Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part 2

The boysHere I was a new mommy with two baby boys and I had no clue how I was going to do this. I am an only child so I never got to practice on siblings. I did babysit from the time I was 12 years old till I was in my 20’s so I wasn’t unaware of how to take care of a baby, but not a baby that was related to and depended on me for everything and that I couldn’t give back at the end of the night.

There were distinct differences between my guys. DM had a lighter complexion and lighter, curly hair with blue eyes and DT had dark stick straight hair with a much darker complexion and brown eyes. DM was more prone to laugh, ate quickly and was hungry all the time, yet took forever to burp. DT was turtle slow eating, not as happy and would burp like a champ as soon as you sat him up.

We knew something was really different with DT as the days and weeks moved on. He did not want to be cuddled, he got really angry, would stiffen up and lay out like a board, screamed a lot and did not like to go anywhere. The word Autism had entered my mind, but it wasn’t something I really wanted to entertain. I had such a rough pregnancy and then the growth difference I thought maybe I had done something to cause this.

As the boys grew the difference became truly evident. DT reached his milestones except for talking, but he just didn’t like people. DT did not talk till he was 2 years old because he had been tongue-tied and the previous pediatrician had not listened to me thinking I was a panicky mom. I then had both boys tested at that age and we found out that DT had Asperger’s (a form of autism that is no longer considered on the spectrum). My husband worked long hours and I was at home with the two boys, trying to be a good mom and failing miserably and was just told that DT was not “normal”. What had I done wrong? I shoved that question aside even though sometimes today it lingers in the back of my mind and researched how best to aid DT in his life journey.

We got DT help so that he could eventually enter kindergarten alongside of his brother. He was slow to learn things, but praise God he fell into the category of mid-high functioning Asperger’s. He could learn, but at a much slower pace, however his social interactions were awkward and difficult. Then when the boys entered first grade, DM was also diagnosed as having high functioning Asperger’s. I sat across from the teachers and specialists at the school that day as they told us the testing results, not saying a word as the tears streamed down my face. Now I know I had done something wrong while I was pregnant. Maybe I hadn’t completely complied with the rules and regulations that they had imposed on me. Maybe because we had originally thought that we didn’t want children my boys were going to suffer the consequences. I didn’t know how we were going to function as a family and most importantly how I was going to function as a mother. I shoved it aside and plowed into finding a way to aid both boys in their life journey, hoping to help them learn the lessons they needed.

An Asperger’s diagnosis is not the end of the world, it seemed that way, but I was the one who learned the lessons. As time progressed I was taught that it was nothing I did during my pregnancy that made the boys have Asperger’s, I was given the gift of these two boys because I was able to eventually see that it isn’t a disease to be cured, it isn’t a handicap to be pitied, it’s a difference and we all have differences, just some are more evident than others.

I learned that I got to be the mom of two of the most intelligent young men in the areas of music, airplanes, race cars, history and gaming. I learned that social interactions are scary and hard and some people actually need to be taught how to “work a room” or how to say hello to a pretty girl. I learned that my sarcasm is lost on people who only understand concrete concepts. I learned what frustration is really like when an assignment is given and your child not only doesn’t want to do their homework, but refuses to do it. I learned that noodles could kill a fellow because of their texture. But the most important lesson I learned is what love and loyalty look like on the faces of your children.

Why Can’t I?

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Tonight I was thinking about why I can’t be a lot of things. For instance I am not naturally empathetic, nor am I one that doles out sympathy easily either. My upbringing did not include a lot of either of those emotive skills, so I have an extreme lack of them.

As I was growing up whenever I was sick I was taught to “suck it up buttercup”. I was never allowed to be ill for very long or languish in bed if I had a fever. Most of this behavior came from my mom. I am positive that she developed this inability to let others just be sick from her family not believing that she was very sick at the time that they were all doting on my aunt who had the same illness. Unfortunately that has manifested in me a surliness when others are ill or are worrying about being ill.

Firstly, worrying about having an illness is akin to telling God, “I can’t trust you.” At least to me it is. That is not to say that if you don’t feel well that you should not pursue with all diligence a diagnosis so that you can put a name to the cruddy way you feel, but to borrow trouble before all the tests are in, before treatment options are discussed, to compare yourself to someone else who had the same thing is, to me, telling God that He has no idea what He is doing and he is letting you suffer this malady for nothing.

