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A Tangled Mess

Today I had a huge knot in my hair.

Not the kind you can easily comb out.
It was like an all out strand fight between my whole head of long hair.

The freezing temps this week made sure that I secured a hat and static electricity came along for the ride. My hair doesn’t agree to this type of harassment so this trend climaxed on my head last night while slept and resulted in a massive knot today. Even though I’ve clearly brushed my hair every other day, my hair decided to call it quits today and give up.

After working on the knots for quite some time and being pressed to leave the house, I decided to just cut the knot out.

It was causing such a mess and ruining my time. After all it’s just hair and who needs it to be cut evenly right?!

No, I didn’t do that.

That would’ve been really dumb. Yes a few hairs were sacrificed in the process of the knot becoming untangled, but it eventually worked out and I left the house with combed hair all intact.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I’m such a mess that God can’t do anything with me.

Surely He’s got more important things to move onto than to deal with me getting entangled in life’s messes again.

I feel like it would be easy to see me in my “bad hair day” state and for God to say,”Woah woah woah! Let’s cut her out! It’s too much! I can’t handle this!”.

Yet, I find Him drawing closer in my messy moments. The moments when my heart is breaking and I feel like there’s no way out but to cut the knot. He’s there untangling the pieces and unraveling my hurt heart.

It’s so beautiful. This work of grace. He doesn’t deal with order and straight lines and perfect strands of hair like I do.

He deals in love. And He deals in mercy. And brings restoration.

He doesn’t leave me in my tangled mess. He restores my soul and gives me hope.

Question(s) of the day;

Do you see your mess or His ability to save you from your mess?

He hasn’t given up or cut you off…ask for forgiveness and allow Him to transform your heart.

Scripture(s) of the day;

There is hope for your future–Jeremiah 31:17

I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.–Isaiah 46:4

Worship song of the day;

Worship Circle originally wrote this song I believe, but I LOVE “You Have Redeemed My Soul”. Here’s a listen to a longer worship set singing about thankfulness of what God has done with this song included :)


#giveup40 Day #4

Love this…

jesus stood with me

50 Shades of Grey- 1 Shade of Purity

50 1 Shades of Grey Purity


**Warning: this blog contains sexual content. Please be advised before continuing.


Let me starts off this blog by saying that I know nothing of the details of the book or movie, “50 Shades of Grey” and I’m not going to pretend that I do because I don’t. I’ve seen enough circulating through social media internationally, read an article from Focus on the Family, and I have heard from people I know who’ve struggled with “reading porn” as they’ve described it by say this book/movie is sexually impure.

I’m not about to go researching and opening myself up to it’s content of just how sexually perverted it is to further a point.

My purpose in writing this is not to discuss something I don’t know anything about, but my intention instead is to write about what I do know something about; purity.

The definition of purity is freedom from adulteration or contamination, freedom from immorality, especially of a sexual nature.

To be pure is to be in an unadulterated state. The color white for example is pure when no other colors are added to it. You have to begin adding other colors to it to make even the slightest shade of “off-white”. Once you do this, the color is no longer white. It becomes a compromised shade of white, but not true white.

When we give into an impurity in our lives, we are changing the original state of purity God has given to us through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. Even if it seems only like a slight toleration of sin, it contaminates our spirits.

Jesus didn’t die to give us an opportunity to go from living in darkness of sin to a life of compromising shades of grey. He says in the book of Revelation to the “Lukewarm Church” that “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” If black and white could be compared to hot and cold, then…

Grey=Lukewarm=vomit to Jesus.

Jesus goes on to say,” I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” 

He desires that we gain purity from Him and see Him rightly. He gives us an opportunity to repent (or turn away from) our sin and tolerance of the sin in our culture. There is only 1 shade the LIGHT of Christ can have and he desires that we be “hot” for Him. That our lives display radical love and devotion to Him. When we walk in this light, we avoid the various shades of compromise.

I’m speaking from a place of knowing both sides of the sexual purity coin so to speak. I am not hurling accusations and judgments of “you are wrong!”. I am however sharing a much better way to live in the freedom and purity Jesus Christ died to give us.



I know the heart wrenching gut piercing pain of sexual immorality. I know what it’s like to feel like all you are is a sexual object to the opposite sex. I was raised in a way where all I saw from media particularly MTV was that women are sexual objects. As a woman, I was supposed to be sexy, men were supposed to like my butt, and I was supposed to do everything to make myself look and act in an appealing way. From Britney Spears music videos to “The Thong Song” (yes that was a real song) to obsessing with boy bands like *NSYNC, I knew sexual hype as well as any American MTV watching teenager would. I went to a school where sexual sin was happening on my school bus rides home in 6th grade! I too found myself in the hands of sexual sin later on and while I didn’t ever have sex, lust was in my heart and in those of many around me.

When I truly gave my life to Jesus as a 16-year-old girl, my life drastically began to change. I wish I could say that was when the sexual sin ended in my life, but it was a couple more years before the bondage truly broke. While my heart desired to be free and I wasn’t pulled towards lust, my identity hadn’t completely changed and I allowed myself to be in a poor unhealthy relationship.



Thankfully, Jesus is relentless in His pursuit of us and His word speaks. I got free from that relationship and was truly free from lust and sexual sin. Real freedom was in my life for 8 full years before meeting my husband, Stephen. During those 8 years, I didn’t set my eyes on movies, TV shows, or books that had impure sexual content. I did not listen to any secular music that was sung by anyone who dressed inappropriately or who sang about seduction and lust. Not because women who dressed seductively bothered me, but I wasn’t about to open myself to their seductive spirit and embody that in my life. I now had a deep satisfying love in Jesus.

I was labeled by many terms as, “strict”, “prude”, and “legalistic”. I was told even by Christians that, “I’d never get married”, “my standards were too high” & even that “it was ok to ‘mess around’ when you found the right one”.

WHY wouldn’t I listen to “so and so”? It was just a song with fun lyrics. WHY wouldn’t I go to “whatever” movie? It was only PG-13.

My heart would respond within myself, “Because I’ve found a greater love”.

I had experienced the deep radical life changing love of Jesus Christ. He turned my sin and my heartache into a new life full of His joy and His peace…AND His purity. I was washed as white as snow. I was and still am NOT PERFECT, but I was content in my love for Him. Even though I was a normal 20-something young adult and noticed Godly and attractive men around me, I wasn’t ever fixated on being in a relationship. I loved them as brothers in the Lord and learned from my interactions with them what I desired or didn’t desire in a husband.

Jesus had my gaze. He had my FULL heart and I cherished the newfound purity I’d found in Him. The freedom was real. The LOVE that replaced lust was fierce and released my heart into the healthiest view of what real love was.



IMG_6806 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Hebrews 13:4

When my husband and I dated and were engaged, there was NEVER a single moment where I felt unsafe, felt lust from him, or entertained lust in my own heart.

Even as I prepared to be married and what would eventually take place between us sexually, my heart and mind were guarded by such a healthy purity based in the peace of God. I wasn’t scared, intimidated, fearful, or felt the need to be seductive. We never compromised our sexual purity and we got to learn together which is SO BEAUTIFUL and SO WORTH THE WAIT!

In my marriage now, I am completely secure that my husband is never going to cheat on me, lust after other women, secretly look at porn, criticize my body, make impure sexual requests, or violate me in any way.

I likewise can truly say the same. There is no one else that my heart desires. There is no other man on the planet of 7 billion people who I would ever desire or fantasize being with sexually or emotionally! When I said, “yes” to marrying Stephen even before we said, “I Do”, I ended my search. When we committed to marriage, we vowed before God and invited Him into the middle of our marriage as the “glue” so to speak to unite us together.

When one continues searching, lusting, filling voids in their heart with impure things, they are denying God’s work in their lives and in their marriage/future marriage.

The subject of sexual purity is not favorable in our world today, because few are willing to pay the price to have it.

I’m not saying that I am, “holier than thou” because I have am walking out a sexually pure life or because our marriage embodies this. It is nothing I could’ve ever done on my own or Stephen on his own. This was why I shared a piece of my testimony with sexual sin above.

What I am saying is that it was because we gave our lust and our sin COMPLETELY over to Jesus so that HE alone worked purity in our lives by showing us what REAL LOVE is.

