Tag Archives: purity

Confessions of a Not So Newlywed


As I recently drove past a church on a main road on a Saturday night, a limo pulled out onto the oncoming lane and left behind lots of nicely dressed people waving goodbye with bubbles celebrating the newlyweds. I smiled and watched the limo disappear over the hill in my rear view mirror. I had flashbacks to the day I married Stephen. The overwhelming joy, my dress, our friends and family, how perfect it all was. I thought about what I’d tell this young couple if I had the chance to talk to them.

Stephen and I have been married now a little over 3 years. This puts us in what I’d call the “not so newlywed” stage. This is the phase where you’re out of the “honeymoon” stage and where you’ve sent out quite a few Christmas and thank you cards as a couple, but where you still find yourself staring at your spouse wondering, “Am I REALLY married to you??” both in good as well as confused ways.

Let me preface this blog by saying I am certainly NOT an expert on marriage. At 29 years of age, I am constantly learning more and more about everything. These are just some thoughts that Stephen and I’ve written over the last year or so of our marriage.

1. Marriage is not easy

(and all of my married readers shouted “AMEN”)

I honestly came into marriage with what I thought were fairly realistic expectations. I didn’t think it would be “happily ever after” or “picture perfect”, but I also didn’t expect it to be SO much work!

It’s not that marriage isn’t amazing, because it is! I’d HATE to scare any single friends out there. But I will say, it is hard work when you’re both TRULY committed to one another and have each other’s best interests at heart. You are two entirely different people who’ve lived two separate lives (even if you’ve been dating since the 8th grade).

Marriage is a collision of worlds, both in glorious ways and in ways that conflict.

It takes a lot of intentional focus and effort to make marriage work and it requires you to die to yourself daily like no other relationship. This is work that you both have to fully commit to in order for it to happen. It’s not something that can be delegated or be disregarded.

If you find yourself frustrated or freaking out because communication isn’t as easy as it was when you were dating or engaged, you can’t seem to agree on anything, or you feel like you’ve married a stranger—relax! You’re not alone! I congratulate you on being on a WONDERFUL journey where you get to grow and learn together.

2. Infatuation will end

Psychologists say that infatuation, or those “oooo” and “ahhhh” feelings last at most for 18 months. They say that after that time you will never ever experience those same feelings ever again.

That sounds like a heart breaking and traumatizing statement! However, those infatuating feelings are what keep some couples together and help them make a commitment to marriage.

Instead of the fickle feelings your relationship started with early on, you get to build upon true love. A self-sacrificing, self-denying, preferring one another kind of L—O—V—E. This love can still give you fun “oooo” and “ahhh” feelings, but it’s built upon a deeper mutual respect and trust.

To say that I was disappointed when I fell extremely ill on our honeymoon or got in a bad car accident shortly after being married is an understatement. We didn’t experience a great honeymoon or a “honeymoon” stage. For the longest time I was very upset and I felt like I had been robbed of what I thought I was entitled to as a newlywed.

I came to realize that Stephen and I get to build a foundation for our marriage that few get to  so early on through the hardships we’ve already faced. We get to choose love in the darkest, scariest, and most trying moments. We don’t choose to stay only in the realm of our feelings, which change day-to-day and from moment to moment. We have the opportunity before us daily to choose to love with a greater love than we could ever be capable of on our own.

3. Some days I want to be single again

I don’t mean to sound like I’m ungrateful because I’m truly thankful that I’m married or that I’m saying that my husband isn’t incredible, because he is.

It’s just that some days I want to be selfish and not have to think of someone else. When you’re married, you aren’t the center of your universe anymore and there is someone else to constantly think about and include. Sometimes I just want to check out on reality and only think about me. EEEEK—too honest?? I’m sure I’m not alone in this right? Help a girl out ;)

What I’ve found though, is that on the days I feel like this, as I listen to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit, I find how marriage is refining my heart to be more like Jesus. I can step back and realize marriage is forcing me out of my independent ways so that I’m more dependent on God in every way.

When I got married, we became one in every aspect. When I desire to have certain things the way that they were before we got married, I’m essentially separating what God has joined together.

4. Your relationships will change

Not all of them, but some relationships will change and not because you’re driving them away. It’s just a different circle or season of life that you’re in. The positive and beautiful side to this is that you two as a couple get to make friends together.

I feel absolutely spoiled by the love I’ve received from Stephen’s friends from all over the world. I’ve been hurt by and sad to lose other relationships, but every season holds its own beauty and its own disappointments. Embrace the new relationships together and work hard to keep the established friendships of those who love and believe in you.

5. You’re going to disappoint your spouse and even yourself.

Hold back your laughter, but I thought that I would be an awesome wife.
I thought I might even vacuum while wearing pearls!
Boy was I WRONG!

After Stephen and I withstood tough battles with his health problems in 2011 and a long-distance engagement, I thought that marriage was going to be fairly smooth sailing.

Little did I realize how insecure, selfish, prideful I was and it came pouring out like hitting the jackpot in a slot machine.

Give you and your spouse a break!
Marriage to one another is new for BOTH of you. Try to learn to be thankful for what they do and who they are and likewise what you contribute to your marriage as well.

A wise person once told me that you might only be 26 years old and 33 years of age like we were when we got married, but at your anniversary, you’re only 1-year-old as a couple, 2-year-old etc.

You wouldn’t expect a toddler to take care of itself, so work together to let your marriage grow and mature into something beautiful. Your spouse is with you in this process of change, so CLING to one another, and be QUICK to forgive and QUICK to ask for forgiveness.

