Saturday, December 9, 2017

Time to Meet... More Friends!

Hello, Everyone! So this is an unofficial blog post to introduce a few new friends you've yet to meet. They're super important in my life, very important additions to my small circle of friends, and beyond anything, really amazing people, and I wanted to give them a shout out!

First up, my adopted twin, Lindsey. Okay, so technically, we're not identical, but she's my twin because... well, just because. Too many inside jokes, too much to explain. She's the only other girl in a chat I'm in, and we, well, we sort of keep each other in line, although we mostly egg each other to get in trouble. Did I mention we have the best nicknames for each other? No, I'm not telling you what they are, but we do. Lindsey, I just have to say.... Francisco. You know what I mean

Another young lady who is super, super, super important in my life is my adopted sister, Shay. She's my official big sis, my most encouraging adopted sibling, and the sweetest lady I know. She shares my skirts-only conviction, and has been more of an encouragement in that than she realizes. She sends Bible verses almost everyday and more often than not, the verse was exactly what I needed to get through the day. I praise God for this big sister of mine. Shay, I love you, sis!

Now for two girls who have gone through a lot with me over the past month or so. Caiti and Sierra, they are the best. Besides being awesome just for who they are, they are the most amazing support group anyone could have. Bad day or good day, they're there! You two are definitely my adopted sisters, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead for the both of you with your guys!

Next up, an amazing girl from my own state, Georgia. She's super encouraging, and definitely understands the joys of being from a big family. She's also a fellow small business owner (Hint hint, if you're on Facebook, look up her shop!) and she's an amazing seamstress. We don't get to talk often but I love our conversations! Abigail, you're the best!

Megan is also a sweet friend of mine! We 'met' earlier this year through a Facebook group, and have recently become good friends. She's so talented at everything music, and has an amazing sense of style. Talking to her is always great, and though we don't get to often, I enjoy every chance we get to chat!

Another Georgia girl, Amber, is a dear friend from the days when I was more active on Ravelry. She's a YouTuber and crafter, and so sweet! I was privileged to do a live video on YouTube with her once, and loved it! Amber, stay as sweet as the sweet tea in Georgia!

Next up, a super sweet girl I've 'met' through Facebook, Hayle. She's a fellow crafter and I love how she's always there to offer prayer and happy birthdays to people. Hayle, you're an encouragement to me!

And now, a few guys. They're adopted brothers of mine, and they're often a reason why I laugh until my sides hurt. Mark, Daniel and Ethan... y'all are great! Thanks for all the weird late night group calls with Lindsey and me, where we can make jokes and play games and wake up my family with my uncontrollable laughter.

I know we're past Thanksgiving, but I just have to say how thankful I am for all my friends, even if I have yet to do a blog post introducing them. Some are from churches, some are from Instagram, some are from Ravelry, and some are from Facebook. But wherever I 'met' them, they are important parts of my life and I'm so thankful for them.

So, to...
Priscilla, Annie, Taz, Lindsey, Shay, Mrs. Connie, Ethan, Daniel, Mark, Amber, Caiti, Sierra, Danielle, Laura, Hayle, David, DeAnna, Grace, Carlie, Joel, Jonathan, Katarina, Joshua, Klarisa, Lydia, Megan , Patrick, Phillip, Zach, Sarah, Bethany, all my church friends and family, to all those who I'm friends with across social media (too many to name!)...

You mean so much to me! Thank you for being a part of my life.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Modesty: More Than Clothing Alone

Modesty, that wonderful topic which Christian books, blogs and circles could argue and discuss till the cows come home. We have so many definitions of it, too. This person thinks modesty means wearing only skirts, but that person thinks it means no skin showing that shouldn't be seen. One says modesty is no make up or jewelry, another says modesty isn't even important (The old 'doesn't matter what you are wearing, that's legalistic' approach)

While all these points- except the legalistic one- do hold some degree of value in this discussion, one that's more important is often left out. 

Modesty isn't just our appearance.

Yes, our appearance is the first thing the world sees and judges. Yes, we are to strive to be decent and well covered. Yes, we should be concerned with not gaining the wrong kind of attention and avoid letting those around us focus on our hair, makeup, jewelry, clothing, accessories.

