You are More

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These days I’m noticing more and more just how much women are objectified. Women are viewed as pretty objects, pleasurable things to look at and toy with, something fun to use for a while until they’re temporarily satisfied or a prettier one comes along.

Before I go any further, let me get this straight: I am NOT a feminist. In fact, I feel that I’m about as far from modern “feminism” as one can possibly be without being labeled a “sexist” (like many men are wrongly accused of being these days, when actually all they’re asking for is a little respect. Funny how their cry for “equality” is always labeled as “sexist.” Shouldn’t we be calling it “masculism” and quit shoving “feminism” down their throats, because last I checked, every human has rights. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic for a whole ‘nother day). So, no — I’m not a feminist who hates men, and this post is not about how women are mistreated and we need to stand for equality, blah, blah, blahhhh. Nope, none of that nonsense here on my blog, people.

Anyway. Now that we’ve got that straightened out (and if you’ve read any of my other posts it was clearly obvious already), let me just get back to what I’m supposed to be talking about. Sorry for rambling.

As I was saying, women nowadays are severely objectified. And while I will point out that males were intentionally created to be very visual people and their brains are just wired differently than females’ — that’s how they always have been and how they always will be — it doesn’t at all mean they have a good excuse for looking at a woman and lusting at her body, or only “caring” (if I may flippantly use that word here) about her physical appearance. But y’all, there is a huge difference between attraction & admiration and lust & selfish sexual desire. A man is naturally going to be attracted to and admiring of a woman’s body — again, that was exactly God’s intention — but there is a line that must be drawn there, so that attraction doesn’t turn to lust, which can then become merely a selfish desire to be sexually satisfied. Outside of marriage, sex is not a holy thing created by God; it is a sin. And thinking of someone, who is not your spouse, in a sexual way, is lust. Because of their visual characteristic, men have to work pretty hard to control their thoughts and guard their hearts in this area in order to be pleasing and faithful to God.

But I’m not here to harp on the men. I’ve explained enough and said plenty about them up to this point, but I am obviously not a male and therefore not qualified to instruct the male population how they ought to conduct themselves (#notmyjob).

Yet, I’m also not writing here today to harp on my fellow female population, either. I just want to make a point in as few words as possible and be on my way (because I am doing such a great job being so short winded thus far — ha ha).

When I said earlier that I’ve noticed women being viewed as pretty objects and things to be used, I didn’t specifically say that we’re seen that way only by a lot of men. No, women are seeing themselves that way, too.

And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

Society is telling women that “you’re beautiful just the way you are” while at the same time using half naked women in advertisements in order to sell everything from underwear to books to cheeseburgers. Hypocritical much?! It’s no wonder we’re so confused!

From the beginning, when God made the first man and the first woman, He made them special. He made people in His image (Genesis 1:26) and then when He was finished creating on Day 6, He “saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). First and foremost, you were created by God in His image, and He says you are good.

And as if that wasn’t enough, He says that women specifically are very special. A virtuous woman — a woman who is good and kind — is so very valuable in this world. Proverbs 31:10 says that a good woman is worth “far above jewels.” Later on in the same chapter (verse 30), it says that charm and beauty will fade away, but what is on the inside is what’s really important: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who reverences the Lord, she shall be praised.”

We can dress up — or like so many around us, dress down — or fix our hair or wear nice jewelry, but that’s not what makes us beautiful. What matters most and what truly defines genuine beauty is our heart. Our heart is so very precious to God, and if we have a good heart, the right people will see it and it will shine so bright it makes us beautiful on the outside as well. I’ve met people I thought were gorgeous on the outside until I got to know them a little, and came to find that their heart was bad, and unfortunately that then made them ugly on the outside. Peter tells us what God thinks about the inward-to-outward beauty in I Peter 3:3-4: “Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

We can wear pretty clothes and fine accessories, but true beauty lies beneath all that. And if someone can’t see past what you have on in order to know you are beautiful, or if the only way they think you’re pretty is if you’re not wearing anything, then you’re not looking to the right person to attract. A good man values women as precious humans to be loved and cherished, not looked to as a pretty thing with only one purpose — to please them.

Paul said in Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her… So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.” Ladies, if we are to be treated by our husbands as Christ treats His church, then we can know that our value is more than skin deep, and we don’t have to dress provocatively in order to be beautiful.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather dress modestly and discreetly and be respected by real men, called beautiful by my own husband, and know that I am cherished and valued by my Lord than to dress in as little as possible or show a bit of cleavage or too much of my legs in order to turn heads everywhere I go just so guys will think I’m pretty on the outside.

