Friday, April 27, 2012

My Modesty Journey


    This post is a "follow-up" of sorts to my previous post, Determining What Is Truly Modest

     What I wrote in the previous post on modesty is not always what I have believed in my heart. I thought that a post on My Modesty Journey would be a good follow-up.

      So, here is an article I wrote a few months ago.


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    Have you ever struggled inside yourself, trying desperately to determine what things, especially clothes, were modest? I know I have, and let me tell you, it was no easy struggle; in fact, my struggle to determine what was modest took years – literally. I did not fight within myself all that time, but, many things influenced me between 11 and 16 years of age – so much so that right in the middle of those years I began to question if what I had always thought of modesty was true.

     Here is a brief description of my struggle with modesty:

     Around the time I was 12 I decided two things - that long skirts & dresses, high neck-lined shirts, and clothes that were not skin tight were the only modest things that I should wear & that I would never wear makeup. So I made a commitment to only wear those things, and out went all my jeans & capris. The only pants I continued to wear were workout pants (loose-fitting), and those where never worn when company was over nor went we went into town. This continued for about a year and a half, then I decided that I looked like a fool always wearing skirts (even camping), and started wearing jeans & capris camping and sometimes to other's houses. I did not know how this seed of wanting to “fit in” would affect me very soon.

     When I was 14 we started going to a new congregation whose youth were mostly public schooled and had lower moral standards than my family had. Many teenage girls there (most I should say) wore makeup, skin tight clothes, low necked shirts, & short skirts. So most of the young people I saw were wearing things that went completely against my family's standards – and I was being influenced. (You can read my family's modesty standards AT THAT TIME at the bottom of This post.) 

     One day (I think I was 14) the elder brother of a friend of mine asked, me “ Why don't you ever wear pants? ” I was rather embarrassed, and I explained that I normally only wore pants at home. He asked the reasons, and I had none to give– none! Why? Because even though my parents had told me the reasons, I did not have the modesty standards that they did. (To my shame I did stutter out some lame response, and my younger brother took up my slack and answered for me! I couldn't answer from my heart - because my parent's standards weren't mine at that time.)

     As the months passed, I grew more and more to accept most of the clothes that I saw the other girls in the congregation wear. When I went to clothing stores during this time I began to think that the clothes I would have considered borderline immodest at 12, were now okay – even “cute”. When I looked at the makeup isles I would covet being able to wear it.

     At sixteen I asked for makeup – just lip gloss and light lip stick. I was allowed to and that led me to ask to wear eye shadow as well. My father was firm that as long as I lived in his house, I could not wear eye shadow & the only makeup I could wear were light lip gloss, light lip stick, and nail polish. At first, I was rebellious, because half of me wanted more than that and half of me didn't. I was confused, I felt like a war was waging inside me, and neither side was winning. Sometimes I would side with the Spirit inside me, and sometimes I would side with my flesh.

     After talks with my mother – I felt better and resolved not to want to wear eye shadow and the like. Also my desire to wear lip gloss/stick, lessened. Now I wear make-up occasionally, and not for any reason except that I like it; I am not out to impress anybody – not in the least!

     Back to clothing – at one point I even wanted halter tops., because I thought they looked “cute”. My parents were rather shocked and disgusted. My father explained how many young men think when they see girls in immodest apparel. Now it was my turn to be disgusted! I knew that young men thought differently but I didn't imagine all that my father told me! Further, my father said that he knew I wanted to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, and that he knew that I would never want to make a brother in Messiah stumble – and he is most definitely right! I was mortified to think of how by my dressing borderline immodest could play with young mens' minds so.

     As young ladies following our Messiah, we should strive to dress in a way that helps, not hinders, the spiritual walks of our brothers in the Lord. I cannot help but be very ashamed that, on my own, I could have easily made the decision to dress borderline immodest just because I thought that the clothes looked “so cute”, and not even have stopped to think of what effects it could have had on my brothers in Messiah, or any young men for that matter! How thankful I am that my parents have helped me see “the light”!

