He Fights For Me

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It’s a simultaneously terrifying and freeing idea …

This idea that I am not in control.

God is.

Perhaps it is a terrifying thought because we are human. We are rebels by nature. Rebelling against God’s good and perfect design, and then trying to control the broken pieces of life that we’re left with.

We have an issue with trust, and cannot bear the idea of not having a firm grasp on our lives. Controlling what happens and what doesn’t happen. Making sure we’re safe, succeed in life, and yes, making sure that God’s wonderful plan and will for us comes to pass.

But I am not lord of my life. And I should quit pretending to be. My Lord should be my Master and King. Why do I call Him Lord if I have not surrendered every area of my life to Him?

Perhaps it is a freeing thought because, when I come to the end of myself and realize how entirely not in control I am, I understand to the depths of my soul my desperate need for a Savior. A King. A Lord. A Father. A Warrior. An Author.

Write my life story, Lord, because I am broken and will only continue to break if I try to do things my way.

I am undone. Be my Redeemer. Redeem me from the mess I’ve made of my life. Be my Father, hold my hurting heart.

I am afraid. Be my Warrior – deliver me from the lies of Satan that seek to destroy me and drive me to despair.

I am not in control.

*deep breath*

He is. And He fights for me.

Oh, my friends, we have a Hope in heaven on high. We are not alone. You are not alone. Your God and King is fighting for you.

I think sometimes we need to just be still and let Him fight for us. The thought struck me as I was doing my devotionals and came across these verses:

13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. (Exodus 14:19-20)

Basically, do not fear! Wait on the Lord, and see what He will accomplish for you! Maybe we forget Who it is that we claim to follow. He is the Most High God! He is the Creator of heaven and earth! He is the Beginning and the End! He is mighty, He is able, and He is faithful.

31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

You alone are the Lord;
You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all. (Nehemiah 9:6)

I think it’s awesome how the Angel of God moved and stood behind the Israelites. It came between them and their enemies. He had their back. God is our Heavenly Warrior – sovereign and in control. He can be trusted.

He can be trusted in the big things, and in the small things. He is in control of every detail of our lives. He knows every desire and hope and dream of our hearts. And contrary to what we might believe, I do not think we have to struggle and strive and grasp for control to make sure God’s will comes to pass in our lives.

Who do we think we are?

He is the Potter, we are the clay.

He is the Creator, we are the created.

He is the Savior, we are the sinners.

He is the Master, we are the servants.

He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep.

He is the Father, we are the children.

He is the Leader, we are the followers.

We are Christians – Christ followers.

I believer that if we are seeking the Lord each day, desiring His will, and striving to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength … that we can simply rest in Him. We can trust Him to provide everything we need in order to do His will. We can wait on Him to show us each new step in the way He would lead us.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye. (Psalm 32:8)

There is no need to fret and worry and drown in anxiety. He’s got this, my dear friends. Yes, we’re human. We make mistakes. We mess up. We fall into sin. But He is gracious and able to lift us out of the dark pit and place us back on the right path. Even when we wander … Even when we are at a complete loss of what to do …

Trust in the Lord and don’t trust in your own understanding. Seek Him earnestly. Wait on Him. Be still, knowing He is God. Pray, believing. He will guide you. Direct your paths. Open doors, or close doors.

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28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:6)

I love this passage, which shows how utterly dependent we can be on God. We don’t have worry for a single thing. Just surrender and follow Him. Pick up your desires, talents, dreams, goals, gifts, callings, feelings, wonderings, ideas, etc. and set off on His good path, following in His holy footsteps.

22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:22-32)

What a gloriously beautiful Truth. I am not in control. And I can stop trying to be in control. I can rest in my Father’s all-sufficient care.

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

He will bring whatever plan He has for my life to pass.

He will bring His will about in my life and the lives of my family and friends.

He will provide for my needs – both big and small.

He will fight for me, when the battles seem impossible to win.

And I must choose to rest in Him. To wait on Him. To trust in Him. To bring before Him every care and concern. To pray without ceasing. To use His Word as my comfort and as a sword with which to stop the Enemy’s lies. To step out boldly in faith when I feel Him moving me to action. To find my hope always in Him.

Like a little child, I can reach out to Him when I am afraid. I can surrender control and let my Father tenderly lead me. I am His daughter, and that is a beautiful truth.

He is with us. He is with you. Today, trust your heart to the One who is ever and always in control.

