Tag Archives: parenting

DRESSing Respectably

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modestyThe homecoming season is upon us and dress shopping is well underway for many teenage girls. It saddens me that what was once an opportunity to get all dressed-up and feel beautiful and fancy for an evening as now turned into a competition to who can wear the most provocative and “sexy” dress possible.  When did this change take place?  And why aren’t more parents taking a stand and commanding their daughters to turn away from this new trend and requiring their daughters to dress more appropriately?  Whatever happened to dressing modestly and demanding respect from boys?

What I want teenage girls (and their mommas) to understand is that wearing fancy dresses that are strapless, enhance and display your cleavage, or barely cover your backside, does NOT demand respect from your date.  As a matter of fact, when a boy sees so much bare skin around your shoulders, breasts, and legs, their minds automatically begin to undress you.  It’s too easy for them to mentally remove your clothes when you’re already half-dressed.  Surely this isn’t what you want from your date?  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  If your body is a temple for God, would He be pleased that you are showing so much of your skin to someone other than your spouse?  Would the Lord God be pleased that your chosen dress for the evening was done with the intent to be “sexy” and to “tempt” teenage boys?

As Christians, we have two choices when dress shopping – we can pick a dress that is modest and pleasing in the eyes of our Lord OR choose to look sexy and invite temptation (also known as sin).  As a Christian, it is your duty to be fully clothed at all times, even for school dances like Homecoming and Prom.  If you want your date to treat you respectfully, you must help him keep his eyes on your face and his mind clear of sin.  Don’t be the temptation that allows our teenage boys to stumble.  Mommas, help your daughters be the princesses they’ve always wanted to be.

Finding a dress that is modest and beautiful is not difficult.  I’ve personally seen dresses that have straps, cover your breasts, are longer than two inches below your bottom, and do not reveal every curve of your teenager’s body.  Those dresses are out there!  Be in prayer for God to lead you to the right dress, to the right store, and to give you and your daughter wisdom and guidance when dress shopping.  Be honest with your daughter about choosing a dress; remind her that her body is a temple for the Holy Spirit and that they should adorn themselves with respectable clothing.  Teach them to want to be pleasing in the eyes of the Lord and to demand admiration and reverence from their dates.  Teach them to take a stand for Christ!

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You might also like:
1. Dating and Sexual Purity
2. Modesty and Swimwear
3. Testimony – A String Around My Heart
4. What Should I Wear to Church?
5. Christians and Modesty

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Testimony – God Had Bigger Plans for Our Family

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I was raised in a loving home with parents who cared for me and provided for me. It was not, however, what I would call a “Christian” environment. My parents both professed to be believers, but we rarely went to church.  If I did go it was either for Easter or Christmas or after spending the night with my grandparents.  We didn’t read the Bible or pray together and I was not taught biblical truth. Around age 10, my grandma sent me to pre-teen camp with her church and that is where I was “SAVED”. After camp I tried to get my family to go to church; we tried a few different churches but didn’t really connect anywhere.

For the next few years I became quite confused. I spent a few weeks every summer with a family member who belonged to a Unitarian Church which basically teaches that whatever you choose to believe in is okay.  The church openly studies all different religions believing none are right or wrong, just different. Not being told any differently, I began to agree with them.  Although I knew who Christ was and had accepted Him as my Savior, I also had the opinion that my life was MINE and I was capable of making my own decisions, without any consequences.

I began to spend a lot of time with my best friend at her house along with her older brother and his friends where there was NO parental supervision.  As a teenager, I was very interested in boys and with the lack of supervision this was not a good combination.  I began to find ways to get the boys to notice me.  And they did. I wore clothes that were too tight, too short, and way to revealing.  And they noticed. I began making out with boys much older than me hoping for love and acceptance. Not to say my parents weren’t around or didn’t care because they did, I just got to be really great at lying and sneaking around and they had no idea what I was doing.  This behavior eventually led to me deciding I was “grown” and, at the extremely misguided age of 13, I had sex for the first time. I had convinced myself that I could make my own decisions and lead my own life without the need for any adult’s guidance.  The guy that I thought cared for and LOVED me really didn’t.

When I was 14 my family moved to Greenville, TX but I continued down the path of bad choices and bad boys who were much too old for me.  I tried dating a guy my age and he was a really nice guy; he was a gentleman, treated me respectfully, and didn’t push me physically.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know what to do with that!  I still was not going to church, not growing spiritually, and was living like a lost soul.

