Look at My Heart

With summer around the corner, I wanted to talk about modesty again. If you’re interested, read my last post on this topic: Beautifully Modest.

look at my heart

Personally, I’ve always had a sense of modesty, and am pretty conservative in the way I dress (if we’re looking at the culture in general, that is.) The hem of my skirts and dresses usually fall at least to my knees. I wear knee-length shorts, or sometimes a few inches above the knee. I try to keep the necklines of my shirts fairly high to avoid gaping and such. And I generally avoid clothing that is too clingy or tight (though pants can be hard since the style these days is very fitted.) I don’t wear leggings as main bottoms, bikinis, etc.

So yes. When I look around and consider what most people wear, I feel pretty modest. And I usually feel comfortable with what I’m wearing and how I’m presenting myself.

Of course, there are still often times when I’m just not sure. Bathing suits? It’s so hard to figure out what’s actually modest when it comes to those. Is this shirt showing too much skin/have too small of straps for being out and about in town? What is actually showing too much skin? Is this dress too clingy?

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I believe the Bible very much promotes modesty – but it doesn’t exactly give us a manual.

The more I think on it, the more I believe that modesty and purity truly start in the heart. In your thoughts. In your private life, and inner dreams and desires.

When Jesus Christ is the desire of a woman’s heart and she is wholeheartedly seeking the Lord, I don’t think she needs to stress and panic about modesty.

Matthew 6:31-34

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Yes, certainly be informed. Humble. Wise. Have a teachable spirit.

But when we’re walking by the Spirit, we don’t have to be afraid and live in bondage. We can trust Him to lead us, guide us, mold us, convict us.

Maybe we’re getting too consumed with outward appearance and forgetting the inside.

A girl dressed in short shorts might have a more modest heart than the girl wearing a long, full skirt. Maybe the girl in the skirt is sticking to the rules, but she presents herself in a sensual, flirty way – her heart consumed with self and lust and all manner of worldly passions that she’s taken no care to root out.

It starts in the heart. A heart surrendered to Jesus Christ. And then He can began to work in us. To sanctify and perfect us. Maybe He will convict you about an attitude of the heart, or maybe about the scanty clothing you’re wearing that don’t rightly reflect Him and who you are as His daughter.

Don’t let this issue of modesty steal your joy and hope in Christ.

Modesty isn’t what makes us good, Christian women. Purity isn’t what makes us good, Christian women.

Christ is who makes us good, Christian women.

Romans 8:33-34

33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Modesty is a big, controversial subject. And, sometimes, a painful one.

I’ve talked with sisters and brothers in Christ about modesty and I truly appreciate those conversations. I would like to have more!

But I’ve also heard comments and been told things that are hurtful. Things that make me wonder …

Men, do you see me first as a child of God, or a temptation?

A sister in Christ, or an object?

Do you see me as a friend and care about my heart, or are you always stuck on what I’m wearing? If my dress is a tad too short or there’s maybe a little too much skin exposed somewhere?

Don’t you see my smile? My gesture of friendliness and welcome? The genuine joy I feel from hearing from you, my brother, my friend?

When men stress and go on about modesty, it can start to make me feel objectified. That I’m more a body than a soul.

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It’s one thing to thank a girl for dressing modestly and encourage her in that. A total different thing to make her feel condemned, afraid, and confused – like she’s responsible for your sin … And make her always fearful that she might be tempting you.

Not that I’m trying to undermine men’s struggles. I know that God created men to admire a woman’s body – a beautiful thing He created for within the covenant of marriage.

And I know that many, many women go around flaunting their bodies in a very sexual and sensual way. A way that doesn’t honor God, or cherish and respect what God designed for marriage alone.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

But, guys, please remember that there are also a lot of women out there who do desire to honor God, respect men, and present themselves in a beautiful, non-sensual way.

But it’s hard. Our culture, our clothing designers promote the sexy way of dress. And then there are so many opinions of what is modest! It’s hard to know what is actually supposed to be covered, and what is just a man-made rule that perhaps promotes rather than discourages the objectification of a woman’s body.

