You know, I can’t help but wonder…if our Papa…who doesn’t judge beauty according to our worldly standards…views these 2 sets of images in the same way.
What I mean is.. these women are still beautiful with or without modification (whether it be from devastating and horrific acts of oppression, or intentionally through plastic surgery and photoshop)…but both sets of images serve to show how society defaced and distorted the way He originally designed their faces to look like.
We were made to reflect Him. He made us each individually and wonderfully…to look like Him.
I wonder if His heart breaks for His daughters when He sees us so tormented by the standards of beauty. When He sees His beauty being stripped and torn from their faces….
I don’t know.
Is one group more beautiful than the other?
Is one group worth more love than the other?
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
You know, the Bible doesn’t teach us to be defensive in relationships. It doesn’t tell us to protect your heart and be extra cautious ‘cause you don’t know who’s going to betray you, who’s going to leave you, no it doesn’t say anything like that, it just says love. And it says love always trusts. And it always tells us to forgive; forgive means they’re going to wrong you first and then you’re gonna forgive. And then go back up and trust again. That’s what the Bible says about our relationships. It never says, ‘No, close your heart ‘cause you’re going to get hurt. Be protective. Protect your own heart.’ No, it never says that. It says, ’Get hurt, I will heal you, I’ll restore things, reconciliation is for you, and then get back up and love again. Trust again. Go belong to that group again.’ That’s how the word of God teaches us.
the birds and the bees
“Heidi, have you done that thing that you know that thing….kids do these days in college…girls who sleep over boys rooms…and that thing“
When my mom gets nervous and wants to tell me something serious, she says it all in her broken English (making it exceptionally more difficult to understand).
This was the opening to my first, only, and last time my parents (meaning, just my mom, because my dad would spontaneously combust from awkwardness) gave me “the Talk”. She succeeded in never actually saying the word and was able to finish it in under 5 minutes, ending it with “It’s bad, don’t do it.”
The Sex Talk.
Recently, this topic has been coming up a lot with my accountability sisters and in my discipleship group. And I’ve been noticing…that a lot of my friends don’t really know much about what God thinks about it.
Most only know how the church preaches it or what our parents say about it, which generally can be summed up into: ”If you have premarital sex, you will get pregnant and get an abortion and God will hate you and stop talking to you“
the church condemns it, society perverts it, God cherishes it.
It drips off of almost every movie we watch, basically every advertisement we see…it’s inescapable. And then many of us, when we get into college away from the watchful eyes of our parents, and get into relationships and sex eventually becomes less and less mystified….We don’t really know how to combat it other than telling ourselves over and over that, “It’s bad and I will die”.
So when temptation comes slowly and we begin to realize, “Wait. I’m not dying…and this actually feels really gewddd….”
Time goes on, it becomes easier and easier to fall. Many of us get to a point where we either feel guilty/shameful and then it begins to drive a wedge between us and God. OR we become numb and apathetic to it…and it becomes nothing—just an exchange of bodies. (I scratch your back, if you scratch mine). Many of the couples we know have sex…so what’s the point of staying pure?
In order to help shed some light onto this… I’m going to share a little niblet of what Papa has taught me about true intimacy…to explain something that He meant to be so pure and beautiful. He doesn’t command us not to have sex, because He wants to watch us suffer or deliberately put limitations on us for shiz and giggles…. He does so, because He wants to protect us and protect it.
To start off, and to give myself some credibility, I can confidently say that my boyfriend is the most attractive man in the world. ever. He is, and that’s the truth. Emotionally, physically, and most importantly, spiritually.
With that said, when I look into his eyes, and there’s an imaginary candle and smooth jazz begins playing softly in the background, my body says “WHY NOT.”
My mind says, “Calm down ladies”, and my heart says, “I am not his, and he is not mine. It will be worth the wait eventually, but right now I am Christ’s and HIS alone.”
As God was reteaching me about marriage, He gave me the sex talk while I was reading the book of Hosea last February long before I met Daniel…(Hosea 2:14-16) While reading it, it suddenly dawned on me…and for a while I was a little distraught/low-key grossed out.
God desires to be ‘intimate’ with us…
Is that why the church is called ‘the Bride’…?
WOAH. WOAH. TIME OUT. HOLD UP.