     Now, I do not just simply 'follow' my parent's principles of modesty – I have personal convictions of what is modest in my heart that I hold to, which line up with the convictions of my parent's. Each and every 'older' child must not simply 'tolerate' or 'follow because they have to' their parent's convictions (this applies to anything) – they must hold to those convictions (or rules if you call them such) in their heart, stand by, and defend them!

     So, to sum up what I want to say – That though each and every family that is following Messiah will have slightly different opinion of what modesty looks like, what it really boils down to are these few points:

1 ~ As young ladies following Messiah, are we willing to dress immodestly at the expense of our dear brothers in the Lord? Willing to fulfill our pleasures to dress in “cute” clothes, and let young men have a greater reason to have sinful thoughts? They get enough bombardment in that area from the world. I beseech you young ladies to live virtuously, and think carefully about this.

2 ~ Do we really want to draw attention to ourselves with makeup and more, shall I say, reveling clothes when our goal is to reflect our Messiah? Does dressing immodestly glorify Messiah at all? Not if we dress in a way that can more easily supply the means for young men to stumble.

3 ~ God wants us to be pure vessels for Him, to be “peculiar people”. Are we presenting ourselves as pure, peculiar young ladies for Him if we dress as the worldly young ladies do? I would venture to say no. Even further I would venture to say that by dressing borderline immodest, we are partially destroying our testimony that we live for the Lord – because the way we dress speaks volumes. It goes back to the old saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”

     In conclusion, I must add this – I do not share this to make others feel bad or to put myself on a pedestal, no, I share this because I have struggled, and know that others struggle in this area as well. I know that the Lord wants us to glorify Him, and I do not see how we can if we dress in a way that helps young men stumble more easily.

     Thank you for reading today! I hope I have encouraged you in some way! My our Father bless you as you seek to glorify Him in all you do!


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     Thanks for bearing with me through this rather long post!



Query of the Day:
     Have you ever struggled in the area of modesty? Ever fought within yourself to determine what really was modest?
     I would love to hear from you!



*** IMPORTANT EDITS***

After writing this article, my modesty journey has deepened (praise HaShem!) and the Lord led me to ride myself of all pants.
He has led me to dress even more modestly than even I could have imagined at the time I wrote this article originally! Praise His wonderful Name!

See my Q&A section for my reasons.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hebrews 3:17 ~ Obedience & Submission



  "Obey you leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your lives, as people who will have to render an account. So make it a task of joy for them, not one of groaning; for that is of no advantage to you."


   This verse is real thought provoking, it causes me to think about all the times I have given my leaders (parents) a cause for groaning when I could have given them joy. (To my shame, of course!)
    It is rather ironic that I have planned for weeks to do a post on this verse. Just a few days ago a group of ladies & girls met together to discuss obedience, and as we talked this verse came to my mind.


    "Obey and Submit" to simple words with simple definitions that aren't as easy to follow as they might seem. Our flesh always wants things "our way", and isn't ready and willing to obey or submit.  Submission and obedience are not qualities of the weak ~ but rather of the strong.
    Our God calls us to submit & obey Him, our parents, and our leaders. When we submit and obey, blessings follow, pure and simple. When we disobey and are rebellious, curses and punishments follow.
    We have a choice to make; Do we want blessings & joy or curses & punishment? We truly reap what we sow, and this choice is a crucial one that we all must make when faced with temptations to disobey & rebel.


    One important thing to note is that obedience is not obedience if you obey with a wrong spirit; a wrong attitude. You aren't obeying if you sit on the outside yet stand inwardly. Attitude is almost everything!
    Mom tells me to sweep the floor. I have two choices:
1 - I can say to my mom, "Yes, Ma'am." in a downcast voice and think unhappily, 'Why do I have to sweep this old floor again?'
OR
2 - I can say, "Yes, Ma'am." with cheerfulness and think, 'Wow, this floor is really dirty. I wouldn't want the Lord to come into this house and see this mess; much less walk on it! I am going to clean it as unto the Lord!'


