Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Recently I read an article addressing choice of dress among Christian women. It was written by a man, so I was particularly interested to hear how he would approach a topic of such delicacy from a male perspective. What I read was a sensitive, well-presented plea for Christian women to consider the weaknesses of their spiritual brothers when choosing their clothes. Though many discussions of dress focus on “how short is too short” or “how low is too low”, this one avoided these legalistic pitfalls and took aim for the heart: what is your motive for choosing the clothes you choose?
The plea to bear with our Christian brothers by covering ourselves is an important one for us to hear. Dressing modestly is one of the simplest ways a believer can distinguish herself from the world around her and keep herself free from sin. But any female over the age of eleven can tell you that modesty is not the biggest hurdle to overcome in aligning our fashion with our faith.
The way we dress is a reflection of the extent to which we have embraced the Great Command to love others as we love ourselves. This is a preferential love: a love that places the needs of others above the needs of self at every possible opportunity. What is the perceived need a woman seeks to meet when she chooses her outfit each day? A woman who chooses immodest clothing is clearly craving the attention of men. Or is she?
Consider the following incident related to me by my thirteen-year-old son: With summer approaching, the band at his middle school planned a party at a local water park. Several moms went along as chaperones. One of the mothers, a woman presumably in her forty’s, chose to spend the day in a very small bikini that showcased her enhanced assets. As she snoozed in the sun, she became the topic of lively and inappropriate discussion among her son’s classmates.
Wait a minute – didn’t I say modesty wasn’t the biggest struggle for women in choosing their dress? How can Malibu Mommy possibly support my claim? I have to ask myself: Did this woman wake up the morning of the trip and ask “What can I wear today to excite lust among my son’s peer group?” No, the question she more likely asked was “What can I wear today to impress my own peer group?” – a group in this case, composed not of both genders but of one: other women.
While dressing for the attention of men is problematic, dressing for the attention of other women is epidemic. The question “How do I look?” implies the answering inquiry “Relative to whom?” The prideful among us may choose clothing to stand out, while the insecure among us may choose clothing to blend in. Pride and insecurity, the two-headed hydra of self-absorption.
Bikini Mom wanted to be the hottest 40-something woman at the pool. She probably doesn’t love Jesus, so I am going to have to let her off the hook. But what about me? How do I compete with other women by the way I dress? Do I dress to be the trendiest? The wealthiest? The thinnest? The fittest? The quirkiest? What about the purest? In certain circles, even modest dress can be a venue for self-promotion. There is nothing inherently righteous about a denim jumper or culottes. Nor is there anything inherently sinful about platform peep-toe stilettos. The problem, then, is not any particular outfit, but my craving for the superlative, the “-est” of any wardrobe choice – a craving rooted in the desire to elevate myself above others.
Godly women do not seek to elevate themselves above others – not by immodest dress, and not by competitive dress. They seek to provoke neither the lust of men nor the envy of women. They love preferentially by keeping the focus off of themselves. Clothed inwardly with the righteousness of Christ, their outward clothing becomes a matter for sober consideration: How can I best worship God through my wardrobe choices? May we, as daughters of the Living God, be measured not by our hemlines but by our humility.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
And a vintage leaded glass sun-catcher casting rainbows across our living room.
I found the above self portrait & asked my 3 year old impressionist what she had created. "That's me, momma!" Belle beamed. She proceeded to show me each feature formed from random objects collected around the house. When I say I live with a hurricane named Isabelle, this is what I mean. She collects and gathers and spreads and compiles. I can't keep up with her! But I love it!
My girl has an imagination like I have never seen. Aron says he can remember playing with the creative spunk which encompasses her world. I know I didn't. As in the artwork, I find scene upon scene of princesses and ponies, dwarves and Dora's in the most random places. My favorite is when they lie "asleep" in a dark room covered by shreds of toilet paper for blankets and leaves (torn from my plants) for pillows. She is a hoot to live with!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Belle & I painted the beautiful butterfly perched in her window.
Can you guessed who helped her paint the T-Rex? Notice the blood stained jaws & claws as well as the 'battle-damage', as Aron explained it to Belle, on the right hip.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Along with a few projects we've been working on.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Thanks to Dad & Mom as well as Steve & BeckyJo for watching the kiddos so we could have a special Valentine date.
Bubbling with excitement Belle gushed, "HAPPY VALENTINES DAY, Daddy! Grandma, It's VALENTINES DAY! Happy Valentines Day to You, Chloe!" She proceeded to wish each and every one of us a Happy Valentines Day.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Aron ripped the sleeves off of a long john shirt (yes, his arms are just that large), and the kids made sock hats out of them. Oh the small things that bring so much joy!
Lord, I do not deserve to be surrounded by such Goodness.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I've always felt like my is directly tied to my calling and what I'm actually DOING for him. I believe this is true, but when I fail to put in the time of Bible reading and prayer to check where my will and motives are, I find myself trying to accomplish my calling apart from God's Spirit, which is TERRIBLE. In fact, it's downright UNFRUITFUL. All my work is frivolous apart from his Spirit, which works within us. Scripture says, "keep in step with the spirit," and to be "filled with the Spirit" (greek word for 'filled' means the act of constantly being filled, like a sail on a sailboat that has to be constantly be filled in order to move and steer the boat!). When we don't spend the quiet time in Bible reading or take the time to pray constantly, in everything, asking God's direction, we're bound to end up going through the motions of "doing his work" apart from his Spirit, kind of like a musician trying to play a song they don't know yet apart from the Conductor.
Being a musician, I like the analogy of keeping your "instrument" IN TUNE to the song that God is singing over the earth. Scripture says God's VOICE spoke all things into creation, and that he "sings over us". His Spirit is singing a song right now over the earth-- a song that leads, comforts, heals, reconciles, renews, refreshes, exhilarates, etc. When our instrument is in tune to God's song, we RESONATE with what he is doing, and his Kingdom begins to come in our lives as our instruments amplify his song. Our spheres of influence are drenched with the rich melodies of his love and grace.. And when we're not in tune, well, as Paul says, we're just a "resounding gong or a claning symbol"!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Aron left Judah in the swing alone on Friday, and when he stepped back into the room, he was amused to find Belle had put Isaiah (or Ida if her baby is a girl any given day) next to brother to keep him company.