It is translated, “Seize the day!”
It comes from a line in Horace, which says, “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” and means “Seize the day, putting as little trust as possible in the future.”
Today, the Lord is reminding me to “number my days” (Psalm 90:12). When I read that passage, I hear the Lord saying, life is short. Do what you can in the time you have!
And James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Today, I am hearing Him say, “Seize TODAY!”
In this very commercial world and country I live in, there are neon lights turned on somewhere all the time. There is a place you can buy something open 24/7.
Today is Friday, August 10–just about smack dab in the middle of summer here in Alabama. So, it is HOT! It’s also the season for storms. And football season is here.
And would you believe I’ve been hearing about football for MONTHS??? Yeah, down here in Bama, we take football pretty seriously. So all summer, there has been a countdown toward the start of football season.
Today, I saw ads for scented candles that signify that Autumn is drawing near. But is it really? Or do we still have one full month of summer? Yeah, summer is not over yet.
I notice how much we miss out on one season looking toward the next one! (I say “we” there, because I do it too!) This HOT summer of ours has me looking forward to (hopefully) the cooler temps of Fall. And as the school year begins for so many, already, they look forward to Labor Day break or Christmas break. Over Christmas break, I’m sure to read some Facebook statuses wishing that kids could go BACK to school. Then dreams of Spring Break, then counting down to another summer, and then counting down til kids go back to school again.
Is it too much to ask that we just STOP? Let me enjoy summer to the end before you start pushing me into fall. Then let me enjoy the vibrant colors of fall before you put snowmen up to decorate for December and Christmas. Let’s enjoy our time with family over Christmas and Spring Break, and even let’s make the best of the days we do things we “have to do” (like school).
Let’s just enjoy the season we are in TODAY.
I mean, it’s like asking me what I want for lunch–WHILE I’m eating breakfast! Just let me enjoy my muffin! And then, when it’s time, I’ll make myself a sandwich for lunch.
It just seems we are, as an entire world, missing out on the beauty of each day by looking forward to the next. I admit, I’ve missed it TOO many days. But now, I am learning to number my days–to realize that my life won’t last forever. To realize that I’m not promised a tomorrow at all. To realize that TODAY is what I have right now. And it’s what you have, too.
You’ve heard the little quote that says,
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present.”
Today truly is a gift. Right this moment is a gift. As you read this blog, even, you are using up the gift–the one gift that you can’t get back after it is spent.
I’m sure you’ll all understand that I’m cutting this blog post short for a reason.
I’ve got some seizing to do!
My hubby, Papa Bear, works with a man–we’ll call him Abe–and here is his story:
Abe came to the United States several years ago from Algeria. At some point after coming, he got married, started a family, and began the process toward becoming a US citizen. It cost Abe 5-figures of cash to complete this process, and he had to jump (through more hoops) and cross over more (red) tape than the Olympian “trampoliners” and runners combined.
He gained his citizenship the legal way, though–and it just takes time and money. About 18 months ago, it became official. He is a US citizen! WOOHOO! He is free! At least as free as our nation is right now…
One other thing to tell you about Abe is…he is a Muslim. He is a very nice person–and this month, he is a very nice HUNGRY person, as the Muslim community celebrates Ramadan. As I understand the laws of Ramadan, Abe can only eat and drink–as well as smoke and brush teeth–between the hours of 6pm and 6am…and eat/drink/smoke/brush nothing (no intake at all) from 6am-6pm….ALL MONTH LONG. So he is basically eating dinner, going to sleep, and getting up SUPER early to get a meal in before the required fasting hours.
This post is not about the Muslim faith, or what they are celebrating this month. Abe has a lot of struggle going on in his life–and he really needs Jesus! My hubby, since he has developed a friendship with him, has had many conversations with Abe to get to know his beliefs and also to ask him what his thoughts are about certain things. Well…the latest conversation they had has struck a chord with me.
To make the long story shorter for you, my hubby basically was discussing Abe’s impression of Christians. Oooohhhh…. Some of you may be intrigued here…like I was!
Here was his answer:
“Muslims live like Muslims no matter where they live. Many here who call themselves Christians are just Americans. They don’t live like Christians. They live like Americans.”
I repeat with my paraphrase:
They call themselves Christians, but they are just Americans. They don’t act like Christians–they act like Americans.
At first, I thought–well, in this country, chances are that he is seeing Christian Americans. The accurate history of our nation is that Christians came over the great big blue (the ocean) for the very purpose of setting up a nation where they are free to serve God the way they wanted to–not just how the Anglican church was forcing them to.
But then I thought a bit more on it, and I began to wonder WHY does he see those Americans who profess to be Christians as one or the other. Is there a difference???
Well…here is what I do know…
God says we are IN the world, but not OF the world. And that “they” (meaning non-believers) will know us by our fruits. And Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
So this deal with Chik-fil-A lately has had me thinking about the difference between being Christian and being American–before Abe ever made his statement. (Another post is coming about Chik-fil-A…)
Right now, though, I am stunned by what Abe said. Not because I don’t agree with his statement, but because I DO.