This is when God intervened. When I was 15, I met the guy I would eventually marry. His dad was a preacher and one of the conditions of dating him was going to his dad’s church.  Only one problem… it was all in Spanish!! I didn’t speak Spanish, didn’t know what they were talking about, and stayed confused most of the time. But I loved that guy!  Although not many changes were being made in my life, I began to learn Spanish and pay closer attention in church.

We were married when I was just 17 years old and had our first baby when I was 20. While we were still attending church with my in-laws, if we went at all, I just wasn’t being filled.  After I had my second child at the age of 22, we began the search for a new church. Once again God stepped in!  We found a church and got connected instantly; which is where we still worship today.  I began to crave more knowledge and wanted to know more about the Bible and live my life for God, not just for myself.  We had two more children when I was 25 and 28.  All four of our children were girls. Life was good. Although I had worked full-time on and off and part-time here and there, I was able to stay home majority of the time with my girls.

I was truly happy with our family but knew something was missing.  I longed for a son and repeatedly prayed for one and pleaded with God that if that was not part of His plan for my life to take that desire from me.  Just three days after giving birth to our fourth beautiful baby girl, I became ill. I spent some time in the hospital with strep and went home not knowing that the illness had caused a blood clot to form somewhere in my body.  Two months later I returned to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism and was told that if it was meant to kill me, it would have done so already.  Quite a sobering thought but God had bigger plans for my life and our family.  A loving husband, three gorgeous little girls, a two-month old precious baby, two great parents, and an amazing group of friends were all there to love on me and take care of me. What more could I have asked for? God had richly blessed me! So why did I still have a need for more? Why was I still longing for a baby boy?  I had been told by my physician that I could not have any more children.  This was something my husband and I had already decided on our own since we had four girls (that’s expensive) but being told you cannot have any more children and having someone else make that choice for you are two VERY different things.  But life went on.

In the fall of 2008, we got a strange call.  My mom had called to give us the latest saga about a family member of ours.  His two children had been removed from his care by CPS. This was actually good news for the children since he really had no business raising these kids.  We had been praying for a good home for them and a stable family to come into their lives for quite some time.  My mom proceeded to tell us of how CPS was looking for a family member to place the boys with and they had asked my parents to be that family member for them.  My parents were in their late 50s at this point with 9 grandchildren.  Needless to say, they declined.

As my husband and I were discussing the situation and how outrageous it was for them to ask my parents, my husband tells me that God was telling him that WE are supposed to be the family for those two young boys.  Now wait a minute! I love my girls but there were times I couldn’t wait to get all of them out of the house for a few hours a day! I had the older ones in school and I just had the little one at home with me during the day and had been devising a plan to get her into Mother’s Day out program. I must say though, we had also always been open to the idea of adoption and after 4 girls we teased that it was the only way we would get our boy, but this seemed so sudden and we weren’t quite prepared yet.  We agreed to pray about it, made some calls and asked some questions, but made no commitments.

One October evening I received a phone call from a social worker and was told what the process would look like and got some general information.  By this time, our prayers had changed from “Are you sure, God?” to “If this is what you want, then we trust you will make this happen”. The very next day, we received another phone call from the same social worker, that there was an infant sibling, also in state care, and asking, “Are you willing to consider placement for him as well?” STOP IT! THREE KIDS! THREE MORE KIDS? We already have four children! I mean really, who has seven kids? Nobody! [Insert more prayer here.] We just continued our prayer of, “Ok God, this is ALL you.” We decided that they were all brothers and needed to stay together. How could we one day face the two boys when they are older and say “We knew you had a brother, but that would have been too much of an inconvenience for us, so we decided to say no thanks”? We simply couldn’t do it.

We had many talks with our girls and wanted this to be a family decision. We wanted them aware of the coming changes in our lives and not to feel this was being forced on them. We began to make the necessary arrangements and to have weekly visitations at CPS with the boys. The visits were intended to be for the parents, but they hardly ever showed. We didn’t want to cause any more undue trauma for these little guys and wanted them to at least be familiar with us before they came to live with yet another family. Our two oldest boys were placed with us at ages 21 & 31 months old in February of 2009. Our youngest daughter was 18 months old at the time and had been to most of the visits with us.

There was ALOT of adjusting for everyone and a move to a bigger house; it was quite stressful, exhausting, and emotional to say the least. The Mother’s Day Out program our daughter had attended a few years earlier, wonderfully “scholarshiped” us for about 4-5 months for my sanity. Then summer activities began in addition to parent visitations with their biological parents and fighting for our youngest to be placed with us as well.  He was eventually placed in our care in October 2009 at the age of 11 months.

