I’ve only got eyes for you…(and you…and you…)

This week Danica is going to start a discussion on Maiden’s of Modesty about what it means to be pure and remain modest. She and I have been having an email discussion about it. (Keep in mind we have many young ears and while we will instruct our daughters in these things, I’d just as soon not discuss some of these concepts in front of our youngers….as would she.) πŸ™‚

I have copied my most recent letter to her here. Please prayerfully read through it – especially if you have daughters.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with our standards – I mean, DUH, they’re OUR standards. But I do ask that you take it to your prayer closet and ask if the principles I’m sharing are Biblical. Ask the Holy Spirit if you are holding up the standards He has for your family.

In fact, I am not only asking that you do that, I’m imploring you to.

Hey Sis, I’ve got a few minutes and I want to share my heart based on our most recent discussion. There is such a warped understanding of Biblical relations between young men and women in the Body of Christ that I think you’re wise and brave πŸ˜‰ to start this up. May Father bless the words of your uh…fingers.

One, If we were to view one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord, for whom we needed to exercise care of and concern for – which is the correct Biblical view – our desire would not be to have them like us (for that is a selfishly motivated response) but rather to make certain that our actions were in their very best interest.

SO, girls would be more mindful of what they are (or are not) wearing. The concern should not be for how good they might look for the guy in question, but rather “Is there anything about my attire that would could possibly cause my brother to struggle with lust?” This is not to say that you can’t look nice – but it’s more important that you lay your own desires down in order to consider someone else’s needs.

They need to listen to how they talk about their “other gender” friends. Do they say things to them that they’d say to their female friends? Are they always talking about their guy friends? Are they always hanging on their guy friends? Do they like these guy friends for who they are or the way that they make them feel about themselves? Do they see them as valuable members of the Kingdom – or do they see them as “tools” to validate them and make them feel important…or funny…or pretty…or clever?

I think that: Phil 2:3 is a pretty clear statement about that. (Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;) Humility of mind allows you to look at your brother in Christ and make the choice to NOT wear that dress that you may think makes you look killer, but also shows off too much thigh. This is true servant hood.

Two, the Church has done a TERRIBLE disservice to young women in the Body by not teaching them about their emotions. Emotions are a gift from the Lord. They are powerful and very heady. They are also liars. Your emotions will, if you allow them to, “make” you do things that may not honor the Lord.

Let me be very blunt – what do you think rape is? A man sees a woman, he wants to conquer her and hurt her. He is likely angry – and therefore, because his emotions tell him these emotions are real and justified, then he will act on that. What about the young woman that he hurts? His emotions were a lie and now, she is left suffering from his belief that his emotions were right on target….most likely for the rest of her life. (DEFINITELY for the rest of her life, outside of the grace and healing of God.)

If we operate from the perspective that our emotions are always right and always just, we will justify saying and doing things, generally out of anger, that will wound people – possibly for many years. I’m sure you have had someone say something thoughtless and unkind to you before. THAT was the handiwork of someone who believed/s that their emotions are always on target and always correct.

Having a crush a on someone is allowing your emotions to rule and reign in your life.

Three, I have yet to hear a young lady (or young man, for that matter) say that they had a crush on someone and NOT mention their looks. How sad that our culture has become so focused on the exterior. What that implies, when taken to its logical conclusion is, “Your looks are intended for my pleasure.”

Doesn’t that sound like the pinnacle of selfishness?

I don’t know of many young Christian women who would think that it was okay for a young man to look at pornography. However, I find many young women think nothing of looking at an actor and commenting on how good looking he is.

Christ is pretty straight forward when He says that anyone who looks on a woman with lust in his heart is committing adultery. It’s folly for young ladies to think that just because God said “a man” that they are exempt. What they are doing is committing adultery.

I think Job (31:1) was VERY wise when he said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” Young Ladies!! Pay attention to that!!! IT IS WISDOM!!!! And DO remember what God has to say about Job: ” Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” ~ Job 1:8 Wouldn’t we LOVE to hear the Lord say this about us?

Side note: Young ladies who think watching love stories in movie form or reading romance novels – I don’t care if they’re Christian or not – are not just asking for trouble, they’re asking for BIG trouble.

And for moms who are allowing their daughters to do this – SHAME ON THEM! They are not only allowing their daughter to have thoughts that God did not intend her to have at this point, but they are allowing her to develop an untrue perspective of Biblical romance.

