Treasured

We all know that feeling. We arrive at the area pool with our kids just hoping to get a couple hours of relaxation while they swim with their friends. Instead, the second we walk through the gate we are bombarded with the thoughts. “Wow, she looks great! How does she have 3 kids and still look like that? I have three kids, (or 2 or 1) and I look like a beached whale!” “I should have bought the black bathing suit.” “I should have just worn my shorts instead of this bathing suit.” “Ugh, why do I have to be so fat?” “I shouldn’t have eaten my birthday cake for the last 40 years. I hate myself for eating that cake.”  Anyone else have this experience or one similar? I know it’s not just me. Should we take care of our bodies? Absolutely yes! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” We aren’t all going to look the same in the process of caring for our bodies though. I am never going to weigh 140lbs but I can do healthy things to care for my body at 200lbs. Would God love me more at 140lbs? God’s love is not earned or lost. A good, loving parent doesn’t stop loving their child because of bad choices they make, or weight they gain. A loving parent continues to love that child! When our children are struggling is when we most want to wrap them up and snuggle them until they feel better. It’s when we want to speak words of life into their little (or big) hearts and spirits. In the same way when we are struggling, the Lord wants to comfort us! He wants to take our faces in His hands as he looks deeply into our eyes and tells us, “You are beautiful! You are loved! You are never alone! You are treasured!” 

“You are beautiful! You are loved! You are never alone! You are treasured!”

I want to be seen like that! I want to see myself like that! I want to know I am a beautiful child of God who is known and loved and treasured! Not only that, I want to see others that way! For a long time, most of my life in fact, I was very judgmental. I know I’ve talked about this in the past. I love that the veil has been lifted from my eyes and I no longer look at people the same. God, give me your eyes to see your children the way you see them! Help me to see past the superficial things and ways of the world and into the heart and soul of those around me. Show me the hurting, the lost, the confused, the tired, the worn and weary and use me to pour out your love to them. 

Can we have and develop empathy like this without naturism? Absolutely yes and many have! For me, though, God used naturism to open my eyes to what my attitude was like. No matter how we dress, sweat pants and a t-shirt, jeans and blouse, or jacked up for the red carpet, people are going to make assumptions about us based on our clothing. But clothes don’t make the person. We are all way more than the clothes we put on everyday. My clothes don’t show you what’s in my heart. My clothes don’t show you what my values are. You can only truly know who I am by connecting with me on a more personal level. Finding out what we have in common. With naturism right off the bat we know we have that in common and it opens the door for more conversations and relationship building. We have met so many amazing people at the naturist resort we frequent. Friendships are being built. Lives are being shared. We need each other on so many levels! 

As I type this we are at a Christian naturist gathering. There are around 50 of us here. This week we have worshipped together, prayed together, fellowshipped together, eaten together, and grown together. While our official worship sessions are over for the week, the relationship building continues. Some of these people I am meeting for the very first time, but we already have an instant connection without knowing anything else about each other. As Christian naturists we are like-minded in that we believe we have all been created in the image of God and we are living that out by hiding nothing during this week of iron sharpening iron. We have spent hours in the pool enjoying the sunshine and discussing Scripture while all the kids splashed around. I imagine that is a picture of what heaven might be like except maybe Jesus will be floating around with us! There is no judgement here. There is love, acceptance, respect and appreciation for the bodies that God has given us. God is in this place with us. You can feel him. You can see him in the image bearers that are here desiring a deeper relationship and walk with the Father! God may not walk with us in the cool of the day in the same way he did with Adam and Eve, but there is no denying that he longs to be with us and is pleased when his children draw near to him.  I believe in the same way we long to return to a Garden of Eden existence with God, he longs for that too! Until the day he returns for us, we are aching for Eden together. 

Completely Transforming (Interview of Michelle Miller)

We value the woman’s perspective on naturism, which is why we are thrilled to have interviewed our friend, Michelle Miller. She is an online friend that we trust we will soon meet in person. She has a wonderful story, so let’s get right to it!

Q: How did you get into naturism?

A: First of all, I was afraid of being naked my whole life.  At the beginning of last year, I began to pray that God would help me love my body.  I began to read about body acceptance which led to seeing articles about Christianity and naturism. I was fascinated that people said they were closer to God because of it. This caused me to look up places in my area that I could visit.  I called a clothing optional farm and spoke to the owner.  She shared her story with me which encouraged me.  She also explained that they monitored the guests, explaining that inappropriate behavior was not tolerated and background checks were required. She also explained naturism etiquette which made me feel better. This made me feel safe to try it.

Q: How does it change the way you view yourself, others, and God?

