity and Feminism: Are They Biblically Compatible?

First of all, allow me to preface this post by saying that I realize it will probably make many people angry. Please know that is not my intention. This subject has been on my heart lately, and I felt a pull from the Lord to write this in response to what He has put on my heart. I have prayed a great deal about what I should write, and it has been edited to remove things that were more my thoughts and less of the Lord’s. If you feel outraged by anything I have to say, I would encourage you to take it to prayer, as perhaps the Lord is trying to speak to you personally on this matter.

I also feel it necessary to point out that this post is directed toward Christian women. Naturally, those who do not care to seek God’s will for their lives will find many of the Biblically-based points that I make to be irrelevant, and perhaps even irrational.

On with the post.

I have blogged before on the subject of wives being submissive to their husbands, and just what that looks like from a Biblical perspective. (That post is located here.) This post is more specifically geared toward feminism, and whether or not it is compatible with the Bible and God’s perfect plan for us.

I believe that men and women are created by the Most High. He has a wonderful plan for us that is unique to our gender, and when we follow that plan, we are able to reap all the rewards and treasures therein. When we fight against that plan or try to recreate a new plan that WE deem appropriate, there are consequences that come with it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” When we trust in the Lord’s understanding, He protects us and guides us. When we lean on our own understanding – which the Bible makes clear is very flawed and rarely good for us in the long run – we find ourselves in trouble and in need of God’s help.

God’s perfect design is for wives to submit to their husbands, and likewise husbands are to love and cherish their wives. That does not mean women are to become mindless drones whose only purpose is to serve their husbands as slaves. We are still individuals with our own thoughts and needs, and the Bible very clearly commands our husbands to love us as Christ loved the church. Jesus loved us, the church, so much that He gave his very life for our salvation; that kind of love from a husband would not result in abuse or domination. What Biblical submissiveness means, is acknowledging that our husbands are the spiritual heads of our households, and that they are accountable to the Lord for that role. (Personally, I would NOT want that level of responsibility!) So what does that look like when practically applied? One example is that when a decision needs to be made within the family, and the husband and wife cannot come to an agreement together, the ultimate decision falls on the shoulders of the husband; and as I said before, he is accountable to God for the decision he makes. It should be a decision, prayerfully made, that is in the best interest of his family as a whole, not just in his own best interests or in the interest of appeasing his wife or children.

The problem with feminism is that its core values fly in the face of Biblical principles. When we seek to redesign God’s plan for our lives, not only do we cheapen ourselves as women and lessen our true value, but we also undermine God’s authority by telling Him that we know better than He does. If we profess to love the Lord and seek after His will for our lives, then we should be compelled to apply Biblical teachings to the way we live. If we desire things for our lives that are not in line with what the Bible teaches us, then it is time for a re-evaluation of our hearts.

Feminism tells women that it’s okay to have their cake and eat it too. We can have everything we want as women – having babies, being treated lady-like, having men open doors for us and pay for our dinners, etc. – but we can also reap all the rewards of being men, too. This concept of living life in such a way as to have every single thing we desire is not Biblical. In fact, God calls us to live in such a way as to only seek after His desires for our lives, and often times that means giving up our fleshly desires in pursuit of a higher calling. One look at society as a whole shows a believer that living only to fulfill one’s fleshly desires is of Satan, the Great Deceiver, and it leads us neither to true happiness nor God’s will for our lives.

One place to look when trying to understand God’s perfect plan for men and women is the Garden of Eden. Initially God created just man, but he saw that Adam needed a helper, so he then created Eve. He did not create Eve to be a slave, nor did he create Eve to preside over Adam. They were equals and given their own roles that were different, yet equally important. One issue with feminism is that it tells women that living out our God-given roles makes us less than men, so we must take those roles for ourselves, when in fact, being different does not make us lesser or greater, it just makes us different! Our different roles are necessary, and they a wonderful, pleasing thing in the eyes of the Lord!

Please know that I am in any way trying to imply that women should not be permitted to work and men should not be allowed to stay home with their children. While I do feel that in ideal circumstances, women can best fulfill their roles while staying at home, I also understand and fully respect that at times God has different career callings for different people. This is a heart issue more than anything. We can still work full time while being submissive wives, likewise husbands can be stay-at-home dads while still being the spiritual heads of their homes. Time and time again the Bible addresses matters of the heart. God does not judge us by our outward actions, but on where are hearts truly are. If we as women are seeking to have ultimate control in our lives and are not honoring the Bible’s command to submit to our husbands, whether we are at home with our children or out in the working world, then we are in direct defiance of God’s commands.

The sad fact is that within a century of the introduction of the feminist movement men have become irrelevant and unnecessary. The Great Deceiver has successfully convinced us that we do not need men to procreate, nor do we need them to have our ideal family life, nor do we need them to work hard to provide for their families; we can do all that ourselves. Women get dominate the work force, the home, churches, and even political structures. The result of this has lead to a massive decline in moral values. We can now have premarital and promiscuous sex without consequences thanks to the feminist-led birth control movement. If we become pregnant, we now have the option of abortion because, naturally, we should not have to be tied down with the burden of children before we are ready. We don’t even need a man to become pregnant! Thanks to the wonders of in-vitro fertilization and sperm donors, women can have the family they want without the need and bother of a husband. The morality of all this, or lack thereof, is no longer called into question because as the family decays within our nation, so does religion. Religion is becoming as obsolete as the need for men.