    The Word of God says to do everything as unto the Lord. Everything means Everything! Wow! Now that is very convicting. If we would but remember this simple command and do it faithfully, how many times would it spare us from having bad attitudes and sinning? We can't sin as unto the Lord, now can we? No, of course not! That would be totally contradictory!
    If we do not obey & submit cheerfully from the heart, we might as well disobey & rebel. True, it is not always easy to do so, but we must strive to reach the goal - if we do not strive to submit & obey (especially our Lord), are we really saved?


    So, you tell me, would you prefer to have the blessings that come from obedience OR are you fine with receiving the curses that follow disobedience? I will definitely take the blessings if you don't mind - you can have the curses if you so desire.




    Important Note: Please do not think I am abdicating submission and obedience under all circumstances. Sometimes we are called not to submit or obey ~ and that is when those in authority over us bid us to do something against what our holy God says. I pray such a circumstance will never befall any one of us!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We Must Watch Our Mouths!



"Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble." - Prov. 21:23


    Wow, now this verse contains a lot of truth! How many times do we get ourselves into trouble because of what we say?


    Another verse that goes along quite well with this one is Proverbs 10:19, "When words are many, sin is not lacking; so he who controls his speech is wise."
     I know that many times I've engaged in idle gossip, and regretted it later because I thought, "How would I feel if I had been the person I was talking negatively of?"
   
    It may sound weird, but I love to read verses in God's Word about 'watching your mouth', because they really make me think! 


     I know that I've said things too hastily that have hurt others' feelings - only to regret what I had said a moment later.
    As followers of Christ, we shouldn't want to cause harm by our words.
     A insightful chapter in the Bible on the subject is James 3. It talks about how such a little member as our tongues can set a forest ablaze! It speaks of how out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing - and that it isn't right that it is this way!


    Clearly, our Lord wants us to control our tongues & watch our mouths. "Set a guard, Adonai, over my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips." ~ Psalm 141:3


    I hope this will be our prayer each and every day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Believing" ~ A Video Teaching

   
    Here is a 20 minute video teaching by 119 Ministries called, "Believing".
    I really appreciate 119 Ministries and hope you will find time to watch this!
    Enjoy!


Believing


Query of the Day:
     If you watched the video above ~ Did you like it?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Oh, My Patience!

Well, the title says it all! I am not a very patient person. 

    I pray each and every night for the Lord to grow my patience. I remember the verse that says, 'Be ye anxious for nothing' - and I feel convicted. It seems that I am nearly always anxious & impatient about something (they seem to go hand-in-hand). So needless to say, patience is not yet one of my strong points.
     I know that by praying for patience that I do not just get it automatically - rather - by praying for patience, I am actually praying for daily trials that will grow my patience! That is how it is when we pray for any quality to grow within us.
     Here is a poem that I wrote on the subject ~

I Want to be Patient
Oh how I do hate my impatience so,
through it I easily let my temper go.
Woe to me if I can never quite conquer,
this weakness where I must grow stronger.

I do wish to be patient - ever so much;
my impatience can be lit by just a touch.
I pray to Adonai for patience each night,
one day, I know I will have it - not, I might!

     So, I am striving daily to overcome my impatience & replace it with Adonai's (the Lord's) patience. Our Lord is SO patient with us! If He were not patient - there would be no hope for me!

EDIT: Thanks be to HaShem through His abundant faithfulness to me - He has grown my patience through various testings, and I am ever grateful! I do not feel as though I'll be "lit by just a touch" anymore! Hallelujah!
     
     Now, to take to focus of this post off of ME & my patience (or lack thereof) ~ Patience is such a needed virtue, especially for young ladies who will most likely be wives and mothers one day. Trust me, as the eldest child, I know that children can try your patience! Not that that's a bad thing, because we grow in patience when it is tried.
     Many times I (going back to me again?) have to stop and remember that my young siblings are at lower maturity levels and thus are not going to do things like a young adult should - because, obviously, they are not young adults yet!
     So, I have to be patient with them, realizing that they are still quite young and need a sister that will be understanding, loving, gentle, selfless, and kind - not impatient. 
     But it isn't just with our siblings that we must be patient with - no - we must also be patient with different circumstances come our way. For example - right now, I am really trying to patiently wait for an answer to my prayers about a certain thing I wish to do. I have been waiting for a couple of months now & want to know whether or not God wants me to do this thing or not, but there is still no answer. Obviously, my Lord is trying to help me grow my patience; Toda rabba, Adoni! (Thank you very much, my Lord!).
     
     Patience is so key, and yet it is something that here in America, we are very short on. We have e-mail because letter writing can take a long time, tires our fingers, and can get tedious. We have Instant Messaging and Skype because e-mailing can take a while - especially if a person only checks their e-mail(s) rarely. We have microwaves (ech, they're a 'no no') & fast-food restaurants because when we want hot food we want it NOW.
     We have SO many things that were invented to save time - or in other words - to save us from having to use too much patience. Ironic, no? People trying to cut their times of waiting so that they don't have to be patient - when our God wants us to learn patience!
   
     I believe I will do other posts on the topic of patience later, but for now I think I have said enough ; -)


Query of the Day:
     Are you a fairly patient person or a fire hazard (easily impatient ; - )?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Determining What is Truly Modest


Well, here is my first article!

    I wrote this about a month ago & have been anxious to post it! I am sure all those who follow Christ wish to please him in every area of their lives - and the area of modesty is no exception.
     Though I could have written more in-depth about this important subject, I believe that most of us young lady followers of Messiah are well aware of what modesty is and how to be modest.
     Enjoy!


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        “Oh, you can't wear that, honey: it's immodest.” I'm sure that those of us who have Believers in the Messiah as our parents have all heard that from one or both of our parents. And how many of us thought in our minds, “ What's immodest about it? ”, but didn't utter a word? I have, and I presume many of you have as well.
       So, what is modest? How do we, as Believers in Messiah, define that peculiar word?

       Today, I would like to speak on the topic of what it means for something to be modest – what makes something modest or immodest.

       Here are some dictionary meanings of modest (taken from dictionary.com):
1 – having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.
2 – free from ostentation or showy extravagance a modest house.
3 - having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent: a modest neckline on a dress.

       As you can see, the word modest applies to many areas in our lives – dress, speech, & behavior. I would like to go into some detail and explain the conclusions I've reached concerning this matter. Now, I do not profess to fully know the exact meaning of what it is to be modest in behavior, speech, and dress – no – I am learning just as we all are. So all that I write is purely from what I have learned – mainly from the past year.

Modest Speech:

       It is a rare thing for someone to advise us to 'speak modestly' – but – I believe that we all have a pretty good idea as to what that means, thus, my explanation is quite short.
       To speak modestly means to speak humbly, respectfully, and decently - not boasting or showing no regard for others by talking in obnoxiously loud voices. I tend to lean most toward the understanding that speaking modestly would equal (in many ways) speaking humbly. If we have a modest opinion of ourselves (in other words a humble opinion) we will speak modestly of ourselves – never boasting of our qualities.
(How was this for short? ;)

Modest Behavior:

       In a group of girls, lets say that one is boisterous, and very extravagantly expressive in her movements. Is she not attracting attention to herself ? I would say she is! Now, in case you are thinking, “Well, many people are expressive with their motions and movements when they speak – its just who they are.” While I do agree wholeheartedly with that statement (at times even I use expressive hand motions when I speak) I must emphasize that those who are expressive with their movements while speaking do not have to do so with over expressiveness.
       There are other more serious ways to behave immodestly, but I do not wish to explain all the improper, immodest, immoral ways that I am referring to – I assume you already know them. I will say this though; girls who flirt and behave all silly around young men are not behaving modestly – at all! Flirting, whether in actions or words, is wrong, shameful, and dangerous! It is not something in which the daughters, or sons for that matter, of Adonai (the Lord) should take part.