A: How I view myself: After I realized I had always been ashamed of my body, I asked God to forgive me for believing the lies of Satan regarding my body. That was an important step to my healing in releasing those chains. Once I stepped onto the property nude, I literally felt the heaviness fall off of me. I had a deep joy that I had never experienced in my life.  I prayed in the woods prostrate in the pine needles. God said He would cause truth to enter every cell of my body from this as in Psalm 51:6. Psalm 51:12- Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit. I feel that this restored my joy that was taken by Satan and that I now have a free spirit because naturism set me free from lies and body shame. I am content and confident with how I look.

How I view others: I was a very accepting person before. But now I am much more accepting of people seeing beyond their outside shell.  I have also experienced a deeper love for others.  Seeing people naked the first time was a little difficult. But it is just a body. I believe we fear seeing others because of our own fears. When I saw others, I realized in a matter of minutes that they were just bodies. I had anxieties that were built in my mind from society that I overcame.

Q: I know some close to you believe you are in the wrong for being a naturist. What would you want to say to any skeptic?

A: I explain that in my life I have sincerely desired to follow God. He is the one who showed me this path.  God brought verses to my mind that very first day I was nude in nature. I have experienced a closeness with God from following Him in naturism. I have also shared that I have met other solid Christians that God has led to this way of living and they all have benefited greatly.

Q: What would be your advice to women who struggle with the thought of participation in this lifestyle or naturist activities?

A: First, ask God to heal you from your negative body image. We were not meant to carry this burden. Ask God to break down any barriers that are in the way and to give you His mind regarding naturism.  I would suggest sleeping nude. If able, start by being nude around the house nude. The air feels good on your skin.  If you are able, go to a remote place and experience being nude outside. It is exhilarating. You will crave the feeling to do it again. Lastly, if your husband is a naturist and you are not, he struggles with your disapproval. Just try it!  I have several good friends that have asked my advice from a woman’s perspective for approaching the subject with their wives and asked me to pray. Two of my friend’s wives have started to join their husband. They are beyond excited that their wives are part of naturism. Even if you have to take baby steps, your husband will be grateful. It will bring you closer together and you will benefit in ways you never thought possible. It is completely transforming! Give it a try. I dare you!

But what if…

I remember growing up one of the most awesome book series to read was the “Choose your own adventure” books. For those of you who may not know what I’m talking about, I’ll explain. You would begin the book like normal, but a few pages in you were given 2 choices. If you chose #1 you would turn to page 15, if you chose #2 you would turn to page 36 and the story would continue from there depending on what you chose. You were given choices throughout the book so you could read the book over and over and get somewhat different stories every time. If you didn’t like where you ended up, you could go back and pick something different. It was so much fun!

Unfortunately in life we rarely, if ever, get to go back and take a different path if we don’t like where we’ve ended up. If we do have the opportunity, there are usually consequences that we have to deal with from choosing wrong in the first place. I am a processor in my thinking, almost to a fault. I like to over analyze the situation to death and sometimes think so long about something that the opportunity passes me by and I end up kicking myself for not making a decision quicker. 

Unfortunately in life we rarely, if ever, get to go back and take a different path if we don’t like where we’ve ended up.

One of the hardest decisions I have ever been faced with was the decision on how to handle the information Phil shared with me about naturism. As you may have read in our first post he presented me with 3 options:

  1. Forbid him from participating in any way.
  2. Allow him to participate, but not participate myself.
  3. Go on this adventure with him (he didn’t word it that way).

During my time of processing I considered many “what ifs.”  What if he is just doing this to justify seeing naked women? What if this really is a sin in the eyes of God? What if someone finds out? What if he loses his job? What if our church kicks us out? What if our families disown us? What if our children hate us? And the list could go on and on!!!

Once we discussed all of these questions at length and were able to come up with answers for most of them I was able to make the decision that the thought of Christian naturism was ok by me. When I was coming to grips with what that meant for me practically a whole new set of “what ifs” came up. What if I’m fatter than everyone else? What if it’s super awkward for me but Phil is ok? What if Phil is not ok (if you know what I mean)? What if people stare at me? What if no one likes me? What if it’s horrible? That list could go on and on too!

Discussing those reservations, the only answer we came up with was that we weren’t going to know the answers until we tried it. So we did! After jumping in and experiencing many naturist group activities and just going to a park near us, I have the answers to those questions. 

-What if I’m fatter than everyone else?

Sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not. But you know what’s awesome? NO ONE CARES WHAT I LOOK LIKE!!!!

-What if it’s super awkward for me, but Phil’s ok? What if Phil is not ok?

There are moments where it’s been awkward, especially the first couple times, but that’s normal. Doing something new is always awkward, even fully clothed. Phil has never had any issues and neither have I. 

-What if people stare at me?

Never once has anyone looked long enough to make me feel uncomfortable. 

-What if no one likes me?

I have met the nicest people! So far everyone seems to think I’m ok. 

-What if it’s horrible?

Trust me, it’s not!

