Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wear Does Our Value Come From?

Hey everyone!
My sweet sister in law has something on her heart that she wants to share with you all. What she shares is a huge issue among us women today. I asked her to put her heart into words and to let me post it here on my blog. Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

The following write up by Kristi:

As a young woman I suffered many abuses, including sexual abuse and rape, by the one man meant to protect me, my father. This left me with deep wounds I know many of you have as well. As a result I was constantly searching for the answers to the questions every woman and girl want and need answered; "Am I worthwhile? Am I enough? Am I VALUABLE?" Of course, I was looking in all the wrong places for all the right answers. I dressed as if my value came from the way men saw me physically, because for a long time I didn’t know any other way to get my questions answered. Thankfully we are blessed with a Loving, Patient, and Forgiving God, who knows our true hearts. He has been working on mine for many years and continues to, daily. I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve learned through the Holy Spirit and our Heavenly Fathers word. I pray that it might be of help to you, as well.

Wear Does Our Value Come From?

As Christian women, where are we getting validated? Is it in our daily quiet time with our Savior or is it in the looks and comments we get from men, because of the way we are dressed? There are so many frustrating issues in our world today that need to be bathed in prayer, but few are so completely within our control.

We are called to be salt and light in a dark world. Matt.5:14-16 says "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven." These verses are calling us to look differently than the world, yet how many of us read fashion magazines and try to imitate what we see or feel bad about ourselves because we will never be able to imitate what are on the pages? We have become so tolerant of worldly ways that I fear we don’t shine very brightly, if at all. When I allowed these images to get into my mind, through magazines, inappropriate TV shows, movies and videos, I gave the devil a foothold in my mind and heart. Eph.5:3 warns" But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s Holy people." Spiritual warfare is real and I had to get into the battle, for the sake of my marriage, my family and my own walk with Christ.

So, I had to ask myself; did I dress in hopes of catching a second glance or, did I see how valuable I was/am to God and want to honor Him because of His love for me?
This was a very hard question to address, and has taken a lot of humble tears to answer. How could Christ love me when I didn’t love myself?

Proverbs 31:10-12 states "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her, and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good not harm all the days of her life." Yet how could my husband trust me as his wife if I was advertising what was rightfully for his eyes only?
If we are dressing to impress others who are not our husbands or to compete with other women we are doing evil to ourselves, which in turn is doing evil to our husbands and our marriages because we become one body with our mates when we marry them. (Genesis 2:24) If you are not married yet, how will you know if your future husband loves you for who you are inside, if he’s distracted by how much he is seeing on the outside? I struggled with this fact for many years, wondering if my husband really loved me for who I was inside.

For a long time I was scared to have more children, because of what it might do to my figure, until I read these verses; Luke 23:27-29 states A large number of people followed him including women, who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bear and the breasts that never nursed!" These verses weigh so heavily on my heart. Even on the way to His death for OUR sins, Christ is warning us. This issue runs so deep in our society. How many babies have not been born, how many warriors for Christ are not in the battle because we have become too vain to birth, and raise them?
What about the women who do choose to have more than a few children? How many of us have thought to ourselves" At least I don’t look as bad as her!"? How many of us can say we have never compared ourselves to another woman and thought ourselves better because we have perkier breasts, a flatter tummy, or a thinner figure?
The mothers of many should be honored, for they sustain the next generation of warriors of our faith.

Proverbs 31:30 says” Favor is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." I believe this too is a warning, that as Christian women we are not heeding. The reality of life is that we all are going to get old. I know no one wants to hear this, but it is true. We are missing the point and the beauty of this fact. We are not meant to be here forever! We are meant for a better place, forever praising our Heavenly Father.

I had to ask myself" When I get older will I be happy with the person I have become? Will I be able to hear my master say 'Well done good and faithful servant'?" I wasn’t so sure, actually I knew I wouldn’t. I needed to make some serious changes, and through the help of my TRUE Father, my Heavenly Father I have begun to turn a new page.

Proverbs 31:22 says "She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple." We are obviously called in this verse to look nice and make an effort, but not in an Earthly way. When we have Christ’s light in our hearts, it fills us and HE shines through us. That is a beauty everyone will notice and can’t be faked or duplicated.

If you struggle with this same problem I have a few questions you can ask your self that might help; -Am I trying to say look a me in this?
-Will this outfit bring honor or shame to my husband and our marriage covenant with God?
-Am I dressing to compete with another woman, am I trying to look as good as or better than another woman?
-Would I wear this outfit if Christ was physically standing next to me?
(Because He is!)

The devil feeds us all lies, and wants to distract us from God’s plan for our lives, but we do not have to succumb to his efforts. We have the power of our Creator on our side. We may be low, but we are lifted up because of Christ.

You are valuable. You are loved. You are worthy. God created you for an intimate relationship with Him, and He sent His only son to die for you. He chose you.
He chose me. Let’s honor His love and sacrifice with our hearts, minds, bodies, and our lives. May we be shining examples of His love, for our children and each other, now and always.


Anonymous said...

