Posted in Book Review, Faith

Restoring The Lost Petal

I shared a few blog posts ago that my daughter had asked Siri, “What is the definition of modesty?” and how I tackled that conversation.

no-shame

Confession: My feelings on the subject have been unraveled after reading “Restoring The Lost Petal” by Danielle Tate.  And although I have provided links so you can get a copy of the book for yourself, I was not paid to provide a good review and will not be compensated in any earthly way by your purchase of it.

I think it would be helpful to understand, first of all, that I was not raised a Christian.  I got saved at 15.  And I was already an angry, rebellious teenager trying to assert some level of independence from my mom by then.  I had already made less-than-ideal choices, and because of my attitude I already had a reputation (although it was far worse than I actually deserved).

Interesting thing about how I rolled back then: If you accused me of being slutty and I didn’t really deserve it, then I would go out of my way to show you how slutty I really could be.  I don’t know how this logically could’ve worked in my favor, but that was how I rebelled against EVERYONE – by one-upping whatever anyone said, being more than what I was accused of. More tough, more angry, more violent, more promiscuous, more cruel…

And yet, if I’m completely honest, these experiences didn’t hurt me as bad when they happened as they did AFTER I got saved and started going to church!

let-god-in

When Jesus showed up in my 15 year old self, I didn’t need to be told that my dating speed was inappropriate, or that self-harming was bad, or that I needed a whole new circle friends.  The Holy Spirit did that well enough; I understood at the moment I gave my heart to Christ and asked Him to be Lord of my life that I couldn’t have Jesus and live like I’m going to hell on wheels.

No exaggeration: I gave my life to Christ one Sunday morning, and while I was praying the sinner’s prayer, I told God, “And Lord, you know that tonight these boys from my neighborhood are going to knock on my window and invite me to sneak out while my family is asleep.  No sense lying to you about this.  I’m not sure I’m strong enough to say that I’m not going to go.  I need You to protect me from this.”

That night, I slept like a rock.  Heard at school that the boys went as far as opening my window and shook me in my bed as quietly as they could and I would not budge, so they left me alone in my room.  And they never came back.  #truestory

Christ’s forgiveness was so real at that moment that I completely forgave myself – being as far removed from that girl as the east is from the west.  The problem is, I went to church…


From then until I got married and got the heck out of dodge, it seemed that no one in my church believed I was changed – no matter all my efforts to prove it.  If I participated in EVERYTHING – from Mission’s Trips, to Bible Quiz, it was to get into my then-friend-now-husband’s pants.  Nothing I wore was modest enough.  The highlight of learning about sex was “Don’t do it! Don’t touch! Don’t even kiss! Until you’re married!”  And then when my husband and I decided to get married, the church refused to get involved under the auspice that we already had sex and our marital union would no longer be sanctified.

Sadly, this is a #truestory as well.  Needless to say, this did little to build me up in modesty and purity, little to break spiritual bondage, and little to bring healing…

the-why

Fast forward to this year, now that I’m 31 and even further removed from that person, I received a copy of this book to review.  Danielle and I are Facebook friends and we had engaged in blog-related activities and personal conversations over the years.  I was so stoked that she wrote this book and excited to offer her my support.

I didn’t realize how much I needed to read her words.  And that’s about as far as I’ll spoil it for you.  Because even though I wasn’t living a promiscuous/adulterous life style, and I wasn’t recovering from a traumatic abusive experience, I had still in some ways lost some petals and just learned to live without…

I strongly recommend this book for any girl of any age – before any sexual experiences or after, before marriage or married more than once… We as Christians need to re-engage in these conversations about sex, dating, modesty, purity and we need to do it right! We need to know much more than “don’t!” but also “Why?” and “When?” and “How?”  And we need to restore the petals in the flowers of our hearts and protect the flowers in the hearts of the younger girls coming up after us.

live-restored-title

You can get your copy of “Restoring The Lost Petal” by Danielle Tate here, but I’m also willing to give my copy away at random if you answer this prompt below:

What is the conversation about purity you WISH you had as a teenager?  If you could go back and give your 15 year old self a message on this subject, what would you say?

Posted in Faith, Family

Modesty

My daughter is working on her “My Style” badge for American Heritage Girls and she asked my phone, “Siri, what is the definition of modesty?”

modesty

Confession: I’m glad she asked my phone before she asked me.  I wasn’t quite sure how to explain it.  It’s a term that gets tossed around a lot, more to girls than to boys, and definitely in religious circles.  But whenever it was brought up to me, it was always used to bring me shame and condemnation no matter how hard I tried to do what is right.

Last thing I want is to butcher this with her, she’s so sweet and innocent!

So we walked through it step by step.  She’s an auditory learner (a fact I’d be wise to remember when I’m dumb enough give her multiplication flash cards… Duh.), so conversation helps her to learn and process information.  Here’s what we discussed:

  1. It starts with being “unassuming”, or in other words, not drawing attention to ourselves as more special or hyped up than we really are.  So it has a quality of humility to it.  It’s like the ranks on a soldier’s uniform; it’s totally appropriate for the captain to wear captain’s uniform, but it’s a disgrace for someone of low rank (or worse, as has been seen before, someone who is not enlisted) to wear the captain’s rank.  It’s appropriate to dress for the job or rank we have earned – or in her case, wear her American Heritage Girls uniform with all her badges.  That would not be considered immodest.
  2. It means we are showing a limited, moderate, or small amounts of ourselves.  I told her that just because we  may have the money or the good looks to wear certain things doesn’t mean we necessarily should.  We even brought up Victoria’s Secret Models (we were surprised with their New Year’s Fashion show on the television of a Dairy Queen dinner date once) and we talked about how even though these women looked great, it wasn’t exactly modest to show so much of their nakedness on national TV.  We give people limited amounts of ourselves not just physically, but also to some degree emotionally and financially too.
  3. It means we behave and dress as is appropriate for the occassion, using these as a way to honor others above ourselves.  We talked about different outfits she wears during the week for different things.  Although a one piece bathing suit is perfectly modest for swimming, it’s entirely inappropriate for church on Sunday mornings!  So being proper and decent also has to do with discerning the occassion.  It’s why people don’t wear flashy colors at funerals, but flowery and bright colors are appropriate for weddings.  It’s why tight capris and a tank top are perfectly fine for yoga or running in the summer heat, but she really doesn’t need to wear form fitting clothes like that to co-op or Kid’s World at church.

brielle

I think this is all withing the realm of possibility for her – not legalistic, which kills your spirit, but not rebellious either (which kills your soul).  It was imperative with me, in this conversation with my 9 year old girl, that we addressed modesty without at all addressing sex.

It’s nauseating to me how hyper-sexualized everything is to a younger and younger audience.  And while the feminist in me says, “I’m not going to repress my daughter because some perv might be oogling her!” The maternal instinct in me says, “I don’t want to give a perv anything to look at!”  We don’t need to bring sex up to talk about the length of her skirt because modesty is so much more than the avoidance of sexual temptation in the first place.

I always try to approach every subject with my kids through the heart of God’s Word, as best I understand it.  I don’t want to restrict them in frustration; I want them to willingly make God-honoring choices.

How would you describe modesty to a young girl?