There are still many what if questions that come up from time to time and we try to figure those out as they come. In thinking back, some of those have been difficult and some of them have been reflective. What if I had forbidden Phil from participating? What if I’d allowed it but refused to entertain the thought for myself? I am confident that our marriage and relationship would not be as strong as it is now, and our relationship with the Lord would not be as solid.

During the last 9 months as we have written this blog, we have had many men reach out to us asking how they can encourage their wives. Here are the questions I would ask them:

  • What if it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be?
  • What if no one cares what you look like and loves you in spite of all the flaws YOU see?
  • What if your relationship with your husband could be stronger and more intimate (not just physically) than you could have ever hoped?
  • What if you actually feel more confident nude? (I know you don’t think that’s possible, but trust me, with first hand knowledge, it is!)
  • What if you actually really enjoy it once you get past the little bit of awkwardness?
  • What if you miss out on the best friends you would ever have?
  • What if you let your own insecurities get the better of you?
  • What if it’s nothing like the fears you have in your mind?
  • What if it’s one of the best things that ever happened to you?

Consider these questions and then choose your own adventure!

Sharing the News

It wasn’t long after Phil shared with me that he was a naturist and I decided to join him that we started talking about telling our parents. I have a very close relationship with my parents and I knew this wouldn’t be something I could keep from them. I think it was probably around 2 months in that we decided to have the conversation with my parents. We asked if we could come talk to them and they immediately asked if we were moving. We assured them we weren’t. We went to their house and spent the next 3 hours small talking and naturism was never brought up. I was waiting for Phil to start the conversation and he thought since they were my parents that I was going to start the conversation. We ended up leaving without doing what we had gone over there to do! We were both kicking ourselves, so we called them up and said, “Ok, we didn’t even talk about what we wanted to talk about because we chickened out. Can we come back?” They laughed and said they thought we had and of course we were welcome to come back. We turned the car around and began to pray for courage for us and understanding for them. We spent the next 2 hours telling them our story and sharing with them our understanding of Scriptures that we felt not only allowed us to be naturist, but convicted us to be. They didn’t say much. My dad asked a few questions, but my mom was pretty quiet. I have seen that face before. It’s her, “I’m disappointed” face. It broke my heart. She kept saying, “you are adults”, but I knew she was struggling. Who could blame her?! I had struggled too. I knew it would take some time. My mom is my best friend and I prayed this wouldn’t change that!

Over the next couple weeks my mom was very distant. Usually we talk several times a week if not daily, but she stopped calling and when I called she was short and tried to get off the call quickly. It was awkward. My dad told me that she was struggling because she was fighting what she had been taught her whole life too, and what she had taught me. He told us to temper our excitement when we were around her and probably not even to talk about it. I was devastated and continued to pray that this wasn’t a permanent change in our relationship.

Over the next few weeks God gave Phil and me a couple opportunities to talk with my parents again. My dad has had a much easier time dealing with the news than my mom and for that I am so grateful. I could sense my mom beginning to see my heart behind this decision and how it was making me a more confident woman and how my relationship with Phil was thriving. Slowly she began to call again and our conversations returned to normal. A couple of weeks ago we spent the day together and were able to make some jokes about being naked and had a couple good spiritual conversations. It was a great time!

We told my parents quickly, but it took quite some time to build up the courage to tell Phil’s parents. Phil’s family has been in ministry forever. Currently his dad is a Bible college professor. We were anxious about how they would react. We didn’t decide to tell Phil’s parents until several months later. Phil called and asked if we could come talk to them, but they ended up coming to us to watch our daughter’s basketball game. After the game we came back to our house and sent the kids upstairs. We shared basically the same thing we had shared with my parents, but with even more conviction. They were shocked, but seemed to take it pretty well. However, the next morning I called my mother-in-law to ask her a question about something unrelated. She sounded like she was emotional. I asked if she was ok, and she said she had just gotten off the phone with my mom. She need to talk to someone and my mom was the only person she knew she could talk to. I was grateful that she felt comfortable enough to reach out to my mom, but really wished I had been able to give her a head’s up at least! My mom was caught off guard a little bit. We decided later that it was a God thing because if she had known that we had told them she may not have taken my MIL’s call. My mom was able to share with Phil’s mom about the changes she had see in us, and that while it’s scary, she felt we had matured and were being smart. I think this gave my MIL a little bit of peace of mind. We have been able to make a few jokes about it now with Phil’s parents and things seem to be fine. We haven’t had another opportunity to talk seriously about it with them again, but I know eventually God will provide the time for that.

I am grateful for the way God has prepared the path before us in having these conversations. At the moment, only our parents, our children, my friend, and one of Phil’s friends are the only ones who know about this journey outside of our naturist friends. We look forward to the day we can share this journey with others, but like we’ve said before, because of our situation, we are unable to right now.

I am so grateful to our parents for their continued love and acceptance of us, even if they don’t full agree with us… yet! God is good and I rest assured in the confidence that He will continue to be good, forever and ever!