I AM NOT saying that God wants to have sex with you. No. No NONO. NO. What I am saying is, just as a marriage is a metaphor of what your relationship with God is like…sex or intimacy is meant to be a metaphor of how close God is to us. When you have sex as husband and wife, you become one with the person you are in covenant with. When we give our lives to Jesus, we become ONE with Him.
The world likes to play it off as just a game of bodies. Here is a circle, here is a stick. But it’s not that, it is a UNION of mind, body, spirit, and heart. When two become one. And it’s from that love, you learn TO love—with the bearing of children. Why else would God make it so that when you ‘make love’ you literally MAKE (create) Love (babies).
And if it was just an exchange of bodies, why does it hurt so much when we break up with someone we’ve been intimate with? If it was like giving someone a high-five, then it wouldn’t be so devastating when the guy you’re dating decides to break up with you after he’s explored your cave. It wouldn’t be so overwhelmingly painful and life-altering when a child is raped or molested. It wouldn’t make you feel so dirty…
But that’s not the case. It is heartbreaking when that happens. You literally FEEL broken. Maybe not during or shortly after, but definitely after you’ve grown up or the person has left you.
Without the protection of marriage and covenant bonds, sex becomes cheapened to a kind of a weak currency. Women give it to receive worth, men get it to be in control or puff up their pride. Pregnancy becomes something to be feared: abortions are on the rise, or having children outside of marriage becomes the norm.
As a result, our society is cultivating a generation of fatherless children, because we have a bunch of boys sticking things where they don’t have the responsibility to stick it, and girls who open up their legs because they don’t understand the consequences or the significance of sex. Children are growing up in single families, with holes in their chests, looking for love. It’s a vicious cycle.
On a separate vein, sometimes we talk ourselves into this: “We’re going to get married………..so……..yeah”
I hope so! I hope that every relationship you have is intentional, with marriage on the radar. If you’re dating someone you can’t see yourself marrying…why are you wasting your time? Do you have nothing better to do or spend your money on? I have a Longchamp bag I’ve been coveting…
But, If that’s the case, if you truly love someone…you will want to protect that person, even if it means protecting them from yourself. For example, I know that when Daniel says he loves me, that he means it….not because he buys me flowers randomly, but because his hands never wander to places they shouldn’t be. He ALWAYS respects my body, and he ALWAYS guards my heart in this way. (Boys take notes.) And I maintain the same love and respect for his heart and his body. We flee from sexual temptation together, and desire purity and righteousness EVEN more, because we truly care about each other. We keep each other accountable, and we’re always honest with each other if we’re struggling.
We were made to love, we were made with these hormones and these cravings. These are not bad desires. It becomes perverted, when we seek to fulfill these desires with things that only temporarily satisfy, whether it’s through food, or porn, or sex..etc.
It sounds cliche, but it’s true when it says that only God satisfies all. He is our fulfillment. (Isaiah 58:11)
Sex is beautiful and precious—within the security of marriage. God even has a whole book dedicated to it (Song of Solomon) and uses it in various other books to illustrate His love for us. That’s why He created the commandment, “Do Not Commit Adultery”. If you’re having sex with someone you’re not married to, you’re committing adultery. You’re becoming one with someone else’s husband or wife—even if you’re 100% certain you will marry the person.
It’s tainting and perverting what God intended to be VERY GOOD. It’s something so passionate and fiery that calls for all of you, it must be guarded in a safe, bond. Something you can only find in a covenant.
All in all, I really hope I don’t come off as condemning to those of us who have been sexually broken or are sexually-active. I’m not standing on some imaginary cardboard box pointing fingers. That’s not what I’m about. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But He is a loving God who is more than capable of restoring. I’ve experienced this redemption and complete restoration first hand. God has made me pure, white as snow—spiritually, emotionally, AND physically. I have been redeemed, and He is my Redeemer. I am His Bride first and foremost.
I hope that I’ve also been able to break down the misconception that sex is a sin, while maintaining the gravity of its importance and the consequences of it.
And ultimately, I hope this helped to inspire and encourage you in your pursuit of holiness, whether you are single or taken. To provide greater reasons and understanding as to why you should wait, pursue purity, and really be set apart from the world, rather than slapping down another boundary (because I know that when there is a boundary, I will cross it). I find that it’s much easier to avoid temptation, when I keep my eyes fixed on God, rather than trying to resist it.