But what about your attitude? What about your actions? 

My dear friend, just because you are dressed in a floor length skirt with an undershirt to avoid showing anything 'up top' doesn't mean that you are being modest. If you're throwing your body around and flaunting what's covered, then by your actions you might as well be in a skimpy bikini or a pair of skin tight, shorty shorts or ripped up, painted on jeans and a crop top. 

We all have seen the girl or woman who has nothing showing that shouldn't be showing, but acts like she's in a bathing suit model contest by the way she walks. This simply shouldn't be. If a woman is throwing her joints out of whack to 'show off' and strutting around with an immodest attitude, do you honestly believe the world looks at her and sees Christ?

But it goes deeper than that, as that's mostly appearance- though it is a sign of what is in her heart.

What about your words? 

Picture this: A lady in a church parking lot, dressed in a completely modest outfit (Let's say, maxi skirt, high neckline top, and denim jacket). Her hair is in a smooth, simple bun, her make-up is at a minimum. Her jewelry is toned down, only a small pair of earrings and bracelet. She even walks and carries herself in a modest, humble manner. She's the perfect illustration of modesty you've been looking for when teaching the girls in your church about how a woman of God should dress.

And then she opens her mouth.

Every other word is either a straight out cuss or swear word, or a derivative of one. She throws slang words with questionable meaning around without care. She is sarcastic to the fullest extent of the word. If she's not making inappropriate jokes, the bathroom humor is rolling off her tongue faster than those donuts in Sunday school were eaten by the teen boys. She even sees no harm in using the Name of God is vain, as an exclamation to be tossed around whenever she feels like it!

Do her appearance and her words mesh? Do you listen to her and hear someone who is striving to live for Christ? Would a lost world look at her and listen to her and see a difference between this woman and themselves? 

No. They wouldn't. Don't even pretend they would, you know better.

A truly modest woman would think twice before allowing her words to ruin the testimony she's trying to preserve. She would know that modesty isn't just appearance, it's also her words and actions. She would know that any value her testimony held would be destroyed if she carried herself with an air of immodesty and allowed her words to be stained with worldliness. 

Can this be said of you? Sister in Christ, are you honestly and truly trying to be an example of complete modesty? 

The Bible is pretty plain on this subject, you know. Not just the appearance of a modest woman, but her words and actions. 

 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Colossians 3:8

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

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

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. James 1:26

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 1 Peter 3:10-11

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4

I could keep going, but won't. After all, the entire Word of God teaches us exactly how Christians are to live. You can read for yourself exactly how a truly modest woman would act and speak.

What does a woman with a heart of modesty look like?

Besides her clothing, hair and make-up, she carries herself with a truly humble, meek attitude. No flaunting or strutting needed, she knows that the One she must give account to one day sees her, and wouldn't want to explain to Him why she tried to be a stumbling block to anyone on this earth.

She speaks words that could never mar her testimony, no matter when or where they are spoken. You won't hear a word that even is borderline questionable. You'll never hear the Lord's Name taken in vain or used carelessly. No inappropriate phrases or derivatives of nasty words cross her lips.

She acts only to please the Lord, and never to imitate the world. Her entire life is an example of what a life lived separate from the world should be. Everything she does is done where she can't be brought to reproach, because she holds fast to the verse about abstaining from the appearance of evil.

Sometimes we just need a reminder that modesty isn't just what we wear, but something that starts in our heart as we strive to live for the Lord fully:

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Other times, we need to take a long look at our lives and see where we have been failing to live a life that is completely modest. If we find we have failed to live a life that's pleasing to the Lord and are following after the flesh, after the way of the world, and after the old man we once were, praise God, He forgives! As our heavenly Father, God loves us and wants us to come to Him with our faults and failings. He forgives us and then takes us by the hand and helps us to live in the way that would be pleasing to Him, and best bring Him glory through our testimony for Christ.

So, what will it be? Modesty in appearances only, or in word or deed as well? Are you truly going to live a modest life, and be an example of what a woman of God's testimony is when she is not only modest in appearance but in heart?

I'll end with one last verse. Take it to heart, I beg you, and consider whether or not your life is truly modest, or if you're only modest in a hashtag on your social media.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

Saturday, November 25, 2017

When it is time for the Next Chapter

Life doesn't stay the same.

We all know this. Sometimes life changes for the better- new friends, new job, new opportunities, new blessings- and sometimes, life changes for the worse- we lose friends, we have to change jobs, we end chapters of our life.

There are so many quotes about life being like a book. It's true, and the Bible even talks about our lives being read by the world as if we were a book. Sadly, like a book, we have chapters in our lives and you can never reach the happily ever after at the end of the book if you can't turn the pages, can't move on from a certain chapter.

There will be great, wonderful, and happy chapters in our lives. Times when the sun is shining and everything is going perfectly. These are the times we look back on and smile. We try to stretch this chapter out for as long as we can make it last.

But, like any book, the chapter ends. The next may be a difficult chapter, one filled with grief when we lose a loved one, or you get that dreaded call to your boss's office to be told they're letting you go. Perhaps it sees the end of a friendship, or squabbles among your church family.

These aren't the easy chapters, but they are the times in our lives where we grow- and growing is necessary. Certain houseplants can't stay in the same container you bought them in, right? They outgrow the pot they started out in, and it's only by transplanting them to bigger pots that we get to continue to enjoy their blooms. We can outgrow situations or opportunities, too, and God must move us from one place to another. Thankfully, God never causes us to change anything without there being a reason. He knows where we are, what we need, and what each chapter of our life needs to teach us.

That's a wonderful thing, if you think about it. God uses chapters of our lives to teach us. Sometimes it's to show us we made a mistake, we chose to follow our own path and do what we thought was best without really seeking God. Other times, it's to prepare us for the next chapter we haven't reached yet. Either way, our loving Father doesn't let things happen to us to hurt us, but to help shape and mold us into what He wants us to be, because He loves us!

When a chapter in our life ends, we need to be willing to let go of that last past and stop rereading that last paragraph, so that God can move and work in the next chapter of our life. How can you expect to keep growing and serving God if you stay on the same page, reading the same line over and over? Dwelling on the past rarely helps the future.

You lost a friendship? Don't dwell on it. Think about the friends you still have, and about the new friendships you've yet to make! Yes, it hurts, but thankfully the Bible is still true and there is a friend who is closer than a brother.

You lost a chance at true love? Don't stay on that page, reliving the painful memories. Move on. If you want to stay depressed and upset over that chapter, don't expect someone else to want you in their life- be prepared to be alone and miserable.

What is it? What chapter are you stuck on? What's keeping you there?
Memories? Just keep in mind, you can't change the past or relive it, so dwelling on memories will do little good. Instead of trying to recreate the past by holding onto memories, move on and see what God has planned for that next unknown chapter in your life.

Believe me, I do understand how hard it is to turn the page. To walk away from something that is hurting you or holding you back. It's difficult to put to rest a part of your life that had major influence on you. But sometimes, it must be done.

And, guess what? It doesn't always stay difficult. Sometimes the greatest blessing comes from simply letting go and moving on.

You'll make new friends. You'll find a new job. You'll have another chance at finding the one. You'll have new opportunities.

Your life didn't freeze, pause, or end when that chapter ended.

I'm going through a lot of this myself, friend. My current chapter of my life is ending, as new ones are beginning. Thankfully, the One who is writing my life story also is the One who helps me bear the fears and questions of what will happen next. My Father knows where I am, what I'm going through and what my concerns are.

He knows the same about you.

But are you letting Him do the writing? Are you actually trusting Him with your life? Do you really mean it when you say you are waiting on Him and letting God have control over what goes on in each chapter of your life, or are you just saying that while you stubbornly try to cling to the pen and make your story what you want it to be?

It's hard to let God do the writing when you are holding your hands over the pages, telling Him you know better than He does what needs to be in the next chapter. Telling God what His will for your life should be isn't trusting Him or trying to follow His direction in your life. Just because you've made up your mind that something is what you think is God's Will, doesn't mean it actually is.

Be willing to let God have full control. Understand that your Heavenly Father knows what is best and doesn't want all the chapters in your life to be difficult ones. Yes, there will be some as He helps us grow, but they won't all be that way.

Let the page turn. Let the chapter end. And look forward to what God has planned for the next chapter.