Instant Family

Have you ever met someone in person for the first time and felt an instant connection? I’ve only had that experience a few times in my life. Once as a 3rd grader at a new school, I met my best friend. We are still friends today. The others have been when I have met my fellow Christian naturists. If you have read our other blogs you know we went to Florida last year to a Christian naturist marriage retreat with some other couples we had been talking to online. When we showed up in Florida and were greeting each other, one of the ladies introduced herself and as she hugged us she said a phrase that has stuck with us, “Instant Family”. That phrase has become what we use to describe how it feels we have met others who are of like mind concerning the body.

It might feel this way because, well, they’ve now seen me nude. Although, most of my family hasn’t seen me that way and it doesn’t make them any less my family. And I have friends who don’t yet know about our naturism that I consider family, so I don’t think this is why.

I believe it is more about the spiritual connection. Many of these people we have chatted with online and have built up a friendship long before we have been able to give them hugs in person. We have had silly conversations and joked with one another. We have had deep spiritual conversations concerning many different topics. We have mourned with one another in times of loss and rejoiced in times of celebration. They know things about me that only a few outside of my naturist friends know. When we are given the opportunity to meet up in person it is something we look forward to with great anticipation!

There was a time maybe a year ago as we were really just starting our journey, that because of some internet glitches, we lost contact with some people (one in particular whose story is similar to mine and was helping me deal with the emotions and struggles I was having). I was devastated! I remember telling Phil through tears, I don’t know if I can do this without her to help me through it! She had literally become like a big sister to me! Thankfully, this glitch didn’t last long and we were able to get back in contact, but it did confirm in my heart that there was something special about the relationships we were building on this road.

This same friend was one that met up with us in Florida and after that experience she wrote some beautiful words about the experience. One of the things she said was this, “I am convinced that there is an intimacy that we are missing out on walking around in our clothes. It is an intimacy so deep that we don’t even miss it until you experience it. But it is there buried deep in our core waiting for us to come home…”

We have heard other friends say the same things. That this connection is very rare in the outside world especially so quickly. During these times we can be naked physically and spiritually and emotionally. During these times, I have never been more vulnerable. I’ve also never felt more safe. It’s here that I am accepted for who I am in so many ways. I am loved without having to prove my worth, because to my Christian naturist family, I am worthy just because I exist. God feels the same way about me and you. We don’t have to work hard to impress Him. We don’t have to say the right things, or look the “right” way, or go through the right motions to prove our worth, because in reality we never could anyway. God wants us as part of His family so much so that He offers us a lifeline through His Son. He loves us just as we are and desires a relationship with us that is so deep that we feel safe being vulnerable and naked in every way before Him. We should live in the confidence of His love for us!

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven. Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:13-16

It should be that easy!

For the last year, I’ve played out in my head scenarios where people who would strongly disagree with our way of thinking would find out about our participation in naturism. At the moment many areas of our life would be negatively affected if this were to happen. If I’m being totally honest (naked and vulnerable), the fear of this happening at times causes me to reconsider the whole thing. It’s during those times of fear that I find it helpful to play out these interactions to remind me why we are resolute in our conviction about the body as the image of God.

With the amount of knowledge we now have as a result of our study, if we were to sit down with someone to explain, it could take hours or even days to share everything we would want to. This is one of the reasons we started this blog, to have both information and our thoughts in one place.

As I’ve imagined these conversations, the explanations really boil down to this: Is SEEING a naked body sin? Clearly, the answer is no. If it were, mothers would be sinning every time they change their toddler’s clothes. Doctors would be sinning at a woman’s yearly exam. A husband and wife would be sinning when they enjoy sex naked together. Ultimately, even Jesus would have sinned as nakedness was commonplace in his time. And when God told Isaiah to preach naked for three years, he would have been commanding him to sin. And there are a host of other examples. Some would call these exceptions to the rule, but how can there be exceptions when there is no rule?

Once a person’s mind has been renewed in their way of thinking about the body, the SEEING of a naked body should not be a big deal or cause any lustful thoughts, and in turn, sin. Having been conditioned by our culture, our enemy, and even the church, those who do not share our convictions expect to have lustful thoughts at the sight of nudity and therefore do. I even had a conversation with a pastor who told me that men are hardwired to have a sexual reaction at the sight of too much skin. It was at this point in the conversation that I felt the need to stick up for all the men I know now who are able to be around many nude women and have no sexual reaction or thoughts of lust. God did not just create men as visual creatures, able to appreciate the sight of beauty. We are all drawn to both strength and beauty, but the sight and simple admiration of the nude human form of a man or woman need not trigger us into sexual desire. Aaron Frost takes this idea to the extreme when he writes in his book, Christian Body, Modesty and the Bible, “Some people assume we are biologically hardwired to respond sexually to nudity, but later generations of Pavlov’s dogs might as easily assume that all dogs are instinctively hard-wired to drool at the sound of a bell even though that would be false. To assume that nudity causes lust, is like assuming that the bells cause drooling.”

So while it should be this easy, it’s not. The way the church views the body is the same way pornographers and Hollywood does. Why are we in agreement on this?? When God created Adam and Eve he called it “very good”. Did God change his mind about the body when sin entered the world? Of course not! Over time, the interpretation of this Scripture has been skewed so that the intended meaning has been lost. We have come up with our own thoughts as to why God made skins for Adam and Eve before sending them out of the Garden. We assume it to cover their nakedness because now all of the sudden, the sight of the human form of course was a sin. (I hope you sense my sarcasm) This is a man made thought. Never in Scripture is this said or implied. What is said however, is a strong warning against making more of the traditions of men than the actual words of God.

Mark 7:6-9 (NIV)

“He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”

Just a few verses later, Jesus makes the point that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of a person that defiles him. In other words, it’s not the seeing that is the sin, but how one reacts to the seeing. If the heart is pure and the mind renewed, seeing a nude form will not cause sin to take place. If no sin is taking place while participating in naturism, then why should anyone have a problem with it?

It should be that easy!

Naked Modesty

Modesty. It was a term I grew up with my whole life. It was drilled into me as far back as I can remember. As the oldest of four daughters in a conservative Christian home, it was always impressed upon me that I was to set the example of how a Godly young woman should behave, talk, and dress. Along with my natural inclination to being a rule follower, I was comfortable with that and never questioned any of it. It’s what I was taught in church, at home and at my Christian school. I was comfortable with “dressing appropriately.” I was a good judge of modesty for myself and others. In fact, I was downright judgmental! I never stopped to question what modesty meant. The context it was used in, in my mind, it always meant dressing appropriately. It wasn’t until my husband and I became naturists that we began diving into Scriptures like 1 Timothy 2:9, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes…” In reading other versions of this text I came across Eugene Peterson’s Message paraphrase of this verse and I love it! 

“And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” 

So is modesty more about how we dress or more about how we act? A year ago I would have said it was absolutely about how we dress. Today, I’ve changed my mind about this and so many other things!  Modesty is an attitude of the heart and includes thinking of yourself and others rightly. A holy humility. What are your thoughts when you see the heavy girl wearing a bathing suit that’s two sizes too small? What are your thoughts when you see the man who looks differently than you? Do you play the judge? It devastates me to say I did, for years! 

1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV), “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

To avoid attention-getting behavior, whether in a boastful tongue or in a gaudy style of clothing, is the modesty meant in Scripture.

David Hatton says, “For centuries, modesty was understood in those same terms, until the Victorian era gave the word a new meaning to match its prudish view of the body. In spite of this altered definition, the older meaning was retained as late as 1828, when Webster’s Dictionary continued to define modesty with no mention of clothing’s ability to produce a modest condition in the way it hid the body: “MODESTY, n. [L. modestia.] That lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one’s own worth and importance. This temper when natural, springs in some measure from timidity, and in young and inexperienced persons, is allied to bashfulness and diffidence. In persons who have seen the world, and lost their natural timidity, modesty springs no less from principle than from feeling, and is manifested by retiring, unobtrusive manners, assuming less to itself than others are willing to yield, and conceding to others all due honor and respect, or even more than they expect or require. \ 2. Modesty, as an act or series of acts, consists in humble, unobtrusive deportment, as opposed to extreme boldness, forwardness, arrogance, presumption, audacity or impudence. Thus we say, the petitioner urged his claims with modesty; the speaker addressed the audience with modesty. \ 3. Moderation; decency. \ 4. In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.”

I love this! I love that historically, modesty was never about what we wear (or don’t wear). I’ve seen first hand how one can be completely nude and still completely modest! In the same way, I’ve seen how one can be completely covered and very immodest! As a naturist, I dress appropriately for the situation. I wear clothes to church because that’s what is appropriate for that situation. A few weeks ago we had naturist church with some friends. To that, I wore nothing. That was appropriate for that situation. Did I sit in the textile church and judge people based on what they were wearing? The old me would have, but the new me doesn’t even really notice what people are wearing anymore! 

Even the great Mark Twain wrote, “Modesty antedates clothes and will be resumed when clothes are no more. Modesty died when clothes were born. Modesty died when false modesty was born.”

Some may ask, what about when what you are wearing causes men to stumble? Well, I believe that if a man is going to lust, it isn’t really going to matter what I am wearing. I have heard from multiple men that when they were struggling with lust, it didn’t matter that the woman was wearing jeans and a hoodie, the lust was still there. Meaning that lust is more an issue of the heart and mind than an issue of clothing or lack of it. How could it be that my husband used to struggle greatly with the issue of lust in a fully clothed world before we entered this lifestyle, and now with a renewed way of thinking we can visit a naturist resort and he has no sin issues? He has changed his way of thinking. Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We have tested what we believe to be true by going to a naturist park. Several times I’ve asked Phil if being there caused him to sin. The answer has always been the same, “Not at all!” I know he feels more alive when we spend time at that park. We love it there and we are making lots of friends! We feel like God is pleased with our new way of thinking. 

Our true modesty comes when we can look beyond what someone is or isn’t wearing and see the person that God created. When we can look beyond what the world sees as flaws and see the unique beauty that our Creator put in each and every one of us. We are all the same and we are all different and we each have amazing things to offer the world if we can get over ourselves and look past the outer facades and into the hearts of the people all around us!

A Message to Wives

April 2019, Phil told me he had an idea of what we could do for our 20th wedding anniversary. I was excited to hear his thoughts! He told me there was a Bed and Breakfast that was about 3 hours from our house that was part of a vineyard. I thought it was weird that he wanted to go to a Bed and Breakfast because we had talked before about them and how we didn’t really like the idea of them. He then told me that it was clothing optional.

I immediately said no, never! I was so angry.

I couldn’t believe that he was suggesting we go to this place! I told him to drop it, it wasn’t even an option. I would NEVER do that!! I thought that was the end of our discussion on social nudity of any kind. We ended up camping on private land for our anniversary and Phil spent basically the entire time nude. I did not! Then October 18th came. You can read that story here. When Phil told me he was a nudist and had an online group of Christian naturist friends, he gave me three options of what to do with that information. 

  1. I could forbid him from being part of this group with which he had developed relationships.
  2. I could allow him to continue to participate in the group and not participate myself.
  3. I could join him.

I want to go through some of my thinking with you and then share with you why I chose what I did. (If you’ve been following our blog you know I chose #3.)

I knew I couldn’t choose Option 1 because he had said that the naturism mindset had helped free him from a 20 year porn addiction. How could I spit in the face of that and not allow him any part of this lifestyle? That would be cruel and insensitive on my part. I knew the struggle he had been dealing with, partly anyway, and I had prayed for his freedom from it. How could I be the one to judge if this was the answer God was providing, as wrong as it felt to me at the time?

I knew I couldn’t choose Option 2 because some amount of trust had been broken. He had been participating in this group without my knowledge for several months and I didn’t even really know what the group was! And last I knew before that day, he had a porn problem. I didn’t trust him enough to choose Option 2. There was no way in the world I was going to let him be involved in something like that where I couldn’t monitor what was going on and who he was seeing.

I kept telling him that I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place. I didn’t want to participate with him because I felt like it was wrong, but I didn’t feel like I could remain married to him and go with Option 1 or 2. For a couple days I considered leaving him. It felt like my world was crashing in on me. I just knew he was going to ruin our lives. Someone was going to find out and tell our pastor or our families and then the whole world would know and everyone would hate us. I didn’t want that for my kids and I didn’t want it for me!

However, during the first couple weeks of this journey, we spent hours and hours and hours reading together and praying together. I had never felt so close to Phil spiritually as I did during those two weeks. God continuously spoke to my heart and told me to trust Him and to trust Phil. This was so hard! Satan didn’t want that battle won. There was more than one occasion that I was in a spiritual battle. Satan wants to keep us trapped. He wants to keep us living in bondage to anything that allows us a closer relationship to the Lord. The way I thought about myself and my body was unknowingly keeping me from having a closer relationship with the Lord. The addiction that Phil had was keeping him from a closer relationship with the Lord. When we trap ourselves into a certain way of thinking without leaving room for the Holy Spirit to speak truth to our hearts, that is bondage. Even when that way of thinking has been drilled into you your whole life! We need to step back regularly and examine the things we have been told. We need to make sure the Scripture supports the narrative. I came across a quote that a friend posted recently that spoke to this.

“The hallmark of an authentic evangelicalism is not the uncritical repetition of old traditions, but the willingness to submit every tradition, however ancient, to fresh Biblical scrutiny and, if necessary, reform.” – John Stott, in a Christianity Today interview.

I chose Option 3 just a week into our studying and praying. Phil was telling me he’d been on a journey of discovery and that he had been studying Scripture and praying. Part of the reason I fell in love with Phil was because of his deep faith and devotion to the Lord. When I married him I was submitting to him as the head authority in our household under God. I don’t know how many times I said, “You wouldn’t knowingly lead us astray right?” Of course the answer was always no. There comes a point, even if I’m not 100% comfortable with the direction God is leading me in, that I have to surrender and hand over the reins to one who is more capable than I am at taking care of my family. I pray often for God’s protection over my family and his favor. I know that He will take care of us and if the time ever comes that we are outed and we have to give an explanation for why we believe what we believe, I know the Lord will take care of us then too.

Since putting my trust in the Lord and my husband, I can tell you the rewards have been great!

Phil’s victory over his addiction continues, I am free from my negative thoughts about myself and my body. Our marriage relationship is the best it’s ever been. We are honest with one another and our communication has drastically improved! He and the Lord have an amazing relationship too. I am constantly seeing the things God is teaching him and I love who he has become as the spiritual leader of our home! The Lord is leading me through my husband into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Our children are seeing the differences in us as well and are digging deeper into their own relationship with God. God is on the move in our family and we are embracing the journey! I’m very thankful I listened to the Holy Spirit and followed my husband’s lead. God put us together for a reason.

Wives, if your husband is on his naturist journey and you are saying, “no, I will never do that!”, firstly, I get it! However, I encourage you to stop and take a step back. Don’t just say that because you’ve spent your whole life wearing clothes and people have always told you that naked was sinful. Take the time and dig deep into Scripture and see what the Bible actually has to say about it. Ask your husband for some reading material on the subject or just go find it yourself so he doesn’t know you’re researching and pressure you. HUSBANDS, DON’T PRESSURE YOUR WIFE WHILE SHE IS ON HER OWN JOURNEY! There is a lot of reading material on our resources page that you can check out. The reading that helped me the most was www.mychainsaregone.org

Please feel free to reach out to me via our contact page. That goes directly to my email. I would love to talk with you and help you however I can on your journey. I won’t pressure you either, but I will encourage you. Our support and respect for our husbands is so important to them! If your husband is a Christ follower and is striving to love you like Christ loves the church, he desires good things for you and it is very likely that the Lord has led him on this path. As the wife of a Godly man it is our job to respect our husband as the spiritual head of our home under God. God placed your husband there to be your protector and to help lead you. In my very humble opinion, the least we can do is a thorough investigation into naturism and Scripture with an open mind and heart. At a minimum, you have spent time reading God’s word and in prayer and that is always a win! Realize that God may want more for your life, and He may be using your husband to lead you there. Don’t disregard what God may be trying to do especially if you haven’t taken the time to do the in-depth studying. If you are starting your journey, please send me an email and let me know so I can be praying for you! May the Lord bless you as you prayerfully consider these things!

Florida Thoughts from the Mrs.

Over a year ago, my husband stumbled upon a way to defeat Satan’s schemes by dealing his porn addiction a final blow! In October of last year, after he confessed to me the journey he was on, I started a journey into learning about the image of God in my own body. I’ve done a lot of study of scripture and reading books written on the subject and talking with people who have been on this journey longer than I have. It’s been a combination of very scary and so enlightening and liberating!

This summer my husband and I joined 5 other Christian couples at a villa in Florida. We were putting the things we have learned over the last several months to the test. We were about to find out if ethical naturism could really be a thing in our lives.

These couples all believe in our bodies as the image of God. We all believe in treating people with dignity and respect.

We all believe in monogamous marriage relationships. This is a group of married Christians who believe that non-sexual nudity can be experienced with others of like mind without it causing any of us to fall into sin. Last year I would have thought this was crazy! “NO WAY! That’s not possible! Oh my gosh, those sinners!!  I’m too insecure! Everyone will be thinner than me! I don’t look good naked! No way I’m gonna let my husband see other naked women who have better bodies than me!” I would have said, “I will never do that!” Actually, I think the phrase I used with my husband regarding going to a nude beach was, “NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!” Oh and we did that too and it was awesome! At the beach, I had my sunglasses on and the 2nd or 3rd wave knocked them off my head and the ocean took them!

It’s as if God was saying, “No, you won’t wear anything this time, enjoy it as I created you!”  

There was a lot of anxiety going into this week, even though I was excited to get away from the craziness of life for a bit. When we arrived at the villa after grocery shopping and putting everything away, it was time to cool off in the pool. I took a deep breath, took off my clothes, grabbed my towel and headed out to the pool where some of the others had gathered. It was weird at first because it was new. It didn’t take long though to embrace the feeling of the water on my bare skin without a tight bathing suit clinging to me. Actually, it was an amazing feeling!! After a while, I climbed into the hot tub with about 5 others and we began to talk.

I can honestly say the conversations we had have been some of the most open and honest and amazing conversations I’ve ever had in my life!

You know what I haven’t experienced? I haven’t experienced anyone acting inappropriately. I haven’t experienced anyone staring or gawking. Am I the skinny one here, no? Do I feel insecure about who I am and what I look like? Maybe a little bit if I stop and think about it too much, but as a general feeling, I am not even noticing it! I’m just enjoying the pool and laying out working on my tan free of tan lines. I’m cooking breakfast nude and eating it around the table with 11 other nude bodies. We are playing games and laughing and studying scripture and praying together and living out Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

We are learning about the Lord from each other and having a great time in the process!

I learned this week that being naked with others of like mind, not only physically but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally is nothing short of amazing! Literally nothing to hide! I never felt like I had to stop myself from saying something I wanted to say because of how it might be perceived. We spoke our minds and our hearts. We let God speak through us and to us. We were relaxed in the skin we were in.

Never in my life have I felt so confident! Even fully clothed! 

From Fat & Prideful to Beautiful & Holy

Ever since I can remember, I’ve taken issue with my body. I’ve always compared myself to the “skinny” girls around me. I remember as early as 5th grade a particular girl in my class that for some reason I always compared myself to body-wise. “She’s so skinny. Gosh, I wish I could look like her.” I compared myself to her all through high school and beyond. Even now as a 30 something woman I would see her pictures on Facebook and think to myself, “Having kids didn’t ruin her body. If only I had more self-control not to eat the pizza or the scone.” 

I would avoid looking at myself in the mirror when I walked by it naked as I got out of the shower. I was disgusted by what I saw. Thick thighs, stretch marks, a belly that hangs, boobs that sag, so many dimples in places I thought there shouldn’t be dimples. 

My family has always told me I was beautiful. My husband has always been so kind to lovingly adore my body. He would tell me things like,

“You are the standard by which all beauty is measured”.

So sweet and romantic, but in my mind, total lies. There is no way he loves my body at 230 pounds. He’s just trying to make me feel better. The way I spoke to myself not only affected my own self-worth, but also the way I saw others. I was either terribly down on myself or I would put others down to make myself feel better.

My thinking has changed. I no longer look at myself in disgust. Now I see stretch marks and thank the Lord that my body grew life 4 times! I see my sagging boobs and thank Him for allowing me to feed my babies. I see my thick thighs and thank Him for good food and a strong body that I can use to continue on a journey to health. Last week I went to a public pool with my family. It was the first time I had been since I had changed my thinking. As I sat there enjoying the cool water on that very hot day something occurred to me. Not once had I looked at the skinny girl and wished I was her. Not once did I judge the heavier girl! Not once did I compare myself to anyone else at that pool! I was completely confident in who I was in my own skin. It must have shown too because my sisters commented on how good I looked. Confidence is attractive! I am beyond grateful for my renewed mind and heart concerning my body!!

I grew up in a Christian home. My family bounced between churches during my childhood. At one point my dad was even the pastor at a church. All my life I was taught “modesty.”

“Make sure you don’t show too much cleavage.”

“Make sure your shorts aren’t too short.”

I took pride in my “modesty” because “our bodies are temples”. I was protecting the boys and men around me from thinking lustful thoughts. There was no way they were going to lust after me anyway because I was “fat” and covered up. My parents taught us the way they thought best. That’s what they were taught after all. For generations parents have been teaching their girls to cover up and their boys to be good because “that’s what the Bible says.” I have been teaching my own 4 children the same. But is this really what Scripture teaches? Is this really what the Lord had in mind and desires of us? I believe the church is missing the mark and we are debilitating our kids in the process.

Let’s get real! No more masks! No more “we can’t talk about that!” No more tip toeing around what’s really going on!

The way the church approaches the body is doing way more harm than good! By the time our boys bounce their eyes, the image is already in their head. It doesn’t take staring at it for the lust to begin, because we are conditioning our boys that the sight of the opposite gender is going to automatically trigger a sexual response. Wearing modest clothing isn’t keeping our men and boys from lusting and wondering what’s underneath. I have talked to several men who said it didn’t matter what someone was or wasn’t wearing, the curiosity was still there. But when everyone is bare, nothing is remarkable. I’ve seen this first hand recently while visiting a nude beach. I saw many people being modest and none of them were wearing clothes. They were showing a mutual respect for not only bodies around them but also the person as a whole. More on that in a future post!

We girls can do all the right things, but if someone’s mind is in the gutter, we could still be lusted after. I have recently been introduced to a group of people who believe, like me, that we can do better. We need to start showing our children that they have been created in the image and likeness of the Most High God! That word means a picture. A physical and spiritual image of the Lord! No matter what we look like, our bodies are a gift from God and the pinnacle of His creation. If we can begin to put that into the minds and hearts of our children, I believe that we could begin to change the current course the world and the church is on. The current methods aren’t working! We give the boys a pass with phrases like, “Boys will be boys” and “every man’s battle.” We put blame and guilt on girls because their skirts are too short and their shirt is too low cut. It’s wrong, and it’s not fair to either group!

I will not lie down and surrender to the notion that my boys are sentenced to a lifetime of bouncing their eyes or installing barriers on their computers in order not to lust! That is bondage! We need renewed minds and hearts!

I refuse to lie down and surrender to the notion that my daughter will forever feel inferior and ugly because she’s comparing her body to the ones she sees in the magazines or on TV! That is bondage! We need renewed minds and hearts!

This is a work in progress for our family because this way of thinking is fairly new to us, but I will do everything in my power to help my children live in freedom as they reject bondage to the lies of Satan! I will not give up this fight! Satan will not win! IN THE NAME OF JESUS, NOT ON MY WATCH!