Olympic Fashion

The Olympics have been really enjoyable this year.  I have watched so many events and throughout the whole thing, I’ve noticed how fashionable (or interesting) various countries and the people representing them are.  I decided to post a few of my observations for you to see!!

The opening ceremonies were definitely a bit strange, but fun (and thankfully I understood it because I have learned of British culture since I was a child).  As I was watching, I am sure there was much work put into each country’s matching uniforms. The men and women all wore different outfits (other than countries like Ireland who all wore white pants with green jackets – where was the orange??). Here are a few of my favorite fashions from the opening ceremony.

The Netherlands. I really adore blue and orange together (I used to have sneakers in these colors). I think the sweater vests with the outfit just make it look really cool.

The Czech Republic definitely were individuals at the opening ceremony. I honestly did not understand why they were wearing rainboots/wellies at all! I still am trying to figure it out. Do people in their country wear boots like this regularly or did they hear that London was rainy, so they were preparing for the weather?

Germany’s outfits definitely helped you know who were the boys and who were the girls. . .

I am assuming that Djibouti’s men’s formal-wear normally involves the wearing of the skirt that looks like a towel, but what I really loved were the colors in the women’s outfits. One of the women had a dangling piece of jewelry that nearly covered her eyes completely, which must be hard to wear while trying to watch where you’re walking. I thought they had gorgeous ladies on their team!

I should have taken a screenshot myself, and apologize that this was the only photo I could find of Vietnam in the opening ceremonies, but I must say that the women’s formal-wear has always fascinated me from their country and that it is not only modest, but gorgeous with how delicately hand-embroidered their outfits are. This was my favorite out of all the outfits at the ceremonies.

USA’s outfits fooled me for a second! I didn’t even know they were USA! It doesn’t seem to fit our culture. However, Ralph Lauren designed these (must be pricey) and I do find them extremely classy and modest, which I don’t believe our country is usually fond of!!

While watching the events of the Olympics, I have also gone back to watch clips of former Olympic games and realize that you can tell the time period by what is worn or how hairstyles appear.  Here are some photos from the current 2012 Olympics.  If I catch more in my time watching the Olympics, I’ll make another post for you.  Some of the events I’ve personally watched include skeet shooting to wind sailing! If you have missed some of the events, hopefully you can see clips to review the events online somewhere.

The first thing I noticed in my time of watching the Olympics was from a game of beach volleyball between Australia and Austria. Austria was extremely modest while Australia, hardly. I was expecting them all to wear their little two-pieces as I’ve seen done many times throughout the sport, which I can’t even fathom diving after a ball wearing hardly anything. This particular shot is of USA, which I also watched. Many people were disappointed to see them all in “scuba gear” as I heard it called. I believe these outfits are wonderful in comparison to what I’m used to seeing in the sport! The reason why so many teams have been wearing outfits like this is because of the modesty issues in various countries and to be respectful (if only they thought that way outside of the Olympics).

It was fun to watch Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain in the men’s cycling competition. Many of his fans adore his sideburns. You don’t see too many men sporting sideburns, though I have personally always loved my husband’s red sideburns (as Mr. Wiggins has here). He won the gold, in case you’re wondering.

I noticed that Great Britain’s team in archery all had the London Jack flag painted on their nails This is Naomi Folkard, whom I watched play. I did not notice if all the countries in archery did this, but from what I recall in seeing GB play against Mexico, they did not. Do you see her nails in this shot?

Speaking of Archery, India’s Deepika Kumari, who is best in the world (but lost early on in the Olympics of 2012) had on the cutest little vest. I felt it was worth posting.

I keep hearing about women lusting after the male swimmers at the Olympics, which really is bothersome, but an improvement is that many of the men have been wearing long shorts or even pants instead of the tiny underwear-looking suits I’ve seen in past Olympics. While some still do wear them, I appreciate that a lot of them cover up a bit more.