Since this is a fallen world, there has always been sin and corruption; however, I do not think I stand alone when I say that sin and corruption are at an all time high, and much of that can be attributed to the natural consequences that have ensued as a result of the feminist movement. If we want to win back family values and morality in our country, a good place to start is looking within our own hearts and analyzing our motives. If we want more “power” as women, we should embrace the unique and very special role God created for us. True empowerment comes not in trying to be like men or be more important than them, but in embracing our unique value as women.

There will be terrible times in the last days…

I have had lots to think about lately, and much of it has been disheartening. My eyes have been opened more and more to the very sad state of our world, and I am torn between wanting to change it, and wanting to run far away from it and protect my children from it for as long as possible.

In the Bible, we are told that this world belongs to Satan. It is also prophesied that in the end times, this world will become a terrible, ugly, sinful place. 2 Timothy has this to say about those final days:

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”  (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

I am now more aware of this than I ever have been. Everywhere I look, I see these things. People in our world are consumed by greed, selfishness, and living only to fulfill fleshly desires. Morality is gone, and in its place has come a requirement that we all live and let live. “Tolerance” is all that matters now. Who cares if our neighbor is knee-deep in sin? Leave him alone! Let him do what makes him happy, and never, ever “preach” to him about what’s right and wrong. People want to define their own right and wrong.

Romans chapter one has a great deal to say about the depravity of the wicked. I can see it happening all around me. People joke that they’ll be having a party in hell when they get there, because they truly do not believe such a place exists. It’s shocking, because I realize that hell is very much real, and it’s not going to be a wonderful party. It’s a horrible place of eternal torment, and worst of all, without the presence of God. I cannot imagine an eternity without God’s love and grace. The thought of it pains me. It is for this reason that I desire to protect my children from the wickedness of this world, until their foundation is strong and their hearts are prepared to face the sin and ungodliness of this world. Even turning on the TV is exposing them to things their little eyes should not yet be seeing! Nearly naked men and women are on every channel, and no one bats an eye. Sex is spoken about, joked about, and shown in such detail that it leaves nothing to the imagination. My children should not be seeing such things! The Lord’s name is used in vain, along with countless other profanities. Things that the Bible clearly defines as sin are put on display, and we are told to accept as normal, even though the Bible tells us to stay far away from it. Satan is having his way and fulfilling the Biblical prophesies that the final days will be “terrible times.”

My biggest struggle is how to respond to my new-found awakening. I am not sure whether I should stand and fight against what I know is wrong, or if I should do what it says in 2 Timothy and have nothing to do with it all. I realize that would mean cutting a great number of people out of my life, people I could perhaps minister to, if their hearts were receptive to it, and that’s what makes me want to stay and fight. I truly don’t know what to do. What I do know is that my exposure to Satan’s world needs to be much more limited than it currently is, otherwise I fear I may again fall victim to sin, or at least fall victim to desensitivity, which really is just as bad.

There is much to think and pray about indeed.

Overcoming Fear

One of the biggest hurdles my husband and I have faced since we decided to put our fertility in God’s hands is overcoming fear. While I love being a mother, I have my fair share of doubts about what I can handle. My husband, being the provider for our family, has fears about whether or not we will have enough money, food, clothing and other such essentials for our growing family. We often wonder just how many children God has in store for us!

One verse I came across recently that directly addresses our concerns is Isaiah 41:10. “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Another passage is Matthew 6:25-34, when Jesus speaks directly to us about our anxiety:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

That last one is so straightforward, so honest, and so in-your-face with truth, it is enough to take our fears and throw them right out the window! And how true is it, that tomorrow has its own set of fears? There’s no need to fear about what may or may not happen tomorrow; we have our hands full enough just dealing with today!

It’s amazing to see how God’s promises to provide have been put into action. I have not posted in a while, so the announcement was never made here that I am expecting again! Another beautiful baby girl (this will be number four!) due in May. My older three were all born in December; so, while we have plenty of clothes for the baby-to-be, we do not have much for a baby born in the summer! I prayed about this and asked the Lord to provide some clothing for her. I have been checking Craigslist and thrift stores to find deals, but have yet to come across much of anything for a newborn that is summer-appropriate. Then, just a few days ago, a very sweet mother in my church said she was looking to give away all of her daughter’s baby clothes – her daughter who was born in the summer! She offered everything to me! While I know I should not have been surprised, I admit that I was to an extent. I always find it pleasantly surprising to see how God comes through for us when we trust in Him.

Another example happened just today. Two days ago our shower broke. We only have one shower/bathtub in our home, so you can see how this would be problematic! Rather than worry about the cost of a plumber, I immediately went to prayer and asked for the Lord to provide a solution. It was put on my heart that my husband should call his father, who lives nearby and is very good at household repairs and such, and ask for his help and guidance. I immediately contacted my husband and told him what God put on my heart. He called his father, who came over today, and they looked at the problem. Amazingly, it was very minor and they were able to fix it with a part that cost less than one dollar! I’m sure that, had I not listened to what God put on my heart and we called a plumber instead, it would probably would have cost us the better part of a hundred dollars or more!

I am thankful beyond words at just how God meets our needs as they come up. Truly, He knows what our needs are. He knows what problems will arise long before we ever see them coming, and He has already figured out a solution. What we need to do is work on trusting Him more, and waiting on His answers in His perfect time!