You are pretty on the outside, because God made only one specially perfect version of you, but don’t let that alone define you, because outward beauty is shallow and temporary. My great-grandma used to say, “Pretty is as pretty does,” and I remind myself of that often. If your heart is pretty, you’re a pretty person. Worry about being pretty on the inside, and that will shine out of you so that others will see your true beauty, inside and out. Wearing skimpy clothes doesn’t make you beautiful; it just takes away from the real you. You are more than how you look on the outside. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and that’s enough, so don’t ever tell yourself otherwise.

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand…” (Psalm 139:13-18)

Have a great day!
~Courtney Faith

Cosmopolitan Magazine, Celebrated Abortion, and Compassion

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One day last year we had someone else’s magazine dropped into our mailbox. Our address was on the back, but under someone else’s name. It was a Cosmopolitan magazine. I never read their stuff, because, like most other magazines, they are just full of garbage (and I am much more likely to read Better Homes and Gardens than anything), but before throwing it in the trash can, I quickly skimmed through it to see just what is printed in a popular magazine read by millions these days.

What I saw was nothing more than what I expected, sadly: weight-loss tips (because you’re not skinny enough), celebrity gossip (because that’s what’s really important), half-dressed women (because fully-dressed women aren’t pleasant to look at), beauty tips (because you’re not pretty enough), and how-to-have-better-sex articles (because, obviously, that’s what life is all about).

You’re catching my sarcasm, I hope?

So, before tossing this abhorrent thing into the trash, one of the article titles in the index caught my eye and I stared at it in horror: How to Get a Safe Abortion. I flipped to the page it was on, hoping that surely it wasn’t about to say what I was afraid it would say. But it did. It said exactly that and much more. This entire magazine was filled with articles about how awful anti-abortionists are, and how great abortion is, how safe, how selfless, how empowering.

In the article titled How to Get a Safe Abortion, they use the word “safe” so many times. Isn’t it strange how their definition of “safe” means only one person is actually physically saved in the process, while at the same time an innocent, separate life is being ripped from the woman’s body and murdered, all in the name of “protecting women” and “women’s rights.”

A “safe abortion” would be not to have one. A “safe abortion” would be using your right to choose by choosing life for both mother and baby. A “safe abortion” is not even possible. There is no such thing as a “safe abortion.”

Defending once again the so-called “safety” of an abortion, they wrote, “Legal abortion remains exceptionally safe, with a major complication rate in the U.S. estimated around 0.2 percent.” But they have forgotten about the other “major complication rate” which is 100% to the life they are so heartlessly diminishing. They don’t care about that other life, as so many claim to by saying they’re doing it “for the good” of the baby.

“It’s not like ending a pregnancy is fun. But by three years later, 99 percent of women seeking abortions say they made the right choice, according to researchers who interviewed 667 women.” While it may be true that some women get through having an abortion with no physical complications and no regrets afterward, most women DO regret it, whether immediately or eventually. Most women wish they could have kept the baby. Most women hate what they’ve done and feel so ashamed.

This magazine issue included interviews with several women who had had abortions. While those women say they have no regrets or doubt they made the right decision, I truly wonder if they’re really being honest with themselves, if they have just lied to themselves for so long that they are starting to believe that what they did is okay. I would guess they have, at some point, felt pain and regret for what they did, but just don’t want to face it because it’s just too hard and there is no going back. Or maybe Cosmopolitan is not even telling the entire story; just what they want other women to hear and believe.

Reading the interviews with those women made me sick to my stomach. It also made me so extremely sad for them. I wonder if had these women had someone lovingly tell them everything would be okay if they kept their baby, they might have listened. If someone had given them hope and strength and the motivation to care for the little life inside them instead of pressing them to abort, they might have listened.

One of them spoke of her day at the clinic and remembered seeing protesters standing outside. She and her boyfriend were about to go pay for a murder, but the ironic thing is she was worried that the protesters would start something violent. She added, “There was a security guard out there too, and he let us into the building. I thought, ‘At least there’s not going to be any violence.’ It made me feel better.”

Pro-abortionists claim that it’s an act of selflessness when you choose to end a life (yes, they admit it’s a life) because you’re preventing him or her from having a hard or less-than-ideal life later on, but in reality it’s a selfish answer to their “problem.”

One of the women interviewed said, “I have a lot of tattoos and it hurts to get tattooed, but there is a point when you think, I am getting something out of this pain. The abortion felt sort of the same. It was uncomfortable and strange, but my brain switched to, ‘It’s fine because after this pain I get this [positive thing].’ …I wouldn’t be the person I am—a successful, happy person—if I had to have that baby. I would be somebody stuck in poverty with few options to dig out of it. I didn’t become a heart surgeon or win a Nobel Prize. I just became an independent person who was able to find happiness. The opportunity to do that is the least anyone deserves.”

This next one took me completely by surprise:

A wife and already mother of three, said that when she and her husband found out they were expecting again they immediately knew they didn’t want the baby and went to schedule an abortion the very next day. They thought their life was perfect just the way it was and that another baby would just mess all of that up. “We love our little family and are super happy,” she said. At the end of the interview she added that she doesn’t regret the abortion at all. “Recently,” she said, “I babysat for my sister-in-law. She has a 2-year-old and an infant, and I was like, ‘No, no, no, I don’t want to do this again.’ So, no, I don’t regret the decision, and I don’t want to have seven babies to make up for it.”

I write all this to point out that there is so much hurt and so much hatred and so much selfishness in this world. There are very, very cold hearts that maybe we even think deserve to die in their filthy sins. But we must remember that there are also those who are 100% ignorant of the wrong they have done. They all simply need a loving person to help them see the error of their ways and be merciful and compassionate enough to help them through the tough times and just be their friend. Even the knowingly guilty ones can turn from their sins and be forgiven. Even the women who “don’t regret” their abortions. Even the doctors, who are trained to help maintain life but who choose to take it as well, can turn from their evil deeds and be forgiven.

We must remember that there is still good in this world too, even though thousands of babies are killed every single day. And we need to BE that good in the world. WE need to be the loving hands who help others find the right way. WE need to be the arms that hold those who have made horrible mistakes and grieve with them. WE need to be the merciful and forgiving people who will befriend those who have repented of their sin and are washed of it. WE need to be like Jesus, who looked past a person’s mistakes and simply saw a dirty soul that, through Him, could be washed as white as snow.

This past Sunday our preacher gave a lesson on compassion. He gave a contrast of the scribes and Pharisees versus Jesus. They were all against sinful living and told people about the error of their ways, but the way they presented their messages to the people was different: the scribes and Pharisees did so with a haughty spirit and pride and hatred in their hearts, but Jesus did so with compassion every single time. And in the end, who got the people to listen? It was Jesus, because He cared about each person and wasn’t haughty and arrogant like the scribes and Pharisees. We ought to have that same compassion toward every single soul we come in contact with.

We are called to be compassionate people. Pro-choicers are so convinced that we are a hateful gang with no tolerance whatsoever and no love for women. But while there may be some pro-lifers out there who are hateful and angry (and with good reason), we don’t need to be like that. Jesus called us to be lights in this dark world, and the salt of the earth that has lost its flavor. When we speak, we are to do so with grace, just like He did. He looked past the dreadful sins of the people and reached for their soul. We can do the same by not judging someone by their terrible deeds–even an abortion–and kindly help them see the wrong, show them that there is forgiveness, and love them just like Jesus loves them.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)

Cosmopolitan Magazine, I have a suggestion for you: If you so claim to love and help and protect women, why not show a little genuine compassion and help them to see that a baby is not the end of their world. Help them see that murdering a baby is not ever the right or selfless or loving answer to their predicament. Show them that maybe if they sincerely think they can’t support a little human, then adoption is an option because so many couples not able to have a baby of their own are desperately wanting one to love. Maybe you could help these women get back up on their feet again so that they actually can support the little life growing inside them. Maybe instead of “empowering” them by helping them get the career they want by taking their baby’s life, really empower them by helping them strive for that career, all the while loving and caring for their baby, because I have seen so many women prove that it is possible. Cosmopolitan, there are SO many ways of loving and helping and protecting women, and it’s not the way you’re doing it.

~Courtney Faith

Lord, Increase Our Faith!


“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and be planted in the sea”; and it would obey you.'” (Luke 17:5-6)

George Mueller, a German follower of Christ, when asked about his ability to replace fear with faith, and to trust in God during troubling times in his life, replied, “My faith is the same faith which is found in every believer. It has been increased little by little for the last twenty-six years. Many times when I could have gone insane from worry, I was at peace because my soul believed the truth of God’s promises. God’s Word, together with the whole character of God, as He revealed Himself, settles all questions. His unchangeable love and His infinite wisdom calmed me . . . . It is written, ‘He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ ”

We all have our own personal fears each day of our lives, and we must choose to either face them or allow ourselves to be conquered by them.

I had been thinking recently about various small fears in my own heart, and the need to overcome them. Then a couple weeks ago I happened to come across an article about fearless birth in a magazine a friend had loaned to me, and it spoke specifically about the necessity of replacing fear with faith: “…eliminating fear is not impossible, for there is something that is much more powerful than the most all-consuming fear: faith.”

This can apply to any fear in one’s life, whether it be as big a thing as child birth or simply being anxious over a test or something else that may be bothering you.

Then one Wednesday recently at our mid-week Bible study, the song leader led the most appropriate song that related to what had been on my mind several days prior, and it was really exactly what I needed to hear, and a prayer that I need to be praying each and every day:

“O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink” (originally entitled, “The Power of Faith”) by William H. Bathurst, 1831 (I believe this song has its own tune, but we sang it to the tune of “I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord.”)

O for a faith that will not shrink, / Tho’ pressed by ev’ry foe,
That will not tremble on the brink / Of any earthly woe!

That will not murmur nor complain / Beneath the chastening rod,
But in the hour of grief or pain / Will lean upon its God.

A faith that shines more bright and clear / When tempests rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear, / In darkness knows no doubt.

Lord, give us such a faith as this; / And then whate’er may come,
We’ll taste, e’en here, the hallowed bliss, / Of an eternal home.

We don’t need to have fear. Instead, we need to have faith. It’s a work in progress. And little by little, as George Mueller said, we can work at increasing that faith every day for the rest of our lives.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Have a blessed day!
~Courtney Faith

She Shall Be Praised

Week before last both of my grandmothers celebrated their birthdays, just a day apart, and I got to thinking about just how blessed I am to have these two wonderful women in my life.

My mother’s mother is Esther, and her name means “star.” This is very fitting because I have always thought that she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever known, because her beauty is not only physical but comes straight from the heart, and anyone around her can see it so vividly. Everything she does shines bright with her goodness and love.

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3 NLT)

My father’s mother is Vera. Her name means “true” and “faith,” and I believe this is appropriate because she is very faithful to God to her loved ones, and to herself. I’ve never known her to be selfish, even if others took advantage of her giving heart. She has so many talents, and enjoys finding new ways to use them and learn more.

“The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you have entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your lord.’ “ (Matthew 25:20-21)

~

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be blasphemed.” (Titus 2:3-5)

Both of my grandmothers grew up farming and gardening and came from large families. They were taught to work hard at everything they did, and that you can do anything you set your mind to do, as long as it is honoring to the Lord. I honestly think they do not know what laziness feels like, because they have always kept busy in working and helping people and providing for their own. They can garden, they can cook like nobody’s business, they are wise, and they are simply a joy to be around. They love their Lord and their families more than anything, and I am very thankful for these two wonderful examples in my life who have taught me so many valuable things.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who reverences the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:30-31)

Who are some good examples you cherish in your own life?

Have a blessed day!
~Courtney

Modesty: An Attitude of Love

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For a while now, I’ve been wanting to write to the ladies about modesty. It’s kind of a big deal and a huge study once you try and get the information to talk about it, but I’m going to try to write on this topic in as little words as possible, but with several passages from the Bible.

First off, I’d like to say that although immodesty/modesty is obviously a physical issue, having to do with what you wear and how you wear it, it is not completely about that. Modesty is mainly an issue of attitude. The way you present yourself says a lot about who you are as a person. The way you present yourself physically says a lot about your character and outlook on life. It says a lot about your own self-esteem, but most importantly, is says a lot about your love for others, in particular your brothers in Christ.

     When we dress immodestly, we are sending a message to fellow Christians and the world that we don’t really care what people think of us. We are saying it doesn’t matter that we might be distracting to someone or causing a man to stumble — we just selfishly dress in a way that pleases ourselves, and might say it’s not our fault, but theirs for lusting after us.

But this isn’t completely true. Sure, the men need to guard their eyes and hearts and not think bad things, but have you been to town lately, or turned on your TV, or looked at a catalog that came to your mailbox recently? Immodesty is everywhere!The guys have got it tough enough. I don’t think we girls who claim to be Christ followers need to be contributing in any way to that sort of thing. We need to make an effort (no matter how hard you may have to look for modest clothes), to be an encouragement and not a distraction to the men around us.

We need to realize that once we have put on Christ in baptism, that we are no longer our own, but God’s, by purchase. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and  you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Once we have put on Christ, we are His and in Him, and have no right to dress inappropriately to draw attention to ourselves. “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.” (Galatians 5:24-25) “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

We need to look out for the best for not only ourselves, but those around us. What we wear may make us feel good, but it’s not helping those around us to grow closer to the Lord and remain focused on Him. “Let no one seek his own, but each other’s well-being.” (1 Corinthians 10:24) “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others. Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.“(Philippians 2:3-5) “Let all that you do be done with love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)

 “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which  is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

Again, modesty is not only physical. It’s an attitude, looking out for others in the way you behave and the way you present yourself. “Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel —rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4) This doesn’t mean we can’t dress up and look pretty; it just means that the outside is not what matters, but rather to be ladylike and pleasing to God.

No one said it’s going to be easy, but doing what is right will never go out of style. We need to lead by example, even if we’re one of the very few who are doing what’s right. “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) “Be diligent to present yourself approved of God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” (2 John 5-6)

Have a blessed day!

~Courtney