And here we have the Team USA’s women in suits I’d totally wear often. Instead of your normal one-piece that often reveals the buttocks, they are wearing suits that resemble men’s suits from the 1920s! I think the cut on the shoulders are too far in on these suits, but they designed them so it is less constricting on their arms as they swim. Congratulations to Allison Schmitt in the water who won the Gold medal, breaking her own American swimming record.

While I noticed most of the cyclists wear helmets that stand out long in the back and reminds me of the movie Alien, the women’s Swedish team (such as Johansson pictured) had on these odd looking orange helmets that remind me of the spaceship from 1980s Disney film Flight of the Navigator.

Zara Phillips, who won the women’s Equestrian silver medal, had on this beautiful outfit during the Olympics. She is the Queen’s grand-daughter so hats and fashion are a part of her royalty.

My favorite fashionable portion of the entire Olympics thus far was in an event that I didn’t expect at all:  Men’s Gymnastics; specifically the German team.  A few of them had the same amazing pompadour hairstyle.  Many of the guys in gymnastics had terrible hairstyles!  Seeing nice hair was refreshing!  I took a few screen shots to show the 2012 Olympic silver medalist Marcel Nguyen’s great hair as he competed in the individual all-around competition!! I was cheering him on because of how amazing his hair was, which stayed in place as he’d hang upside down on the rings or do flips and somersaults.  My husband Rob had a similar hairstyle last year (pictured on the right frame of this site even).  I watched the event on BBC1 and Eurosport yesterday afternoon on my computer, so I don’t know if the footage was shown in the USA last night.  USA got the bronze for this event, in case you were curious.

 

As an example of what I mean regarding their hairstyles, here are the medalists from the men’s Gymnastics competition. Kohei Uchimura (who was amazing to watch!) won Gold for Japan and USA’s Danell Leyva (who was boring until the end) won the bronze.

 

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An Issue of Polyamory

“Monogamy destroys families,” laughs a married couple from a new T.V. series that has been working its way to be put on the screens in your households and into the brains of many couples as well as your children for a purpose of making polyamory an acceptable way of life.

“What in the world is polyamory, anyway?”
Polyamorists are those who are married or in “committed relationships” but engaging in extra sexual activity inside their homes and in the presence of their spouse while “loving” whomever you want to.

This new T.V. show’s advertisement is filled with the idea that it is pleasurable and fun for married couples to have sex with other people inside their own homes.  One of the couples on their advertisement shows two couples who all live together and are “in love” with everyone under their roof. Another couple has an extra woman who loves both the man and woman who are married to each other. They are all smiles and sunshine in their advertisement, but the thing that bothers me the most is how close this hits home for me and how incredibly deceived they are.

Although it is truly a very personal issue, but because something like this is coming out on Television, I need to share a couple stories.  My grandparents “raised” six children.  They neglected them because they’d rather pay attention to alcohol and sex, but underneath their roof was a tragic story.

My grandfather was a sex addict. He had been involved with the prostitutes of Amsterdam during WWII and came back to marry my grandmother who came from a highly sexually abused family herself.  Under their roof, while the children were all upstairs, my mom witnessed her father kissing and touching other women in front of her mother.  It really upset my mom a lot but whenever she’d comment about it, she’d get laughed at by her parents or the people who were over involved in the activities.

In the last years of my grandmother’s life, my mom questioned her mother on the many events she’d witnessed going on in their home. My grandmother thought they concealed their lifestyle away from her children, but my mom was not blind so her mom let everything be known to her.  There were partner swaps regularly and orgies throughout their home.  “The parties were wild at your parents’ place,” was something an old former partner swapper mentioned to my mom in my presence at a wake of one of my relatives.  I looked at my mom and said, “Was he one of the ones your mom was involved in?” and she remembered he was there often, but didn’t know if he was one of the ones that slept with her mom.