While sex is definitely important and necessary in a healthy Godly marriage, it’s NOT the most important thing or the only thing! I’m just being honest about my life with you because if sex was the complete basis for our marriage or if we were both “in lust” and not walking in the love Jesus has given us for one another, we wouldn’t be able to walk through the challenges that life brings. If we only related to each other sexually, our marriage wouldn’t last because we need the love of Christ and His purity to relate to one another emotionally and spiritually as well as sexually. Without His love, the door for lust and the need for sexual entertainment would be WIDE OPEN.

There are enough marital problems in the world today that I would say are indicative of various “shades of grey”. We have an opportunity to receive Jesus’ love, redemption and invite Him into the center of our marriages. This will cause us to stand out against all of the grey and be marked with the purity of His great light.

I realize some might read this post that don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ and/or don’t believe in being accountable to the Bible. That’s why I’m not just quoting what scripture says about sexual sin. To those that the above applies to, I leave you with the hope that my testimony has of how Jesus Christ has changed my life in this area.

I am so grateful I don’t have to walk in the shame, guilt, and weight of lust any longer. I’m thankful that I have a pure marriage and a healthy sex life with my husband who loves me. Thankful that beyond my spouse loving me purely, I have Jesus and I don’t need a book or movie or celebrity idol to fulfill a void in my heart.

To those who do claim to love Jesus and hold their lives into account of the Word of God, I leave you with this scripture that applies far beyond “50 Shades of Grey”. Revelation 2:20 “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”

YES Jesus embodies love and His love is patient, His love is kind…but He still IS JUDGE. He, not Bailey Kuert, will judge your entire life one day according to His standards, not my opinion. He sent guidelines AND warnings in His word to prepare each of us to live holy and to seek Him. I know we all won’t be perfect and will struggle with things in this life, but He has paid the price to give us freedom in Him. He has given us the gift of His life to have peaceful lives, to not live struggling with sexual sin. He tells us to repent and if we say our lives are under His Lordship, there is no excuse for compromise.

 When God calls something sin, that’s the final word on the matter. Our justification or tolerance of it won’t change the truth.

 Let’s call this book and the other sexual immoral entertainment we have in our lives for what it is, sin. Let’s bring it to the foot of the cross of Jesus, repent, and replace it with a perfect love that brings life and hope! Let’s embrace the 1 shade of purity and ask for His empowerment of the Holy Spirit to live holy lives.

 **Please feel free to share this blog :) I deeply desire people to know there IS freedom in Jesus Christ to live a pure and holy life.


For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality-1 Thess 4:3

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.-Col 3:5

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.-1 Cor 6:18

Observations of a 6 Month Old Missionary

I want to start this entry by removing the “elephant” in the room (which is only appropriate because I’m in Africa ;) ) and say that the challenges that I’ve faced with my health have definitely created an unusual first few months on the field. Instead of settling in and immersing myself in learning languages and a new culture, I was chasing doctors and trying to get out of pain. That being said, there has been a lot of unplanned events, however God has done great things and taught me a lot. Here’s some humorous pictures to illustrate how I feel followed by what I’ve learned in my first 6th months as a missionary in Africa.

be a missionary
photo 2

#1–I confirmed my hatred for bugs…Yes it’s true! I’m a girly girl and while I already couldn’t stand bugs, I’ve confirmed that there is indeed a hatred for them and I’m sure I’ll be asking God one day in Heaven what the purpose of creating them was. The top of my list of questioning is anything that stings, then the newly acquainted bed bugs, closely followed by mosquitoes, safari ants and last by certainly NOT least, cockroaches.

#2—Carpet is now weird to me.
Tonight was the first time in 6 months that my feet touched carpet and it was really REALLY weird! I didn’t even know why I stopped walking and felt weird for a minute or so and then I realized it was because I was on carpet. Everything I’ve walked on has been tile, wood, or rocks.

#3—I have an appreciation for simplicity.
I downsized significantly when we moved to Madagascar. We bought basic things that we would need to live there, but for the most part I had to detach myself from a lot of things and come to terms that it was all just “stuff”. When we came to Kenya for only an intended 8 day trip that then lasted for 10 weeks due to medical reasons, I learned that less is more and I really CAN survive on minimal clothes, no computer, my every day items, etc. We stayed in 10 difference places and being ill in all of that transition was difficult, but certainly not impossible. When we went home to Madagascar at the beginning of July, I was actually overwhelmed with how much I really did have. I sat on the floor in my bedroom more than once and cried because I didn’t know how to decide what to wear. Now that I’m back in Kenya with yet again only one piece of luggage, I’m learning to not hold onto anything I own and it’s freeing in a way. God has continually provided over and over for Stephen and I in our nearly two years of being married and we’ve never lacked in anything from furniture to food. In going through testing, my attachment to material things has changed so much. Just when I think I’m missing out or start to desire things on this Earth, God surprises me with something of more eternal value.

#4–Opportunity is EVERYWHERE!
No matter what difficulty might have been going on personally, people who need Jesus have always surrounded me. This has caused me to continually pour out love. We’ve seen God touch hearts at gas stations, restaurants, hospitals, doctors’ offices and in church services. I just happen to be in Africa, but you don’t have to travel far to bring hope into someone’s life. People need Jesus all around you in everyday situations that you find yourself in.

#5–Being myself is all I need to be.
I stepped into this season feeling uncomfortable in so many ways. I faced leaving all that was near and dear; my hometown, my own background of ministry, my friends and family. I lacked full-time missions experience in comparison to my husband who is a linguistic and is in my opinion a stellar missionary. I compared myself to other missionary women who have raised grown kids, lived overseas for many years, were skilled in sewing, and great cooks. I’m not a Susie Homemaker or from the denomination that I’m currently working for and I felt awkward. To add to this, as a missionary, you’re trying to adapt to a new culture and learn new languages. The art of comparison was a daily challenge and I felt pressured to change who I was. I’m still learning all kinds of new things and I love learning and growing, but I’ve learned most to be content to be who God created me to be. If God wanted to raise me any other way or with any other background and skill set, He would’ve done so. When I operate in insecurity and pressure, I can’t contribute my God-given uniqueness to an environment…and let’s be honest; I will just be really awkward ;) I have my weaknesses, my quirks and shortcomings, but even in this I have to allow God to work on me and through me. If I’m not being true to myself, I’ll fail to represent God rightly to others.

#6—I often miss weird things about home.
The other day I literally daydreamed about donuts…((GAGS))! I can not even tell you the last time that I had one which was 4 or more years ago. There is absolutely no way if I was in the States that I’d get near a donut and be tempted, but literally I desired it the other day. I need help people—keep praying for me! ;) I find that I often miss odd things like that which symbolize home or wish I was home to participate in things that I probably wouldn’t have even done if I was there.

Seriously I’m the type of person that HAS to interact with others. I work better when I am around people. I’ve always thrived in jobs where I was interacting with others. This season of very limited Internet and most of my relationships being thousand of miles away has been more than challenging. I’ve found myself even today completely STARVED for social interactions and upon meeting up with an old friend I just want to chat chat chat. If I come home and talk even more than usual, please extend some grace ;) I’ve been in new culture and foreign languages where I pantomime most of the time…and talk to my sweet patient husband all day. What do I miss most about home? People. What is the best part of every day? People. I guess this just means that I am in the right job to serve and love people :) But really…I need social interactions with peers!

#8–I have my dream job, but it’s not dreamy.
My pictures at the top describe how I feel often. But really, I’ve dreamed of being in Africa since I was a little girl and as a missionary for about a decade. It’s not that I romanticized it entirely, but I have found that I did to a degree. I’ve found that it’s not always easy to be far away from all that was comfortable and facing challenges that you’d never face back home. Yet at the end of the day it is fulfilling, as it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I cry when I think of lost people around me, when I see them hurting, and when I hear stories that demand a response from God. It’s heartbreaking to continue to see pain and lost people and to know that not all will find salvation and freedom. This is why I know this dream to go to the nations is of God and not something that I dreamed up.

#9–Missions is as much for you as it is for me.
I’m not suggesting that everyone reading this is called to go into full-time missions, but I also don’t want to suggest that I’m specially qualified for this. In fact many of you would have slept more and functioned higher here than I have in this season ;) I’ve realized more than ever that I NEED Jesus absolutely EVERY moment of EVERY day. I’m not anyone who is qualified in a special way or permitted more grace than anyone else to be a missionary. God’s heart beats for missions and because I fell in love with His heart, my heart beats for it too. That’s why I am here in Africa and the same can apply to you wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. As a child of God, you too can be whoever He has called you to be by simply loving Him and obeying Him. If he calls you to move your life overseas and do missions work, you CAN do it! If you’re called to start a business or get a higher education to serve Him with, you CAN do it. There is grace to love Him freely and live for Him rightly even when it’s uncomfortable to our flesh and desires. We are living in a critical hour where MANY need to know of His great love no matter where we find ourselves in this world.

*Lastly, I’d like to say that #10—Steripods are a MUST!…they are little sterilizing non-toxic clips to put on your toothbrush bristles and…amen! No ant, cockroach, gecko etc., will crawl on your toothbrush! It is at the top of my list of things to stock up on in the USA :)

Just for more laughs, since SK is an MK (Missionary kid) here’s another pic
photo 1

Skirts, Flirts, Hurts & 5 Questions About Modesty


In coming across a well spread article on modesty, I began to have some red flags go off in me while reading it. While I’m sure the author is a Jesus-loving lady, I disagreed largely with her thoughts and I wanted to share some thoughts of my own taken from my journey regarding modesty.

While I didn’t grow up attending church and being taught on biblical modesty, I was taught self-value. I may not have entered a church at 2 years old, but I did enter the dance studio. Which means that as I grew, I took on my parent’s tall lean build and my “Dance Team” cheer skits were often shorter than others. My identity was formed in a typical MTV generation culture where women were viewed as sexual objects. Being raised in a time where media showed unfaithfulness, fornication, pornography, and impossible standards of beauty for women, what else was I to think? I didn’t know any better and I longed to be found beautiful by the opposite sex. This caused a long hard road of heartache, but out of it came great redemption from the love of God and his beautiful plan for my life to be pure and pleasing to Him. It is because of my experience in the freedom of Christ that I share these questions with you.

#1 Is There a Clear Line Regarding Christian Modesty?

Don’t worry! I’m not going to tell you that a way to measure modesty is by the “hallelujah” test where you raise your arms to see if your shirt is too short (an embarrassing and ridiculous test if you ask me—just wear long layers underneath your top). Nor am I going to give you a list of dos and don’ts. Instead I want to challenge us to think, ask questions, and seek to be those who fully love God.

The short answer to this question is no, there isn’t a clear line which is why there are so many views on this topic. I’m not saying that I have all the answers, but I feel it’s important to start by looking at what Scripture has to say about this topic.

1 Peter 3:3-5 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.”

1 Timothy 2:9-10 says, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

It appears that both Peter and Paul were on the same page and I agree with them. I believe that all scripture is from God and that woman should dress as to reflect Jesus properly. I believe these scriptures equally mean that we shouldn’t be materialistic or obsessed with our outward appearance and our wardrobe. I also believe that there are some absolutes when it comes to modesty such as not having your breasts and other private parts hanging out (in a Western context, more on this later). Beyond the absolutes though in regards to manner of dress AND disposition of personality, I personally believe that daughters of God must listen to the Bible and to the conviction of the Holy Spirit themselves.

The reality is that someone could submit pictures to me of a woman wearing a particular outfit and I could give my personal opinion or even submit it before a panel of Christian men and get their opinion. If we all deemed the outfit inappropriate, one might be motivated not to wear it. However, until a person desires to please the Lord for himself or herself and listen to Him, they won’t have the personal conviction and proper motivation to please Him by what they wear and how they act.This is in my opinion where legalism can come into play and why many rebel against the “standards” that are set by others. It is one thing to comply with a dress code for a job or for a church service, but unless someone comes to a mature place to understand what pleases Jesus, they’ll often view these dress codes as legalistic and thus miss an opportunity to see His views.

The place modesty should start is in serving Jesus, not ourselves. When we get our focus on serving Jesus, we will seek to be pleasing to Him in all that we do. In so doing this we can eliminate the mentality of, “How close can I get to the line without crossing it?” and the attitude of flaunting our wardrobe and accessories. We can then be empowered to be as abandoned to the will of God as possible and become what God has always desired, a heart that is fully His. A heart that chooses Him, honors Him, and one that is quick to repent of sin and be near to Him. It’s important to know that Jesus doesn’t condemn us and shame us into submitting to His ways, BUT He will correct us and lead us into righteousness for His name’s sake as we choose to do His will. (Psalm 23:3) I say this to clarify that Jesus delights in us doing His will and doesn’t beat us up when we sin. He loves and takes pleasure in helping us mature in righteousness and become more like Him.

I’d like to say too that modesty is more than just our outward appearance. Modest clothing doesn’t always equal modest behavior. Any woman or man can be fully clothed and still be operating in a seductive and lustful spirit. By contrast, someone else may not be modestly dressed, but they might have a genuine heart to seek God and aren’t aware of how to dress. As believers we can teach and share with others, but it is not our place to judge based on non-absolutes that aren’t clearly defined in Scripture. Which brings me to my next point…

#2 Are We Teaching on Modesty in the Right Spirit?

I stated earlier that my “cheer skirts” were short. School dress code prohibited shorts or other skirts to be any shorter than fingertip length with arms fully extended by your side. Therefore due to my genetically long monkey arms, my fingertip length for shorts/skirts was considered “dorky” back then and I would’ve been made fun of mercilessly. When summer time came with no school restrictions on my outfits, I typically wore “short shorts” and tank tops where my midriff showed some. Where I’m from in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it gets into the 100s and the less you wore, the more comfortable you were. That was all I knew.

When I made Jesus the Lord of my life my junior year of High School at 16 years old, much changed in my life. I was so hungry for God, I attended church a few times a week, read my bible everyday, but I was still a baby in Christ and had plenty to learn (and I still do!).

Often after youth group, some of us would go for Tex-Mex and I’d get free food like chips and pop from the waiters. I’ve always had a strong personality, a deep love for people that caused me to talk to everyone, and then there’s my vibrant red hair. This combination definitely caused me to be noticed more than I realized. At this stage in life I didn’t have a strong identity in Christ, nor did I realize that I was drawing impure attention from men. I knew I wasn’t sleeping around and wearing super revealing clothes so I thought that in comparison with other girls, I was doing great! I just couldn’t see my blind spot.

One day during my senior year of High School, I had a talk with some of my male youth leaders that changed my life forever. They spoke with me about my strong personality and how that combined with how I dressed, men were turning their heads and giving me attention that wasn’t pure. These leaders shared the struggles men have with sexual sin and it helped me understand the realities of lust. They celebrated my leadership “command the room” type personality, my desire to connect with people, and they helped me find a righteous balance. They spoke in such a tender Spirit led way that I didn’t walk away feeling ashamed. Instead I left the conversation feeling beautiful and I desired to protect the beauty that God had placed within me. Their talk left me realizing that my personality gave me an opportunity to point people to Jesus and that put a joyous responsibility on me and it is partially why I’m secure in who I am today.

There were other love centered rebukes in the years that followed and I appreciated the insight and the correction that came with being held to a righteous standard. However, there were a few other instances where I was told in rather harsh ways that what I was wearing wasn’t proper and even that the way that I swayed my hips in worship could be distracting for men. Those moments always left me feeling embarrassed and degraded rather than corrected in love. For a short while I became more focused on how I moved while worshipping Jesus, than focused on actually worshipping Jesus.

The point in sharing these two examples is to emphasize the contrast of confrontations. One group sought to turn what God had given me, a people loving outgoing personality, into a pure hearted and modest awareness that displayed Christ; whereas the other sought to correct an outward appearance based on personal opinion without welcoming the love of God into the situation.

I think that as believers we MUST meet people where they are and speak in love. We can’t assume that they’ve had the best examples growing up or that they understand their new identity in Christ. I believe there is a way to teach modesty to women and men in a way that helps them fall more in love with Jesus and who He’s created them to be. I often think of how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8 with tenderness and empowerment to walk away from a place of sin with renewed hope. This approach can cultivate a desire for one to yield themselves to Him not only in their outward appearance, but also in a manner of heart.

#3 Have We Become Victims to Culture and Society?

There are common mentalities in the world today that provide opportunities for people to not own responsibility for their actions or to be held accountable to a moral compass that sets boundaries. Simply put, people don’t like to be told what to do. These ideologies have crept into the church and have given believers an excuse to do as they please instead of being accountable to God. If we profess to follow Christ, the Bible should be our final word of authority, not the society around us. I believe that when our desire is to please the Lord in every area of our lives, He will help us. As believers, we must all become responsible for our actions and our attitudes. When we stand before God one day He isn’t going to ask how many people made us stumble. He will ask if we partnered with His word to overcome the temptations we found ourselves in and if we turned away from sin.

I had plenty of excuses with my MTV background and my flirty skirts to play victim to circumstance. I faced plenty of temptations in the area of sexual sin as well as being involved in impure relationships in my teen years. Instead of remaining in a place of hurt and insecurity, I sought the Lord, read His word, and invited His loving correction into my life. I’m grateful as this turn of heart caused me to experience freedom and I ended up marrying a holy, Jesus-loving man, whose heart towards me is pure.

My husband grew up as a missionary in East Africa and as a single man, he was a missionary in Burundi. This offered him unique insight into modesty as it relates to cultural differences. Almost every time he would preach in a church in Burundi, women would begin to openly breastfeed their babies. I understand that this varies from the typical American church service where women would never do this, but in Africa and many parts of the world this is completely normal. Hello—hungry babies + moms hungry for word of God=breastfeeding in service and anywhere for that matter. So here was my husband having prayed and prepared a word, continually faced with the onslaught of up close and personal breasts as he preached. He said to me, “It wasn’t their fault that their babies are hungry and that they chose to feed them during service. It was my responsibility to have my flesh crucified so that I was only looking to Jesus and focused on what He wanted to say to the people. There was no excuse to entertain lust just because there was an opportunity for it, for I’m accountable to God’s Word.” I realize most men aren’t going to be preaching in a cultural context like Burundi, but the same principle applies if they see a woman dressed improperly or if presented with pornography.

There are natural chemical responses in our bodies that manifest physically when faced with a sexual temptation. Particularly for men being more visual than women, they can get an adrenaline rush just from seeing a woman’s body. I agree that it’s not their fault that their bodies are made to respond like that because in the context of marriage it is wonderful and holy. HOWEVER, it is the man’s responsibility to deal with their response to culture and society in a way that glorifies God just as much as it is for a woman to dress and behave in a way that glorifies God. This means glorifying God both inwardly in their thought life as well as outwardly by turning away their eyes. The influence of the world doesn’t give believers the right to play victim to unrighteousness. We are held to the same Biblical standards regardless of others actions.

#4 Are We Protecting the Hearts of Others?

When people dress or act inappropriately it is often rooted in insecurity from a lack of identity in Christ. This insecurity produces selfishness that can lead to pressures to compete and compare with others, which can ultimately lead to compromise. If we honor the opposite sex selflessly as brothers and sisters in Christ, then we have an opportunity to mature in our identity in Him. This produces a pure heart that wants to protect others.

Proper identity in Christ as a son or daughter teaches us to honor, love, and protect those around us by treating them as we would the Lord Himself.

When a person reaches a place where they love the opposite sex purely and serve them with the heart of Christ instead of operating out of insecurity, God releases maturity into their hearts that can carry them into a healthy marriage. My single years taught me to be a sister to other men and to keep my heart guarded for the man I’d marry someday. Holding to this posture as a married or single person can help us create safe environments for godly relationships to flourish so that we can purely partner together for His kingdom.

#5 Have We Truly Experienced the Freedom in Christ that Sets Us Apart from this World?

Unrighteousness living presents “freedom” as being whoever we want to be and doing whatever feels good. The freedom in Christ produces what others could view as “restrictions”, but it ultimately gives us authentic liberty. Modesty isn’t limiting who we are; rather it’s releasing us into who God made us to be. Let me say to all the ladies reading this; there is incredible beauty in being a daughter of God. There is likewise a heavy burden in being a daughter of this world enslaved to what others define as beautiful.

When I read the blog that I mentioned in my intro, I was sitting in an Islamic context with women physically covered up all around me. This could be why the blog struck me as so bizarre as it conveyed that the more covered up a woman was; then the less men would lust, which I disagree with. I don’t know if that author is familiar with Islamic culture, nor do I pretend to be an expert, but I do know how oppressive that religion can be for women in various ways. In the manner of dress, they are typically covered up from head to toe, often in strict culture having only their eyes visible. The rationale behind this is because women’s bodies elicit lust and men simply can’t control themselves. Islam teaches that it’s the woman’s fault that men lust and that she must cover up her entire body. The Bible on the other hand teaches us to deny OURSELVES, crucify OUR FLESH and put to death the lusts of OUR SOUL. Herein lies my problem with Christians who teach that it’s not the man’s fault when he lusts after a woman. I wasn’t there, but from what I read, Bathsheba was only taking a bath! I’m not sure how it was her fault that David lusted after her. We must remember what Jesus said, “if anyone even looks at a woman with lust, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). If we say that it’s exclusively the woman’s fault that a man looks and then lusts after her, how then is that any different than Islam? If we suggest that women should only be covered in large baggy garments, how is that releasing freedom to the daughters of God?

I share this because the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ is not bound in legalism and oppression that the world offers. There is HOPE in Jesus that liberates us from sin and separates us into righteous living (right standing with Him). He calls us out from serving our flesh and into finding our beauty in who He has created us to be. This freedom doesn’t permit us to make others stumble. Rather, our modesty becomes worship to the one true living God.

*If you’d like to encourage someone with this blog, share it! If you’d like to comment on this, I’d love to hear from you. :)

I’m working on expanding this into a short book and would love your feedback! (Jan 2014)

Avocado Tree

In the backyard of my in-law’s house in Kenya is a huge avocado tree.

It produces avocados that average about 2 pounds each.
This varies largely in comparison to the tiny avocados that Stephen buys at Whole Foods in the States :)

My in-laws didn’t plant this tree, the former owners did.
Whenever they moved into the house and heard there was an avocado tree, they were a bit amazed as the tree was so little and didn’t produce any fruit.

My father-in-law asked a local gardener how to get the tree to produce fruit.

He was told to beat the tree with a bat or a stick.

I can only imagine what the neighbors must’ve thought when he went out to beat up the tree.

Shortly after the “beating”, the tree began to blossom for the first time. That was when they learned that these trees must be shocked in order to produce fruit.

This made me think about my walk with God.

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that praying for patience inevitably produces more opportunities for…patience right? Such as a traffic jam (which in Africa can be painfully long).

Well in my experience, there seems to be a place where when we go through trials and test that we have a chance to grow in the fruit of the spirit.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against sun there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”-Galatians 5:22-26

When you go into Christian bookstores and see jewelry and various other Christian items that have the fruit of the Spirit listed on there, the fruit appear simply and applicable to every believer’s life right?

There are even paintings of beautiful fruit baskets and cornucopia of fruit with Galatians 5 written on them.

I haven’t however seen huge warning signs or fine print attached to such beautiful gifts and decor that tell of what it took to produce that fruit.

Yet, that’s probably what should be written ;)

Let’s see long-suffering…what on earth does that mean?
What types of things would we walk through to produce that fruit in us? ::WHACK::
Kindness? What about that obnoxious neighbor who is completely disrespectful of anyone else but themselves? ::WHACK:: just a chance to grow in kindness.

I definitely think the picture of the avocado tree is a picture of us growing in the fruit of the Spirit.

I don’t mean to say that God beats us and challenges us in order for us to grow in fruit. But Jesus did say that in the life we would have trials and tribulations.

He never said life wouldn’t quit throwing punches at us simply because we are Christians, but we are promised that we are more than conquerors through Him.

So when life takes it’s “whacks” at you, ask Christ for endurance that you would produce fruit of the Spirit and fruit that remains.

The avocado tree in Kenya is now over two stories tall and produces several hundred avocados each year.

What fruit will the trials you’re going through now produce in the years to come?