 6. Sexual purity is just as important in marriage as it is before marriage.

I look back on our dating and engagement seasons with such joy and thankfulness. There’s not a day that I regret remaining pure with one another not just in action, but also pure emotionally and in our thought lives.

I never once felt uncomfortable around Stephen or regretted any interactions we had. I know this was the grace of God that came from a firm commitment we made before we even met to be pure sexually and emotionally. I have the same feelings of peace and thankfulness when I think about our marriage now.

Sexual purity, like anything else comes with the price of hard work. You must be willing to be honest and transparent with one another and set healthy boundaries in your marriage.

We’ve set strict boundaries in our marriage, not because we’re being tempted or because we don’t trust one another. We have them in place to protect and preserve our marriage and ensure that we remain faithful to what Jesus has for us.

Will you put up safety guards on your Internet to avoid porn sites? Will you include your spouse on a text message to someone of the opposite sex? What about riding in the car with the opposite sex? These examples are just to name a few considerations.

These might sound like legalistic rules, but let me assure you—you can’t have too much communication or openness. Not only will your marriage feel the safety, peace, and integrity that you establish, but it’ll be reflected to the world around you.

7. Counseling is priceless.

I wish couples spent some of the money that they typically spend on a wedding and invested it into their marriage.
Seriously though-sure the wedding day is beautiful and you’ll decorate with those pictures for the rest of your life except for me who doesn’t have any albums made yet.

However, in hindsight I’m glad we didn’t break the bank on our wedding, nor did our parents. We’ve been able to invest money into counseling, books, dates and vacations to help our marriage continue to flourish.

I don’t feel like you can put a price on counseling for marriage. It isn’t just for those who are facing divorce or have some deep issue going on. It can be for maintenance in your marriage and help you understand one another and grow together.

I personally know several friends who’ve gone through counseling with their spouses and have benefited so much from it. I recommend seeing a licensed counselor with a Biblical worldview that can give educated and also godly counsel.

Learn to laugh together and to lean on the Lord! He designed this beautiful covenant and He has all of the wisdom we need to build our marriages well.


My biggest confession of all is that I wish I’d met and married Stephen sooner! Life with him really is the best!

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

Tattered Jeans and Our Outward Appearance

I was greatly encouraged as I sat and looked up podcasts of one of my favorite preachers. This minister happens to be a lovely lady whom I’ve been very encouraged through her ministry in the past 6 years or so. I’ve not had great access to the Internet recently and I’ve certainly not had enough to stream or download videos in Africa. Upon watching 3 of her teachings and downloading a 4th, I noticed that she was wearing only 2 outfits between the 4 podcasts. What was interesting is that two of them were in random churches she was visiting and the other two were in her home church within a year of each other. Her full outfit was shown on the home church screen and I noticed that the pair of jeans she had on were a bit frayed in the back as if they’d been stepped on often. This isn’t a high-definition camera either and it was clearly obvious that her jeans were tattered in the back…and I smiled.

I smiled because here I am currently sitting here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, my hometown wearing borrowed clothes because all of my summer clothes are currently 12,000 miles away save a t-shirt or two.I smiled because this woman is well-known and while she always looks decent and put together, she’s clearly not consumed about what she wears.I smiled because it conveyed that she was more invested financially in the Kingdom that her own wardrobe. I smiled because the reality is, none of us should be consumed by our outward appearance, but we are often and this was a redeeming example to look to.

I remember coming across a post on Facebook from another well-known woman in ministry a few years ago. She wrote how she had just had her hair colored for a conference because as she said, “let’s be honest ladies, God may look at our heart, but women look at our hair”. I quickly scanned the over 1,000 comments that were growing by the minute and many said things like, “ I could never speak to that many women unless I lost weight”, or “I would color my hair too and maybe have liposuction and a nose job”! The comments weren’t all so extreme, but many reflected insecurities that would’ve intimidated them from speaking to a group of women on the scale this minister was going to do. I love this particular speaker as well and I don’t fault her at all for saying what she said. I get it. I think that we all do. However, is that the way we should view ourselves?

Do we care too much about our outward appearance? Do we try to buy the newest and greatest things only to make up the outward appearance? And are we critical of ourself and others based on how we are dressed? One glance at Facebook or Pinterest reveals that women care about their outward appearance a lot…oh and babies, puppies, and pumpkin everything, which is perfectly acceptable ;)

Quite honestly I rarely pay attention to what either of these women wear when they’re speaking or how they’re highlights look. I just happened to notice a unique top being repeated and it made me look closer. The reason that I don’t notice if these two women are dressed in expensive clothes or have a $200 hair do, is because I’m not watching them to see what they look like outwardly, I’m watching them to see who they are inwardly. I listen to their words because they bring life and truth from God’s word. I hear their maturity of having walked down paths ahead of me in life. And I receive their impartation of hope and identity to be the daughter of God that I’m called to be.

That’s what I want to do for you, whomever you are reading this post. I want you to feel empowered to be YOU (and yes even if you are a man—sorry you endured this female encouragement)! I don’t want you to feel like you have to go spend a lot of your paycheck on making up your outward self or keeping up with popular trends. Yes, I want you to be confident and feel comfortable, but I don’t want you consumed with it. I want you to be so excited and consumed with Jesus that you look to Him in all that you do. That you spend more time in His word and encouraging your faith, than you spend time doing your hair and makeup everyday. I want you to realize that your inward beauty is what REALLY matters. When you spend time on your purity of heart, no one will notice your tattered jeans, unless of course they do and it makes them smile :)

What are your thoughts? How have you struggled with your outward appearance and how has Jesus helped you in this?

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Matthew 6:25-30

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness-1 Timothy 2:8-10

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.5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. 1 Peter 3:3-5

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)