Finally, Ladies and gentlemen, don’t throw your pearls to swine (Matt 7:6). I’m not using this verse to say that your significant other is a pig. I’m using it to illustrate this: do not give something so precious up to a person who is not obligated, responsible, or capable of cherishing and protecting it. Give it only to the person who is willing to put you first, and to die to themselves (and vice versa: someone who YOU’RE willing to die to yourself for: once you’ve shared these vows in the presence of God and the state) as Christ did for us.
I am absolutely sure it will be worth the wait.
I changed my major from Art History to Anthropology my Freshman year in college. To this day, I don’t know why exactly….
other than the fact that it tickled my interests.
I suppose being a Korean American living in California, being blessed to go to a great university in San Diego, having loving parents, being sheltered in a private high school…it intrigued me to learn about the lives of people from cultures freckled around the world.
Today, I watched in one of my Socio-Cultural classes as a tanned and wrinkled old woman in rural China began to unbind the tight wrapping cloth that bent and morphed her feet in half. When she was growing up, having small feet was considered beautiful and more important than sight or status. I listened as she talked about how she smothered her own child, because she, at the time pregnant with another child, could not feed two mouths.
I sit here in lecture, with the fragrant San Diegan weather, leading my eyes to the door outside—averting my gaze and attention from the terrifying reality that women live in such stark social-oppression. In the seat in front of me, I watch a girl scroll through Facebook stopping at pictures of her friends posing for the camera, while I have Tumblr open (writing this), with my iPhone sitting on my lap filled with a new roll of Snapchats from my friends strewn across California. Ready to snap me a picture of their double chins in a seconds notice. I have texts from my handsome, gentle, sweet boyfriend who LOVES Jesus, respects my body, and encourages me to be strong and confident in Christ.
I have this all in my lap, and I look up into the weathered eyes of a young bride in China, who has just been sold into this marriage. She is being pushed down by her brother-in-law to bow in front of her ancestors. Being forced into a family she never wanted to be in.
And here I was, sifting time in between my thumbs, over-thinking the fact that I could never achieve the impossible standard of “beautiful” in America.
I’m so tired. I’m so repulsed by the thought that I think too much about what people think about me…whether or not I meet their standard of “pretty”. Whether or not I meet their expectation of who I portray myself as online.
I know I previously posted a video of the Dove commercial…which of course blossomed a lot of criticism too ( granted, with good reason…but come on..at least they’re trying to promote healthier beauty standards in women)…but what makes me sad..is solely the fact that they had to make a commercial about this.
Knowing that it would touch an audience, because so many women struggle with image.
Which is undeniably true. I don’t trivialize insecurity or what not..I am in no position to do so, because I am terribly self-conscious of my appearance too. I also hope I’m not coming off as that person who looks at you with judging eyes when you throw away food, you know children in Africa would kill for that.
Sidenote. I resent it when people say that. You know, I’m sure people in Africa would love to have clean water to drink too. Water that goes to waste, while you brush your teeth with the faucet running.
But aren’t you tired?
If God says we’re beautifully, perfectly, wonderfully made in His image…can we take that at it’s face value and be done with it? He is Truth…why would He lie to us about that. It’s not like He needs to win our affection by trying to make us feel better.
There are way more important things in this world that require our heart’s attention, our strength, and the restorative love of God.
In no way am I excusing myself from this. I hope I don’t come off as hypocritical…I need people to hold me accountable to this as well. Yeah, I care way too much about how I look.
I’m not saying that being insecure is a waste of time or that you hate little African children because of it…it’s a legitimate hurt and battle women go through.
But maybe, when we shift our eyes to something greater…that deserves our attention, our God-given strengths and capabilities..maybe then we’ll stop being so damn critical of ourselves. And maybe then we can love, unselfishly, with reckless abandonment.
But anyways, I’m tired.
And we’re beautiful, because we look like our Papa. Let’s go love.
I’m done ranting. The end.
I made a boy cry once, when I was nine.
In my defense, he—a seventh grader who had to wear special underwear because of a chronic bladder disease— called my brother a loner.
And after I heard him say that, something inside snarled and flared. I called him a dumb baby who should go learn to control himself and stop wearing diapers, among other terrible things,in front of his classmates and friends on the playground.
It seemed that even the tanbark roared with laughter.
I can vividly remember the pigment of his freckled, pale skin saturating into a bright red. His eyes locked with mine, became wells of hurt, and how his moist cheek turned away.
Immediately regret and guilt began to swell in my nine year old heart as he walked away toward the drinking fountains.
Lesson 1: Kids are premature demons
Growing up, worried people at church would ask my mom if I was a mute. She would politely smile No, she’s just shy. I suppose shy could be an understatement. I was her second shadow clinging hopelessly onto her skirt, only looking down at people’s feet, and hiding my face whenever anyone kneeled down to say hello. No one could meet my eyes, let alone recognize my inaudible voice. I rarely—if ever—spoke.
So returning to the playground incident: as a naturally timid, recluse girl, I startled myself with my own voice.
And even more so, with my own maliciousness.
After watching that boy cry, I never wanted to speak up for my brother, or anyone else again--especially myself.
Because, at that instance, a flagrant lie took the opportunity to coil itself around my vocal cords, and graft itself permanently into my thoughts.
I have an inherently wicked heart, and my voice reveals it.
Thus, in order to keep my heart in check and avoid hurting anyone ever again, I stayed quiet. I hid once again behind a skirt of silence.
Lesson 2: One of the fastest ways to dismantle anyone’s sense of worth, silence their voice.
It sounds a bit silly, but since that time.. up until this year… I never wanted to voice my opinion. This came in the shapes of: I don’t care. Whatever you want. Maybe. I guess. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Heidi, what do you want?
I don’t know.
This began to take form in detrimental friendships and unhealthy relationships. I curbed my desires, because I truly believed that my voice would hurt the other person—regardless of the situation. I didn’t deserve to have an opinion, even when I was wronged.
Being strong and having an opinion were synonymous to being vicious.
I trained myself to suppress my opinion and thoughts. To fold my dreams. To appease the other person. I would swallow my self-worth, even when I knew I was being taken advantage of. Eventually, I tricked myself into thinking that this made others happy.
From this mistake I made as a child, the Enemy twisted my perception of my voice, and my heart. I grew up assuming that I not only shouldn’t speak, but also that I’m not worth being listened to.
Lesson 3: He loves you.
Years later, in a moment, this truth dawned on me….
It began to unveil who my Father is, and what the cross really illustrates.
In the light of His grace, I am not a wretch.
I am His Beloved.
In Him, I am kind,
I am loving,
I am gentle,
I am strong,
and I am worthy.
When He saved my identity,
He also salvaged my voice.
Love always protects.
When I was younger, while trailing behind my mom in the men’s department store, I would occasionally stop to dance with the suit jackets hanging on the racks.
Clasping each hanging limp sleeve in my small hands, the store would then transform into a ballroom, and a graceful waltz would commence.
And as the grandiose symphony of music playing in between my ears began to fade back into the track of noise softly murmuring in the mall speakers, I would wrap the empty arms around my naive shoulders. Pretending that Someone bigger, Someone warmer, Someone stronger was holding me.
I would look up and notice that my mom was no where to be found. And then run anxiously, carefully sifting through the static of voices and songs, for the familiar jingle of my mom’s keys singing in her purse.
“And if these mountains had eyes, they would wake to find two strangers in their fences, standing in admiration as a breathing red pours its tinge upon earth’s shore. These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent so that man’s weak praise should be given God’s attention.
It is a wonder that those exposed to such beauty forfeit the great questions in the face of this miraculous evidence. I think again about this small period of grace and thank God for it, that if only for a season, I could feel the why of life, see it in the metaphor of light, in the endlessness of the cosmos, in the miracle of friendship.
And had these mountains the ability to reason, perhaps they would contemplate the beauty of humanity, and praise God for the miracle that each of us is, pondering the majesty of God and the wonder of man in one bewildering context.
Their brows are rumpled even now, and their arms are stretched toward heaven.”
- Through Painted Desserts, Donald Miller
For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Christ knows no shadow or alteration or change. When Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,’ He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love. He knew that physical pain, the loss of loved ones, failure, loneliness, rejection, abandonment, betrayal would sap our spirits; that the day would come when faith would no longer offer any drive, reassurance, or comfort; that prayer would lack any sense of reality or progress …
What the disciple has not learned is that tangible reassurances, however valuable they may be, cannot create trust, sustain it, or guarantee any certainty of its presence. Jesus calls us to hand over our autonomous self in unshaken confidence. When the craving for reassurances is stifled, trust happens.