Although I always felt led to homeschool, even before our oldest daughter started school, the timing had just never seemed right. Our three oldest girls were in public school and our oldest boy had just begun Head Start.  He was not adjusting very well to all these transitions including school and the addition of our youngest boy.  After another move, more home studies, and more waiting, our adoption was FINALLY complete in July 2010. After a CRAZY fall semester of five kids at two different schools, two at Mother’s Day Out, a child with a broken femur, and me feeling pulled in multiple directions, God was telling us it was time to homeschool.  We pulled them out of school in January of 2011 and started our bumpy and blessed road to homeschooling. Our oldest two children were NOT happy at the time.  The 6th grader had been in either public or private school since age four and felt we were taking away her life, the 4th grader was mad because we had taken away her friends, and our oldest boy in 1st grade didn’t really seem to care either way. Our oldest child will be in high school this next school year (September 2013) and when given the choice, she chose to continue homeschooling.  In fact they all did!

It is an adventure everyday to say the least and most days are completely nuts but we won’t ever go back to public school voluntarily. I’ll admit there are days I dream about how much I could accomplish with everyone gone for 8 hours a day, but what we’re building in them every day is so much more important than homework and completed projects. I’ve told them that it would be easier for me to put them in school and let someone else teach them, but life isn’t about doing the easy thing.  It’s about doing the right thing, which means obeying God. This is what God has called us to do during this season of our lives and this is what we are going to do. I love our time together and for our large family it works perfectly. We set our own schedule and are able to keep it extremely flexible. While we didn’t have problems with the school system or any of their teachers or schools, we didn’t do well with an ISD telling us when to be where at what time and am so happy we don’t have to deal with all the new rules due to current events or any standardized testing. When I hear other parents complain about school related issues, I feel complete contentment in my heart and hear God reassuring me we are doing what He has planned for us.

About 7 years ago I got involved in a Women’s Bible study, and about 2 and a half years ago God put it on my heart to get involved with the youth.  God has been telling me to use my past mistakes and experiences to mentor young girls and help them from making the same mistakes I made as a youth. Seeing as I now have seven souls in my care, I am very passionate about teaching them God’s plan for sex and marriage.  I want them to know what I didn’t know then.  God gives us guidelines to follow in all areas of our lives for our benefit.  He knows what He is talking about. Sex is a BIG deal, it DOES matter, and it does change things!  Sex is not something you can undo.  Even though God offers forgiveness and grace, there are consequences for our sinful choices, and some can be life-long costs. I’m now trying to help young ladies to see the lies the devil is telling them and to know that the attention they receive from dressing “cute” is not the right kind of attention they really want. I truly believe that most girls don’t understand what guys are thinking when they wear certain things. Please hear my heart on this… I know from personal experience, if you don’t wait until you are married to have sex, you WILL regret it.  I don’t want that for anyone!  Sex is meant to be a special gift from God for a husband and a wife. My hope is that we can drown out the constant barrage of lies from our culture and raise-up a generation who treasures purity, a generation who is proud of their virginity and not ashamed of it, and a generation who will follow God’s plan for their lives. My hope is that we can raise a generation of Christians who can change the world for Christ.

I hope my story can help someone on a similar path. May God richly bless you as He has me!

-Lany

It Starts at Home Book Review and Giveaway

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Tools_Books_It_Starts_At_HomeChurches worldwide are seeing a decline in the attendance of children who were raised in the church and have made a decision to walk away from their Christian roots.  Bill Hybels is quoted saying, “If the local church is the hope of the world, then we must take seriously the church’s responsibility to call couples, parents, and grandparents to create God-honoring homes.  Only then will we see the tide turn on declining generational faith transference.”

Authors Kurt Burner and Steve Stroope who both serve as ministers at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, have shifted the focus of the church towards helping parents reclaim their duty and responsibility to raise their children in a Godly home where biblical principles are not only taught but also witnessed through daily application.  Together they have written It Starts at Home: A Practical Guide to Nurturing Lifelong Faith, a book that proves the purpose and lasting success of intentionally raising children, families, and marriages where Christ is at the foundation and center of all homes.  Home is where the family lives and breathes; it makes sense that the home should also be the central location for spiritual development and where growth should continually be occurring in all members of the family.

The book presents strategies and goals for intentional couples, parents, grandparents, as well as church leaders.  It’s imperative to recognize that parents and families should not be waiting or expecting the church to teach their children but that faith formation begins at home.  Included in the book are parent report cards and tips and activities to building strong faithful families.  There is also a 120-day challenge for intentional marriages, parenting, and grandparenting that will inspire you to cultivate the faith of the future generations.