Lately, the Lord has been showing me SO many ways that my life (and I’ll even say the church) has been formed based on CULTURE, rather than formed based on His Word. From the simplest habits to the grandest plans, I’m constantly being challenged now by His Word on these things.
For example–I LOVE sleeping in late! My kids sleep in, I do not have a job, and we homeschool–so I CAN sleep in if I want or need to. But I see in His Word that the Proverbs 31 woman rises while it is still night to prepare food for her household. Not to mention all the Scripture on laziness and being a lover of sleep. So I’m challenged to get up before my kids do and get busy with working for the Lord!
That’s just ONE example where I’m seeking God’s Word on the matter, where I have been going by what I CAN do–what I have the “right” to do.
And THAT is what I think Abe sees as the difference. Here in America, we have the RIGHT to do so many things that do not line up with God’s Word. We call it FREEDOM. Personally, I love being free like America allows. But the question I ask myself is not “can I do this?”, asking whether the world will let me…but “SHOULD I do this?”–asking whether it is what God would want me to do.
And in the Word of God, we read about being set free by Christ. I get it. I really do understand the freedom that I have as a believer. But that freedom is NOT freedom on this earth. It is not freedom to live as I want to while I live on this ball of mud. I am called to obey God’s laws. Yes–that includes the laws of the land, and submitting to earthly authorities, but that falls AFTER obedience to God. Obey God first, America second.
We are free, as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, to obey God and not be overtaken by our sinful nature. Freedom to love and serve others and not be bound by a hardened heart and selfish desires. Freedom to suffer for Christ’s name, just as He suffered for our sins.
If America gives you the “right” to do something, but God clearly does not, then obey God!
The freedom for which Christ died is the freedom from the law of sin and death–freedom that we will attain only after death. We are not set free by Him in order to live as we please. We are set free by Him in order to submit ourselves and our bodies as slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18).
So I see that as Americans, we are fighting for freedom in this world–you know, for the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. That all sounds GREAT! Except–God promises that believers will be persecuted, even jailed and/or killed, for our beliefs. For now, in our country, the law doesn’t require that of us. We are still “allowed” to worship Him without the risk of death or prison in our nation. That’s not the case for believers in other countries. So life isn’t a guarantee as a believer–not life on this earth anyway. And liberty isn’t guaranteed by God–if we are imprisoned for His sake. And the pursuit of happiness is the American dream–it is not something that God promised us. America affords us great opportunity–but God has promised that He will provide food and clothing for us. He has not promised to provide a house, a job, a car, an Xbox or iPhone. Those are freedoms America gives us.
As an American who IS a Christian…I find it difficult to see the difference between the two. So it’s no wonder that our Muslim friend can’t tell, either. I see protests and fighting and speaking out on behalf of an American right. Rights that we have because of where we live–not because of Who we serve.
God says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. 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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” …..”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.”
Food, drink, clothes. If we seek first His kingdom, THESE things will be given to us as well. Not the right to go to school. Not the right to get a job. Not the right to buy a house. Not the right to drive a car. Not the right to drink or smoke. Not even the right to vote or the right to be free instead of a slave. All of THESE things have been given to us by the world.
I want to challenge all of my readers to do what I’ve just done. I’ve just read the entire New Testament in the past two months–in HUGE chunks at a time. Through that time, I finally learned that I’m saved by God’s grace alone. I’ve learned that I’m free from an eternal death.
But I’ve also found that this earth is not my home. I am a citizen of heaven. My citizenship has been paid for by the blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Just like Abe was an Algerian and is now an American because of the price he paid (with time and money), but lives like a Muslim, no matter where he lives…I want to live like a Christian–no matter where I live. And THAT is why Jesus paid the price for me.
I have struggled for some time trying to find the “fine line” between knowing I’m saved by grace through faith, and being obedient to God’s word. The problem is…they weren’t made to be separate.
Too many times, I’ve been pointed at and described as being “legalistic” just because I choose to obey. It doesn’t mean I believe that I’m saved by doing what I do…but I AM called to be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer. This means that I’m called to obey–I’m called for the purpose of obedience. Because obedience is how we show God that we know Him and love Him–and how we affirm to ourselves that we really do! (See John 14:15 and 1 John 5:2.)
I’m only posting here to share another writer’s post with you. But also to reiterate the fact that these two go together. It is only by the power and might of the most high God that I am saved by HIS grace through MY faith. And it is only by His power that I can overcome my sinful nature and be obedient to His word to show Him my love! I take no credit–but I do take the call to obedience SO seriously.
I hope you enjoy this post by Ruth Schwenk at MomHeart entitled, “What does Obedience have to do with Freedom?”
I would love your thoughts on my intro–or on Ruth’s post! Come back and comment after you read!
Just a quick post today on something that keeps stirring around in my mind and heart…
Proverbs 31:23 reads, “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” (KJV)
That verse is one I’ve read many times, and it has always been used by teachers of mine to tell me that my husband is known by what I say about him. That is SO true! I have the responsibility to be discreet (Titus 2:4-5), which means to be wise in what I share with others–to have discretion about what I choose to say or to keep “private”. I also have the responsibility to honor my husband. Specifically, I apply that to what I say about my husband to others. It seems pretty obvious that I shouldn’t disrespect my husband to his face…but what do I say when I’m not around him? It is also disrespectful to gab with my girlfriends about what I don’t like about him or what he did that made me mad/sad/etc. So, sure, he will be known in the gates based on what I say about him!
But the spirit led me to look at this verse differently…
In my heart, I ask this question, “WHAT IF her husband is known in the gates because she only goes into the gates in which he is known?”
Let me explain my question with the general story of something I recently experienced…
I was in a gathering of ladies and we had a discussion on a certain topic in the Bible. Not long after that conversation took place, I was told we couldn’t discuss what we had discussed, and, shortly thereafter, we had to cancel our gathering altogether. (I’m sorry…I know that is extremely vague, but I don’t hear God telling me to be more specific…yet.)
I am naturally willing to submit to authority figures in my life, so it was easy for me to just say “okay” and move on. It was MUCH harder to witness the fallout that took place after those decisions were made by those in authority over our gathering.
In handling all of that, it all fell on ME. I was the one getting the phone calls. I was the one being “checked out”. I was the one who answered for it. I’m totally okay with that! I was the one leading the gathering, so naturally, I would be the one who answered for it. I’m not writing about whether I agreed or disagreed with what I was answering for. I’m only writing about what I learned about myself through that situation.
First, I’ve always told people that I make a great #2. I’m not a natural leader! I wasn’t created that way by God. So, leading that gathering was a step of faith for me! I didn’t want to do it–but was being led by the Holy Spirit to do it–so I did. And it was a HUGE success, for the short time that I was allowed to lead. So, I learned that the cliche is true–that “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”! I was certainly not equipped to lead, but as soon as I stepped out to do it, He led me to be and do what I needed to do for that group. And it was a tremendous blessing to me to see the lives of those in the group change before my very eyes, and to know that all I was doing was being a vessel for the Lord to work through me. I do make a good vessel…a good #2. 🙂
It was in thinking about it all AFTER the fact (which is common for me) that really got me digging deeper into the Word about things and really seeking the Lord and what HE had to say on it all. And in my seeking, I found Proverbs 31:23.
You see, in dealing with the situation I mentioned above, it all fell on MY shoulders. I was the one being corrected and receiving the slap on the wrist. I’m not saying that it should have been someone else, but it was definitely unfamiliar territory for me. I am a natural rule-follower, so yeah, some of that is because I don’t step out of line where I know lines exist.
It hurt to face that situation. It was truly PAINFUL. Painful to hear what others had to say both about our gathering and also directly to me about it. It hurt to have no one stand up for me, personally, or to stand up for what the members of the group wanted out of the group. (After all, I was the “leader”, but I was being led by the Holy Spirit to provide what THEY wanted in our group–not after my own agenda.) It angered me to be singled out for doing something that I know others are doing even today, and even more angry about where it came from. And, worst of all, it made me question and doubt a foundation in my life. (I know–still vague–and I pray that I’ll be able to share it with you one day.) And today, I STILL question and doubt.
But the other thing that made dealing with all of this so hard was that I’d never HAD to deal with it. Since I got married, my husband and I have had the ability to lead and influence and teach in other settings. We have done and said a lot of good things in those settings, and we both received accolades, where appropriate. But if we did or said something that others didn’t like, HE took it. HE dealt with it.
And he shielded me from it.
Having all this on my OWN shoulders showed me just what a powerful place it is to be under the umbrella of protection by my husband. You see, I knew about all those times that we were corrected, but he received the lashing. He willingly took it so that I wouldn’t have to.
Well, for this particular gathering, he wasn’t involved. I had his blessing to lead it, of course, but he wasn’t leading the group or even leading me as I lead the group. So when it all came crashing down, he couldn’t shield me from it. He couldn’t handle it for me. In fact, in this particular instance, no one that I was dealing with even KNEW him! And THAT is why I find myself meditating on Proverbs 31:23.
You see…because no one knew him, and because he wasn’t leading me in that venture, I was not in submission to HIM on the matters–as has been the case in every other venture in our lives. I felt more out of place in those moments than I’ve ever felt in all of my life. I felt like I was in some strange land, trying to speak a language no one understood, and I was being put “on trial” (so to speak) with no one to speak for me. And, oh, how I wanted him to come to my rescue! He was MORE than willing–in fact, he wanted to fight it for me–but he wasn’t “known in [those] gates”…so he could not.
What do YOU think about this? What gates should I enter? Only those in which my husband is known? I’d love to hear what you have to say!
NOTE: This is probably going to be part 1 of a few posts on this. My thoughts are not complete because I’m just digging into this a bit more at this time.
About a year ago, I had a conversation with some friends (all young women) about the topic of modesty. We walked through so many different avenues that one might go when discussing this topic. We talked about the history of our culture, we talked about our own upbringings (such as playing sports and such), and of course, we talked about Biblical references. We even talked about (GULP)…the skirts vs. pants question.
Honestly, until that week, I had not been exposed to much on the subject. I have one friend (I’ll call her Sally) who I know wears skirts all the time, and I remember asking her well over a year ago why she wears them, and she gave me the most gentle response–I’ll share it with you in a bit. I was impacted not only by the fact that she does wear skirts–and LONG skirts, to be most accurate–but also by her meek explanation as to why that is what she chooses. It planted a seed in me, no doubt, but I didn’t really think on it daily.
Fast forward to this gathering of ladies… We were discussing chastity (sexual purity) and that led right into a discussion about modesty. You see, the way we display ourselves (the way we dress) is an outward reflection of what is on the inside. Just like the words that we speak are an outward expression of our hearts (Matthew 12:34)–so is our appearance.
We just experienced a scientific phenomenon that is an unusual occurrence: the supermoon! I didn’t get to see it on the horizon (because we are surrounded by too many trees here)…but saw it in the high night sky…and it was definitely more “super” than it typically is. It seemed larger and brighter that night! I even got my 5 year old out of bed to show him, even though when I first went to get him up, he said “I don’t want to go…” and fell back to sleep. But when I mentioned the supermoon, he did get up and he was excited!
As he and I stood alone in our driveway at around midnight, I told him about how the moon shines by reflecting the light of the sun, which is on the other side of the world. On that side of the earth, the sun was shining and it was day! But on our side of the earth, it would be darkness, if not for the reflection of the sun’s light on the moon. I explained that Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12), and that each of us is like a moon reflecting on this dark world. It is true–this world is dark. There is so much evil and sin. I know it breaks the heart of our Father in heaven, for it breaks mine and I’m human. AnyWHO…I explained to him how we have to have Jesus’ light in us so that we can reflect it onto the earth. In other words, and I paraphrase, we have to receive God’s Truth and then SHOW it to the world!
So my friend, Sally, when I asked her about her skirt-wearing, replied this way (via email):
“I do always wear a long skirt. It has been a “journey” of sorts to get to that place. 7 years ago, when I got married, I was anything but modest. My wedding gown was strapless. I wore tight jeans, short skirts, halter tops. I loved getting male attention, and I secretly loved it that other women were jealous of me. I just shake my head when I think back to how vain I was and how much I liked the fact that I caused other men to lust. Anyway, God’s grace is so good. Well, shortly after I got married, I started feeling like I needed to be more modest for the respect of my husband. He never asked me to, but it was something I felt I needed to do. I guess I would call it “convicted”. It started out that I gave away all my halter tops, spaghetti strap tanks, tight pants and short skirts. I still wore pants though – just looser pants than I had previously worn. Well, about 2 years after that, (so, about 4 years ago or so), I started noticing how other women were dressed, and I noticed that even when they were wearing loose pants, the outline of their bum was still very visible, and their crotch area looked so exposed as compared to a woman wearing a long skirt. Which is what led me to start wearing skirts most of the time. For a while, I still wore pants occasionally, but the longer I wore mostly skirts, the more “exposed” I felt when wearing pants. And now, I have not worn pants for over a year.”
Now, let me clear up the picture you have in your head about Sally. She isn’t wearing what Carolyn wore in “Little House on the Prairie”. She is wearing modern skirts, tops, and dresses. They are just modest. So I’m not talking about denim jumpers everyday…just so you know! 🙂
AnyWHO…let me get back to the discussion the ladies and I had on modesty…
First thing I want to ask–and this is for you to answer on your own (or share with me in the comments if you feel led to do so!). WHY do you dress the way that you do? No matter what that is…whether it is a dress, pants, shorts, a swimsuit at the beach or pool, or your pj’s…why do you dress that way? Is it because you were taught to dress that way growing up? Is it because it’s how your friends dress? Is it because it is the “trend” culturally? Is it because God has given you standards to dress by? Or do you not know your why on these matters?
I think more important than dressing a certain way is knowing why you dress that way. There are so many things we can do that are just not right because of ignorance, but we still may pay the penalty for it. For example, if I go to another state besides Alabama and drive my car around on their streets, I am expected to abide by the rules of the road for that state. If I’m pulled over, for, say…entering an intersection on a yellow light (which is NOT against the law here in AL)…well, I’m probably going to get a ticket for it. You see, it was still the law, even if I didn’t know! I believe the same goes for God’s law. Sin is still sin, whether we know it to be sin or not. God gives us this in His Holy written Word. I was once ignorant–meaning, I didn’t know–what His Word says…on ANY matter. But now that I know what He says on certain things, I cannot choose sin! I must choose to obey His Word. Just a fair warning, Hebrews 10:26 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” I don’t want the price He paid for MY sins to get tossed out! Why pay my own price after He has paid it all for me??? So now, there is only room for obedience! And it is His sacrifice that gives me the power to overcome my sinful nature. I simply cannot–MUST NOT–allow myself to be taken into bondage again by sin.
I love reading the story of the woman caught in adultery. No–adultery isn’t a “fun” topic to read or to think about. But I just love how Jesus handled it–what he said to her. She was caught IN THE ACT of adultery. She was thrown at Jesus’ feet for judgment. He went on to tell those around Him (again, I paraphrase) that whoever has no sin should be the first to cast the stone at her (which was, as I understand it, culturally, the punishment for this act). Well, no one threw a stone. So Jesus asked her, “Has no one condemned you?” And she said, “No one, Lord.” and Jesus then said to her, “Neither do I condemn you.” PRAISE THE LORD! There is NO condemnation in Jesus Christ!
But keep reading! Do you see what He said to her immediately after that? He went on to say, “Go, and sin no more.” In other words, “you are forgiven–now don’t do it again!”
AnyWHO…that was a bit of a tangent. I wanted to share all that before I go into the topic of modesty. Because as soon as someone learns what the Lord has to say on a matter, if they continue to sin in that way, “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin” (Hebrews 10:26 NIV). His sacrifice is worth it all! We must die to self, take up our cross, and follow Him. And this sacrifice has set us free! But not free to live as we please–free to live as He pleases! I want my reason “why” I do everything to be found in His Word.
OK…back to the subject at hand. As I studied prior to our gathering, I found these verses to get me started:
1 Timothy 2:9-10: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” (KJV)
Deuteronomy 22:5: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
***Now…before you assume where I’m going with this…please understand I do not come from a church background that is denominational, and I don’t know what other religions teach. I have only studied and found what is written in the Holy Bible, and sought out more info on those scriptures.***
First, let’s look at the Old Testament passage from Deuteronomy. Yes–this is Old Testament. But let’s just look at it from the perspective of God’s chosen people. This is God telling them that He would be disgusted by a man dressing like a woman, or a woman dressing like a man. He created them “male and female”…and there are many differences. I won’t go on with that in this post–but you can pick up an anatomy book or a psychology book and find all the evidence you need. But the definition of abomination is “a cause of abhorrence or disgust” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/abomination). So God is disgusted with this. I truly believe He wants us to be the male and female He created each and every one of us to be–we aren’t both–we are what He made us to be. And He has clearly defined what manhood and womanhood means…it is what He wants FOR us.
So let’s look at the verse in 1 Timothy. In our English Bibles, the words we are given read “modest apparel”. In my studying, I found in my references that the words have meanings in the original Greek text that mean “a loose, long, flowing garment”. The word is katasholh or katastole, if you want to do your own researching. It has also been defined as “a garment let down”, meaning length-wise.
Now, throughout the Bible, lack of modesty is most often connected with an intent to commit sexual sin. (“Uncovered his nakedness”, etc.) Here is a “back to the beginning” example: When Adam and Eve were found to have sinned—they covered themselves—basically covered their “private areas”—I imagine like a swimsuit. But God came and saw and said that’s not enough covering and He made coverings for them out of animal skins—so that they’d be FULLY covered.
I’ve been told that this story is only there so that we see the fig leaf as the example–because fig leaves are supposed to represent self-righteousness, as in, Adam and Eve could cover their own sins. But we know that that is not true–only the blood of Jesus can cover our sins! So why, then, did the Lord cover them further? I believe it is because they were not going to be in the Garden of Eden anymore, because He kicked them out into the world! They were going to need covering there! In Eden, it was a man and his wife, between whom nakedness is not forbidden.
Also, according to Scriptures, “nakedness” referred to in Isaiah 47:2-3 = showing the THIGH! How much more do we see in this world?? YOW!
OK–I read a book several months ago that was called “Christian Modesty: The Public Undressing of America“. It was enlightening to say the least! I wouldn’t have believed what I was reading…except I’d read some things like it before as I studied before these ladies and I met.
One story that comes to mind is the story of the time surrounding World War 2 (WWII). I’ll shorten the story, since I’ve already written so much! When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the men left to go fight the war, leaving the women (their wives and sisters and daughters) behind to fill in their jobs. They did this out of necessity. When the survivors returned, the men expected things to go back to the way they had been–where they worked to provide for their homes, and the women were homemakers. But some of the women had joined a movement known to us now as feminism, and began to fight for their “rights”. What rights did they want? They wanted the right to work jobs. They wanted the right to be the head of their own households. They wanted the right to wear pants.
Before this movement, it was generally known/accepted, that pants were a man’s garment and that skirts/dresses were a woman’s garment. We can look back over centuries and see that this is true. But at this point in time, women began to wear pants too. So, the “freedom” to wear pants in this world comes from a feminist movement. The same movement that tells women to not submit to their husband. The same movement that turned the hearts of these women toward serving themselves and their own fleshly desires more than serving their husbands–or even serving the Lord by fulfilling the calling He had given them as homemakers (Titus 2:4-5).
So, ladies…if you wear pants today…that’s why! If you’d been living just 70 years ago, you’d be wearing only dresses, because that was the standard that our culture held, and it was based on God’s Word back then–not based on legal freedoms that one can attain in our nation today. (And, rest assured, the freedom that this world gives us is NOT the same as “freedom in Christ”!)
OK…so let me give you some more interesting little tidbits that I found, then I’ll wrap up with my general conclusion.
Some things to think about:
*Pants are a symbol of authority: The saying “I’m the one who wears the pants in this family”…refers to the one with headship, authority…and that role has been given by the Lord to men and husbands.
*International symbols for bathrooms: You see a figure in pants for the Men’s Room and a figure in a dress for the Ladies’s Room.
*The focus point in different garments—pants vs. skirts/dresses. In pants, the “arrow” points to the bum or to the crotch area, for a man AND woman. Eyes are naturally drawn to where this arrow points. I was SHOCKED to find this is so true!
And a story: There was a fashion show years ago on the Phil Donahue show where a designer created dresses for men and had them parade on the stage in them. Here are the comments that came out of it: “that’s disgusting”, “that’s vulgar”, “gross”, etc. Phil Donahue’s response was, “That’s funny…because about 50 years ago, people said the same thing about women wearing pants.”
So, for almost 6,000 years, women have worn only dresses…and around 65 years ago is when women started wearing pants? Just a tidbit. And yes…I’m aware that for many years, both men AND women wore some sort of “robe”. But we must assume one of two things, using the verse I mentioned above from Deuteronomy–either (1) their robes were different somehow back then, to give distinction between a man’s and a woman’s attire…OR (2) that one day, the attire would be different for men and women, so the Lord addressed it back then. Either way, He wants us dressing differently.
This is our heavenly Father telling us what He wants FOR us, not what He wants FROM us. The Old Testament gives us so many things to help us understand the heart of our Father! And regarding attire, I sorta view this passage as if it was Papa Bear (my hubby) talking to Sister Bear (our sweet daughter), as she came downstairs before going somewhere with friends. If she was wearing something that made her look like a man or that he considered inappropriate for her, he would surely take her in his arms and say, “My sweet daughter, it is a cruel, evil, hard world out there. I can’t let you parade yourself out there like this. It isn’t good for you to be looked upon the way you will be in that outfit–nor is it good for those looking to look at you. I must insist that you cover yourself more fully to keep yourself pure, and to help your brothers remain pure, too.” (Because ANY man who isn’t my husband, is my brother in Christ. And as his sister, he shouldn’t look on me that way.)
I truly believe that is what our Father in heaven would say if He looked at many of us today. Beach season is upon us–and I wrote this post to share my heart to young women of today. But it isn’t just at the beach. It is everywhere we go–and especially when we come together to worship.
So my personal conclusion here… I can’t throw out all my clothes because I can’t afford to do so. But I do aim to wear more skirts and dresses–not because of “law” that I have to–but because God wants me to be modest in my attire, and I have found that skirts and dresses (long ones, of course) are the MOST modest I can wear. I’m not talking burkas here…just loose, long, flowing garments (that at the least, cover the thigh).
And ladies, you should know this before you throw stones my way…since I’m married, I know that I have the freedom to wear anything I want to (or nothing at all) around my own husband…but I consider my responsibility to you and YOUR husband a grand responsibility. You are my sister and he is my brother, and I don’t want to have any part in coming between you two as husband and wife. I have seen with my own eyes the husband of a friend look on another woman who was dressed without a standard of modesty–WHILE IN CHURCH. I know plenty of people who have dealt with the topic of pornography in their homes. I have seen the hurt that comes from the heart condition of a man looking lustfully on another woman who isn’t his own wife. I am just doing what I can to NOT be that “other woman”.
So please, before you think I dress in a skirt to appear “holier-than-thou”, please remember I do it for YOU just as much as I do it for the Lord. I also aim to set an example to my daughter (who happens to refuse to wear anything but a “pretty dress”), and also to my sons–for what to look for in a woman adorning herself appropriately. Will you see me in pants sometimes? Yep, but they won’t be form-fitting in ANY way. Will you see me in shorts sometimes–only if you show up unannounced at my house this summer! (I will likely wear capri pants sometimes.) Will you see me in a swimsuit? Not a chance (except maybe with a long coverup). The bottom line for me is that I believe the Lord wants me to wear what is decidedly female and surely modest. If it isn’t both of those things, I’ll have to replace that item in my closet.
I guess I should also say that if I see YOU in pants, please know that it never crosses my mind to judge you for that.
And finally–let not your attire draw the attention of any man in your church! Watch out for skirts that come up too high when you sit down, waistlines that show “crack” when you lean over to pick up your Bible, tight pants that leave nothing to the imagination, low cut tops that show cleavage, skin tight tops that show your form, and even baggy armpits on tops that allow a “peek” of what’s underneath. Those are for your husband–not mine. And if you aren’t yet married–remember that all these guys are your brother!
One more thought that guides my heart in every matter… I once heard my pastor talking about what he used to tell teens in his former youth group when they would ask, “Pastor, how far is TOO far?” He would go on to say that we don’t need to live life trying not to cross the line…we should RUN from the line! Instead of seeing what we can “get away with” according to Scriptures, why not see just how closely we can get to the Lord by obeying Him to our fullest ability?
I welcome your comments. I do ask that you keep them respectful. I love you all as my sisters. Thank you for reading!
“You kids fight it out,” said their mother. Have you ever said that to your kids? I know I have! It is exhausting to play the role of referee between children. It seems you can never find a good solution to the problem between them…and it almost always involves tears (for one of the kids…or both…or maybe just MINE).
Today I had the opportunity to really think about whether this is the way to handle these little spats between my children. You see, God’s Word tells us that a child left to himself is a shame to his mother. (Proverbs 29:15) A SHAME??? Meaning…shame on you (ME), Mama, for leaving your little one to figure all this out himself??? WHOA.
In true Mama Bear fashion, I have tried to find a situation in life that would parallel this role a mother (or father) often takes on. Are we meant to be referees between our children?
I grew up playing sports–volleyball, basketball, and softball–so I’ve seen my share of referees, and had to deal with them in many situations in each game I played. Some called the game fair while some were biased. Some called too many fouls and didn’t let us play, while others didn’t call enough fouls. Some admitted when they made a bad call during a game and corrected it immediately, while others changed the outcome of a game with a bad call, and never thought twice about it.
What does that look like as a mother? Well…I know with my Brother Bear, Sister Bear, and Baby Bear…I have often taken on this role of referee–more times than I care to count! There have been days that I blamed Brother Bear for everything because he was the one I saw do something wrong. There have been days I managed to catch Sister Bear when she did something to him to bring on his reaction…and then SHE was in the hot seat.
There have been days I hovered over my children and didn’t let them say or do or even think anything without my correction…and other days that I sat on my rear and let them do what they wanted.
And yes…there have been days that I did everything WRONG…and didn’t think twice about it. But also days where I remembered the grace that the Lord has given me, and I passed that grace onto my children by admitting my own shortcomings and asking for them to forgive me for handling myself poorly.
But today I see all of these situations differently. You see, I am not meant to be the referee in the lives of my children. God hasn’t called me to call fouls, throw penalty flags, or throw anyone out of the game. I am called to love them, to teach them, and to train them. Referees don’t do ANY of these things!
In a game of volleyball (or any other sport you like), the role of the referee is to make sure that the rules of the game are followed. They often wear stripes, carry a flag of some kind, and keep a whistle between their teeth so that they are ready to call someone out for the wrong action in play or for a mistake. Their role is to enforce the rules. The players know the rules–but if they don’t abide by them, the referee can and will call them out.
But it isn’t the same with raising children! We don’t just tell them every time they do something wrong. We don’t blow the whistle and call foul when they make a mistake. We can’t just shoo them away when a situation comes up say, “go fight it out”. Does that really solve the issue? Not likely. AND–have we taught them anything by sending them on their way to figure it out themselves? Again–resounding no. Unless, of course, you want to teach them that they are all alone in this world to figure out the rules of life…and that they will have to endure all the consequences of each lesson themselves, rather than having someone who has been there/done that (I mean YOU and ME) to share the wisdom of a lesson learned.
Children aren’t allowed to be children these days. And I suspect because it is because parents aren’t being parents. I used to be one of those parents who didn’t do my job. And it got frustrating and overwhelming FAST. I was ready to give up–throw in the towel–forfeit the game! Thankfully, the Lord changed my heart!
If I’m not supposed to be the referee…then what role DO I fulfill in the lives of my children???
I am their COACH. I remember one of the best coaches I ever had–my high school volleyball coach. Here is what she did for me and my team. She held workouts in the summer, where we prepared our bodies. She held practices in the preseason, where we trained our bodies and prepared our minds for what was to come (in future games). She made us run. She made us jump. She made us communicate. She made us practice every move and every play we could possibly have to use in any game situation. We practiced regular plays and we practiced “trick” plays. We practiced being offense and practiced being defense. We even practiced playing the other positions besides our own.
When game time came, she was right there with us–sitting on the sidelines. She watched us as we played. She gave slight instruction as the game went on if we needed a bit of help/correction. She took us out of the game if we needed a break or a rest. She sat our hineys on the bench if we just didn’t have it that game. And yes, sometimes she threw her clipboard! 🙂
What she didn’t do: she did not try to teach us a new skill during the game. She did not yell at us because we couldn’t do something she hadn’t yet taught us to do. She was the coach–but game time isn’t for coaching. Game time is for playing. Coaches are expected to be on the sidelines during games, but it shouldn’t be necessary. You see, coaching happens WAY before game night! Coaching happens in summer workouts, in preseason, and on practice nights. Practice nights are the nights that fall in between game nights–where players can work on what they may have done wrong the game before, and learn new ways to handle the situations they may face in the next game. The coach can instruct and train at practice.
I wrote a post about what I dislike about playdates not long ago…and since writing that, I have had a change of heart on just one thing. I think playdates are wonderful–but ONLY if my children are prepared for them! If they aren’t, they may be disastrous! Because that is game-time for them. If they don’t know how to handle socializing with other children, or being at someone else’s house, or playing with others’ toys (or sharing their own), then maybe–just maybe–they need a few more “practices” before putting them in the game. I still believe I’m supposed to be active in those moments of a playdate–but active like a coach–not active like a referee where I simply blow the whistle or throw a flag.
What does this look like in real life? Well, take Brother Bear, for example. He is currently 5 years old. He had a problem hitting when he got angry about Sister Bear touching his toys. I spent LOTS of time talking him through situations like that. You may be saying, “I do that too!” BUT…here is the key that made all that talking effective. I talked to him about it at times when there was NOT a problem. In other words, I didn’t have this talk with him right after he hit her. I didn’t have this talk with him on the same day! I had this talk with him the day or so after–when he was not angry with her, and when we were just enjoying some casual time together (building with Legos at the table or putting a puzzle together on the floor). I do a lot of “role play” where I pretend to be Sister Bear and I teach him how to respond to what she might say or do. We practice it–over and over–in a lighthearted way. And you know what? The next day, when Sister Bear tried to mess with his toys–either he responded correctly…OR I saw his habit reaction starting to stir up, and I just reminded him gently by saying something like, “Remember what you should do now?” or “Remember how you should speak to Sister Bear when this happens?” I’m the coach, sitting on the bench, offering a little help while he is in “the game”.
Has every moment gone that pleasantly? No stinkin’ way! And those moments, I’ve had to take him aside (away from the situation–out of the room) to *snap* him out of it. And some days, I’ve had to sit him on the bench for the game…as in, he has to play in another room for the rest of the time or the rest of the day…or we leave playdate early, or just don’t go at all.
I challenge you with what I’ll call the “Coach’s Challenge”. I challenge you to ditch your whistle and yellow flag! Don’t be a referee in the lives of your children! There is so much to teach them–so many things for which they need to be trained! And the Lord commands it of us, mamas! He doesn’t give us the go-ahead to let them figure it out (fight it out) themselves. Be the best coach you can be! Train them, let them practice, and only put them in the game when they are ready to play.
(Besides…referee stripes don’t look good on anyone!) 🙂
Twice this week, I’ve been driving in my mama-mobile (read: mini-van) with my children when a vehicle came completely into my lane and then suddenly swerved to miss hitting us head-on. Were these drunk drivers? Nope. Asleep at the wheel? No again.
Both drivers were young girls who had their cell phones right in front of their faces.
And as I hit my brakes and watched these drivers, they pulled their phones down to swerve, but then POP–the phone went right back up again!
Did either of them not notice that they were COMPLETELY on the wrong side of the road and almost hit a car bigger than theirs head on??? Did swerving for their life not get their attention enough–not scare them enough–to make them change what they were doing? In both of these cases, it did not. Those phones were right back up in front of their faces while driving as soon as they cleared the front of my van.
Initially, this post was going to be a warning to all of you to stop checking text messages or emails while driving…stop letting it distract you from the task at hand…and I DO hope you will stop if you do this. But I’ve been on a journey lately to remove all planks from my eye and my life before I address the speck in your life.
And as I’m known to do–I saw this situation as not just a driving issue–but a life issue. I have a friend who recently told me that she has given up Facebook altogether because she was missing out on those right in front of her face. And I can say that I am guilty of that, too.
I’ve allowed myself to use the computer while my children played around me. Not so bad sometimes, since they don’t really play with me. But they play at my feet because they do want my attention.
Proverbs 29:15 reads, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
And I’m certainly ashamed as I think about all the times my children play by themselves. And it shames me to see the mess they make when I’m just not paying attention. Right now, there is marker on the wall near my computer desk–where one of my children wrote on the wall while I was simply not noticing. I was there! In the same room! But I wasn’t paying attention!
What about my husband?
Yeah…I’ve found myself texting or “Facebooking” on my phone while with him, too. You know…he’s watching a basketball game (that I don’t really care about)…and I’m beside him on the couch…but I’m busy “tap-tap-tapping” on my QWERTY. I’m busy laughing about the funny status updates I see. While he is beside me on the couch watching. Is that so bad?
I think it is. You see–depending on the love language of my husband–I may be showing him that he’s not important enough. If his love language is quality time, then he wants that time for me to be truly WITH him.
Or if his love language is physical touch, I bet he’s getting pretty jealous of how much “touch” I’m giving my slide-out keyboard, rather than snuggling up with him.
No matter what his love language is, ignoring him to text or be on Facebook on my phone is a distraction to our relationship.
1 Corinthians 7:3 tells me, “The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”
This refers to the sexual aspect of a marriage. But I’m going to look at it as ALL forms of showing love and respect–which IS my duty to my husband!
And why would he pursue showing me love if I’m busy on my phone???
How else does my phone distract me?
This morning I saw an advertisement for several “apps for spiritual growth”. Now, I don’t have a smartphone, so I don’t know how apps work exactly–but I do know that the only way to the Father is through Jesus (John 14:6)!
You can’t get to the Lord though any app on any smartphone. It is relationship with Him that He desires–and he is a jealous God–jealous for me and you! (Exodus 34:14) Sure, you may find a schedule for reading His Word or a prayer journal or such as that.
But the Lord is not an app. He is our God!
He deserves our time, our undivided attention, and real relationship…
…so do our husbands and children.
So I’m challenged by my own words today to PUT THE PHONE DOWN! While you are driving, while you are mothering, while you are with your husband, and so that you can commune with your Lord.
Blessings to you as you enjoy the relationships of those at your feet…or those at whose feet you sit.
I’m putting my phone down starting today…will you?
And if you want more ideas for putting down your phone, check out these great posts:
Pardon me would you please pass the iphone?
Put down the phone and be a wife
Put phone down and be a mother
Put phone down and be a homemaker
Put the phone down and homeschool your children
Put phone down and be a friend
Put down your phone and be a witness