Although things may have seemed so wonderful in this new Television show’s commercial, and although my grandparents stayed married until death, the truth is that my grandmother was left with loads of wounds from her marriage. She confessed so many dark stories with my mom including that my grandfather was starting to have problems having orgasms unless he watched other men being sexual with his wife, so he prostituted her for his own gain after decades of “sexual boredom”.  Thankfully my grandfather completely transformed his life when he became a Christian in his last seven years of life (he died at about 55 years of age or so).

Many family members of mine would be shocked to learn of such stories from the 1940s-early 1960s,   but I pushed and pushed my mom for years to tell me of the history of our family so that I could learn and help break the nasty sexual generational curse like my mother did.

A few years before I was even conceived, my father brought a woman around the home and was involved with her in front of my mom (kissing her and flirting her with my mom right there). Thankfully my mom put her foot down, rebuked my father, witnessed to the woman who became a Christian, and my dad stayed with my mom and said she was “gold” while any other woman was “tin”.  If the public affair was never taken care of and my mom didn’t seek out God so regularly, my parents would never have had made me, and I would not have seen healing in my parents’ marriage (which still had difficulties in my childhood).

The Polyamory show talks about how at least they are all honest with one another and free to sleep with whomever they want to which they believe makes it better. This is a lie that Satan is trying to feed into the viewers who might be having marital problems or those who wish they could be able to have affairs.  The stories I told you above were of my married family members who knew full well what was going on or were involved themselves, but it just made things worse, not better.

Now that I’ve been married for eight years and had to grow through hard times in my own marriage in the past, I have seen how monogamy is a great blessing and a beautiful thing. Anything that was ever brought into our marriage from outside of devoting attention to each other only harmed us greatly.

Coming through the hard times and devoting our marital love and sexual attentions to only one another has been amazing!  Without outside distractions, we have more fulfillment sexually than we had in the past. With each year, sexual intercourse has only become better because we concentrate on one another so often. I blush like I’m still 16 and he lusts after me wearing the most un-sexy outfits I could imagine (and only lusts after me), because he truly loves me. True love involves commitment, devotion, and concentration on the other person through the unity of man and woman under the eyes and approval of God, not man.

The worst part about seeing the ad for the Polamory show is that at the end of it, a woman asks her child if they’d be okay with some other person living with them (in which they are sexually involved with). The child says they like that person, so this makes it okay in their eyes.  I guess people forget that polyamory is sodomy and sinful and anyone who is going to cause a child to even stumble and confuse them, is just testing God and causing them to destroy their lives and the lives of their children.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” -Hebrews 13:4

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It’s Like Porn For Women

This topic has been on my heart now for a few weeks. I wanted to avoid talking about it, which is why it has taken so long for this post to materialize. I asked the Lord, “isn’t there someone else who will write about such things?” But, the answer remains the same. As a single female in her 20’s, I’ve openly shared how I struggle with lust and sexual fantasy type sins, so when temptation is blatantly thrown in my face I’ll admit it really tends to upset me.

The trend I’ve noticed lately is that porn is revealing itself in new and different forms. Pornography, how we as a culture know it to be has become bored with the simplicity in “arousing” men’s sexual fantasies, and as of late in it’s “new and improved” look, is encouraging women to indulge their sexual appetite as well. This new take on porn for women, as I see it, is taking the shape of books, movies and even commercials where women are bombarded with sexually explicit images and stimulating mental impressions. How dangerous is this for the single Christian woman? Perhaps even more dangerous for the married Christian woman? The nonchalant attitude towards sex in our culture is becoming more apparent as television is daring enough to portray inappropriate content during daytime hours allowing this mindset to even creep into watching children’s minds. Since being home from college (where I had no access to tv), my eyes, heart and mind have been affected by the content that is continually running across the screen. I have now learned that in order to protect myself I must change channels during commercials or at times choose to not watch at all. For me, these types of pornography as I dare to call them, are trying to ruin the expectations and views that I have about my future husband and our future marriage inside and outside of the bedroom. I cannot speak for married Christians, but I will say that to watch or read the current sexualized media expressions geared toward the female population can only serve to devastate a marriage in the same ways as when a married man views internet pornograpy.