Modest Dress:

       Now this one's a bit more complicated, and deserves a more in-depth description.. First, at a more simple level of defining what is modest to wear - ask yourself, “Would I wear this in the presence of my Lord and Savior, the Messiah? Or would I be ashamed to have my Lord and Savior see me in this?” Wow, if that doesn't make a Follower of Messiah stop cold turkey and think a moment – what will?
       Secondly, when Adoneinu (our Lord) gave the command to dress modestly – what kind of clothes were the people wearing? Well, in our modern society, we would deem them as robes – long robe like clothes most likely secured in the middle with belts, they were very long – perhaps close to touching the ground!
       Thirdly, when Adam and Chava (Eve) sinned, they sewed fig leaves together for make-shift coverings. But El Shaddai (God Almighty) clothed them with animal skins – for much more coverage than fig leaves! So, what man considers modest and what our holy God considers modest are two completely different things! We must strive to think as our God does about what is and is not modest.
       
       Adonai (the Lord) has led our family to hold to certain 'Modesty Principles' that we live by. Allow me to share them with you.
1 – Shirts must never be tight or more that 3 finger-widths below the collarbone.
2 – Skirts and dresses must never come above the knee.
3 – Shirts must have sleeves – no sleeveless, halter or tube tops, or cap sleeves.
4 - Jeans & Capri's must NEVER be tight
EDIT: We, the girls in our family, do not wear pants anymore, and I have not worn them for some time.
       Think again about what was worn in Bible times – specifically Old Testament times. Compared that to my family's list. If our list seemed daunting to you before – does it now? Actually, our list seems almost bottom line compared to what was worn back then.
       My point is that the Lord of heaven and earth wants us covered. He doesn't want other people to be able to see every curve we have. Adam and Chava (Eve) thought they had taken care of their nakedness – but clearly our Elohim (God) didn't.
I challenge you to compare your ideas of what is and isn't modest to what our holy God says about it.


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        Thank you so much for reading what I have had to share today! May Avinu (our Father) bless you as you seek to follow him wholeheartedly.


Query of the Day:
    What are the 'Modesty Principles that the Lord has led you to keep?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Welcome to my blog!




     I thought that a great way to open my blog would be with a poem I wrote. I almost mirrors my exact feelings as to the goal of my blog!


Come With Me
Come with me, dearest friend,
come along with me and see;
where I am bound has no end,
there all is as meant to be.

Come with me, I'll share my heart,
with you and those who care;
though now we see only in part,
very soon we shall be there.

Come with me, learn from trials,
for through them all must go;
but with perseverance all the while,
knowing none are any great woe.

Come with me, through wind and rain,
I'll show you how we ought to live,
it will decrease your life's pain,
for ADONAI will to you life give.

Come with me, through joy and sorrow,
for all things work unto our good;
sorrow will not last every tomorrow,
for joy will take it's place as it should.

Come with me, for I am striving,
to live my whole life for ADONAI;
though I stumble, there will be a reviving,
for I will repent and penitently cry.

Come with me, my friend,
yes, do come along with me;
together we will serve to the end,
our Master, our Maker - Lord is He.

     I hope you liked my little poem! It is the third one I wrote. So please, 'Come Along With Me' as I share life lessons, character trait explanations, wonderful verses from the Bible, teachings I've watched, and much much more with you on this blog!





Query(s) of the Day:
     Do you write, or have you written, poems and/or prose? If you do, do you enjoy it? And what did you think of my poem?