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)

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Days of Blessings

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Hello, sweet friends. 🙂 How is life going for you? I am doing well, myself. Christmas season has officially begun! I’m excited for the coziness and loveliness of this next month.

A couple things I determined I would do this month of December … One: be intentional about counting my blessings. Two: organize my quiet time again. Want to join me? 😉

Everyday, I make a point of posting about something I count as a blessing on Facebook. I decided to read through the gospel of Luke this month – it’s been beautiful so far. I’m journaling my prayers daily again. My prayer walks started to dwindle as cold weather crept in, so I decided I should start journaling in order to keep growing in my prayer life. Either praying out loud or writing down my prayers has deepened my time with the Lord, and grown me as a prayer warrior, I believe. 🙂

I’m also going through the devotional book, Completely Loved: Recognizing God’s Passionate Pursuit of Us by Shannon Ethridge, which has daily Scripture reading. It isn’t my favorite devotional, thus far, but it has had some beautiful points.

Furthermore, I’m doing a 54-day devotional on the Bible App (YouVersion, or whatever) called Good Morning Girls – Intentionally Focused. The daily reading is super short, with, like, a couple verses to read. But it helps me gain my focus for the day and starts off my quiet time nicely.

So, December is off to a good start. I’m looking forward to finishing the diet I’m on, Christmas songs, increasingly delighting in my quiet time, birthdays, Christmas, family time, hanging out with new friends … whatever else the Lord has in store.

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My dear sisters in Christ, I know life can be hard. Keeping up a consistent time spent with Jesus can be a struggle. Anxieties and fears can creep in. Discourage us. Cripple us. Lie to us. But the truth is, our God is faithful. And He loves you. And you don’t have to walk alone. Seek godly friends who will challenge and encourage you in the faith. Who will help you press on toward the prize. Who will remind you how much your Heavenly Father loves you. Ask God for friends who delight in Him.

(If you have the YouVersion Bible App, and would like to connect with me on that, please do! Tell me your username in the comments below, and I will try to find you. My username is Shantelle Mary and this blog is linked to my profile.)

You’re not alone. ❤

Seek the Lord, because He is so worthy. Find your joy and rest in Him this Christmas season.

“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted His people.” Isaiah 49:13

“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8

“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand.” Psalm 139:17

“‘I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the LORD, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11

I am a Woman

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I am a woman

Created in the image of God

as it says in Genesis 1:27 … 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Formed to be a helpmeet

as it says in Genesis 2:18 … 18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

“But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

I am a woman

Made to nurture

to support

to help

to bring life.

Prepared to do good works

as it says in Ephesians 2:10 … 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

I am a woman

purposefully formed in my mother’s womb by God Himself

as it says in Psalm 139 … 13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.”

When God created men and women, He called them good

as it says in Genesis 1:31 … 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

Even though both man and woman gave into sin and evil clouded goodness

I am a woman

and I know that my design is good. God designed woman in the beginning, when perfection reigned. And He designed me as a woman now. Even though I cannot hope for perfection on this earth, I can champion behind God’s good design.

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I am a woman

I am not sinless or pure

But I am an image-bearer of the immortal King of Kings

As is every human being, and does that not call for us to respect each other as we struggle to find our way back to the One we were created in the image of?

We could not find our way on our own – the Heavenly Father pursues us

as it says in Romans 5:8 … But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

and in 1 John 4:19 …19 We love Him because He first loved us.”

I am a woman

forgiven and made clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

And as I look out into the world, filled with people who do not know God, yet were created in His image, I want them to know of the Love that brought me back to my Creator.

If we, as Christ-following women and men, do not treat each other with love and respect and dignity, how will the lost know we serve a loving Creator?

As it says in John 13:35 … 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” “

I am a woman

Not more important than men. No.

But not “less” than men.

We are all the same – all equal – in Christ

as it says in Galatians 3:28 … 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

But I am specifically a woman

Not more or less than men

but beautifully different

Given a different role and purpose for a reason

to complement each other,

not be in competition.

Sometimes to come together in marriage

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And with our unique identities combined

create the perfect “home” for children

to raise them in the knowledge and love of the Lord.

To reflect the nature of the Most High God in the way He created us as male and female

To radiantly glorify Him with our different but equally important and honorable roles.