For the past month and a half I have had posts strewn across my facebook wall about young women purchasing and reading the book 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. The book has spent 16 weeks on the NY Times best sellers list. It is actually the first part of a trilogy where parts 2 and 3 have now spent 16 and 15 weeks on the best sellers list consecutively also. The series is supposed to bring the reader intensely from one page to the next, one chapter to the next just like The Hunger Games or Twilight Series did for teens and young adults alike. However, this book is not for PG or G rated audiences.

Beaming off the pages of this fictional book are scenes that depict fantasies of sexual encounters and encourage women to idolize these acts; removing women from their real life with their real husband into a made up world. Now, I personally will not read the book. From what I do know E.L. James creates an erotic novel based off Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series. The male character, Christian Grey is a young billionaire entrepreneur, who was abused himself as a child. He meets a recent college graduate Anastasia Steele who is still a virgin. Grey requires Steele to sign a contract allowing him total control over her. Due to her love and fascination for him the results are the development of a BDSM relationship.

Now, I could get into an entire discussion about all the reasons why you shouldn’t read it or all about how unbiblical this book is, but Mary Kassian author of Girls Gone Wise already covered a pretty thorough read through of how this book not only violates the marriage covenant, but also violates biblical authority and submission.

As a Christian, I along with many others believe this book to be pornography for females. A woman who reads it becomes sexually stimulated or “hot and bothered” and in her mind can visualize various inappropriate sexual acts. This is sin. This is no different than a man viewing a sex act on the internet and becoming sexually stimulated. The methods for how arousal occurs are different, but the results are the same. In the end, both are sins.

There is also a new movie that is coming out in theaters, Magic Mike. Like 50 Shades of Grey, this movie encourages infatuation, lust and sexual fantasy for women. If you’ve seen the previews there’s a bunch of young, good looking men that strip themselves of their clothes and parade around in front of what seems to be a bunch of crazy sex-deprived women. While the trailer also gives light to the possibility of a romance, it does not take away from the main theme of the movie – male strippers.

As the world continues to push these images into my face I cannot help but want to push back with, “No, this is not okay!” As the show fades to commercial and a Magic Mike trailer begins my flesh screams to me, Keep watching Laura you know they turn you on! But, I must fight the urge to sin and turn off the tv. I have been working long and hard on my journey toward a sexually pure life in Christ. In fact, too long to throw it all away on a frivolous movie. I read the reviews, and it all comes down to naked men. If it’s not about naked women… well then goodness it’s about naked men. And sadly one review from the Examiner even interviewed Christian women who claimed that they found nothing wrong with going to see this movie with their friends. Debra says, “I go to church and read my Bible and love the Lord and me and my girlfriends are going to see it, it’s a girl’s night out and I don’t think people should judge me for that.” Gail Johnson says, “I consider myself a Christian and I don’t see anything wrong with anyone going to see the movie, I just personally won’t go but I can’t judge.” Well, I ask what has happened to Christians? Jesus told us not to blend in with this world.

Along with movie trailers, is the tragedy that commercials think that overtly explicit sexual advertisement helps to sell their products. I remember the day I was home watching reruns of some show when a commercial for the newest Liquid-Plumr product flashed on the screen. It starts off with this nerdy and disheveled looking woman walking down the aisle of a store. She picks up the brand new product and says the name of it twice “double impact” and immediately drifts off into a daydream. In her daydream, where I might add her appearance has drastically improved, the door bell rings and the first good looking man says “Hi, I’m, here to snake your drain.” She blushes and says, “Okay come in.” As he proceeds to walk into her home the doorbell rings again and the second good looking man says “Hi, I’m here to flush your pipe.” She slams the door shut and removes her hair clip shaking loose her locks in a sensual manner. The commercial then goes to a James Earl Jones type of voice that states what the product can do for your drain, ending the sentence with “double impact baby!” It then flashes back to her in the aisle at the store where you see her grabbing two or three more from the shelf.

Upon first viewing of this commercial, I screamed out loud in my living room “Oh my gosh! This is so sexual.” No one else in my family seemed to understand what I saw in the ad that warranted yelling. But, I explained myself because double impact is just a politer way of saying something else, which is a sexually perverted act and Liquid Plumr is getting away with it! Sort of like a read between the lines. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. I couldn’t believe that this was allowed on television AND during the day!

All I can say to Christian women is be careful. Be careful what you read and what you watch. Satan has a hold on this world and it is becoming increasingly more demoralized each day. We can choose to partake in this evil or we can take a stand for righteousness.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:1-2,5

In Colossians, Paul wrote about how as Christians we have been raised above the things of this world and because of that we need to keep our hearts and minds focused in that direction. He commands us to essentially overcome our sinful nature that craves the evil ways of the world because as new creations in Christ we have been privileged to be set a part. Therefore, we need to start acting that way.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:1-2

In Romans, Paul wrote that God had such great mercy on us, to save us, through the death of His Son Jesus that the least we can do is give back to God through how we live our lives. Paul goes on to tell the Romans and to tell us that we need to not be swayed by the culture we live in, but change our attitudes and the way in which we think to a godly mindset and outlook. This goes hand in hand with what we as Christians choose to view or read because whatever we put inside us shapes who we are.

I’ll end with one of my favorite verses from Titus. If we are Christians and we are going to walk around calling ourselves followers of Jesus, then we need to make sure how we talk and how we act is aligned with the Bible. There is nothing more frustrating to me than Christians who claim Jesus and continue on in their sin. And let me clarify, I understand there are Christians who struggle with sin, but strive toward righteousness…those people I’m not referring to. It’s the lukewarm believers that God will spit out of His mouth.

Women, not only does our culture demean us as sex objects, but also is pulling us down by way of porn in disguise playing to our emotions and desires. Please do not be fooled and pulled in by this game. Stand up for what is right according to scripture, resist evil and temptations and a choose a life aligned with Jesus.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

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Book Review: Young and In Love

In Young and In Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage by Ted Cunningham, there are examples of how to prepare for marriage no matter how old you are. This book is aimed more towards young people who might be in their college years.

While the majority of our society tries to delay marriage and instead seems to push for finding success in business before worrying about getting married and making a family, Young and in Love tries to encourage the opposite viewpoint (to marry first and pursue the job while married). As someone who got married at 20, I sincerely loved this book. I wish it were around when I was engaged, honestly, because it has some amazing advice for how to better prepare for life as a married couple, and would have truly benefited me and my husband.

“This book challenges the unnecessary delay of marriage, but I’m afraid we have a bigger battle on our hands.  According to the Time magazine article (‘Who Needs Marriage?‘), 39 percent of American believe that marriage is becoming obsolete. A Time/Pew poll found that 44 percent of Americans under thirty believe marriage is ‘heading for extinction.’  Apparently, some think that delayed marriage is just a stop along the way to wiping marriage out altogether.” [page 79]

Ted Cunningham is a pastor who has given examples of some of the couples he’s met with before they marry, uses some of his own personal stories of his love life, and gives cited information from society and godly people, as well as scriptures throughout this book.

At one point in the book, Mr. Cunningham brings up that many people are discouraging young couples to get married just because they are supposedly “too young” (I had many try to do that to me before I married as well, so I could completely relate and agree while reading it).  While it is true that only about 2% of high school couples end up marrying, Mr. Cunningham gives hope to those who are in high school who might long to marry. He tells them to put behind their adolescence by showing their family and friends that they can take on added responsibility, to honor their parents and their discernment, and to get a job in order to gain experience, training, and responsibility.