In my personal opinion, it seems like common sense to keep all the area from one’s chest to a good portion of one’s thighs covered – including the midriff! I’m not a fan of crop tops and such that give peeks at the stomach or show off the bellybutton. But shoulders, knees, a little bit of your upper back … it depends.

Different people have different convictions. People see modesty differently – no matter if we’re adamant that everything should be black and white. So we have to be careful with our rules and our words.

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I’ve had people say things about the way I dress that hurt me. Someone once said something I wore was a stupid choice on my part, more or less.

Yes, this dress showed a little more skin around my shoulders and upper back than I’d normally show, but it very well covered everything I’m firmly convicted about covering. And truthfully, when I wore it was one of the few times I felt like God’s princess. I was in a sorta-healing-but-still-struggling stage of life, and I just remember a peace about that evening – I simply believed it was God’s gift to me. It had been bathed in prayer and worked out when I thought it wouldn’t. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time … dress up in a pretty dress and go to a social event. I remember thinking often that night: Is God honored in this? In that? And I just had this peace that He was and I was okay.

Later, I thought: If Jesus had walked into that room that night, what would I have done?

Hid? Tried to cover up some more? Wait awkwardly in the shadows?

No, my heart said. I would shamelessly run into His arms, knowing He loved me. I was confident He wouldn’t measure how much shoulder or back was exposed, but He would see my heart and know my intentions were pure. He would just see me – His daughter, His sister, His servant, His friend, His beloved – and He would smile at me in the way that gives me my security.

Friends, as a woman, I freely admit that I want to look beautiful. But I truly don’t want to look sexy, sensual, or temptingly alluring. That I want to save for my husband alone.

So I try to be modest, and then just leave it in God’s hands – knowing that He sees my heart and it is His Spirit that leads me.

Galatians 5:16-18

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

And sometimes I do have to ask Him to create a clean heart within me! I’m not perfect, and all you women who struggle, know you are not alone.

Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

But know, first and foremost, that He loves you. And know He is faithful to create a clean heart within the surrendered woman.

Lady Grace ❤

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

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Summer Hiatus … ?

Well, dear readers, my laptop crashed. And died. So thus, no post was scheduled for today.

I may be going on an unexpected summer hiatus.

I have my Kindle Fire, which can be handy, but definitely not for blogging. And the family computer is not readily available to me. So … I will probably be able to do posts every now and then, but I may be on a summer break of sorts until I save up for another laptop.

Eek. This was unexpected.

But, God is good and He has a plan.

Thursday night I was praying, and trying not to freak out, and freaking out a little, and praying. Sick (hasn’t even been a month since I was last sick!). Laptop dying. Unlikely to get the job I was so hoping for. Feeling emotionally down.

But I kept telling myself that God had a plan. He’s taking care of me – maybe it’s all just looking different from His perspective. I can’t see why these certain things are happening. But there’s a reason, and I can trust Him.

Well, I got an email that night saying that I was hired! It was pretty unexpected. I’m supposed to start work on Monday! ❤ So, if you all would pray that I’m better by then, I would really appreciate it!

I have a sinus infection and allergies … maybe not a cold/flu at all. I was feeling pretty miserable, but I’ve been sleeping, drinking lots of water, and taking all kinds of natural remedies. I drank some Kombucha today and I’m actually feeling a lot better.

Just trusting the Lord with this. If He wants me to have this job, He will make it work. He is worthy of my trust. 🙂

Tomorrow I go to Sunday school for the first time at the new church I’m going to! I’m pretty excited about that. Hoping to meet a bunch of people and make some friends at last!

Oh, and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY (almost) to all the mothers out there! God has given you a priceless job. Never doubt your worth. Know you are loved. Press into the Lord and love on those precious souls He’s given you.

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I’m so thankful for my dear, beautiful mom. ❤ So blessed. I can’t imagine life without her. She’s a unique and precious daughter of God!

