Friday, August 30, 2013

Miley Cyrus, Modesty, and How We Teach our Teenage Girls Wrong

I've been listening to all this chatter over the last couple of days about Miley and there have been some good things said about it all, like Trevin Wax's I Weep for Miley. This development and just the season of the year (Summertime!) has led to a lot of discussion over the last several months about modesty, some of which has been good, but some of which has me weeping.

I've heard LOTS of things about modesty over the years. I grew up in a pretty conservative church culture. The kind where girls only wore skirts or culottes. My sister wouldn't go to youth activities because she always got talked to about her jeans (not that they rode too low or were too tight or anything... just the fact that she was wearing them). I never quite got some of the rules that were put in place for us girls. Because, for instance, the culottes showed more leg than my pants did on the volleyball court (we seemed to play volleyball a lot). But it was what it was, and I know that our church leadership was trying to help us to live out this whole modesty thing, because what we wear is important. It was just done in a way that I didn't understand.

We've moved forward from the whole culotte fiasco I think (although I looked good in a pair of mean teal polk-a-dot culottes with a matching scrunchie), but modesty is still a very hot topic and the sexuality of women is talked about more and more. And here comes Miley, the sweet little Hannah Montana Disney character (which I honestly never saw much of, maybe 2 episodes). I only knew of her from afar. I watched about 10 seconds of her performance Sunday night and was just kind of bewildered. I don't know why anyone would want to move like that in public. And it has erupted all sorts of reactions. One in particular that I watched was especially heartbreaking to me. The conversation in this pastoral response video quickly moved from Miley to just general modesty for women, young women in particular, and while I appreciate the video's desire to teach young women about modesty from a pastor's perspective (a much needed topic of discussion for women), here is my humble opinion of what was lacking within in this video, and often times is lacking in discussions about modesty.

I've heard mentioned over and over again in my life when taught on this subject that how you dress will determine what you attract. And the guys that are attracted to immodesty will eventually throw you to the curb. The guys who are attracted to a modest girl recognize the prize, the princess that they have. The particular conversation within this video that I heard recently compared girls to cars. The immodest girl is like a Ford Ranger, he said. She's normal and common. She has to advertise to attract. Everyone has a truck like that because it's common. Whereas a modest girl is a Rolls Royce. She's valuable and priceless and will withstand the test of time. So if you want to be classy, or one of a kind, a rolls royce if you will, be modest.

This comparison broke my heart for a few reasons:

1. While there is a certain level of truth that the way you present yourself will attract a certain type of guy, there is no absolute to this. Please don't make implied promises to impressionable young girls that tug at their heartstrings. Most girls deeply crave the attention of a man, and most want one who will be faithful to her (despite what many will say). Making the kind of guy you're gonna end up with the motivation of modestly, puts that motivation in the wrong place. I've watched too many girls grow up thinking that if they act a certain way and dress a certain way they're sure to get a certain kind of guy. And some of them end up alone, or some of them end up being cheated on. And they are left with heartbreak, because the driving motivation behind what they had been doing all those years was selfish and their hearts didn't get what they had been (perhaps subtly) promised.

2. Please don't ever compare a girl to a car again. It only adds fuel to the fire of young men viewing women as objects, especially in the case with a car.... something that most guys love, and love to use and abuse! I am not a Ford Ranger (a pickup truck?!). I am not a Rolls Royce either. Neither of these are made in the image of our God, as all women are (and men are for that matter). I realize that this was just an analogy that this pastor used, but it lacked much when it came to viewing God's women as the children of God that they are.

3. Further, and perhaps most important, this comparison and the way it was made (and the way I've heard it made for so much of my life at youth camps and such) doesn't point young women to the gospel, it doesn't point them to Jesus, it simply plays at the idols of their heart, mainly the desire to 'stand out.' As women this desire is played on everywhere and our clothing is one of the main ways in which women attempt to stand out from the crowd. Different methods are used, varying styles of clothing and hair, different personalities, different sins even, but the root issue at stake behind all of it is the desire for glory for self. But God is the one who deserves ALL of the glory. When I get dressed in the morning it should never be to 'stand out.' My clothes shouldn't draw attention to me, they should be a reflection of my walk with my savior. And to encourage women and girls to be modest for the purposes of standing out, is only asking them to dress in more covering clothing for the sin of seeking personal attention.... the very same sin they were committing (more often than not) when they were choosing to dress in less clothing.

It's just exchanging a sin for a sin, not pointing our girls to Jesus.

The answer to the clothing debate isn't exactly simple, and there are not hard and fast rules, but the root of it is simple. Girls, immerse your heart in Jesus and want nothing more than him. If we're dressing to draw attention to ourselves in any way we're dressing selfishly, and sinfully, no matter how modest your outfit might be. But if we're dressing for God's glory, we will be mindful of others and not seek to draw attention to our bodies, but rather our sweet spirits that are a reflection of our Savior will draw attention to God.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV)

It's FRIDAY! (Plus a 3 day weekend!)

Something about this weekend has me slightly giddy inside. With my hubs being around the house all day right now (he is SUCH a good dad!) I seriously miss not hanging out with my 3 fave people all day. So I think I'm just excited for a three day weekend! Plus, my heart is just full lately. God has been stretching and growing me and my heart is trusting Him, which is a wonderful place to be in.

I'm hooking up with The Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday and Darci of The Good Life Blog!

1. I've been really working at running over the last few months (this night I think I ran/walked 2.75 miles) and I've been fortunate to have had a cool summer. But I'm seriously itching for fall right about now (the hottest weeks of the summer) and this little pile of leaves a few streets over from mine got me more than a little excited!

2. We've been having a great time working with the college students and singles at our church recently. They are a great group that love the Lord and love life and I love that we're getting to know them! Saturday night we hung out with a few at Pineapple Whip. 

3. As you can see we don't give the kids donuts very often. For some reason Chris decided to buy them each one at Casey's. 
A. gas. station.
They loved it. 

4. Um...... this one's just because she's growing up way too fast on me. 
All of a sudden she's 2 going on 22. 

5. Chris attended the plantMIDWEST conference on Tuesday that focuses on church planting throughout the midwest and this one particular in the Ozarks. It was a refreshing time for him to interact with area church planters and a few local pastors. In the mean time our kids got to hang at their favorite babysitters house and Kelli snapped this pic of the Little Lady with Greg. Too cute.

What have you been up to lately? Tell me about it! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pizza Quesadillas

I've tried and tried and tried to make GOOD homemade pizza. But I have never consistently gotten the crust right. So I gave up and we've been eating Papa Murphy's more than I like to admit, because we can't go much more than a week without pizza (I can't help it. I grew up in Chicagoland!). So last week in a moment of desperation, and on a night when daddy wasn't home and I wanted something fun to do with my toddlers, I scoured Pinterest for some creativity and we ended up making Pizza Quesadillas. And it. was. fantastic.!! The kids had a blast making their own little pizzas and they gobbled them up! Success! Here's how we did it:

-Tortillas (We prefer Stacy's Organic's from Mama Jean's locally!)
-Pizza Sauce (Muir Glen's is FANTASTIC!)
-Pizza blend Cheese
-Toppings (we used black olives, pepperoni, onion, and yellow pepper from the farmer's market)
-Oil for frying, I like Coconut Oil
-2 Cute toddlers (optional, although it's much more fun with them :)

1. Pile on your cheese and toppings onto one side of the tortilla. The littles might need help understanding the concept of a half. But let them have fun with it!

2. Fold the tortilla in half and fry each side till nice and crisp. Let it cool for a few minutes before eating.

3. Give each person some pizza sauce for dipping.

4. Dip away! And enjoy your 'pizza.'

Confession: Mine was so good I went back and made a second. Then I was stuffed. I'm working on that portion control concept.

Easy, peasy week night dinner!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Things I'm reading and loving!

1. I danced for several years as a kid and early teen. These photos make me wish I'd kept it up!

2. If you're a Christian, what holds you back from sharing the gospel with unbelievers? Here Mike McKinley offers up a few reason. What resonates with you?

3. After reading this I fully plan to be The Mother of all Swear Words. Why you ask?

'Why should you care about being the first word on “bad words” with your child? There are many good reasons, but consider this one: When your first-grader sees a word written on the bathroom wall and suspects you might disapprove of it, he will not look it up in the dictionary. He will Google it. And because his language skills are just developing, he will most likely go to Google Images. What do you think he will find? Or more to the point, what do you think will find him?'

Because I want for my husband and I to be for our kids 'the most reliable and safe search engine they can consult when their curiosity on any topic is piqued.' 

4. Parenting is hard some days, don't we all know it. And it's easy to forget some of our basic theology.... that of sin, and the place it has in our children's hearts. Keri Seavy talks frankly here about sin in our children and the importance of allowing a robust gospel to permeate our families, such that our children find a place of hope in Christ not a place of despair!

'We ought to talk frankly about how deceitful sin is as it presents to us alternatives to Jesus for our happiness.'-Keri Seavy

5. Loved this thoughtful article about pornography and its long term effects on young men (and women) and the larger body of believers. Protect yourself from sin my friends. The long term effects just aren't worth the momentary pleasure.  

6. Saying goodbye to dear friends is hard and is something I've been contemplating a bit lately. It's makes me squirm a bit in my skin wondering who will be my 'next' friends when the new ones aren't around me anymore. But it's also exciting to watch friends or myself somehow be used for good gospel purposes, even when they take us far away from each other. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Recent Prayer

Normally I'm an ESV loving girl when it comes to Scripture translations in the English language. However, recently for my Bible reading I decided to read my daily portion in a few translations, the ESV, the NLT, and The Message. I wouldn't do any deep studying out of the last two, but sometimes they give me a refreshing new perspective that is encouraging or helpful. The translators have done a lot of interpreting for us, and meshed it down into a 3rd grade reading level, so it's simple. I was finishing up Romans last weekend and this verse stood out in the NLT:

Romans 15:13

So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

As I thought through these words and the passage before it this hope is put into context. Our hope is not in our circumstances, or our health, or our financial status, or the success of our children, or even in any emotion we might feel. Our hope is in the gospel, in the peace with God Jesus secured for us on the cross, and power that he provides for us in Christ.

Verse 12 quotes Isaiah and says that it is in Jesus that the Gentiles (me!) will hope. Based on that here is my little paraphrase.

So I pray that God, who gave us Jesus, will keep us happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May we overflow with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus is my hope. Not the changes in our circumstances that my heart so deeply desires. Just more of Jesus. Oh God make me overflow with Jesus! That has been my heart this week.... to just be overflowing with Him. That it's not more money, or more of the jobs I might want, or more time with my kids, or more ministry, or more of anything that isn't Jesus. I want Him, not the feelings he gives, but just Him. I pray you desire that too.

It's Friday!!!

I'm linking up today with Lauren at The Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday. It's been a few weeks for me, but my sister has been missing my posts, so here I am Britt! This week has been FAST and busy, but fun. My toddlers are growing up way too fast on me and I'm just trying to cherish every minute with them.

1. This is from a few weeks ago, but it's been awhile since I shared. The little lady FINALLY figured out that her Puddle Jumper life jacket will indeed make her float. She's been terrified of it all summer, but on the LAST day of swimming for the summer, she figured it out and spent a few hours kicking around the 'big' pool. I was thrilled! 

2. This summer has had the most amazing weather. I know I've mentioned it before. We've been able to have late night fires in the fire pit and the kids love roasting marshmallows. 

3. After our fire pit time we let the kids watch Night at the Museum in a tent in the backyard. We kept them up way too late, but they loved every minute and I'm pretty sure it will be a sweet memory for a long time. Besides what fun is parenting if you don't have a little fun every now and then?! 

4. Mornings with my fave girl.

5. I found this string of pictures on my computer when I got to work yesterday. Apparently someone had gotten ahold of it and had a little too much fun in PhotoBooth! 

6. Last night we got to enjoy a Springfield Cardinal's game with our Baptist Bible College family. The kids love going to games and I just love hanging out with them! 
(P.S. Chris was there too.... Why did I not get a pic with him?!) 

How has your week been? God has been stretching and growing us the last few weeks and months and I finally have gotten over the hump of it all I think and am basking in the strength God provides his children. We have SUCH a faithful God who provides for us even in our inner man, as well as for us in the outer. Drink richly friends. He is good.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Things I'm Reading and Loving....

1. My husband and I were sitting at our kitchen table chatting last night after the kiddos were in bed about God's glory and our good and how the two intersect, and how sometimes it doesn't feel like they intersect. As if God's good is only reserved for some people that seem to have all the blessings. And I was reminded of this article I read a few weeks ago that asks..... 'Is God's glory His only goal?' It's a good question because I know that God works for His glory, but sometimes when His glory doesn't feel very pleasant in my own life, it can be tempting to view God's glory as my enemy. As if Him working for His glory is always going to hurt me. I forget about the other parts of my God.... his faithfulness, his goodness, how he always keeps his promises, his gentleness and kindness, and many more. Parts of my God that are HIM. Not something that sometimes come out of him, but they are who he is. He is the very definition of these things. It was an encouragement to me.

2. Thank you Al Mohler for the good reminder of the importance of bed times for my littles, and of what we do with our bed time routine with our children. I want to use mine for the sake of the gospel.

3. Isn't this little girl's Bubble dress adorbs?!


4. These stairs...... I swoon.

5. I made this ravioli bake for dinner last week and was reminded of what a simple weeknight dinner it is.