Let’s be honest, if REAL marriage looked/read like a romance novel, you wouldn’t have time nor interest in reading it. But, because you’re married life isn’t as “exciting” as the story is, you allow yourself to fall into that trap. AND it IS a trap. One that is camouflaged by lies – because what is being written is not true and never will be.

Real marriage includes changing diapers, cleaning up vomit and unclogging drains. It’s about serving and dying to self. It’s about being willing to remain together even if he stinks and emits strange noises and scents after eating chili.

Five, in Scripture when the Lord is REALLY serious about something, He says it three times. Let’s pop open Song of Solomon – Chapter 2, verse 7….chapter 3, verse 5….chapter 8, verse 4. What do you see? Yep, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

Do NOT is pretty straight forward. Let’s talk about awaken – AWAKEN….HELLO?? This is not something that is full blown. When I first wake up, I assure you, I’m not at my fullest. (Unless of course one of you kids come up and stare into my face in silence. THAT wakes me up FAST!!)

So, to assume that it means not to fall in love with someone is an inaccurate assessment, I believe. I believe that this clearly is talking about crushes. A crush is the awakening of love and God is REALLY serious when He says DO NOT.

Last, but not least by any stretch of the imagination.

Your youth is the ONLY time that you are able to fully give your live unto the Lord. Once you get married, you will be required to minister to your husband and then family. This time of youth is the time for you to give yourself to the Lord and serve Him whole heartedly.

When you have a crush on someone, you are not focused on the Lord. You are focused on your feelings, you are focused on the young man and you are focused on how he acts and how you look and what he says and how you respond…. That is someone who is concerned about the affairs of the world, not the Lord’s affairs.

(I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairsβ€”how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this worldβ€”how he can please his wifeβ€” and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this worldβ€”how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. 1 Cor 7:32-ish)

Danica, Dad and I made some very serious choices when we decided to require courtship of you and your siblings. This wasn’t made lightly and it certainly wasn’t made without prayer and much discussion. Since then it has required a great deal of “arguments” and “defense” against our family. As you know, they mostly think we’re loopy anyway, so courtship just seems to seal the case for them.

BUT as you know, Dad dated MANY young ladies. Several of whom were truly devastated when he and I got engaged. One young lady went so far as to tell him she’d wait until we got divorced. (I sure hope she’s not still waiting…hmmmm…) πŸ˜‰ My point, however, is that he hadn’t even seen her in over 5 years when she said that. BUT, he had been careless with her heart – and she couldn’t get it back.

There are still some women that won’t speak to me because I married your dad. That’s crazy!! It’s been 24 years. And you know what? I’m betting they can’t even remember why they don’t like me. And furthermore? Dad didn’t date any of them for more than a few weeks. He changed women then, like he changes our bed sheets now. πŸ˜‰

There ya go, Sis, my “initial” thoughts. Again, I pray that the Lord would work in the hearts of the young ladies who participate in this discussion. I pray that He would work in the hearts of their moms, especially. I pray that He would work in the lives of the young men that are the friends of these young ladies. I pray that He would glorify Himself through you, Sis. Be bold and courageous and do exploits!!!

Love, Mom

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Comments
12 Responses to “I’ve only got eyes for you…(and you…and you…)”
  1. tiffany says:

    Fantastic! I want to type more, but cant right now. One handed. Cut a deep gash in my finger. One shouldnt use the super sharp knives while dizzy. But I have a ton I would really love to share on this topic as soon as I can type. So glad Danica is adressing this. I’ll definietly remember her inprayer frequently/

  2. Awesome. My daughter would agree with everything you just said.

  3. Awww, thanks mum! *blushes* This definitely adds a great amount to my ‘testimonials’, and ‘comments’ portions of my quest of this discussion.

    Dearest Tiffany, Thank you, my dear! I appreciate the prayer beyond words.
    I shall truly need it, as this discussion will, and already has, caused tension between some of my best friends and myself. (They strongly believe in crushes, and I have been convicted otherwise.)

    I pray that my efforts of helping them become aware of what is beneath the lies that we have been fed about guys, relationships, dating, marriage, and even crushes that our society has been forcing on us, will help them find True Love in Christ our Savior. Instead of finding ‘love’ in love itself.

  4. javadawn says:

    *pats self on back* Yep, I done good raisin’ this one.

    (ROFL!! And if you believe THAT, I’m sure I can sell you anything.)

    Evidence of GRACE, Ladies, EVIDENCE OF GRACE!!!

  5. javadawn says:

    PS Tiffany – Um, knives?!! dizzy?!! Are you okay? (Don’t forget to use lavender on it!)

    Patricia, I know she would – and I just think your daughter is incredible. Not quite as incredible as mine…….. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  6. Tiffany says:

    Ok, I am coming from a position not of “here is what to do” but rather “here is what I did, and please, please don’t!!!!!!”

    I agree 100% that crushes are a REALLY bad thing. I had my first crush in first grade and my parents encouraged it, thinking it was cute. Then my next crush in 3rd grade. And from 3rd grade through end of 5th I wasn’t without a “boyfriend”. Once again, encouraged by my parents thinking it was cute. I wasted so much time that I could have just enjoyed being a little girl thinking about boys. And because this continued on into 6th and 7th grade at the time I was hitting puberty and then general message I was getting was that sex was fine as long as their was protection. So I remember very distinctly at the age of 12 thinking “yeah, I would probably have sex with him, but not w/o protection.” Thankfully during all this time, being so young nothing more went on than hand holding and a couple of “dare you” kisses, but it really could have been horrible and I know for many of my close friends really was. (knowing multiple people that has sex prior to the age 14, some with multiple partners). And you have to understand here, we weren’t children without involved parents in a large inner city. We lived in a town of about 1000, all with two parent homes, most of us connected to a church in some way (even if most of us weren’t Christians).

    So that is how I wasted most of what should have been simple and care free times. Then came high school. And my first real boyfriend. Physically, nothing further happened with him, but this is the first time I committed my heart, which to me seems to be just as detrimental. To this day (12 years later) I still find it awkward to be around him, and (being brutally honest here) felt a little jealous when I heard he had a girlfriend (the first one since me) and I had been married 3 years at this point. And the relationship was only 4mo long. It takes no time at all really for a young girl to fully commit their heart. A few sweet words from a guy that she has a crush on is all it usually takes. Which is why I think crushes are bad. I don’t think there is any such thing as an innocent crush because I don’t think that is how our hearts were designed to work.

    My next relationship was with my now husband. Which makes me quite happy, but the relationship itself was wrought with mistakes. For one, we went into it very hap-hazardly. We discussed physical boundries (True Love Waits, ya know) and very little else (including how to maintain those physical boundaries. Boundaries are good and all, but if your friday night plans consistently include hanging out by yourself in a dorm room, you are asking for trouble). We knew we liked each other, and a few short months later liking turned to love, but we didn’t have any idea or commitment on how to do this in a God honoring way. Both our parents really complicated matters- although in very different ways. Mine took a very casual “sure” approach like they always had, not recognizing how serious it was becoming. His were unhappy about the relationship from the start but didn’t say ANYTHING until we had been dating over a year (actually had never said anything to him regarding dating, or sex or anything. Not even just the basic biological points.) At which point they gave him the book “I kissed Dating Goodbye” (hate that book, btw). And although after that first year of dating we were realizing we needed to rethink things if we wanted to end up married and get there in a way that honored God, no one in our lives wanted to help with that. No one had talked to us about dating until we were already in love and talking about getting married. It was horrible. In the end things worked out in a very beautiful way, but the process should not have been that hard. Most of it because we awakened love before it was ready, and had no idea there was another way to do it.

    My thoughts on the other side of it (It has been about 10.5 years since Nolan and I started dating) is that don’t start until you are within a year of being able to get married. So that means nothing early high school. And since no dating, no crushes, because crushes turn into dating REALLY fast. That ultimately anyone whom you give part of your heart too is something you take with you into marriage. There is just no getting around that. There is no “guarding your heart” when you decide to have a crush/date someone. I really and truely believe that it is impossible to do. And on the physical side of it, my analogy is this: kissing is like jumping off of a cliff, sex is when you hit the bottom, gravity takes over in the middle. Before you jump you better make sure you are going to be getting married in between. That is why I know many people who don’t kiss until the alter. I don’t know if that is the only way to do, but I do think it is a great way.

    Getting back to the topic of crushes (yes, I have a few opinions….) I think Dawn you are exactly right- most of it is brought about due to a focus on self. Some of it too (especially in the clothing department) is brought about due to complete and utter cluelessness. Most girls don’t really get how what they wear effects guys. Most girls don’t notice if their skirt is a little see through, or their bra strap shows, or their pants a little too low. And so often it is the “little too” something that starts a problem. Everyone can tell a skirt that is way too short, or a shirt that is way too low. But what about the just a little outfits? You come off as doing fine, but for a guy who finds you attractive and/or already has a crush on you, the sight of your bra strap, or the hint of something when you bend over is going to be a HUGE stumbling block. (incidentally-I was obsessed with modest clothing in high school, and yet didn’t get this myself. I was trying extremely hard to be modest and REALLY wanted to be, and yet didn’t know what all it should entail. For the most part I accidently stumbled across it, but looking back I can tell it wasn’t because I understood it).

    All of this is so hard though in a culture that values appearance so highly. Because it is so easy to pick out clothes based on how great you look and very little else and receive nothing but compliments for it. Not saying all teenagers need to dress in burlap sacks, or period garb, or burquas, but just it is hard to figure out how to do this well and not feel like a little bit of a freak- even (and sometimes) in church crowds.

    Alright, I think I’ve rambled enough now. I have a lot of questions for you all for my next comment, but I must go now. Thanks for letting me go on and on and on and on…….

  7. *grins from ear to ear* Amen, sister Tiffany! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜†
    May I please use that as an encouragement for my girls? πŸ˜€
    It will be a HUGE help for me in this!

    Yes, dressing modestly is a HUGE part of helping our brothers in Christ remain pure. I would NOT suggest wearing sweats all the time, because that is a bad representation of Christ, as Christians. (You represent Christ in everything you say, do, and wear! Who wants to turn to a God who sends representatives in sweats? ‘If that is what your God demands of you, I want nothing to do with it’.)
    But keeping a close eye on what you go around looking like is very important.

    Oh, and might I ask what your thoughts on the book ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ were? -You said you disliked it. Do you mind explaining it much? (I’m not trying to disagree with you! I’m just curious as to why it brought on such a strong emotion for you. πŸ˜‰ )

    Thank you SOOO much for the testimonial, it encouraged me a lot!
    In Christ’s everlasting love,
    ~Danica

  8. javadawn says:

    Tiff, I’m sorry Darlin’ I’m really not laughing AT AT you, just kind of laughing AROUND you. πŸ˜‰ At the risk of you throwing something at me, I would say that your comment echoes the message of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”

    I’m wondering if the time, the way and the heart with which it was introduced into your life didn’t prejudice you.

    (It sure would me. I’d be ready to throw the book out the window – rather like Willard Harley’s book – “His Needs, Her Needs” It was given to me by someone who felt that I needed to shake off my “Mennonite” looks and “doll” up.
    She also felt that I needed to be a better helpmeet to my husband, because I wasn’t doing the things she was for her’s.
    I got through a few chapters of it and I threw the thing across the room. Literally. Jeff came home and I RANTED at him about what he wanted from me and how dare he ask those things of me. He was BLINDSIDED – “What are you talking about?!!!!” “THIS!” I said waving the book in the air.
    He took the book and looked to see who wrote it (now you’re all going to see what I have to put up with) and pointed to the author and said, “Well there’s your problem, that doesn’t say Jeff Clark” πŸ˜€ REALITY CHECK.) πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
    That book still makes me grit my teeth – and a few years ago I had someone say, “You know, watching you and Jeff reminds me of that book, ‘His Needs, Her Needs'” the temptation to DECK her went ROLLING through my flesh. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  9. Jenna says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your conversation, Dawn and Danica! πŸ™‚ I’ll have to store away some of your points for later use with Pumpkin. *grins*

  10. Tiffany says:

    *lol* Yeah, I suppose I do sound a little like the book…. and yes I probably dislike it because of how it was presented to me. And I didn’t even have an urge to hit you when you pointed it out. πŸ™‚ I mostly enjoyed “boy meets girl” but of course I had been married for about 6 mo. when it came out and could just read and enjoy. πŸ™‚ *lol* To be honest there isn’t too much of it I even remember. The main objections that I had to the book was that it was written by Harris in a manner that was extremely authoritative. At the time I felt it was way too much considering he was still in the midst of all of it himself. I have since learned that this is a rather invalid view of an arguments merits as it allows one to focus on the maker of the argument rather than any actual truth in the argument itself. But hey, cut me some slack, I was 16 and my boyfriend broke up with me. πŸ™‚ So I should probably cut poor Josh some slack and go back and reread it so I can have a more accurate view of his book. πŸ™‚ My preliminary thought is that “Goodbye” would be best read along with “Boy” so that the person in question could get a full view of how it might work.

    Danica, feel free to use whatever you find helpful! I truly hope it goes well between you and your friends. It is an extremely difficult place to be in when you have been given something better from the Lord that you then in turn need to share with others. You share of course because you love Him as well as them, but so often those in a mindset that they shouldn’t be in (speaking from experience) don’t want to truly listen to what it being said. They don’t want to consider that this may be what they are called to as well as they fear the cost is simply too high.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Good writing here, Dawn….but I wish I had known some of this earlier…like when I was raising my girls. I did want them to be modest and tried…but both dress more worldly than I wished. One especially so…it is SO hard for an unmarried woman to understand how her body does things to men…and how they were made to appreciate our bodies!! I hope your teaching of your daughters goes better than mine did!

    My husband dated at least 50 girls before me…I can tell you, it did NOTHING to help our relationship. I was not into dating a lot of different people so there was only 2 I was serious about before him…but when you give part of your heart away, even if no kissing, etc. goes on…I do not think that part is retrievable. And you are right about the romance novels…not helpful. Real life is seldom like novels. I will say however, that in some of the old time ones, some made into movies (like the Jane Austin ones), it helped us to talk about courtship and how things should be and why things happened the way they did and how one might avoid such situations in modern life.

    Well, my husband and I did nothing wrong by our parents standards, but we do wish we had been encouraged to follow courtship. Our last child left at home, at age 24 has not dated yet, by her choice. We are grateful…and prayerful, about when the right man comes along. SO far, no one in sight even!!

    Blessings on you and your family!

  12. tiffany says:

    Ok, now that I have gone on and on, I have lots of questions. As we are still in process here of trying to sort through everything. One thing we know for certain is that we would like at least some preliminary things figured out in the next year or so, so our children grow up hearing our desires for them in this arena rather than springing it on them at 17 or 18.

    So, when it comes to courtship, how do things (if at all) differ between sons and daughters?

    What (if anything) is different if the other family doesn’t do courtship as well?

    How does a young girl keep her heart from going for crushes? I mean, it is hard if you are interacting with peer of other genders to not notice if someone is exemplary. So how do you (or do you) acknowledge that fact and yet simply move on from it rather than get entangled?

    When it is an appropriate time to consider marriage, how does one make the transition from guarding ones heart to opening it enough to consider if this person is someone that could be married (and thus fall in love with)?

    As a parent (and this one is huge for me) how do I know that my thoughts/observations/opinions of potential spouse are accurate? Especially if they end up be different than what my child has observed of the person? Obviously it is possible that I as the parent could be wrong, but how to I take that into consideration without crippling the whole process?

    Ok, that is all my questions for now. I certainly don’t expect you to sit down and figure them all out for me. πŸ™‚ Rather, these are simply the things I am pondering on the subject. I get where the starting point it, and I get where the ending point is desired to be, it is the inbetween that is still rather vague. I heard an older father say one time that courtship is the potential folly of the parents played out and dating is the potential folly of the children played out. You simply need to figure out which route you want to take. I don’t know that I agree with that, but it certainly has stuck with me.

    Oh wait-more questions (I fear you’re going to ban me from this thread!!!). This time on modesty.
    How does a young unmarried girl figure out what modesty is? Who gets to decide the standard? Obviously it is more than following a list of dress code rules, but some rules do seem in order. How do we figure this out without turning it into I and II Hemlines??

    Is the idea of modesty differently expressed in unmarried women and married women? How does one balance the idea of looking beautiful (sexy even maybe?) for ones husband but still taking into account everyone else’s husbands and all her brothers in Christ as well?

    If someone has a stricter or looser idea of modesty, is it just a matter of personal preference, or is this something that we can really speak into each others lives on? And how do we do it in a way that is helpful and loving and that truly brings righteousness?

    Ok, I’m don’t now. I promise. πŸ™‚
    (I have this typing 9 fingered thing down! And dawn, lavender oil was the very first thing I did after grabbing a cloth so I didn’t drip blood everywhere (a red cloth, so I couldn’t see my own blood). It is amazing how much lavender oil is good for! I think I might go with out certain grocery items to make sure lavender EO was always in the house)

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