Hey Brittnie,
I loved reading what your sister in law shared, she is so right about this area of sin in our lives.
I would like to put another spin on a part of what she said. For some of us the pride doesn't keep us from having more children instead it creates a struggle with pride as a result of having "many" children. I'm sure that many moms good could relate to this even after having only 1 or 2 children.
Ok, let me explain myself, and I don't have too much pride to make it personal, so here is what I mean.
For myself, probably because I became a mother very young while still sporting a very youthful figure and sense of style (this was not because I was sooo good at maintaining my youth, I WAS a youth),the first couple of times around we're pretty easy to bounce back from preganancy, physically and I loved everything about having babies so emotionally, I would be on top of the world. If this sounds vain, let me assure you that I always credited these great things to God most of all and then to my precious husband who has always been the most amazing "willing to do anything daddy" since day one.However, this set the stakes extremely high when I realized that my heart desired to have "many" children. At that point, with each new baby I would feel like I better keep it together, (physically, emotionally, mentally) or everybody would say,"well, number 3,4,5 put her over the edge, she can't quite keep it together anymore". This even played into how I kept my home, because neatness and organization have always been important to me.
Due to much prayer, this sinful pride has decreased in my life, however, it still rears it's ugly head from time to time. That's when I remind myself that 'God created me beautiful in His sight' and that 'He will continue to give me a sound mind' as long as I depend on Him for my strength, as opposed to using my own strength to try to keep it all together, which by the way, NEVER works. I also remind myself that He is the One who put this desire in my heart to be a mommy to many children and He didn't ask me to obey this call as long as I could do it and still appear to be some "super mom". He said, "do it my darling, and I'll take care of you".Though this pridefulness has caused me many stressful days, thank God I didn't let it keep me from abiding in Him and baring these precious babies.
It's my prayer that no woman would ever listen to Satan's lies that more children would be more than she could handle which is a comment I hear ALL the time. The last thing he wants, is for us to raise up more warriors for God's kingdom.
I'm constantly reminding myself of God's promise in Phil. 4:13 but I also try to remember that it doesn't matter if other people think I've still 'got it together' or not. I don't ever want to hear the Lord say to me,"you would have been a much better mother had you been less concerned with what others thought".
Just as the fashion/celebrity magazines seem to set the stakes so high for our physical beauty and body image, it can do the same thing for our 'mom image'. The mags are showcasing new moms who are a size 0 by 3 weeks postpardom and appear to be super women who do it all and still look great. I have a couple of things to say about this: first, of course it would all be easier with diet pills, personal chefs, nannies, assistants, and millions of dollars but the fact that so many of these 'super moms' wind up in rehab, jail or dead should be a clue that God didn't intend it that way. He intended us moms to be worn out and weary with out HIM!!!! Praise God that He provides better than millions of dollars and all the diet pills in the world!!!
Last of all, I have one more comment about the magazines and the celebrity TV shows. Obviously, I've seen them and it's hard to avoid any of the images all together but one of the best things us woman could do in our own defense (besides doing everything to glorify the Lord) would be-DON'T BUY THEM!!!! or even look at them in the grocery line or at the dr.s office. Change the channel, we are not required to watch their shows!!!
I hope I have accurately articulated in words what my heart is saying and someone else can relate.

Lynsey Tibbs said...

I wanted to comment on both your sister-in-law's entry as well as Polly's comment. I thought both made very good points on the having and raising of children. As you know I am not married and therefore, do not have any children but I can say that just a few years ago, I would have said that you would have to be nuts to have more than 2 or 3 children. People having 5 or 6 children (or more) would have to be crazy. Then I met a family while at the University of Alabama who were my mentors. They taught me that my life was meant to glorify the LORD in every way. I was already a Christian but they knew the LORD in a way I did not. They had four children at the time that we met and before moving to Georgia to take on a position as church pastor, they had one more and have had their 6th since. They were convinced as well that it is the LORD's will that they raise up warriors for His kindgom and that each child is a blessing, a sign that the LORD wants to do even more through them and through these children. As their family grew, I watched as their children (all younger than 6) answered catechism questions I did not know the answers to. I watched as they handled conflict between themselves in a biblical manner. I was shocked at how these children were able to obey their parents and, therefore the LORD, in a way that I found hard to do myself.
The family faced harsh criticism from their own family members who thought it was irresponsible for them to have so many children. With each new child, the calls from parents became less and less enthusiastic. Yet, as I looked on that family I saw the opposite of irresponsibility but instead great maturity and a high calling. They were surrendered to the LORD's will for their lives no matter what that meant, and they were also responsible with what the LORD had entrusted to them.
I say all this to say that "many" children are a blessing when entrusted to the LORD and, wow, what a calling to be asked to labor to raise and teach these children the way of the LORD. So to all those parents who have had any number of children to the glory of God....I respect you and consider it a blessing that the LORD has called you to raise up His warriors! Don't ever let the enemy discourage you!..."For the wisdom of the world is folly with God...." 1 Corinthians 3:19a

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for putting into words so much of what I wanted to say and yet was really meant for another post all together, it`s such a deep subject. My husband and I have 4 kids, so far, and we`ve decided to leave it totally up to the Lord, to choose to give us more or not, but we work very hard to raise them in a biblical way. It really does come down to the way you view your situation. Where is our heart? You know what I mean? When God is at our center things take on a more beautiful meaning. I thank God every day for my breast that nurse my babies, the arms that hug my sweet kids, my mind that works to teach them,and my heart that breaks to love them and FROM loving them. God has blessed us as women. We have such a special part in the miracle of life, why wouldn`t you want to take part in that as many times as God would allow you to? I guess another side of that is do we really believe what the bible says about our Lord? (That every thing we have comes from Him money, food, clothing,ect.) I certainly don`t always have it all together,(some days I feel like I`m barely hangin` on) but I don`t want people to think I do either, because it`s just too much to live up to. My prayer is that we might all just support and love each other as sisters of Christ and encourage one another to live by our convictions. Brittnie, thanks for letting me have a chance to get this off my chest. I love you and miss you. I love to see the Great work He`s doing in you!- I am SO proud of you-Kristi