Random note: I bought a lovely pink blouse ($1) and cute wedge heels ($3) at a yard sale today! Both appear to be about brand new. Happy about that.

Anyway, I must go! God’s blessings to you all!

TELL ME HOW LIFE HAS BEEN FOR YOU!

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT SUMMER?

Hey, Singles …

Ah, that dreaded word.

Singles.

Actually, it’s not all that bad. 😉 When I stop thinking about “single” as a label that defines me completely, I began to stop worrying, fussing about, and dreading hearing it.

Now, I still do sometimes have a problem with how some people treat unmarried people … “When are you going to get a boyfriend?” “Why aren’t you married yet?” “You’re being too fussy.” “Aw, you poor, lonely thing!” “You’re not making yourself available enough!” Like, how about encouraging us to thrive where God has us instead of making us feel incomplete, behind, or lacking (as we already tend to struggle with feeling like!)?

But that’s a whole different post.

I’m glad to say that I’ve been doing much better with accepting my place in life right now and learning to blossom. Last year around this time I was feeling really down and just wishing I could be married and having children like (almost) all of my friends and cousins were.

I feel like God has done a lot of work on my heart since then.

I still have a deep heart’s desire to be married one day.

But, I’m finding joy in other things that God has given me and actively pursuing life right now as an unmarried woman.

Today, I want to present a few points – things that are helping me get to this place of excitement and passion and contentment. I’m still a work-in-progress! But God is ever teaching me. Oh, how faithful He is. We just have to stay humble and pressing into Him and His goodness.

1) Don’t be Single, be in a Relationship with Jesus Christ

Friends, I know the loneliness can feel excruciating. Numbing. Depressing. Especially in some seasons of life where other negative things are going on as well. I can’t give a perfect solution to take the loneliness away. So here’s my advice:

Let your lonely heart drive you to Jesus.

Your loneliness, your broken heart, your confusion, your hopelessness, your unmet desires, your fear, your shattered dreams … instead of letting them crush you, let them push you toward God.

I know it’s hard. But open your hands. And surrender. Again, and again, and again.

As you grow closer to Christ, you’ll begin to realize that this is what you need. Him. A closeness with God. A dependency on Him. Hope and joy and peace in Him. Because this is the lasting stuff! These are the things that will never let you down or let you go. Because our God is faithful.

And He is love.

On those days when being single feels very hard and very solitary, guess what? God can meet you there. And He will, if you allow Him.

If you’re too busy surfing the web, checking Facebook for the hundredth time and stalking cute boys, watching movie after movie … anything to fill your loneliness … (anything but God, that is), then you’re going to miss His gentle, awesome Presence.

But if you aren’t desperately scrambling to fill the void of a boyfriend/husband, you’ll start to realize that God is always there beside you. Waiting to hear your voice. Your whisper. Your cry.

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He walks with you. And in the moments when you feel rejected or lonely or sad or just down, you can talk to Him and share your whole heart.

I love the idea that I can go to God with my feelings at any moment. Anywhere. I love that I am His and He is mine. I love that my life is one exciting, beautiful love story with Him.

Yes, sometimes the ache for a human companion and best friend is nearly tangible.

But God keeps reminding me that He is here and He’s taking care of me and providing me with all I need.

And in that is incomprehensible peace, joy, love, and passion for life!

If you don’t have a close relationship with Jesus Christ, your life is going to be fraught with loneliness, unmet expectations, and discontentment – whether your married or single!

You have to come to this place of emptiness where you feel like all you can do is cry out to the Lord. And then, wow, let Him fill you up.

Psalm 23:5

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

2) Realize there are a lot of Mr. Wrongs out there

Okay, so I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding “Mr. Right”. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about all the “Mr. Wrongs”; and they are out there, let me assure you!

So let me explain. There have been times in my life where I’ve been like, “I just want to get married! Why does this have to be so complicated? I’ll just find a nice, Christian guy and we’ll fall in love and live happily ever after.”

But listen, ladies. There are a lot of nice, Christian guys out there that aren’t right for you.

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They aren’t pursuing a close relationship with God like you are. They don’t have the same passion for glorifying God in everything and living out His plans for their life like you do. Maybe they don’t have a love for Jesus like the one you feel in your heart. Maybe they aren’t actively working through struggles and hurts in their life because they don’t trust God enough yet. Perhaps he’s a great guy, but he has such different convictions, passions, and ideas about life. Maybe he doesn’t have hardly any convictions or passions at all.

Just because he goes to church and believes in God doesn’t make him the right partner for you, dear Christian woman.

I’m not saying you’ll find a perfect man. Because you most certainly won’t. (And if you think you will, you’re going to fall a mighty long way from cloud nine.)

But if you’re desiring to live your life for God’s glory (and this is His will for you!) then don’t you think God wills for you to have a man who’s deeply desiring the same thing?

If you’re going to be partners, don’t you think you need to be moving in the same direction?

I don’t know about you, but I want my husband to be my soul mate. By that I mean, I want him to understand and share the deepest parts of me – heart and soul. My relationship with a very real Creator God. My love for Jesus Christ, God’s Son. My firm belief that I’m God’s daughter by Jesus’ blood and my faith in Him. My belief that the Bible is absolute truth. My hunger for Him, His Word, and prayer time. My desire to live my life for Him, use my gifts (which He gave me for a purpose) for His glory and people’s good, raise children to know and love Him … !

I’m not perfect. But as I desire and seek … and over and over again find God and His will as my central desire … why would I bind myself to a man who can’t understand & share in that?

It makes no sense.

So, as I grow in the Lord and realize that I do have very specific desires when it comes to a husband, and not all the guys out there are going to meet those standards, it helps me in some way.

To be patient.

I so deeply desire a godly husband that I know I’m one-hundred percent willing to wait as long as it takes!

It perhaps helps calm my anxious heart that worries as all these guys pass me by. I say to myself, “I’m seeking God’s will for my life and I’m not willing to settle for a man who’s not desiring the Lord like I am. I can’t just dash out there and find a suitable guy in mere seconds because my standards are high. Therefore I must surrender and trust God to work out my earthly love story if He has marriage in store for me.

I let go … and I find peace and joy.

3) Find a Community. Build Relationships. Look for ways to Bless and Serve People!

Love people and live life! ❤ Don’t let singleness stop you, folks. There was never any reason that it should!

So come out of that dark hole. Press into the Lord and realize your standards – what you want in a husband … what God would want you to choose/seek!

Next, find a community. I believe when God speaks of alone-ness in Genesis, He’s not just saying marriage is good. He’s saying people being with people is good – family is good and friends are good and community is good.

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.”

We should be doing life with other people whether we’re single or married. We should have close friendships and wise mentors in our lives. We should be looking for other people to bless and mentor!

Now, there are some seasons where we’re just alone. And God uses this. Most times to draw us to Him! (That’s what I’ve found in my life. In that way, being alone can actually turn out to be a beautiful thing … when it draws us to the Lover of our souls.)

But we’re not meant to be without human companionship forever. So find a church community and make friends! 🙂

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For myself, I’ve been visiting different churches! I like the church that my family goes to – the teaching is solid and encouraging. However, I’m having a hard time getting involved. So I’ve been visiting different churches, looking for one that has great fellowship and I can really be in community with. It’s been fun, trying out new churches! I get a little nervous at times, but I love meeting new people! (If they’re the ones to introduce themselves and strike up a conversation, haha!)

I’ve involved myself in Bible studies. Even started one for my younger sister and her friends. Now, we haven’t been able to do any study nights recently, but I’m hopefully we’ll be able to again soon! I’m plotting and planning and toying with ideas of going through this book or that book. 😉 And I might try out the Wednesday night Bible study at the new church I’m going to currently.

I’m grateful for the chance to grow closer to siblings, family & relatives, and long-distance friends. Yes, sometimes it’s hard because my life can be so monotonous. And then I start feeling down and don’t feel like putting any effort into building old relationships.

But, that’s why I’m trying to get into a community and try new things. Keeping a spark of excitement in life helps me to remember the people already around me and how I shouldn’t let this stage slip by without growing close to them!

One thing that continues to be really hard is not having any friends my age. I have a few long-distance friends, but we don’t get the chance to talk very often.

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Do you all have any advice for me? 🙂 Besides looking for a church family to get involved with, what can I do to meet new people and make friends?? Haha. It’s been difficult, but I’m thankful for my siblings and their friends, aunts, my mom, cousins, etc.

Last night I went to a disc-golf course with my thirteen-year-old brother and seventeen-year-old sister. We enjoy disc-golf! Well … my brother loves it. I enjoy it. 😉

So there’s another tip … look for ways to hang out with your younger siblings (or cousins or something.) Look for ways to invest in their lives. Mentor them, maybe.

That’s been helpful for me. It pulls my focus off of just me and my life and my struggles and my hurts, and starts investing my heart and emotions in other people. So I can find hope through their lives. I can feel joy for them when good things come their way. I can pray for them. I can help them through the hard times. I can rejoice when they succeed. Grow. Receive their dreams.

So whoever God has in your life right now, find ways to serve and bless them! Get involved in their lives and journey together! Share emotions, hopes, hardships, and dinners. 😉

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4) Pursue your Dreams. Invest in your Talents. Don’t wait to do what you feel like God is calling you to.

Y’all, what is God calling you to? Don’t be deceived … if your heart is beating, you have a purpose! Don’t miss out on this wonderful thing because you’re too busy waiting to get married.

If you can break away from the depression that comes from a broken heart and the listlessness that comes from shattered dreams and the hopelessness that comes from lack of trust …

You will realize that there are beautiful things out there within your reach, but you’ve been so consumed with one beautiful thing (aka: marriage) that you’ve been blinded to all the rest.

What was it you always wanted to be when you were younger (for me, it was an author!)? Or what opportunities do you see around you that tug at your heart? A younger person who needs a mentor? A group of young people who would be blessed by a Bible study (ladies, you could start a girl’s Bible study using Love Defined!)? A Crisis Pregnancy Center that could use some volunteers? Maybe your church is going on a mission trip and you have a heart for overseas missions.

Ponder it. Dig deep. What do you have a passion for? What do you feel God might be calling you to? Maybe He is calling you to marriage … someday. But right now there are other opportunities available while your future spouse is out of sight!

As for my personal life, there’s a chance I’m going to have a full-time job very soon. (I’d appreciate your prayers!) Meanwhile, I’ve been novel-writing quite a bit and absolutely adoring it. I’m remembering that God gave me a passion and a gift for writing and I should definitely be pursuing that and using it for His glory! ❤

1 Corinthians 10:31

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

So yes, I’ve gotten excited about that once again. I have a desire to publish more books – stories that I hope will touch reader’s heart for God. I know that I have a few loyal fans out there and they remind why I love writing. I’m not exactly sure what God has in store for me, but I’m trying to use my time wisely and write whenever I can. If He wills it, I want to publish again soon!

I tried my hand at making soap and it was a good experience! Not as hard as I thought. Though I was a little scared about mixing the lye. Good news, it all went well and I didn’t splat any on myself or my sister! :p So we have a beautiful batch of charcoal soap that smells of lavender and tea tree oil stacked on the top of my sister’s bookshelf. We’re hoping to make some more this coming week.

And yeah. Blogging, booktubing, Bible studies, and more! I’m trying different things and just seeing where God takes me.

I hope you all will too! Pursue God. Trust Him with your life. Take steps of faith. Enjoy life! Try some new things. Do what you love, all for His glory. ❤

Matthew 6:31-33

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

***

That’s what I have for today. Hopefully it wasn’t too long-winded! Happy Saturday, readers! I’m probably off yard-saling while you all read this post. 😉 Hope you enjoy your day – breathing in God’s love and looking to Him to direct your life.

Live loved, dear fellow singles, and live to the fullest.

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