Christian home leaders are challenged to restore their homes and step into their God-given role to strengthen their family and become the central point for Christian growth.  It Starts at Home is a must-have for all family libraries.  It’s not a quick one-time read but a lifelong program about being intentional and strengthening the home.  The book is scripturally sound and full of biblical truths and at-home applications and strategies that families can easily apply to their everyday lives.

The Judgmental Christian was blessed with the opportunity to give away one copy of It Starts at Home.  What a blessing to be able to share this inspirational book to one of our faithful readers!  Thank you Lake Pointe Church for this unique opportunity!

Click HERE to learn how you can enter for multiple chances to win a free copy of this book.

This book can be purchased online at the Lake Pointe bookstore.  There is also a coupon online for 20% off any book or Bible.  It Starts at Home was donated to The Judgmental Christian and I was not compensated for my Review or Giveaway. 

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk
along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Christian Response to Miley Cyrus VMA Performance

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mileyOur family didn’t watch the VMA’s because quite frankly we didn’t expect anything wholesome or appropriate from the awards show.  I did, however, watch Miley’s performance on YouTube after my social media accounts were flooded with improper and derogatory comments about the poor girl, not only about her performance but about her actual life and her eternity as well.  I knew I also needed to watch the performance because, like much of America, I have teenage children in my house and needed to know what the appropriate response to their questions and statements should be.

I watched and immediately felt horror for this poor innocent child who has clearly been affected by the outside world.  What must this child, and yes Miley Cyrus is still a child at the young age of 20, have been taught (or not taught) to think this public behavior is okay?  How have we failed these Disney stars that continually seem to fall so far from their previous innocent roles on public television?

And ever so humbly, God reminded me of my teenage years.  How thankful I am that I wasn’t in the public eye for so many people who did not know me to judge my worth and eternal value!   I’m fairly certain I would have failed that test.  God reminded me that he views all sins as sins and that my sin of laziness or losing my temper with my children are just as equal in the eyes of God, which is far more important than what man believes.

As Christians, we should not be bashing this poor girl so hatefully and most definitely not so publicly.  In fact, we should not be condemning her at all.  This is where we, as Christians, must use discernment and practice biblical judgment.  Our judgment should simply be that we do not want our children listening to her music or seeing the VMA video.  Our biblical judgment must stop there.

We sin when our judgments defy the command from Paul in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  It pains me to see my brothers and sisters in Christ talk so poorly of this child of God while failing to remember their times of disobedience and immoral choices.

John 8:7 says, “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Are you my fellow Christian willing to throw that first stone?  Are you willing to bear ALL your sins on your social media status or on national television?

I challenge you brothers and sisters to spend time in prayer for Miley Cyrus.  Every time you hear about her racy video, see a comment about her life or eternity, or see the inappropriate pictures people are posting about her, to simply pray for her.  How might her life be changed if all Christians stood in the gap in complete and humble prayer for her soul?  What might her testimony be after she encounters the Holy Spirit after un-judging Christians fell to their knees and prayed for her redemption?

This should be our response.  Will you join me in praying for her?

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You might also like:

1. Biblical Judgment
2. Homosexuality and the Bible
3. Christian Response to Presidential Election
4. Dating and Sexual Purity
5. Christians and Modesty

Modesty and Swimwear

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bubbleframe (9)As my daughter gets older, the bathing suit choices of girls (and women) is becoming more and more of a concern to me.  We’ve chosen to teach modesty in our household, not because we want to be different but because we desire to adhere to biblical standards and want our children to learn to respect themselves for the beautiful person God created them to be (Genesis 1:27).  We want our children to find a helpmate that loves them for their personality and morals rather than finding a partner based on pure physical attraction.  We understand this is contrary to the modern worldview and we’re okay with this.  We don’t desire to be pleasing to man, but to God alone.  After all, we will answer for our lives and choices to God, not man.

Let’s look at what the Bible says about our clothing choices (and this includes bathing suits):

“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”  1 Timothy 2:9-10

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16

“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

It makes my heart so sad to see our children dressed in skimpy bikinis and taking pictures of themselves for all the world to see.  What then are we teaching our children?  We’re merely teaching them that their body is needed to attract the attention of the boys.  We’re teaching them that they need to wear less to acquire beauty.  We’re teaching them that it’s okay to flaunt their bodies and be lusted over by boys.  We’re teaching them, at an early age, to find joy in being lusted over.

And what about the women in our society?  We must be held accountable as well!  When we choose to wear so little in terms of clothing and bathing suits, it’s what our daughters will do as well.  We need to be teaching them to love themselves as God made them.  Not only do we live in a world where the eyes of young men are lustful, but older men as well.  Shouldn’t we be protecting them and loving them enough to clothe them appropriately and keeping them from the eyes of predators?  Women, we too must obey the commands of God and be examples for the younger girls.  We must wear appropriate swimwear and abstain from taking pictures of our less-than-dressed-bodies (also known as soft porn for boys and men).  We must accept our bodies and love ourselves enough.  We must teach our daughters that they are worthy, that they are enough, and that they were created in the image of God.  We must teach them, that as Christians, the Holy Spirit resides in their body and that they are a temple for God and they must clothe themselves respectably in the eyes of God.  We must lead by example and help them understand that the way NOT to find a suitable helpmate is for the first interactions to be based on lust and sexual attraction.

The Bible warns us about tempting others in Matthew 18:6-9, “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! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.’”

Do we not realize that when we wear so little that we are causing our Christian brothers to stumble in their walk?  Do we not realize that when our daughters wear so little that they are causing young men to stumble in their walk and that these young men will be the very men our daughters will one day marry?  We must do everything to stop our children from stumbling in their walks with Christ.  We must stop our young men from lusting over our daughters’ bodies.  We must prevent our children from lust and sexual temptations.  And we must love our children enough to walk alongside them in biblical standards.

And men, I challenge you to lead your family as Christ lead the church (Ephesians 5:23).  Hold your wife accountable for her clothing and bathing suit choices.  Do you want other men (and young boys) looking at her with lustful eyes?  Do you want your daughter wearing less than appropriate and attracting undue attention of boys who will clearly not be thinking Godly thoughts about her?  Stand up for your faith!  Stand up for your family!  This is your charge as a husband and father!

I dare you ladies… I dare you women of God… to stand firm in your faith, to be convicted by the Holy Spirit to change your appearance at the pool.  I dare you to teach your daughter modesty.  Let’s be the change!  Let us represent Christ, even at the pool.

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You might also like:
1. What Should I Wear to Church?
2. Christians and Modesty
3. Overcoming Envy and Jealousy
4. The Cost of Being a Disciple
5. The Fight Against Human Trafficking

Honor Your Parents

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“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”  Exodus 20:12

Did you know this is the ONLY commandment with a promise?  How awesome it is to be guaranteed a blessing of living in God’s land for being obedient?  Simply.Amazing.

We honor our parents in three ways:

1.  Children must accept their parents’ authority while living under their roof and understand they have more life experience and knowledge.  The parent-child relationship is a God-given hierarchy that was made specifically for the benefit of the child.  Parents must assume loving authority over their children by being Godly examples of Christ.  Likewise, children must submit to parental authority at all times, even when the child doesn’t believe the parent is right.

2.  Adult children must affirm their parents’ faithfulness.  As adults, but still children to our parents, we should offer them gratitude toward their parenting efforts.  Tell them you appreciate them, even if you have to FIND something good to say.

3.  Adult children should meet their parents’ needs.  Our parents will need care as they get older.   We need to be meeting their physical needs such as moving them into our home, getting them established in a retirement or nursing home, cooking meals, providing transportation to and from appointments.  But we must also meet their emotional needs including phone calls, visits, physical contact, and prayer.  Sometimes meeting these needs can be costly and inconvenient, but so is raising children.  We must remember there is ALWAYS a way to honor our parents, even if prayer and forgiveness is all you have to offer.

It’s important to remember that sometimes parents fail:

1.  We fail from pure laziness.  We set rules but are too tired to enforce them.  That is of course, until they break something that belongs to us!  Parenting is hard work but we must persevere.

2.  Insecurity causes us to become soft for fear of upsetting the child.    We should never lower our standards just to please our children.  Children need boundaries and guidance as well as parents with their best interests at heart.

3.  Sin in our own lives causes us to fail.  This sin will eventually take up our time, our energy, and our own thoughts that will ultimately take these things away from our children.

The balance to the parent-child relationship is authority and responsibility.  There should always be an equal balance between the amount of authority our children have and the amount of responsibility that they have.  When children are little, they have no authority and we do everything for them – bathe them, cook their meals, dress their tiny bodies.  At the same time, they have absolutely zero responsibility.  As our children grow and become more mature, their authority over themselves increases as do their responsibilities (such as chores).  Eventually, our children move out and have full authority over their lives as well as full responsibility. We must prepare them for this!

Parents, pray that your children fail while still living at home.  Pray they make mistakes so that YOU as their parents can correct them and speak God’s truth into their lives.  Remind your children (and yourself) that their worth comes from God alone, not other people, wealth, or possessions.

And remember…. There is a blessing when we honor our parents!

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2. Value Life
3. Christians and Biblical Marriage
4. No Other Gods
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