Near the middle of the book, Mr. Cunningham talks about the important “Four Cs” to consider before you decide to marry.   These “Four Cs” are character, chemistry, competency, and calling.  He explains each one so that you can understand them easily.  He notices that many people divorce not because marriage is the problem, but “Marriages fall apart because of deep character issues, not because of surface issues.  You may like the way a person looks and behaves in public, but if he or she has no character or integrity, then you’re in trouble.  Character is everything. – He or she can be a doctor, lawyer, pastor, or plumber, but if the person you marry has no character, then you’ll have problems in your marriage.  He or she can have a strong personality or be fun loving, but if there’s no integrity, then chemistry doesn’t matter.”   He continues on expressing how “Your character determines your commitment in marriage.” [page 138-140] There is a chapter for each C to help understand if the person you want to marry is truly worth marrying, or if they (or even you) need some work and change before settling down.

If you are wondering what portions of the Bible that were most often quoted in Young and In Love; Song of Solomon/Songs and Ecclesiastes were most used, as well as many others from throughout the Bible (Matthew & James, for instance). Everything that this book talks about revolves around scriptures so that you can try to ensure that your relationship is Biblical!

I found the book to be such an easy read, that I read it within a couple days and enjoyed the fun stories included. One thing that stood out to me was how Mr. Cunningham talked to his own daughter on different occassions, even though she is very young (not even a teenager yet).  Since we at Ruby-Eyed Okapi often bring up articles on modesty, I loved the small story brought up in this book with how Mr. Cunningham handles the issue, since I don’t know of many pastors that speak out against immodesty. “I regularly tell the young women in our church that what they wear speaks directly to their character. Let your closet reflect your love for Jesus.” [Page 150]

I sincerely hope that any person who is longing to get married and are between the ages of 16-30, should certainly give this book a read! This book deserves a 4.5 out of 5 stars review/rating!!

Posted in book review, godliness, love, modesty, relationships, reviews, teenagers, teens | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Unconditional Love is Selfless Love

I’ve been learning a lot over the past month about selflessness. I would say I’m far from putting this discipline into everyday practice, but I’m trying. You know, I never necessarily thought of myself as a selfish person, but as God is dealing with the sin tendencies inside of me I’m able to better see who I really am.

Over the last year or so God has brought me on the most incredible journey of preparation for marriage… or so I’d like to think that’s what it is. Since becoming saved I have prayed and longed for a husband. And the Lord is faithful in preparing the way by releasing me from the bondages of my past, helping me to tackle the sins of my present, and by giving me directions for living righteously in the now and future.

My newest task began about two months ago when I believed the Lord wanted to ready me in a way that at first I was hesitant to obey. He told me that I needed to learn to unconditionally love my mother. Now, that doesn’t really sound like a hard task, per say. However, the two of us couldn’t be in the same room for more than five minutes without misunderstanding each other as normal conversation turned into a scream fest. But sure enough the Lord insisted, “Love your mother unconditionally, regardless if she sins against you, hurts your feelings and misunderstands you, just love her. Love her for who she is quirks and all.. no matter what she says or does because if you if think your spouse will never do these things you are wrong. Love is choice to be acted upon no matter how you feel in the moment.” Well needless to say, I wasn’t all too thrilled.

Nevertheless, I really wanted to obey God and I prayed for a supernatural attitude change and ability to love. I decided early on that I would just start to act differently toward my mom, but not tell her that I was trying – just see if she noticed. I believed that I was doing a pretty decent job until Easter came. I owed her some money that I borrowed for my car insurance payment, and as she sat on the couch that morning, crying, she said “It’s not about the money Laura… I don’t care about the money, I just wish you would love me.” Stunned like she had just slapped me in the face I had nothing to say. I thought silently to myself God I thought I was loving her, what am I doing wrong that my love isn’t coming across? Frustrated, I got into the car and while driving to my friend’s house where I was celebrating Easter, I prayed. Lord, if mom is not feeling my love than I must be doing something wrong. I thought I was loving her how I was supposed to be, but apparently not. Well, then, You must show me the kind of love she needs, not the kind of love I think I should give to her.