Secondly (here is the critical spirit rearing it’s ugly head) there are some to me that like either being ill or having chaos in their lives. I am not saying that I don’t wallow a bit myself here and there. This move that we are making has given me more heartburn and stress than raising my children has in 22 years, and quite a bit of that is my not trusting that it will all work out. However, hanging on to things, wanting to be sick, or creating chaos in your life just makes me cringe and not want to be around you. I can’t be sympathetic, it just doesn’t appear to be in me.

I want to be empathetic, I want to feel their pain, but there are times that I just get angry and cynical because others have suffered, lived with or overcome the same things and yet that does not bring them comfort or assurance. I want to ask God to help me with these two things, but it’s a bit like patience, every time I ask for that, a trial seems to appear to teach me patience. I am a bit afraid of what will show up to teach me empathy and sympathy.

Moving Part 2

boxes-2120367_1920There are so many things that I want to write about, but the fact that we are moving seems to be looming large. When we first decided to start looking we didn’t think that it would almost become a run away train.

It all began as a whim of mine looking at some homes that were being built about 20 minutes from where we live. Right now we live in a 1300 square foot house which we have been in for 17 years. Our boys have always shared a room and our home is a bit closed off. When we bought the house we never thought we would be here 17 years later, but here we are. When we truly examined moving out of the town we lived in it made sense. We have a little bit of debt we could wipe out with the equity, we could get a little larger home and the boys could have their own rooms. Most homes today have open floor plans so we could quite possibly have friends over for dinner. So we forged ahead.

We thought we were prayerfully moving ahead with each step, but so many road blocks appeared it seemed that it would never come to fruition. Our house sold almost immediately, but then came the inspection. The inspector was really nit picky and we wound up having to fix a problem that didn’t really exist and one that did. In the meantime because the buyer drug her feet we lost two other houses that we had put bids in on. So we came down to the wire and we finally settled on a house, but oh boy! The seller of our new home didn’t disclose a seriously potential issue until after we had seen the sellers disclosure form. When we told our realtor that it wasn’t acceptable the seller then came back with all sorts of paperwork, inspections and apologies saying no deception was intended. This was a problem for us because the sellers had also played a game with us about the price of the home wanting far more than the home was worth or other specs in the area were selling for. Everything eventually worked out in the end, but now we are trying to figure out how to move out of our house and into a new house in a months time, settle on the same day and have my husband work 12 hour days along with my inability to lift heavy things. I knw that it will all come together, but this journey has been anything, but easy.

I have learned through all this that I still have the ability to react instead of respond. That just because you think you are praying in His will, you may not be, and the big one that Satan really is looking to take you out any way that he can.

Apparently I have to pond the scripture Philippians 4:6-7, “ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” and remember to do Phil. 4:8-9, “.”

 

Revisiting Addiction

myburdenislight.pngI came across an article written addressed to “The Girl Asking Us to Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease“. The essence of the article was for this girl to stop asking for this and that the author was going to “educate” people on how addiction is in fact a disease.  Mostly, according to the author, because it is incredibly offensive to call addiction a choice not a disease.

My first reaction was, “Oh no let’s not offend the addict! Heaven forbid we should offend them to the point of anger and quite possibly some personal introspection. No we wouldn’t want to do that!” It’s this kind of pussyfooting around that has gotten us to the point where we have an “epidemic” of heroin use, thousands of people with multiple rehab stays and a generation that thinks that drug use is just part of their growing up. The author who is female serves up excuse after excuse for addicts stating that they cannot control themselves and would not choose this life therefore it’s a disease excuse as many others have, ineffectively in my opinion.

Her first volley to try to destroy the argument that addiction is a choice is to quote the National Institute of Drug Abuse stating that drug addiction is, “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” So let me get this straight, I have to actively seek drugs out and then ingest them to have this disease? Uh huh, ok. It goes on to state that, “It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. ” Hmmm, so I am putting something deliberately in my body and altering my brain chemistry, yet it’s a brain disease? Did NIDA even pay attention to what they were saying?  No child of two comes down with alcoholism or a 4-year-old suddenly is addicted to heroin. Yet those same children can come be found to have cancer, diabetes, MS and the list goes on. In fact I am offended by those who would lump addiction in with these documented diseases that truly were not a choice.

The next few lines in the article speaks about becoming tolerant of your drug of choice so you need more of it to get the same high and it is “seemingly impossible to break the habit.” Now I am not sure if the author was aware of her choice of words, but she demolishes her own argument with the word “habit”. Habit is defined as “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” A behavior pattern? So you don’t necessarily have this behavior pattern till you CHOOSE it. “Almost involuntary”, we have all heard the saying that almost does not count unless it’s horse shoes or hand grenades. Almost implies that it can be done if one CHOOSES.

I agree with her next supposition that no one wakes up one day and says, “I am going to become an addict” and yes, there are several factors that come into play to create an atmosphere to become an addict, but then she again obliterates her own argument by saying that there has been speculation by psychologists and medical professionals that alcoholism runs in families. I agree with the part of the statement that it can run in families, but the likelihood that it happens in families is because that children grow up to see their parent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle and so on having a glass, or two, or three at dinner, of wine and deciding that it’s acceptable behavior and taking it a bit farther. There is no alcoholism gene, no one is born with Captain Morgan stamped on a gene in their system that creates alcoholism from birth. In that same paragraph the author then goes on to say that, some may find that drinking is a way for them to cope with other issues, such as stress or struggling with mental illness. She’s right, most addicts are looking for an escape from the problems in their world and drugs or alcohol make those problems seem very small or they go away all together. However, a person comes down off their high and the problems are still there which in turn makes the want for escape even more pressing and they indulge in even more of whatever. This is exactly where God comes in if many would just let Him, 1 Corinthians 10:13, “13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” We are all tempted, we all have had many moments of wanting to escape, but the only true escape is in Him.

The author wraps up her article by stating that she wants to stigma of “oh poor me” attitudes to be done with for everyone that addiction has touched. The she goes on to assume that if addiction is a choice and we believe that we would be as heartless to tell a parent whose son or daughter died from an overdose , “well they chose it.” As a Christian woman, heck even as a human I would NEVER say that to a person who has lost a loved one, no matter the circumstances. THAT offends ME!

Her final thoughts are that we need to stop criticizing, bashing, and shame addicts, we should love and support them. I agree wholeheartedly with loving and supporting them, however that does not mean that we let their addiction become ours, or that we are ok with their sin much like we would not be ok if a person were committing adultery or murder or any other sin.

Addiction has been given a pass as a disease and rehabs that medically treat this “disease” haven’t worked so far. This is proven out by the fact that success rates are based on a person remaining indefinitely in a program. If the CDC is reporting that 91 Americans per day die of a heroin overdose, then please tell me what is working in the way that we approach this “disease” because I can’t find it?

Instead of giving addicts another way to justify their addictions, we need to point them to the only ONE who will fill the hole they are so desperately working to stuff with alcohol or drugs. Jesus is our sufficiency. We place so much on ourselves that isn’t ours to carry and then we try to stifle the noise when Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28-30, “28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Alcohol and drugs have never given anyone rest, it’s never been a light load to carry, and until we stop excusing the behavior and taking an honest approach to this the load will get heavier and the burden unbearable.

So to the author of the article I hope that I have instilled in you that we most certainly need to love on and support addicts, and point them onto the road of true recovery, but writing them a blank check to explain their addiction isn’t working, but there IS another way.

 

Biblically Incorrect

bible-1960635_1920I am sure you have heard the term Politically Correct and I also sure that you know to counter that is to be Biblically correct, but do you really understand being Biblically incorrect?

To illustrate what I mean I am going to take the scenario of a business person who refuses to bake a cake, take photos, create flower displays etc. for a gay wedding. Now unless you have been living under a rock it has been hard to miss the media attention that many of these cases have been getting; to the bakers in Oregon who lost everything to the one in Colorado whose case is to be heard in the United States Supreme Court. I won’t get into the laws that are at stake here or a discussion on discrimination ( I don’t have that kind of patience), but I feel it’s important to address the Biblical issues that non-believers and believers alike have raised.

The gentleman from Colorado was on a morning TV program with his lawyer and one of the people one the panel thought she was going to bring the hammer down on this by first stating she was raised in the church and then attempting to quote pieces of scripture to make her point. Her arguments were as Christians we are not supposed to judge, and love your neighbor and it’s not our place to judge because God will ultimately judge them. If you want my hackles to be raised that argument is definitely one to make. The way it is couched makes sin ok. Jesus never said not to judge sin, but He does say in John 7:24 to judge righteously, “24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

There are other types of judgment that we, as humans, can get wrapped up in such as hypocritical judgment in which Matthew 7:5 cautions against, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Self righteous judgment is talked about in James 4:6, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” But Jesus never forbade us to judge sin in fact Paul counsels Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 to be ready to preach the word and to be ready to point out sin, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”

Paul continues in the book of 2 Timothy to tell Timothy that he is going to encounter those who will corrupt the gospel with false teaching or what I call Biblical incorrectness, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” Those who will pull out pieces of scripture with no context to make their point and believe that they have come up with a mic drop moment. It’s even being done by those who were “raised in the church” because we have become a soft weak society that wants to turn a blind eye to sin because it’s easier. Good gravy we can’t point out someone else’s sin, because to do that would mean we would have to examine our own hearts and ask forgiveness for our sins. Who wants to do that? It might be uncomfortable, we might need to apologize or set aside our own egos. 

I think that some of the reasons that this kind of attitude exists is because it is uncomfortable to point out sin even in the gentlest of ways. It has been said that holding aloft the standard of righteousness naturally defines unrighteousness and draws the slings and arrows of those who choose sin over godliness. We most assuredly need to be gentle and discreet when we approach another, to rebuke, reprove, or exhort and as Paul says use great patience, however, be prepared to duck the slings and arrows and do not ever leave your shield of faith, let alone the full armor of God, at home because being Biblically correct means you are going to take a few shots.

Count It All Joy?

girl-1149933_1920I lost my joy yesterday. There is just no other way to put it.  I think I can honestly say that I have been having a crisis of faith. I keep wondering where He is in all this.

In James 1:2-4 it says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Yeah, I am having a hard time counting it all joy. I know there are those who have suffered harder trials than I and I can honestly say I don’t know how they endure it, but welcome to my pity party for just a bit. 

When my husband and I got married just one month after, he was in a bad auto accident that left us without a car, and a no fault judgement, which meant we still had to pay for a car that did not exist. Five months later I lost my job and at that time I was making a bit more than my husband who was working two jobs. We had no other option, but to move in with my parents. Don’t get me wrong I love my parents dearly, but I was 26 newly married, living with my parents and again had a curfew. We managed to pay off most of our debt (even when my husband also lost his higher paying job) and moved into a lovely one bedroom apartment 7 months later after two career changes.

Normally in a marriage, the topic of children comes up. It did for us too, but in my youth I had been very ill and I wasn’t sure that I could have children nor would the illness come back preventing me from raising them, so we decided that children were not really in our future. Two months later I got pregnant with twins. Go ahead and giggle most people do at this point………..ok laughter time over because the last 13 weeks of my pregnancy I was put on bedrest, once again living with my parents because my husbands hours at his new job prevented him from taking care of me at any time.

My wonderfully made children were born at 36 weeks to the day, however they both have a form of autism, which had us deciding that I would stay home full time. My two boys are some of the most caring, loving, aggravating, frustrating, God loving men that I know.

We then got slammed with one of the worst trials we have faced, my husband became addicted to alcohol and then threw in some drugs for good measure. I won’t go into the gory details, but we separated, I filed for divorce (let’s just leave it at I had biblical grounds) and we were apart for a year. My husband got clean and sober and we did reunite, but then my health took a bad turn.

I was born with a spine disorder and unfortunately I had a very bad car accident that exacerbated it tremendously to the point that I needed surgery. I am now the proud owner of 4 screws, two rods and three cadaver discs. That made working outside of the house impossible for me at a time when my children were grown enough and I could have rejoined the working world to help with the household finances.

A few years later and I was diagnosed with diabetes. It didn’t stop there either, in the space of 4 months I had 3 surgeries; a DNC, my gallbladder and appendix removed and shoulder surgery.

It had seemed to us that maybe a change was needed again, so we thought that moving out of the house we have been in for 17 years would be a good way to get a fresh start. Purging all the old and simply cleaning things up might air out the crud that had us down. We prayed before each step, we tried to obey when doors seemed to close and things appeared to be moving along. Then we got steam rolled yesterday and we are lost. Details aren’t necessary, but things have gone wrong and we are not sure what will happen. We thought we were being obedient, we thought we were asking in faith without doubts (James 1:6), yet here we are.

I know trials are part of life and there are lessons to be learned. Faith is stretched and tried when the trials come, but mine seems to be flimsy at best now. I know in my head that when a door shuts He isn’t preventing us from good things and He may well have something so much better, but my heart can’t seem to get on board this time.

Has your heart ever forgotten to listen to your head? I thought I had concurred that particular affliction. I guess I need more work.

 

Less Than

person-2254439_1920ZOIKS! I know I know I have neglected this blog and I have felt quite guilty about it. Ok well maybe only a little guilty as this has been an extremely long week. Along with moving this is also the week of VBS at our church and I am involved in the drama that is used to point the kids towards Christ and help them receive the gospel message.

I have also been struggling this week with feeling “less than”.  Some of it is outside influenced and some of it is self induced. Growing up I was never wholly “good enough” Each endeavor could have been better. An “A” on a paper could have been an “A+”, a base hit in softball could have been a double and so on. It has made me extremely sensitive when it seems as if what I have accomplished is “less than”.

It’s hard to overcome feelings of being not good enough and even more so when others create an atmosphere that helps fuel that feeling. This week at VBS it becomes a stronger sensitivity for me and I have to be so vigilant to not fall into the trap that Satan has laid out for me.

In 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 it says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” I have to hang my hat there so that I can face the feelings and try to overcome. Pray for me!

Yes Lord

Overwhelmed

11001826_10203464982367122_6936621571295453289_nGeeze Louise do I feel the weight of all that needs to be done pressing in on me today! It’s been a whirlwind since Memorial Day and it doesn’t appear it will stop any time soon. Part of it’s my own fault I kinda sorta started some of the swirling and I know I need to own that, but instead I want to be a four year old stomp my foot and say, “NO!”

Last year for our church’s VBS I helped with costumes (not much help as I can’t sew a stitch, but I am great at fetch and carry). They were short a person for a very small part, so I was voluntold (yes that is a word, ok my word, but a word none-the-less), hence my small partS (yes notice the large S I meant to do that) this year in addition to working on props. This normally wouldn’t have me in distress, but add the fact that I went casually looking for the possibility of a new home and now we are cleaning like fiends, about to put our house on the market and looking for a new home. Why didn’t someone stop me? I was hoping God would step in here and slam a door in our faces, but so far, nada! Even doors that seem to be closing, other ones are opening. GREAT (she says with extreme sarcasm in her voice)!

I have been trying to stay focused on the Word and reading scriptures to ease feeling so overwhelmed and I will be honest with you they aren’t helping much. I know it’s me. I will make a confession, one of my quiet times is when I am in the shower. I seem to be able to work things out in my mind and pray more fervently while in there. It could have something to do with the fact that it is the only place in a house full of men that I can find a bit of peace. When the boys were growing up they knew that I did not take long showers and whatever it was except for fire, flood or blood could wait till I was done. Lately though my shower prayers have been, “Oh Lord am I tired!” Nope, not much of  a prayer and more of a confirmation of being pooped.

I was looking all over for something to help with this feeling of stress and pressure, so I went to my go to place which is a website called Got Questions. Our pastor once recommended it when he did not have time enough to give us a full answer to what my husband and I thought was an easy question. It has helped me a lot even if at times I don’t exactly agree with everything. This time however, it didn’t have an answer for me that helped, except in one little sentence that brought up a portion of scripture, 1 Corinthians 14:33 (in part), “for God is not a God of confusion but of peace…” I think I forgot that somewhere along the way. Then it was a bit easier to remember Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.”

I am not sure that the pressure and stress will vanish, nor the feelings of being overwhelmed, but I have to remember that He has got this and I just have to trust that. Pray for me.

Is It A Disease

AddictionI have shied away from this topic simply because it is very volatile, but lately it keeps coming up and I keep having to clarify my thinking to myself and others. If you are easily offended by straight talking and a firm opinion that is seated in the Word of God then this is probably not the post from me you want to read. Here we go.

Addiction-“the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.” Nowhere in that definition does it state that an addiction is a disease. I will capitulate that when someone is wrapped up in addiction there is a dis-ease in their very being, but there is no disease. Addiction is a choice each and every time a person ingests their drug of choice they have made a decision. 

For addiction to be a disease there would have to be several things that are true about it. First it would have to be involuntary or a result of a lifestyle habit. Secondly anyone could come down with the disease; two year olds would all of a sudden become alcoholics and 6 year olds would without warning be heroin addicts. Thirdly no matter how deeply buried it is there would be absolutely no ability within the person to change their circumstances by their actions. I know the argument can be made for things like an obese person can correct diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol by losing weight, but it’s a correction not an eradication.

Trust me this declaration does not come easy. It’s only after years of watching a person that I love most in this world struggle to get themselves clean and sober, seeing it happen and many many discussions about it all along with agreement with this person that no matter how we try to pretty it up addiction is a choice.

The world has worked to cover up sin, make it pretty or acceptable and this area is one good example of that. Calling addiction disease is another excuse for the addict to continue in their behavior, and an easy out for the rest of the world to not address the elephant in the room.

We have been spinning our wheels for decades thinking that the processes we have in place are working to arrest the issue of addiction, but if that were true why is there a rise in heroin addiction and death? We as the families pay thousands of dollars for rehab as it stands right now, for which the recidivism rate is 60% and then are surprised that the addict goes back to their old ways. So we try rehab again and it is a repeat of before. Sometimes it works and the addict does stay clean and sober, but relying on sometimes is a dangerous game for us all.

Addicts are chasing the “feel good” because they don’t feel good. There is a hole so big inside them that filling it up becomes an absolute obsession. However, we don’t point them toward God, we point them toward rehab. We all know as believers (at lest I hope we do) that the Word of God never returns void, since that is true then it would make sense that it is the perfect thing along with the love of Jesus to fill up the void in a person’s heart.

In the book of Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The addict needs to know that there is someone else that will carry the burden that they are trying to avoid.  They need to be taught as in the book of Ephesians 4:21-24, “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” And they need to be made aware from 1 Corinthians 10:13 that there is a way out, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

None of this is a perfect solution because we live in meat suits and are tempted each day, but it is better than all the rest and it has a pretty impressive success rate. It’s worth a try.

Modesty

Friendship Together Bonding Unity Youth Culture ConceptLately there has been a lot written about modesty, especially in relation to Christians and about accountability and responsibility. I agree wholeheartedly that we need to be accountable for our own actions and thoughts. In fact personal responsibility is in short supply now a days. Having said that, I think that we take it a bit too far when it is said that it is not our (collectively) responsibility how others react to us if we dress in what we feel is comfortable for the season, most recently the onset of warmer weather.

The argument seems to be that most especially as women we are not responsible for a male’s reaction to our apparel. A man should be able to control himself and not be “turned on” by a woman dressed in what some might consider less than modest clothing. In essence that would be great all things being perfect including all of us, but that is not the case. Both women and men need to be aware of how they look and what they are showing off when considering what the outfit of the day is going to be.

Most assuredly we are to learn to control our thought life as well as our outward life and quite honestly married men should not be looking at other women to see how they are dressed or carry themselves (respectively to wives also). However, A) the whole world is not married and B) according to the book of Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” Yes I know that in this particular section of Romans Paul is speaking of food and holding one day in higher esteem than others, however he is speaking about the issues that are arising in the church at that time. Well, guess what modesty is an issue in the church at this time.

I am sure that many fathers and even some mothers have said to their daughters who are wearing clothes that either come up to “here” or down to “there”, “You are not going out in that!” As a mother of two sons there have been times that I have said to my boys, “You are not wearing that!” (ok, well most of the time it’s because it didn’t match or it was dirty, but you get the picture). The point is why was it said? It was said because even in the world we know that we shouldn’t be stumbling blocks for our brothers and sisters. Yes, they need to take responsibility for their own actions and reactions, but we as their brothers and sisters in Christ, or the showing them the love of Christ to unbelievers, should not put temptation directly in front of them and dare them to not succumb.

It’s not exclusive to women or girls because their are some inappropriate outfits out there lately for men and boys. I also know that the weather can be excruciatingly hot at times. Trust me, I can sweat standing still sometimes and that’s in the winter cold. The whole point of modesty is to not show others what God intended for private moments in a marriage, and we are not to deliberately tempt one another. In the book of Matthew 18:5-7 it states, “ 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.7 Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” 

Ladies AND Gents, keep all the bits covered and modesty won’t have to be an issue in the church, and there shall be no woe to those from whom it comes.