I am a woman

And as such, I believe in

Femininity

Beautiful and loving and God-honoring marriages

Radiant Motherhood

Supporting and respecting men (in particular, one’s husband)

Keeping a joyful home

In short, I believe in my right to be a real woman! A woman as God created … feminine, gentle, strong, nurturing, supporting, companionable, life-giving …

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I believe there is much beauty and fulfillment and honor in standing by your man, making a home, and raising children for the Lord.

Proverbs 31:25-27 25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,”

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I am a woman

I have not given up on men. I believe they can and will and do step up to their godly calling. I still believe in:

Chivalry

Masculinity

Leaders

Protectors

Providers

Gentlemen

I am not less than men. But I am a woman, designed by God to be treated with care by men.

As it says in 1 Peter 3:7 … Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life,”

If I am the weaker vessel, I believe God decreed that I should be treated (especially by men) with:

Gentleness

Kindness

Understanding

Honor

Respect

I am a woman

And yes, I truly am honored and enjoy (and even crave this) when men, in sincerity of heart:

open doors for me

offer a hand to steady me

protectively guide me through a crowd

value my thoughts and opinions

offer to help with something I may be having a hard time managing on my own

offer to walk me home, a coat, hat, etc. when I’m cold, a presence if I’m uncomfortable or being harassed

strive to guard my heart and my purity

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In short, I (and many other women) truly appreciate when men are gentlemanly, appropriately protective, looking out for us, kind, gentle, leaders, honorable, respectful, etc.

We appreciate and champion real men who are

masculine, protective, and courageous leaders

but also humble, gentle, selfless, and tender providers.

I am a woman

And I believe that if God wills for me to get married, I should wait for a godly man to pursue me.

Pursue me:

cautiously

intentionally

wisely

respectfully

patiently

honorably

chivalrously

gently

kindly

selflessly

Because if I, by God’s command, am to submit to, respect, and support my husband, and he is to be head over me (responsible for me) and love me as Christ loves the Church …

I should wait for a man of God

and he should prove to me he knows and is prepared to be a husband as God designed.

And I believe romantic relationships should play out in an honorable way – the man leading, but both individuals treating each other with respect and wisely, with the knowledge that they might not belong to each other in the end.

Proverbs 18:22 22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.”

1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”

Colossians 3:19 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”

Ephesians 5:22-33 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. “

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Song of Solomon 5:16 This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem!”

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I am woman …

striving to be a woman of God. Obey the Word. Live out God’s good design.

Proverbs 11:19 16 A gracious woman retains honor,”

Titus 2:3-5 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,”

1 Peter 3:4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

Proverbs 19:14 14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 31:10-12 10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:30-31 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.”

I am a woman

And I want to be unashamedly a woman.

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Living out my femininity in a Biblical way. And thus encouraging men to live out their masculinity as God designed and blessed.

God had a good plan in forming both male and female, and giving us different roles. As children of God we should be seeking Him, searching for wisdom, gaining understanding about His design for womanhood, manhood, singleness, marriage, family, life … and passionately living it out.

Lady Grace ❤

 

Books and Videos on Purity, Relationships, & God’s Design

Hello, friends! How is the fall season going for you? Excited about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? 🙂

Today I want to share some Christian books, video talks, and sermon series on purity, relationships, marriage, God’s design and such that I’m so thankful to have come across. Some of these I read/watched in the past and remember really liking, and others I discovered more recently. I hope you can find some helpful, challenging, freeing, and encouraging truths among these.

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

 

VIDEOS

 

Christians and Dating // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

Christian Singles: How Far is Too Far // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

Reclaiming God’s Design for Love, Marriage, & Sex // Girl Defined

The Number One Thing Single Girls Should Look for in a Future Husband (but rarely do) // Girl Defined

6 Strategies to Help You Fight for Purity  // Girl Defined

3 Ways Christian Girls can Promote Godly Manhood // Girl Defined

6 Guys You Shouldn’t Date, Court, or Marry // Girl Defined

Praying For Your Future Husband // Girl Defined

Answering Your Guy Questions: Dating, Bad Relationships, & Guy Friends // Girl Defined

A Beautiful Design // #AskTVC Week 10 by The Village Church

 

BOOKS

 

Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity by Kristin Clark & Bethany Baird

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Answering the Guy Questions: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Relating to the Opposite Sex by Leslie Ludy

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Praying for your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His by Robin Jones Gunn & Tricia Goyer

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Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

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When God Writes Your Love Story: The Ultimate Approach to Guy/Girl Relationships by Eric and Leslie Ludy

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When Dreams Come True: A Love Story Only God Could Write by Eric and Leslie Ludy

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Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts: Seven Questions to ask Before and After You Marry by Dr. Les Parrott III and Dr. Leslie Parrott

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And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity by Dannah Gresh

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Sex and the Single Girl by Juli Slattery

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VIDEO SERIES

From the Beginning: Relationships that Give Life // J.D. Greear

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Marriage for Dummies: Mutual Love & Respect // New Work Fellowship

 

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Connect. Breathe. Shine.

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Hello, my dear friends. I know it has been forever since I last posted, and perhaps I’ve lost all my followers … but I want to try and keep up with blogging here.

Currently I’m trying to figure out life. Dealing with some health issues, struggling to get back into writing, looking for a church to get involved with/a group of Christian people my own age to “do life” with …

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Trying to help out more at home – keeping house and helping with homeschooling the kids. I do some odd jobs outside the home so I can keep up with car insurance payments and doctor bills, but don’t have an official job. I’m looking into volunteering in my town … I long for a purpose and a mission. For people to pour into. To mentor. To love on with God’s deep and overflowing love.

But sometimes I don’t feel qualified, equipped, wise, steady enough to minister to other people. Sometimes I feel so fragile and weak and anxious and unsure.

So. I think it is time for me to get well.

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To deal with health issues – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. And if I can’t keep up with the world and its expectations while I’m on my journey to healing, that’s okay. After all, I was never made to please man.

I think this is the season for me to just simply sit at Jesus’ feet as much as I can. Go on long walks and pour out my heart to Him (I haven’t been going on my prayer walks as much – especially now that it’s gotten colder – and, oh, how I miss those sweet, reassuring times), linger in His Word, read Christian Living books, do devotionals, listen to sermons and Christian inspirational videos …

I believe this is the season where I make more of an effort to find a church family to be a part of. I go to church every Sunday, but I haven’t found that fellowship yet. I keep thinking: Surely this isn’t how God meant it to be for me Isolated. Alone. No close friends (who are living nearby, in any case). No mentors. Struggling to walk this sometimes very difficult journey through life.

I love my family so much, and they can be a great source of comfort and help to me.

But I was meant to live in community.

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Not just me and my house and my family, every day, all day.

I keep thinking: I was meant to connect with people, right? To have deep relationships. To mentor and be mentored. To encourage and be encouraged. To love and be loved. To have people I can be real and honest with. People I can laugh with. Do Bible studies with.

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And I keep coming across books and sermons and people (such as my doctor) who say to me: You were created for community. You were not meant to do life alone. It’s important that you connect deeply with people, and connect with people your own age who are in the same season of life as you.

So I want to find friends. Other singles … and married couples, families, grandparents, children … who love and are seeking to follow Christ with all their heart.

And while I’m healing and finding community, I would like to be sharing my heart with anyone who happens to read this blog. Hopefully be ministering to you in some way – even with how broken and imperfect I am. And maybe volunteering at a soup kitchen or something. Giving to those who don’t have the material blessings I have – shelter, food, etc.

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Even as I’m trying to embrace this season of healing and possibly new beginnings, I’m seeing God at work. If I stop. Still my anxious heart. And those constant pressuring thoughts. And those dark whispers from the Deceiver … I can see that God has His hand over me. Is answering my prayers, subtly, perhaps, but surely. Is clearing out a path for me to walk on.

I worried and wondered and stressed about finding a job. I worried and wondered and stressed about finding church fellowship and friends. I worried and wondered and stressed about so many things. Then I stopped. And started to pray. Deep breath …

Lord, You are in control. You see me. You see my life. You see my fears. You see my needs. You see the needs of my friends and my family. You see when the sparrow falls and You clothe the lilies of the field. You say I should not worry about these things – You will provide. I want to let go of my anxiety, and need to be in control, and the overwhelming, terrifying pressure I feel to please people. I want to please You. I leave this all in Your hands, trusting that You will work out my life the way You see fit. You can get me a job. You will provide what I need if I start volunteering. You can bring me into a community. Why am I worried? The God of the Universe is in control of my life and is able to meet my needs and is faithful to hold my heart. I will pray about this. I will do what I can in response to Your promptings. And You will open up the way before me. Guide me.

And guess what? He has opened doors. Sometimes in little ways, that I might forget in a tidal wave of new and old anxieties until I write a blog post like this.

Friends messaged me. Acquaintances from my family’s homeschool group invited me to a church with a singles/college-age group. Pieces fell into place.

I now have a small weekly job that’s providing for some of the monetary needs I was worrying about. I attended the church I was invited to for the first time today and meet a bunch of lovely people who were very kind to me (and I plan on going back!)

I prayed. And more than once, it was a couple hours or a couple days later that someone messaged or texted or said something to me … And I was like, “Um … wow. Is this You, Lord?” I left it in His hands, and things started to happen.

Besides all that, God has been answering my prayers in other ways over the past few months. I found a great doctor. I’m getting to know the ladies in the Bible study group my mom and I go to better. Even as He’s caring for me, I’m being brought back to a place of brokenness and neediness where I know: It’s time to surrender, girl. Just put it all in His hands. Let my first and foremost desire be for Jesus. Let my heart hunger for His Word. Let my soul long to talk with Him. Let my body and heart and soul and mind – all that I am – be Yours so that I can love and serve You with abandon. Love and serve others with abandon.

So that I can feel joy. Love. Security. Freedom. Peace. Purpose. Identity. Hope.

I’m not there yet. But I’m on the journey. And my God is faithful.

Lady Grace ❤

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Book Review For Recovering Redemption

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My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

Wow. Can I give it more than five stars?? Recovering Redemption: A Gospel Saturated Perspective on How to Change had so many incredible things to share!

Matt Chandler is a pastor/Christian speaker that I’ve enjoyed listening to and I really admire his passion, realness, and humor, so when I saw this book that he co-authored with Michael Snetzer, I was interested to read it. I am truly so glad I did! It’s fairly easy to read, keeps you engaged, and had more than one chapter that stopped me in my tracks. So much to digest, mentally – I could read it again! I feel like I’ve been impacted and learned a lot from reading Recovering Redemption.

It simply takes a look at things such as sin, religion, shame, guilt, anxiety, justification, reconciliation, forgiveness, the pursuit of joy … from the perspective of the gospel and who Jesus is to us. Chandler and Snetzer are real and raw, just telling it like is. They don’t mince words. They dig into things … sort things out. They examine Scripture. They call you out. Take a look at tough issues. Tell hard but beautiful real-life stories. Destroy lies you’ve believed. It challenged me. Encouraged me. Made me think. Made me realize. Made me hope. Made me long for more. Made me cry. (Made me laugh a little, even. There was humor/lightheartedness sprinkled throughout this book, hehe). Made me relax – like, maybe I can just rest in Jesus’ arms and surrender my life, letting go of this anxiety and trying to be “good enough”.

As with all Christian Living books, I’m sure I didn’t 100% agree with absolutely everything said … or even like how everything was presented … but overall, I found Recovering Redemption to be an amazing read that provided enlightening truths and made my heart desire ever more to know my Savior – be in a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him.

I loved how Recovering Redemption: A Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to Change ended with this: Make much of His name. In everything, we are here to honor and glorify our Creator and Lord.

Highly recommend this book.

Life Updates and a Poem

Hello, my lovely readers! I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted … I’ve missed quite a few Tuesdays and Saturdays! Part of that is because my life has been so busy – helping my family remodel a house, organizing, packing, babysitting, applying for jobs, moving in, getting sick … I haven’t had a whole lot of time to just sit and think of something to write to you all. Haven’t had a lot of inspiration lately.

But I’m now getting over being sick with a sinus infection and pink eye (which started out as a cold over a week ago) and feeling much better, physically. Also feeling more settled and calm, now that my family and I are finally in our new house!

So I wrote a poem this morning! 🙂 Now, I am not very good at writing poems. I only write them occasionally, when I’m feeling deeply about something and just have to get my feelings out somehow … so I scribble them down on paper. I haven’t been writing stories lately, or even journaling, but I have slipped into a poem-writing season, I guess.

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  • I’ve been thinking about love. What is love? What does it mean to love, truly? How can we feel perfectly loved?
  • I’ve been thinking about God. Why do we struggle to trust Him at times? Why do we keep running to everything but Him? Why do we cry out so desperately to Him to give us love in all these other shapes and forms, when He’s offering us Himself?

At my Bible study, on Sunday evening, one of the other ladies said something that kind of inspired this poem. She said something along the lines of: God wants to give us the absolute best … so He gives us Himself.

So here’s my poem. It’s definitely not perfect, probably not even proper (I’m not well-studied in the art of writing poems), but bear with me and try to get the overall message, anyway, even if you can’t see the poetry of it. 😉

Come to Me

Why are you running, child?

Running from Me?

Where are you going?

What is it you seek?

 

You’re confused and afraid

Too scared to trust

You don’t know the way

But you won’t let Me lead.

Dear child, be still

Don’t you know it’s Me you need?

 

You’re searching for love

You’re chasing the high

You grasp and you covet

And then you ask, “Why?”

Why isn’t my heart happy now?

Why hasn’t this person satisfied me?

Why do I need more—what haven’t I found?

Where can happiness possibly be?

 

Child, you ask, “Why me?

Why am I alone and unloved?”

But I say, “Come to Me

Let Me fill you up.”

Your heart was made for My love

Let me give you Myself

Your soul was made for heaven above

Child, only in Me can you know true love.

 

Heaven is your home,

Not somewhere unknown.

Eternity is My promise to you, dear

Not something to fear.

So when the Enemy whispers lies

Dark—in your ear

Come to Me, precious child

Let My Word drown out your fear.

 

Come to Me

Come deeper still

Rest in my love freely

Let Me show you My will

My yoke is easy, My burden is light

I do not oppress you

Don’t take to flight

That’s the Enemy’s tactic

To harass and to shame you

My love is gentle—believe it

It’s that of a Father, unconditional and true

 

Come to Me, Child

I want you to know Me

Come and find

My love, divine

Everything else

Will leave you empty

Let Me tell you this, Child

Tell you gently

Seeking Me and My love

Is the only way

Let Me show you My love

Come here to stay

And then you will have

Everything.

© Shantelle Mary

 

I might share some more of my attempts at poetry in the near future – just to share a little of my heart and hope you can relate! 🙂

Have a blessed day, dear friends! ❤

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Some Favorite Songs

Hi, friends! I thought I’d do a quick post sharing some favorite Christian artists/songs that I have enjoyed lately.

So, here we go. 🙂

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Lauren Daigle

I first discovered her songs a couple years back. I’ve gone through seasons of listening to her everyday … and seasons of not hearing one of her songs for months. But I always come back to her songs, and just love them again and again.

I think I like every one of her songs, but “Trust in You” is dear to my heart.

“Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So let all things be my life and breath
I want what You want, Lord, and nothing less”

 

***

 

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Micah Tyler

Just recently, I heard one of Micah Tyler’s songs, “Never Been a Moment”, and actually cried through it because it touched me so. 🙂 So, of course, I had to look up his other songs and found a bunch more really meaningful ones! I like his voice/style.

“Even when it feels like my world is shaken

Even when I’ve had all that I can take

I know

You never let me go”

 

***

 

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Tenth Avenue North

I’ve been listening to Tenth Avenue North for years, but lately I’ve been kind of rediscovering their songs (mostly because of my younger sister’s love for them! *smiles*) They have a lot of good songs, and seem like a really great, genuine group of guys, following the Lord.

“Control” is a beautiful song by them.

“I’ve had plans
Shattered and broken
Things I have hoped in
Fall through my hands
You have plans
To redeem and restore me
You’re behind and before me
Oh help me believe”

 

***

 

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Lecrae

He has a lot of thoughtful songs. I know some people don’t like this style of music, but I like certain songs of this style by Christian artists, as long as they don’t get too much of a heavy/dark beat.

“I’ll Find You” is one I like by Lecrae.

“Just fight a little longer, my friend
It’s all worth it in the end
But, when you’ve got nobody to turn to
Just hold on, and I’ll find you”

 

***

 

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Joseph Solomon

Joseph Solomon is one of my favorite Youtubers! He just came out with his first song, and I really enjoy his style/voice.

“Make Me Believe”

“Though my heart may seem too far

You are not

You are God

Though I’m waiting in the dark

I’m not lost

You are God”

 

***

 

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Ryan Stevenson

I’ve actually on listened to a couple songs by Ryan Stevenson. But they’ve been good!

“The Gospel” is especially powerful.

“It’s the cure for our condition

It’s the good news for us all

It’s greater than religion

It’s the power of the cross

So can we get back to the altar

Back to the arms of our first love?

There’s only one way to the Father and He’s calling out to us”

 

***

 

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Jasmine Murray

I love her voice! And the message of her song, “Fearless”, really speaks to me.

“But I wasn’t given the spirit of fear
I was given the power of love”

Delight In Him

Delight in Him

16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:16-17

I think this verse paints such a poignant picture of God’s tender love. He will rejoice over you. Quiet you with His love. Rejoice over you with singing.

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Children of the one true God, He not only loves you – He delights in you. He loves you not because you’re perfect or you have it all together. Let’s be honest: none of us are perfect or have it all together … and we never will, until we reach heaven! He loves us because we’re His. He redeemed us. He justified us. He adopted us. He made us heirs with Christ. He wants us.

15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Romans 8:15-17

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

Hebrews 2:10-13

 

That is such a hard concept to grasp. But whenever I get a glimpse of it, the love I feel is incredible. Unlike anything else I’ve experienced before. No one has ever loved me perfectly on this earth – and no one ever will. But God’s love for me is perfect. And when I can feel some of the depth of His amazing love, I am awed and overwhelmed. I am safe. I am whole. I am His.

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My prayer life has deepened over the past couple months, and I think this has helped me to feel God’s love on a more consistent basis. Because I’m spending more time with Him – seeking Him from my heart. Desiring to be closer to Him. And let me tell you, friends, I wouldn’t trade those sweet moments with Jesus Christ for anything.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62:8

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

It is an awesome thing to dwell in Jesus’ presence. It’s an incredible thing when we realize how God loves us. When we know we are loved, then we can love. We can love the Lord with all our heart, strength, and mind. We can love others the way God calls us to.

We can serve God with passion and abandon. Fears fade. Insecurities dwindle. Hope blossoms. Joy takes root. Peace envelopes. We can live. Finally. Fully. Abundantly. Ah, what a precious thing!

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10

As I am finding this close relationship with Jesus Christ, I’ve come to a place where I don’t want anything to hinder that. I want everything in life to enhance my relationship with Him. I want every other relationship in my life to build on the one with Jesus – my first love. Never replace my relationship with Him. He is my one and only forever.

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1-2

Have I always felt this way? No. It’s actually only been the past couple years that I’ve been truly coming to this sort of turning point in my walk of faith. Do I still struggle? Absolutely. I have fears and doubts. I question and cry again and again. But what do I come back to? God’s love for me. His faithful and true love.

26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26

Ah, Lord, what have I done to deserve Your love?

I have messed up so many times. Gone many steps back instead of forward so many times. I’ve given into fear more times than I ever care to count. I’ve doubted Him. Questioned Him. Asked Him again and again and again, “Do you love me, Lord? Do you really see me down here?”

But He has never given up on me. In my hardest, weakest moments, I believe He has cradled me in His arms. I am so unworthy. But so loved. And sometimes my soul overflows with passion and love when this knowledge truly hits me.

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

This little video below I have watched many times. Mostly during times when I was in a very fearful and vulnerable place. And every time, when I see His hands holding the little lamb safely out of reach from the wolves, sobs bubble up in my throat. And when I see the guy running passionately toward Jesus Christ – straight into God’s loving arms – the tears overflow. My heart cries, every time, “I want that!”

Oh, I wanted to feel that love. That safety in Jesus’ arms. That knowledge that no matter what, I can trust that He has me. That love and passion for the Father God who gave His all for me. I wanted His love to fill me up and burst out in passion for Him!

“Hallelujah, all I have is Christ! Hallelujah, Jesus is my life!”

Praise the Lord, He has been bringing me to that place. Showing me His love. Sanctifying me. Growing me closer to Him. And I have never felt more loved.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Psalm 103:11-13

Friends, we don’t always feel that love. We don’t always feel spiritual. We aren’t always able to banish the fear and questions.

But God is faithful and true through it all. Run to Him! Cling to Him. Spend time with Him. Read His words and pour out your heart to Him. Let Him change you and grow you and put His love deep in your heart. Only then will you know Him.

28 But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works.

Psalm 73:28

He loves you!

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.

Psalm 25:1-7

Beautifully Modest

Hello, my lovely sisters! I just want to talk a little bit about modesty and beauty today – and share with you a delightful Youtube channel on this topic that I recently discovered!

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Modest.

What is modesty? Why do I have to be modest? How do I dress modestly?

Let me just make clear right here and now that I’m not an expert in this area. I’ve long struggled over what is and isn’t modest, and how to dress. I still don’t have it all together. I still have things I need to work on in this area, I’m sure.

But you know what? I’ve realized a couple things. Through praying and pondering. Reading God’s Word. Looking back on who God is and what He has done in my life thus far – what all that says about His nature. Listening to many a godly Christian speaker on this topic …

  • Modesty must be cultivated in the heart.
  • Modesty is an earnest journey of walking by the Spirit.
  • Your modesty should reflect God’s character.
  • God is majestic, holy, creative, amazing, good, filled with splendor and beauty – modesty should be about honoring God, reflecting who He is, pointing to Him: modesty should show virtue and beauty.

Can I dress in a pretty way and still be honoring to God? Well, yes, I believe so! I believe you can dress in a feminine, beautiful, honorable, lovely way that absolutely reflects the quiet and gentle spirit God has cultivated within you, and points to a magnificent, holy, wondrous, good, and beautiful Creator.

I don’t think God gives us a set of rules and asks us to do things without a reason and purpose. And if you look through the Bible, you find the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, and then you find Jesus say, in the New Testament, that all the commandments from God can be summed up in these two things:  Love the Lord your God, and love your fellow man.

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:36-40

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:14

So with everything God calls us to do, with each way He calls His followers to live life, I believe it comes back to the heart, and to love. Some things we think are okay in the moment, are actually hurting/going to hurt us and others – and therefore hurt the heart of God. Are not good or right for us to do.

Galatians 5 is a really good passage to read when thinking about this. It talks about liberty, love fulfilling the law, and walking by the Spirit.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Galatians 5:6

I think there are a couple reasons why He calls women to dress modestly.

One: To reflect who He is. If you have been saved by the blood of Christ, you belong to the King of Kings. The glorious, eternal, awesome Lord of all. You are His daughter – His princess. Dress in a way that shows that! Shows your awe, and love, and delight, and passion for your Lord and Father. If we love Him, we truly want to honor Him in all we do.

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:14

And as children of the one, true God, I think we also have a duty to honor ourselves in the way we dress. Honor the bodies that were bought at a price – that are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We should portray ourselves in a holy and beautiful way that would point to who God is.

20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:20

I think it makes sense that we take good care of our bodies and even physical appearance out of an overflow of the love and beauty of our hearts, which are being filled and changed by Christ.

17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will see the land that is very far off.

Isaiah 33:17

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.

Psalm 89:5-8

In that day the Lord of hosts will be
For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty
To the remnant of His people,

Isaiah 28:5

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:9

Two: To flee sexual immorality. Ladies, God designed men in a way where certain ways we dress can just trigger a reaction in their mind and start up a battle. No, we don’t make them sin. They make their own choices. But yes, you can definitely dress in a way that causes your brothers in Christ to struggle. Is that honorable to God? We should be helping our brothers flee sexual immorality, not adding to the problem!

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

1 Corinthians 6:18

22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

1 Timothy 2:22

We need to flee sexual immorality and anything having to do with it. Even if you aren’t necessarily sinning sexually by dressing in a unholy way, you’re being a stumbling block to others in that area. I don’t think that counts as “not having a hint of sexual immorality among you”.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Ephesians 5:3

I believe as we walk closely with the Lord, He gently guides and corrects us. Do I know everything? No. Do I understand everything the Bible says? Absolutely not. But do I trust my Savior and Father? Yes. Have I seen Him at work, gently and kindly and firmly, in my life? Yes, I truly believe so. He is not harsh with me. He loves me. And He sees my heart.

He sees your heart too, dear readers.

As you walk this journey of dressing modestly, I encourage you to research and listen to and be encouraged by fellow godly Christians! But first and foremost, seek the Lord and His ways! Let Him speak to you and lead you! ❤

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

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Now, for the modesty Youtube channel I mentioned above! It’s called Set Apart Style, and all the videos I’ve watched so far have been really thoughtful! I would recommend you check them out! Not saying this young lady has it absolutely all figured out (none of us do!). And I’m not even saying I would wear/consider modest all the things she’s okay with, but I think she has some really good tips, and her heart is beautiful, and she explains modesty in such a precious and God-honoring way.

Modesty – Honoring Christ In and With All (introduction video)

I also quite love the Girl Defined Ministries Youtube Channel, and really like the modesty standards they show in this video:

Project Modesty: How to Combine Modesty and Fashion

God is beauty. He creates beautiful things. He clothes the lilies of the field magnificently. He made us beautifully, and I believe He is faithful to lead in this area if we simply trust Him and walk by His Spirit.

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 6:28:29

 

More Videos From SET APART STYLE:

OOTD – The Bride of Christ // Modest Styling Workshop SS16

Modest Dressings Essentials // Tips For Skirts

Modest Dressing Essentials // Tips For Dresses

Modest Dressing Essentials // Tips For Tops