That evening we had another fight, one that really hurt my feelings. She told me she dreaded the fact that I was going to be home for the summer when the semester ended. Wow, talk about kicking someone when their down. I suppose she didn’t realize that I felt the same way, but I just chose not to tell her. I was angry. Days passed, we didn’t speak, but I never stopped praying to learn how to love her despite my feelings. Love her regardless of who she is, what she says, how she acts. This is the love I know the Lord wants me to learn how to give. During a phone call a week later, I cried as I confessed how hurtful her words were and how I had been trying to love her and be a better daughter, but she makes it so difficult. I told her that I want nothing more than for us to get along and that I’ve been praying for this summer to be better than last summer (which is another story all of it’s own) and that I’m learning how to make this happen. She agreed that nothing would make her happier than for us to get along, but told me I need to stop being so selfish. Ah ha! The key word to building the foundation for a new relationship.

Well, here I am a month into summer and if I’ve learned anything at all it is this: to love someone unconditionally is to love sacrificially or selflessly. I think if you would have asked me a few months ago I would have said I was a pretty selfless person, but in reality now that I look back I was and am pretty selfish. My mom would want to share with me her excitement over her new curtains and how much money she saved, but because that conversation was of no value to me, I borderline listened… I didn’t care about curtains. I began to notice that I had a continual pattern of putting value on what she said, at times only pretending to care. I’d yes her to death anxiously waiting for my turn to speak. In fact, for being 26 years old… my selfishness went further. I claimed I loved my mom however, if I was angry with her for whatever dumb reason well than forget the dishes or vacuuming. My emotions fueled my actions. You know, I suppose it’s in our (humans) nature, or my nature to look out for me, to be concerned more about #1, to make sure I am heard and seen first. I had to make sure my needs were met and no one else unless I believed he or she were deserving. However, that is not how love works. Ah, I think I would have failed in a marriage with this attitude. And clearly, I was failing in my relationship with my mom.

I recently read a blog about the three types of love in the Bible and how most young single Christians go about love in relationships in the incorrect order. First by inciting up eros love feelings of passion and lust toward a member of the opposite sex, then phileo love creating friendship, but rarely if ever making it to agape love the stage of a relationship where one or both members act selfless and sacrificial toward one another. This article explains that in order to have a God honoring relationship young Christians need to look at “God’s plan for dating relationships as just the opposite, progressing from the inside out—from agape love to phileo and then, possibly, to eros.”

The Lord is really teaching me a thing or two about agape love, and who better to learn from than the Creator of the concept. Our God is the ultimate source of agape that John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” And Romans 5:8 says “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Wow, well I understand now that I was sinning in choosing when my mom deserved my love and when she didn’t. Unconditional love must be consistent in action regardless of emotion – conscientiously making selfless choices toward another individual no matter what the other person might have done or said. Love is about their needs and wants over your own. Love is about engaging in conversations that are of importance to your loved one and therefore should be of importance to you. Love is about being humble, forgiving, looking passed imperfections. I would say that I am finally on the right path to loving my mom the way God intended. For the first time in a really long time our relationship is working.

I know a lot of people believe 1 Corinthians 13 is cliche, but there is so much that one can learn from that passage. However, verse 11 is my favorite “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” Gosh, not that long ago I was definitely still a child. I didn’t fully understand how to put the second half of one of God’s greatest commandments into action – Love your neighbor as yourself (in this case my mother.) But I believe the Lord is teaching me how to be a (wo)man and put my silly childish ways behind me in order that I might better know how to selflessly love others – starting with my mother and perhaps soon enough a husband.

Posted in God, godliness, love, marriage, prayer, relationships, sinfulness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments