Made New

What an incredible God we serve. I wish this was something that I spoke as often as I breathe, because it puts everything into perspective. It draws me out of my emotions, situations and attitudes and places all of my … Continue reading

Sex and God

Sex & God

I read an article the other day that broke my heart. I’m not referencing it here because I don’t write for the sake of arguing or even defending my faith. I write out of the desire to share truth in a world blinded by so many lies. 

This article talked about the issues that happened to a woman who waited until marriage to have sex. She stayed a virgin and when things didn’t pan out as she had hoped after her wedding day, she blamed it on the church and regretted her decision to wait until marriage. First off, I would like to say that a decision to wait until marriage to have sex should not only be a personal decision, but it also is not designed by the church, it is designed by God. Secondly, being a virgin should not be our identity, but being a child of Christ should be. It truly made me sad that this woman was not only raised in a church that put her viriginity on a pedestal and let it define who she was, but that she connected that part of her life with the church and not Christ. 

I have nothing to back up my ideas other than faith and my belief in the Bible. I also know that writing something on this topic is opening myself up to many negative responses, and I’m okay with that.

I was raised in the church, and although sex and waiting has been encouraged and talked about, it was never created as an idol. In a society where sex is the norm, staying pure until marriage is rare. It’s even becoming acceptable in the church. 

It breaks my heart to see that women, even girls, are not able to find love and affection in any other way. They too easily give of themselves, without understanding just how much they are actually giving. 

Staying pure goes beyond sex, it includes emotions as well. Although I’m still a virgin, I am the first to admit that I have given of my emotions and heart too freely. The Bible says we should protect our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), but we all have a God-shaped hole in our heart and we will try to fill it with anything that comes our way. 

I hate that the enemy has gotten such a strong grip on our generation. He has gotten us to believe that if we just give of ourselves, we will be satisfied. What is so unfortunate, is that it never fills the hole in our hearts. 

I’m 21, single and have never really been in a relationship. I’m the Moses of this generation, because I don’t have much experience in this department, so maybe I have it all wrong. But I also know that as a young person, I’m able to and should be an example (1Timothy 4:12). If we as Christians are not living as the Bible calls us to, then what makes us any different than the world? 

You see, abstaining from sex until marriage is not an identity, and it shouldn’t even be tied to the church. If you’re remaining a virgin for the sake of praise from others, then you’ve got it completely wrong. As I’ve said on so many other topics, it always comes back to the heart. 

God created you sacred, pure and you are His child, His artwork. Forget all the tactics that are used to push people towards abstinence, and simply bask in the fact that you are a masterpiece. Would you take the Mona Lisa to the beach and set it in the sand? Would you take a Van Gogh piece and lay it on your lap while eating spaghetti? 

Then why would you take a masterpiece God created, which is invaluable, and give it away so freely?

Sex is prevalent in our culture. You can hardly turn on a show or movie without it being referenced or included. The biggest struggle is to understand that it was created as something sacred. Sex is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:18, Hebrews 13:10, Matthew 15:19). There are no ‘if’s or ‘but’s about it. 

It’s sad that this woman had a bad experience, but I think it’s worse that this is publicly displayed. I can’t even imagine the many lies that are filling the heads of young women everywhere who happen upon this article. They instantly question their decisions, or believe that sex is not sacred or giving of self.

My prayer is that Jesus would prevail in this generation. That sex before marriage would no longer be the norm. That women and girls would see themselves as beautiful and precious treasures to be discovered, not a toy to be used and left behind. 

There are so many blurred lines in our culture, and the difference between a God-fearing woman, and non-Christian woman is becoming far to small. We should be honoring our bodies as the masterpieces God created them to be. We should be waiting for the man that desires to protect us as if we are precious treasures. We should be desiring more than what the world has to offer, because we have a God who can offer so much more. He will fill the hole in your heart, and He is the only thing that can. 

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

{Job: Part 1} Be a Cheerleader

You probably know his story. It’s taught repeatedly. Lately, I’ve been digging into the story and God has been revealing many new things. I believe this story provides more than the idea of being grateful for God giving and taking away. In this post and the next to come, I’m going to dive into these scriptures and see what I learn along the way. Hopefully, you’ll join me!

Note: I’m not an expert theologian nor am I a Bible scholar, but I do love the Lord and want to share what I am learning. Please, take what you read with a grain of salt and by all means, ask questions!

Job goes through testing. He has everything stripped from his life and still chooses to trust and praise God (Job 1:21, 13:15 ). That’s the part of the story we most often hear and learn about.

So, put yourself there. Imagine having every single, precious and important thing in your life stripped away. Imagine choosing to praise God, regardless of your circumstances. Then imagine your body deteriorating on top of all that’s already been lost. Can you imagine the emotional state you would be in? Can you imagine how drained you would feel? I think at that point, all I could do is sit and cry. I’m not sure I would have the ability to utter a single word.

Enter Elihu (stage left). 

We all have that friend that cheers us on. Regardless of our response, they are always on the sidelines ready to give an insightful word or encouraging praise. Take all of the insight and encouragement you’ve received in your life and throw it all into a pile and you have the core of who Elihu was. Chapters 32-37 of Job are his starring moments and boy do they shine! Please take a moment read through them!

Here we have this young man, one that doesn’t even feel capable of what he’s about to do. I can actually imagine this Elihu character light up as he begins speaking and then continues…and continues…and continues. Talk about discovering your passion!

He spends six chapters challenging Job. He spends six chapters expressing the power and mercy of our incredible Savior! He spends six chapters speaking Truth. All at once he is inspiring us to step further into faith, empowering us to push more into Christ and challenging us to look at our own faults and weaknesses.

My favorite part is that he begins his speech by expressing that he is young and therefore probably not wise enough to say what he’s about to. In the beginning you can feel the uncertainty in his words, but as he continues, you can feel his confidence rise and the power in his words! That right there, is God at work in someones life!

Let this be a lesson to us that in times of doubt and insecurity, we can still make a positive impact. When we’re feeling down and out, there is someone else we can be cheering on. And just because we are young, does not mean we are less capable or worthy of God’s calling.

As 1 Timothy 4:12 says, we still have the ability to set standards and be examples for those around us as young people. We should be doing that in everything, especially our words and relationships. Speak up when you feel God moving; let God use you to ignite fires and challenge others! Don’t hold back because of a lie that the enemy has planted in you! God is so much bigger than your biggest insecurity or weakness.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you would fill me with your Truth. That I would press into You and your heart more in each moment. Use me to reach others, in any capacity. Use my words to spark and not dull flames. May my words be evident of Your work in me. I want to be cheering people on, not discouraging them. If there is a weakness in me that hinders me from speaking Truth, I ask that you reveal that in me and teach me to overcome it. I want more of you, Jesus, forever and always. In your glorious name I pray, Amen. 

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Single Sadness

The other morning I was taking my brother and his best friend to a bus stop in Cleveland. It was early and my brain hadn’t started working to its full ability. My brother and I were having random conversation when he asks if there were any updates on boys. I said no and he responded with a saddened, “awe..” to which I retorted, “why?” He then realized how quickly people apologize or are sad for you when they find out you are still single.

Why do we do this? I know I’ve done it, and I definitely know I’ve heard it. Why can’t we instead rejoice for all the amazing things God may be doing in a single person’s life?

This is something that has always bothered me.

I’m not sure I can count on my hands how many times I’ve heard, “I’m sorry you’re still single” and “You’re so young..you have time” within a single breathe! The problem I have with this is that, for the most part, I’m content with being single. I’ve been single my entire life, and I kinda like it. I like the freedoms that come with it. I like that I’m able to use this time to learn spiritual disciplines and step further into faith. (And I love that I don’t have to buy gifts for an extra someone on holidays!)

I’m not going to list all the great things about being single, because there are already plenty of resources out there. I also recognize the many great things about being in a relationship. And don’t get me wrong, I want those too! Whenever the time is right, I’m very much so looking forward to being in a relationship with a man, having God as the foundation.

So please, don’t treat single people like they should be in a rush to find someone and settle down. There are too many people out there who have settled for less already. Don’t tell us that we’re young and have lots of time; some of us have wanted marriage for years and there is nothing wrong with that.

Being single is not a disease and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us.

Quit telling us that it’s okay to be single and that we should also be getting married within one conversation. Instead, try asking us what God is doing in our lives. Ask about where we’re serving and how we’re furthering the Kingdom. Strive to know our hearts, not our relationship status’.

When I’m no longer single, I’m sure you’ll here about it. When the right person comes along, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. When I get a ring on my finger, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. The same goes for the many other singles my age.

God is doing so much more in my life than giving me a love life worth talking about. God has called me to so much more than to sit and wallow in my singleness; He has given me (and each of you) the greatest call we could ever respond to! So join me in going into the world and making disciples! And help us singles out by asking how God is moving, rather than who we have our eye on.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

 

Restoration

I’m currently renovating my bedroom, and what I was hoping would take a few days has turned into what will probably be a few weeks. I started sanding down the stucco on my ceiling, wishing to finish it in one day, but it’s turned into a four day process.

Isn’t that like life sometimes? We jump into something assuming it’ll pass quickly and we can move on to bigger and better things (like painting the walls), but it turns out that it is a far bigger time commitment or that there are a lot more steps involved?

Five years ago I renovated my old bedroom and had to go through the same process of scraping down the plastered on stucco pattern. I spent day after day in my room chipping away at it. I can’t help but feel that that is what it’s like for God when He’s working on us.

Over the past several months, I’ve grown in inexplicable ways. God has taught me so much, and I’m now beginning to walk into a season of restoration in my own life. God is stripping off the old scabs on my heart, filling in the holes from my past and replacing them with new, life-bringing Truth and putting a fresh coat of paint on it all so that I might catch the eye of an onlooker. That someone could look at my life and see God at work, see His amazing grace being poured over me as he renovates my heart.

I’ve been recognizing that when we desire change and growth, it often becomes a much bigger project that what we originally anticipated. We think, or dream, that it will be an overnight process. That we can have some good prayer at night and in the morning we will be a new person. How often are we disappointed when that isn’t the case?

God’s work in us takes time. It is a process with countless steps, because we never reach the point of perfection. Just like a house, there are always things that can be improved and upgraded. Our hearts are full of so much baggage, wounds and sin that it takes our entire lives to become God’s restored people. Romans 12:1 is a great example of this. We are to continue pursuing perfection because the end goal of Heaven with Jesus is well worth the hard work and time.

I have loved working on my room, as intense as it has been, because as I’ve been working on the appearance of my room, God has been working on the state of my heart. He has been teaching me so much and giving me a much needed getaway. It’s given me a place to cry to Him, worship Him and listen to His truth.

I’m so thankful that God gives us these analogies to help us grow. He teaches us each in such unique ways to grab our attention.

What is in you that needs restored? Where are you willing to let God work, no matter how long or daunting the task, because God’s work in you is never finished.

Have a blessed day,

-Sadie

Speak Life

“I’m not as smart as him.”

“I probably can’t do it.”

“I’m not as pretty as her.”

“She’s a better mother than I could ever be.”

“I always mess things up.”

“I’m so stupid.”

“I’m not good enough.”

These are all thoughts that we’ve had, myself included. The last one especially. Philippians 4:8 says, “Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.” This verse is often used in reference to thinking purely, but the more I read it, the more I realize how broad it is. True, pure, good, beautiful. Those are a few of the words that really stand out to me when I think about negative thoughts.

God has really been putting a burden on my heart for speaking truth into the lies that others have bought into. This morning as I was looking to Scripture to find direction for my thoughts, I kept coming to the words “encourage”, “lift up”, and “life”. I’ve written about the significance of words in previous posts, because as a writer I have been able to directly see the weight of them.

Today, I want to focus on Ephesians 4:29. There are so many verses that state our obligation to encourage and lift others up. I use such a strong word, because the Bible doesn’t say, “It’d be kinda cool if you could…” it just says to do it! Not to do it only if you’re having a good day, or your mood allows for it. This verse says, “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.”

I was recently talking to a friend on the phone who is nearing graduation and beginning to have plans for her future come together. Others have been starting to recognize in her the insecurity she holds and how that impacts her thought cycle. While we were goofing of and enjoying each other, she said a comment, that she probably figured was in passing. All I could hear in her words were lies, negativity and insecurity. I called her on it. She tried to move on, but I just could not let it go. In that moment, I could feel God speaking life into her. It was not my own thoughts, words or heart being spoken to her in that time, but rather God using me to reach her.

I’m not sure why this passion and burden has been set so strongly on my heart recently, but what is so beautiful about it is that I can actually do something with it! I can confront those words when they are spoken by others.

I want to challenge you to do the same. I believe that’s one of the best parts of relationships, is the ability to build others up! When you hear someone speak down on themselves, whether clearly or in passing, don’t just idly hear it and continue on. Stop the conversation, call them on it, and speak life into the negativity. Honestly, it is a challenging thing to do, it’s much easier to just let it slide, but I think this is one small aspect of what it looks like to love others as yourself. If I were to say things about myself that were flat-out lies, I would want someone to attack it and encourage me.

Just a thought to roll around in your mind!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

The Busy Competition

It’s like we’re constantly comparing our busyness to others. I’ve done it and I’m sure I’ll do it again. It makes me feel less-than and insignificant, which are complete lies of the devil!

We have this idea, this false belief,  that busyness is equal to success.

I’ve heard and even seen some cases in which busyness has led to destruction. Busyness, generally, causes stress. You have a schedule that is steady and you are responsible for keeping track of everything. That along causes stress! Actually doing each of these things is an additional wear and tear on the body. Although I do believe there are a few cases in which stress can be helpful, it is mostly a damaging force.

I think that our schedules should be something decided between us and Jesus. I love The Message version of Romans 12:1-2 which says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

This verse fully expresses how much our lives should reflect Christ.

If having a busy schedule works for you, if you don’t find yourself comparing it to others or keeping it busy simple to detract from having time to actually think, then kudos to you!

Right now, I’m in a weird place in life, and it has busy extremely busy. There are times that I wish to just run away for a week and ignore my chaotic schedule and responsibilities, but most days I love what I’m doing. Yes, I very much so long for the days of having one job, rather than four, and not trying to balance school, jr. high leading and relationships all at once. I am constantly reminding myself that this is temporary, and also of what a blessing all of my jobs have been.

If I ever find myself comparing my calendar to someone else’s, my goal is to stop and pray about it. To pull my focus back to Christ and remind myself that busyness does not equal success. Not to have more down time, but rather to make sure my attention is on God!

I strongly believe that this competitions between schedules has to end. Having a slower schedule does not make you any less. Having a busier schedule does not make you any more successful.

I’ve been recognizing how many of these ideas we have are serious heart-issues. I recently wrote a post on Modesty and as I was writing something “clicked” and I understood that what we wear is more about where our heart is. This is so incredibly similar!

If you find yourself comparing what your life looks like to someone more successful, busier, more creative, or smarter then you need to stop and truly check where your heart is at. God calls us to so much more than this!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Modesty in 2014

This past weekend I went to the mall and actually looked at clothes for the first time in a while. Not only was I in shock, I was also thoroughly disappointed.

I, for the most part, shop at second-hand stores or the clearance racks at department stores. I don’t like to spend more than $10 on one piece of clothing, with the exception of jeans and shoes.

I am a firm believer that modesty is more about how you wear clothes, rather than the clothes you wear. Modesty has a lot to do with your heart, and how you choose to present your body.

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines modesty as, “the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention.”

Biblically, dressing modestly is about wearing “respectable apparel” and not wearing flashy things just to get the attention of the opposite-sex, or anyone really (1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 Peter 3:3-4, Proverbs 31:30). It goes beyond simply the way we dress, into to the way we act as well.

The older I get, the more I’ve learned that modesty is a serious heart issue. It is more about your intentions behind how you dress, and where you heart is. I feel that when your heart is in the right place, that truly does shine through your choice in clothing.

photo 1

When we think of modesty, we often think of the picture to the right, most likely with extra layers and a less form-fitting dress:

While there is nothing wrong with dressing like this, there is also value in feeling good about yourself and having confidence when out and about. Again, this is majorly a heart issue! We have to be confident in who we are in Christ before we can exemplify that to others!

Why bother being modest? This is a question I have asked myself, and this is what I have come up with.

1) We’re simply called to it
As I mentioned above, the Bible is filled with a calling for women to dress and act modestly. As Christ-followers, we are called to follow the narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14), and I believe that modesty is something that comes with the territory of that path!

2) Leading by example
This is something easily overlooked when you aren’t in a position of leadership, but it is so important! There are and always will be younger ladies looking up to you to lead. Whether it be a sister, niece, cousin or a perfect stranger. Girls are always looking up to their superiors and how you dress can profoundly impact those girls. Also, we are biblically called to be an example, not just to those younger but to everyone around us (1 Timothy 4:12, Titus 2:6-7, Proverbs 22:6).

3) Attracting the right audience
I have had many experiences with men that are less than deserving of my attention. Not because I am better-than or perfect in any way, but because I am a sweet child of Christ and though I don’t deserve it, I desire to be treated with respect. Frankly, when dressing in what may be culturally acceptable, you attract disrespectful “men” that simply want you for what they think you’re offering. I’ll even pull scripture out for this as well, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, says that we are to treat our bodies as temples. If you want to attract the right kind of godly man, then you should be dressing in a way that will do just that!

These are three reasons that keep me dressing modestly, and refresh my thoughts to be Christ-centered.

Although, I feel that most clothes can be worn modestly, I was in shock while at the mall this weekend, mostly because I couldn’t find a way of wearing most of it modestly. There are not enough layers in the world to pull off a spaghetti strap tank top that barely covers your chest (unless you’re wearing a long, baggy hoodie over it!).

These are some of the clothes that I saw, that just sent me over the edge:

PicMonkey Collage

So how do you dress modestly in a culture that hardly sells modest clothes? It requires a lot of patience and searching. It requires a lot of layers and checking your motives. I often will not wear an outfit out of the house, unless I would be okay with walking into my church with it on.

These are some of the standards I hold myself to:

  • Not wearing yoga pants/leggings, without my bottom covered, out of the house if at all possible
  • Dresses being at least 2 inches past my fingertips when arms by my side, if not, then wearing either tights, leg gins or pants underneath
  • Shorts being at least at my fingertips when arms by my side
  • Wearing a camisole under any plunging, low-cut or see-through tops

You don’t have to be frumpy and out-of-style to be modest. With warmer weather on its way, I decided to showcase a few outfits that you might find me in during the spring and summer that are modest, and yet still in-style (excuse my messy hair!).

my clothes

I often times wear tights or leggings under that dress. It is also really challenging to find longer shorts that don’t fit awkwardly, so sometimes settling on looser shorts can help if they are a little shorter, just make sure that your buns are tucked away! Camisoles are a miracle worker, and they can be found in all colors, styles and sizes. Also, cardigans can cover up a lot of unwanted showing skin. I have a plethora of them in my closet and you can almost always spot me wearing one.

So, now that I’ve had my rant and discussed why modesty is important to me, I challenge you to question your own motives. When you’re getting ready in the morning, ask yourself if you would walk into a sanctuary wearing what you are. Ask yourself if you’re leading by example, or simply following cultural norms. Check to see if you are honoring Christ with not only your clothes, but also your intentions.

I think that when we find clothes that not only fit properly, but that also honor God, we are worshipping Him in a way that most women don’t.

I’m most definitely not the perfect example of modesty. There are days that I don’t stop to check myself before leaving the house. There are times that I realize what I’m wearing and begin to feel really uncomfortable, wishing I had worn more layers or something entirely different.

Obviously, there are exceptions. When working out, I generally am wearing yoga pant and a tank top, because…well, I’m in my own home! When I am at home all day working on school, I’m not so concerned about what I’m wearing. I’m talking about modesty when leaving the house.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie