From Pastor to Nudist (Part 2)

If you haven’t already, you should watch or read part 1 of this series here. This video contains non-sexual nudity, just as a fair warning. If non-sexual nudity is new to you, maybe watch and you’ll see how non-sexual it is. Otherwise, just read the transcript below:

Jim: We have all of this theoretical knowledge now. We have the Bible on it, but what’s the practical application like? So on Friday we stopped in at Whitetail Resort in Ivor, Virginia. And we paid our day
visit fee, checked in at the office and we drove our minivan over to the clubhouse where the indoor pool was.

And I’m looking at her to see if she’s going to get out first. And she’s looking at me to see if I’m going to get out first. And neither one of us could get out of the van. We drove away after paying the stupid fee and spending 10 minutes sitting in the van talking to each other. We drove away without ever
getting out of the van. Hmm.

And we were both kind of like, this is stupid. What are we afraid of? And so we talked about it all week long that we would go back the following weekend after the retreat was over. We’d get a room and we’d spend them, you know, that we could get some acclimation time on our own. And, you know, we got undressed in the room, the hotel room kind of thing. And we’re kind of like looking out the window, right To see if, you know, anybody else is out there.

And there were a lot out there. We we remember a lady off to our right was gardening in her garden
outside as God intended. And we look over at the basketball courts. There’s a couple of teenagers
playing basketball and an older fellow on a riding lawnmower mowing the lawn, an older couple walking their dog. Everything was so normal.

Everything was so normal.

And so we’re standing out on the porch, on the deck outside our hotel room. And it just was like a little mind blowing. That these folks were all naked but doing just normal, everyday things. Which is, which is what we expected but didn’t expect.

We met the most wonderful people that weekend and had the most wonderful time. In fact, at that very resort we’ve met some of the folks that have been 20 year friendships now.

We’re sitting by the pool, their kids are playing and they have a newborn. And so I asked him, I said, “What do you do for a living?” And he says, “Well, I’m a Baptist preacher.”

And the mouth thing again. You could have pushed me over with a feather because I’m sitting here
and he goes, “What do you do for a living?” I said, “I’m a Baptist preacher.” It’s like, “Oh, that’s great!’ I’m like, “That is just weird, man.”

Kim: Really great people and friends through the years. They don’t hide anything. I think the friendships are real compared to the normal people who can hide behind their clothing.

It’s just, we’re like family. Everyone, everyone. This whole week!

Jim: Feels like it’s how it’s supposed to be, doesn’t it?

Kim: Yeah. It’s relaxing and just good people, and I enjoy it. Yeah.

Jim: The first. The first visit was tough. That second visit was easy.

Kim: For him. For you. It took me a little bit, but just the people you meet. And once you’re there, it’s
great. It’s just… I mean, I’d rather have this kind of vacation any day! The freedom. You almost don’t
want to put your clothes back on when go home, you know?

Jim: What do you think about going to the beach? Would you rather go to the beach and wear a swimsuit or go to a nudist beach?

Kim: Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Jim: How about our pool in the backyard? Swimsuit or no?

Kim: No, never.

Means of Grace

Grace defined: the free and unmerited favor of God.

In just under 3 years, I have come to call myself a naturist. It’s not all of who I am, but it’s a big part of who I am. Initially my Bible study and soul searching was to make sure this practice didn’t go against my faith. I’ve come to realize over time, though, that I had been associating my faith with a denomination (Christian) instead of associating my faith with my Heavenly Father. If I were to ask church leaders of any denomination if naturism was congruent with the Bible, they would probably tell me no. We’ve shared lots of Scriptures and their context and explanations here already as to why we feel it is congruent with the Bible, so I’m not going to do that. Instead, I want to talk about things a little differently. 

While at a Christian Naturist retreat a few weeks ago, I was speaking with a well known author in the Christian naturist world. At one point during our conversation he used the term “means of grace,” and it struck a chord with me. This man was using examples such as the Lord parting the Red Sea for the Israelites. The parting wasn’t grace itself, but it was a means of grace. The cross wasn’t grace itself, but it was a means of grace. I’ve been saying for awhile now, that I’ve felt like the Lord used naturism as a catalyst (the means) in my life to show me so many other areas where I have not been living in the freedom that Jesus died for. I love that term, “means of grace”! Phil and I have been talking a lot lately about the Lord’s grace in our lives and what it means to live in it. 

I have been a Christian my whole life, and thought I had a pretty good relationship with God. I went to church regularly, prayed, read my Bible (occasionally and almost always with an attitude of obligation). I served in the church nursery. I was on the children’s ministry team. I was a pastor’s wife for cryin’ out loud! I didn’t smoke, I didn’t chew and I didn’t go out with boys that…did. I followed all the rules. I lied to my parents once, and confessed that I lied to them about 15 minutes after I did it. Really, I was the epitome of a good Christian girl. I carried around a sense of pride when I did all the things I was supposed to do, and when I didn’t, the guilt and shame was thick. I thought I was supposed to feel guilty and I would try harder not to fail God the next day. 

The things the Father has been showing me about grace though are the complete opposite.

The things the Father has been showing me about grace though are the complete opposite. He’s been showing me that he wants a relationship with me like the relationship I want with my children. I love it when my kids want to talk with me and spend time with me! What if the Father feels the same way about me? Does he long for me to come to him like I long for my kids to do the same? I think that he does! 

I am not required to serve in the church nursery to be a good Christian, although I should if I feel led to. I am a sinful person, saved by grace and free to live in the freedom that was bought by the blood of Jesus. Guilt and shame are not from my Father; they are from the father of lies, and he has no claim on me! Because I am a new creation and the Holy Spirit dwells in me, I am a good person. When I am living in the grace given to me, I will automatically want to do those things that I used to see as requirements and obligations. I am no longer under the old law, but under grace.

I’ve found the Lord can use whatever He wants to draw his children to himself.

I’ve found the Lord can use whatever He wants to draw his children to himself. These are things the Lord revealed to me after he showed me the freedom I had concerning my body. Once I had studied how he felt about the body and realized what I had been taught didn’t quite line up with reality, I wanted to study more and find out what other areas the Lord wanted to teach us new things. I’ve been amazed at the journey the Lord has taken us on! 

Obviously the Lord can use whatever he wants to draw his people to himself. For you it may have been an illness or an accident or some other incident in your life, big or small. For Phil and me, the Lord definitely used naturism as a “means of grace.” Naturism isn’t the grace itself obviously, but the Lord used it to draw me into a closer relationship with him– a relationship I only thought I had before. A relationship that keeps me excited and eager to learn new mysteries. A relationship of grace, mercy, love, joy, peace and so much more!!

From Pastor to Nudist (Part 1)

Continuing the series of new videos from Aching for Eden Productions, here’s part 1 of an amazing true story.

WARNING: This post contains nudity. If this offends you, skip the video and just read the transcript. Hopefully if you are on this site, the sight of simply nudity is ok, or you’re reconditioning your mind to see the innocence in it.

And here’s the transcript:

We were at a business meeting in a friend of ours’ home, and after the meeting was over we were sitting around just drinking coffee and visiting and having a great time. And the lady of the house, she kind of like embarrassed looking and hesitant. And she says, “I need to ask you for a favor.” And she says, “You’re a pastor, right?” “Well, yeah, of course, yes.” She says, “I really need you to help me. My sister and her husband and their family are nudists.” And she kind of she kind of whispered it like like it was a bad word, you know, nudists. “And I need you to help me talk them out of it.” And we kind of looked at each other like it was kind of funny, you know?

But I said, “Oh, absolutely, I’m in, but give me a week so I can get some ammo. We need to do a Bible study, find out what the Bible says so that we have some ammo for them.” I said, “I don’t want to just wing it.” “We’ll straighten them up!” And so we drove home that night.

We kind of joked about it on the way home, you know, because we had about an hour and a half drive home. And it was just it was one of those odd things.

We started looking up every verse on naked or nude or anything to do with that subject. We already knew ahead of time we could not use anything with Adam and Eve, so we kind of just glossed over that right away. But suddenly, everywhere we looked was positive.

You know, we’ve got King Saul was naked with the prophets, which meant that when they assumed he was a prophet because he was naked, well, then the prophets had to have been naked. So that that didn’t fit the narrative. So we kind of threw that aside.

And then it was, you know, King David and Isaiah under the command of the Lord for three years naked. And just in case you were wondering how naked, naked and barefoot!

And then there was, I mean, just over and over again throughout the Old Testament. So we were like, okay, well, that’s because that was Old Testament. So let’s look at the New Testament. And then you find, you know, Peter naked while fishing. And rather than being reprimanded by Christ or straightened up, it just mentioned it like it was just in passing.

And then we find out that Jesus, you know, it says that he took off his robe to wash the apostles’ feet at the Last Supper. And I’m thinking, “Hmm, that not doesn’t fit.” Peter doesn’t fit in.

And then you find that the Bible tells us that at the triumphal entry that they took their clothes off and laid them in the way for Jesus to ride the donkey. Everywhere, Old Testament, New Testament,
nothing fit. We couldn’t find any.

If you would pull Leviticus 18 out of context, well then you could use it. But we make a habit of not doing that. We look at the Bible from a legitimate standpoint, not make it say what we want it to.

So everything we found didn’t fit the agenda, which really threw me for a loop as a pastor, frankly, because we’d been taught our whole entire educational system as a pastor and the church growing up naked, equal sex and naked equals bad, right? Well, that’s not what the Bible said. Not at all.

So we go back. You can tell she’s wanting to bring the subject up. Right? So I said to her, I said, “You’re going to want to sit down. Because what we found was not what we expected.” And they both were like, “Really?” Boom, sit down. We’re at the kitchen table. And I had, I brought a printout of all the verses with me. So I kind of slid the printout over and I said, this is all of the verses in the Bible that specifically referred to just simple nonsexual nudity.

And she’s like, “Wow, that’s a lot of verses.” I said, “Yeah, and they’re all pro non-sexual nudity. This is not good news for you. This is bad news for you. These are all verses that are pro body acceptance.”

God made us in his image, not ashamed and called it very good. And so we went through each verse at a time and answered all the questions. And she says at the end, she says, “Well, what do we do about this?” Which was, it’s a really good question.

And Kim says, you wanna tell him what you said? In our house, we believe if God says it. No. If God is for it, we’re for it. And if God is against it, we’re against it.

And so my mouth fell open because I hadn’t, I actually hadn’t asked the question, what do we do about it? Right? I just studied it. Couldn’t help them any. And she’s like, “Well, if God is for it, we’re for it.” And I went. [speechless] Because what do you do with that? Right?

And so a couple of weeks later… (I didn’t say it wouldn’t be hard.) [laughing] But if God is for it, we believe the Bible. Right. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Is we believe the Bible is the word of God. And if God is for it, we’re for it.

So we’re Jim and Kim and been naturists for 20 plus years.


Go to part 2.

Check out www.nakedandunashamed.org while you’re at it.

Surface Level Understanding

Can you imagine learning to fly an airplane by only reading manuals? Having read about how to safely and effectively lift the plane into the sky and maneuver it in the air and land again, would you be so confident as to try to fly alone? Book learning cannot be the sole piece of pilot training required to successfully take to the air. There must be a practical and hands on approach to learning with one who is an instructor or at least already a pilot in order to have the best results and avoid a crash, serious injury, or death. This is true of most learning: to drive a car, to play guitar, to lift weights. You would not rely on having book smarts alone for any of these disciplines. What is needed are hours of practice, reps, building muscle memory, conditioning body and mind for the task you are learning or training to do. Otherwise you are left with only a surface level understanding. One must consciously and intentionally move from the theoretical to the experiential to enjoy the rewards of whatever is being learned.

I believe the same is true with the belief and practice of naturism. I say this because I know of many who are currently in the place of being interested in and not opposed to the idea of it, but have yet to actually try non-sexual nudity in a naturist park or nude beach. I know this because that was me for a time as well. I suppose some people jump in the deep end (literally and metaphorically) on a whim or impulse and have an immediate “baptism” or adoption of a new way of life in one instance. For others, as it was with me, it starts with curiosity, research, and a time of pondering before an attempt is made of trying the theory out in real life. There are moments of “dipping your toes in the water,” staying nude after showering and doing regular things nude around the home. There are sometimes opportunities to trek outdoors nude by yourself when plenty of privacy is afforded. For me, I joined a community of naturists online before I had been socially nude in a shared physical space. 

Then came the moment for the proverbial “ripping off of the bandaid.” Sink or swim. After I had learned all about the practice and encouraged my wife to learn with me, we had a moment where we conducted a grand experiment. We were going to go beyond the theoretical and move swiftly into the practical and experiential. Our “diving into the deep end” would take place in Florida with 5 other Christian naturist couples in one clothes-free airbnb for a whole week. We would see if all we had been learning was true or not.

It was and it did not disappoint! Transformative is an understatement. Watching YouTube videos, reading articles, interacting with naturists online, reading books, even studying the Bible and praying all led to this moment of taking our clothes off and interacting with others as we really are without anything to hide behind. The head knowledge gained during that time had to be transferred to our heart and to the rest of our body. Superficial knowledge alone was not sufficient to convince us of life change, but the real life application did the trick, and immediately! There is no going back now.

The whole point of this article is that “believing in” is not enough. There has to be a doing. Also, learning the history, the benefits, and the therapeutic effect that naturism can bring a person is not near as convincing as is trying it out for yourself. Neither I nor anyone can convince anyone just by singing the praises of naturism with words and stories. Having your own experience is the only way to fully know and understand what we try to communicate. You want a full understanding and not one that is only surface level.

Surely, some who try may find that it’s not for them. My take on that is that there is some shame or religious indoctrination or something else to work through in those cases. The very activity of naturism could be the cure they need, but they need to commit fully. One author suggests two visits will solidify the positive effects of naturism. If your first experience is awkward or too nerve racking, he suggests to give it a try a second time, and then decide if it’s for you or not. For most earnest seekers of truth, I believe the first experience will be life changing.

I’ve often said that the only down side to naturism is that it ruins most textile activities or vacations. A “nakation” where you can go clothes-free for an extended period of time is amazing. It keeps you ready for the next time, which usually can’t come soon enough. When you see your friends and family enjoying clothes-obsessive activities during their recreation time, you can’t help but think to yourself, “You’re doing it wrong!” They aren’t. They are just doing what everyone does. I just know of a more satisfying and relaxing way for me to rest and play.

A Washing Machine Revelation

By John Figleaf

We hated our washing machine from the very first day we bought it over seven years ago. It frustrated my wife intensely, which caused me to dislike it very much also. After all, “if Mama ain’t happy – then nobody’s happy!” After my wife’s disabilities increased and I had to take over the laundry, I begin to literally hate this machine that would never seem to work like I wanted it to. It would tangle clothes, go off balance, and often sit and go into “sensing mode” for no apparent reason. From the very first day I began to curse that machine calling it all kinds of derogatory names and even kicking it and pounding on it with my fists! I’m really not a violent guy, but this was a bit of a phobia I had towards it – for seven long years!

Recently, after a really frustrating day with the dang thing, I finally had it and was going to get a new one. This one was going to the junkyard – that is until I looked at the prices of new ones! Yikes! Even the cheap ones are expensive! Ok, now I’m looking with a new mindset of perhaps living with this monster of a machine a bit longer.

I don’t know if it was the Holy Spirit or just me in desperation, but a thought came to my mind. John, you’re cursing this machine all this time. Why don’t you try blessing it? Quickly recognizing the biblical truth before me, I right then and there repented for cursing my washing machine and started to call it blessed out loud. I even declared it to be part of the Kingdom of Jesus and is therefore blessed in my household!

Well, wouldn’t you know it – shortly thereafter the Lord opened my eyes to what was wrong with it and how it could be fixed. I say, “opened my eyes” because I literally was blind to a simple method of making it work correctly. I’m a mechanical kind of guy. I should have recognized the problem easily, but I believe my cursing it literally blinded me to the obvious – and blessing it literally opened my eyes to changing this machine from a monster to a very pleasant and useful piece of equipment.

Shortly thereafter, I began to ponder about how this cursing thing had affected my life in various ways. Naturally, I began to review my journey out of lust and pornography into Christian Naturism – and the similarities began popping up all over the place.

  • I was constantly cursing my body.
  • My body was a monster – rarely acting the way I wanted it to. Always going off balance and getting tangled up in stuff it shouldn’t.
  • Just as I would kick and beat on the washing machine, I would abuse my body by looking at porn and doing destructive things with it. It was the same love/hate relationship I had with the washing machine. I had one and had to use it for better or worse.
  • Just like having a phobia about that washing machine, I would look at my body as evil and corrupt and must be dealt with very harshly.
  • I also began to see how many woman could hate their body and call it cursed – hoping to get rid of it and upgrade to a new model!

It wasn’t until I fully realized that my body is blessed because it is the Image of God that I began to be “repaired” and now my body works properly. I call it blessed and it exists in a blessed environment in the Kingdom of Jesus. My being nude is no longer going off balance with lewd. My nudity is no longer tangled up in the spin cycle of the world. The lie that my body is cursed has been washed away! I am clean, whole, and functioning very nicely without clothes. Who needs a washing machine anyway!

A Delightful Trip

Mrs. Phil and I recently had the chance to visit some friends in the Pacific Northwest. Since the time we first met them elsewhere, we decided that it was a trip that we would have to add to our naturist bucket list of places to visit for a nakation (clothes free vacation). It did not disappoint!

Any time we can get away together is good, but when we have some naked in nature time together, it’s even better. Throw in some friends, and some new friends, and it’s a great experience.

A question that gets asked often is: Why does nudity have to be social? Well, it doesn’t have to be. And for many naturists, it isn’t. Many are home nudists but don’t have the opportunity to be nude in non-sexual ways with others. This is unfortunate, because there is something about being that open and vulnerable with other people: friends or strangers. The longer we have embraced this way of living and thinking differently, we can testify to one fact that affects naturists more so than non-naturists. Simply put: winters are harder. The reason they are hard, is that due to the weather and other factors, socially nude time greatly diminishes. We can’t even lay out in the sun for an air bath by ourselves! But because we were made to be social creatures, the lack of opportunities really puts a damper on what some already see as a dreary season. There are things I do like about winter, but this is definitely not one of them. I don’t know what it is exactly, but the friendships made with those with whom we’ve been socially nude are some of the best friendships we have. When we go too long without experiencing socially nude time, we both start to feel like something important is missing. Why social? I say why not? We are social in textile situations, and we should be in nude ones too. The era in which we live makes this level of friendship difficult, but not impossible.

This is why a trip in the spring was such a welcome idea. We were feeling the need for such a trip and an experience of this sort badly. Mrs. Phil told me the confidence she had gained from being socially nude was waning. She is so much more confident than in the 20 years before embracing naturism, but she could feel a need to be befriend her body again. Shedding all your clothes has a way of shredding with them the insecurities those clothes hide away. We weren’t in danger of falling back into old habits and an old way of thinking, but since we have this freedom, why not use it? We desperately wanted to go, and are so glad we did.

Aside from the absolute beauty of God’s creation and getting to see a new terrain, we got to be just as we were created in all it’s glory. This is something else that often goes overlooked or unappreciated by non-naturists. Can’t you hike and see amazing landscapes with your clothes on? Yes. But when you can experience these sights and be in your natural state, it’s even more amazing! If you haven’t done it before, you’ll just have to trust me on that one. I feel so close to our Creator when I’m unencumbered by any trappings of society, and simply enjoying beautiful nature and joining with creation to praise our Lord. If we don’t do it, the rocks will cry out, Jesus said. To experience natural hot springs (and several of them in different terrains) was awesome, and I use that word sparingly. Here, the Creator has built into his creation a hot tub that doesn’t require electricity. It simply requires strategically placed rocks to create a pool that separates the hot water from the freezing cold water of the river. You can do a polar plunge and warm up in the hot spring within 10 feet of each other! And you can do it all in the comfort of your own skin, no soggy bathing suits (or shame suits as a friend calls them).

A neat thing is to hear how accepting the culture up there is towards nudity, especially when it comes to hot springs. There was one we did not get to see because when we arrived, there were a bunch of “suitors” (bathing suitors) there, or “textiles.” Sometimes it’s not an issue, but this was a big camping group with little ones, so we just went on our way to the next one. Our friends will often take their own little ones to the hot springs and just like at a family friendly naturist park, there is no problem and it’s perfectly fine and acceptable. Any thoughts otherwise would prove a pornographic mentality, as opposed to a mature and renewed mind we talk about on this blog so often.

We got to meet a bunch of people from all walks of life. They were all very nice. The lack of clothing jump starts better conversation because the small talk that generally happens is unnecessary. Humans don’t only tend to hide behind clothes, but also hide the real and authentic versions of themselves as they attempt to project a certain image of themselves. I think we do this instinctively, or at least subconsciously. Perhaps not all of that goes away, but naturism tends to accelerate the loss of phoniness due to the common acceptance of our natural state. I’ve observed this phenomenon over and over, and even though I can’t explain it, I do appreciate it. 

This blog post makes some good points worth further reflection and contemplation: “Nudism is not about seeing others naked or being seen naked, per se, but I also think it would be disingenuous to say that seeing and being seen are not part of what makes nudism so liberating and empowering. Overcoming the fear instilled in us throughout our upbringing and, for many of us, throughout much of our adult lives, by confronting head-on the anxiety associated with being nude in front of others is one part of it. Another part of it is a very sincere curiosity and a very human desire to know others and to be known for who we are, to be vulnerable, to be acknowledged and accepted and, yes, seen. Not seen for the sake of exhibition or attention. Not seen to show off or flaunt. Seen in order that the truest version of ourselves, warts and wrinkles and wounds laid bare, might be accepted and celebrated.” I love that thought and others mentioned in that particular post. I love that we can express joy and freedom in its most raw form together without shame spoiling it. 

During this trip, we were also off the grid with no cell service or wifi. That made Mrs. Phil a tad nervous having left our kids at home, but they survived just fine without us. We had a terrific time and relaxed those days and enjoyed the handiwork of our Creator on display. We can cross the Pacific Northwest off our naturist bucket list now. Not that we won’t be back again, but we’ve been there and done that. We didn’t get the t-shirt, but rather we took them off. Oh, and one more thing. Ignore this whole post. The locals told us to say there’s nothing there that’s worth seeing! I think they just want to keep it for themselves!

You’ll NEVER be free!

Freedom wasn’t something I thought I was missing in my life before 2019. I live in the good ‘ole USA after all. I had all the freedom I needed. I didn’t feel like I was lacking in the area of freedom. 

Looking back, in my heart I never really did understand John 8 when Jesus is talking about the truth setting us free. Ok, yeah I believed in Jesus and I had accepted Him as my Savior so I’m already free. I never stopped to ponder that Scripture or let it settle in my heart. It was one of those Scriptures you read and then say, “Oh cool” and move on. 

The Lord wanted to set me free in a different way though. In October 2019 just days after Phil revealed to me that he was a naturist, I was still wrestling with what that meant for him and me and for our family. I had learned enough through prayer and study that I knew I was changing my mind on what the truth was. I had just informed some new naturist friends that I was seeing things differently and I sensed that this was a new path the Lord was leading me down.  Those days were full of interesting conversations and reading and praying together. As we laid in bed that night we began discussing something that eventually led to another confession of sin and I was once again devastated. I tried to remain calm but my heart was overwhelmed with grief. I turned my back to Phil and began to weep quietly. I wasn’t only sad, I was angry! As I lay there so emotionally spent I began to hear an evil laughter in my mind. It was faint at first, but it began to grow in intensity. Even though the laughter wasn’t audible by human standards, my response to it was. “Shut up!”.  Phil responded confused, “I didn’t say anything.” I put my hands over my ears. “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” The evil laughter continued and then I heard the words, “You thought you could do this? You’ll never be free!” followed by the most evil laughter. It was then that Phil realized what was going on and he wrapped his arms around me and held me tight as he began to pray and rebuke Satan. In that moment I saw myself throwing punches. I was in a literal fight. I could feel myself shaking as my hands were drawn up like a boxer trying to protect his face. I’m not sure how long this went on, but eventually the fight subsided and I began to weep. Somehow I knew that I had won. It was the enemies’s last ditch effort to fill my head with lies. Satan wasn’t happy that after 38 years I finally knew the truth about my body and the way God sees me. He wasn’t happy that I was breaking strongholds that I had allowed to consume my life for far too long! My decision to follow my husband in naturism was the proverbial middle finger to Satan (as one of my new friends puts it). 

I didn’t know it then, but allowing the Lord to reveal to me the truth about my body was the catalyst for many other truths the Lord wanted to show me about who He is and what He wants for my life and for His people. It has literally changed everything for me. I don’t believe Satan is all knowing, but I do think he has enough experience to know that this was just the tip of the iceberg for me and he wasn’t happy about it. 

Satan has lost that battle with me. I know who I am. I know whose I am. If doubts about that come, they pass quickly. I know how to combat those thoughts now. The Lord has set me free. It wasn’t just for me that those bonds were broken through. With the help of the Lord we are changing the way our family thinks today and hopefully in the generations to come. Change starts with us and we will do what we can as the Lord guides us to help bring freedom to those who don’t even know they are in bondage and to help guide those who are already seeking. 

Isaiah 60:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;”

Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” 

I was in bondage to shameful and hateful thinking towards myself and toward others. Your bondage may be different, but the desire of the Father is that we are all set free from the things that hinder us from fully worshiping God and bringing Him glory. If it holds you back, it’s bondage and you need to be set free.

If it holds you back, it’s bondage and you need to be set free.

Once you’ve been set free, don’t look back like Lot’s wife. Run full steam ahead into the new life that the Lord wants to bless you with! Don’t allow Satan to trick you into falling back into stinkin’ thinkin’.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”  

If the Spirit of the Lord is within you, then you have access to freedom. 

Every time the disciples started establishing rules—no children near Jesus; don’t let the crowd touch Jesus; don’t talk to Samaritan women; don’t let people waste expensive perfumes—Jesus told them to knock it off, and his rebuke was usually followed by a lecture that said, “You still don’t get it! We’re not substituting religious rules with our rules. We are substituting religious rules with Me!” Jesus kept saying “Follow Me,” not “follow My rules.” So most of us have spent our Christian lives learning what we can’t do instead of celebrating what we can do in Jesus.

Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), Dangerous Wonder: The Adventure of Childlike Faith

Psalm 119:45, “And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts.” 

Romans 8:20-21, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Live in your freedom as children of God!!

Behold the new!

The Phil you all have come to know in the pages of this blog is not the Phil I spent most of my life married to. When Phil was trapped in the sin of lust, it was evident in his actions and reactions. His reactions many times seemed exaggerated for the situations.  

I remember very early on in our marriage we got into a fight, I don’t remember what the fight was about (probably sex), but Phil got so mad that he punched the wall near our bed and put a fist size hole in it. That hole stayed there until we moved out and our landlord fixed it. That’s not the only hole he’s made as a result of anger. The house we currently live in has a hole in one of the doors. For most of our marriage I lived with the Phil that was angry a lot. 

Let me be clear, I never felt like I or the kids were in danger. He never hurt me (us) physically. There were emotional and mental scars however. There were times when he would make me feel so small. He would attack my ability as a homemaker, as a cook, as a wife and as a mom. Those attacks hurt so badly, but when I would show emotion, he would belittle me for crying. 

I mentioned sex before. That was what most of our fights were about. The infrequency and quality was always the problem, even though in my mind it wasn’t infrequent. I was rarely in the mood for intimacy because I didn’t feel loved or respected and I didn’t respect him. And I was exhausted from basically being a single parent (more on that below). 

I wasn’t the only one who had to deal with his anger though. I was always more concerned for our kids. I would try to shield them when I knew he was upset or I knew he was going to be upset. When he would come home from work,  I would send them to their rooms to play so he could have some peace. There were a few times I would leave the house and take the kids to the park to play if he came home in a particularly bad mood. 

We were in full-time ministry at the time and he worked extra long hours most days.  They were weird hours too as sometimes he would get calls in the middle of the night. There were ministry obligations that had to be taken care of and that took him away from us a lot. Even though this meant I was doing most of the parenting, I was ok with him being away from us. I dreaded him coming home. Even though we were in ministry, we rarely prayed together. As far as I knew, he never prayed for me. We weren’t in the Word together outside of church. We were really just going through the motions of a pastor’s family. We were dying inside. 

I began to find a pattern in his behavior and the Holy Spirit began to reveal to me that his mood was tied to his pornography use. If he started belittling me and yelling at the kids, it was almost guaranteed that he was struggling. I would approach him and ask if he had been having issues. Sometimes he would admit it and sometimes he would deny it. Sometimes I would just come right out and tell him I knew he was looking at porn. I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit’s role in bringing all of this to light and I’m grateful for the role he continues to play in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a saint. I definitely contributed to some of the issues we had. I was bitter and angry too, but I dealt with my anger differently. Even though our relationship was pretty unhealthy, there were some moments of good. Some moments of really good. We have lots of home videos and pictures to prove that we really loved each other and that he was a pretty good dad even during those more difficult times. Thankfully, our kids don’t remember very much about angry dad. 

The Lord had been working on Phil for a while, even before naturism. The atmosphere in our home had already begun to shift, but 2 ½ years ago I began to notice an even more drastic shift happening. My first indication that something was different about him was that I began to notice him treating me better. He stopped yelling. He started speaking to me with kindness and genuine interest. I noticed he was more patient with the kids. He was loving on them more. He started asking me how he could pray for me. I didn’t say anything to him about what I was noticing. I think I was afraid of jinxing it. 

Looking back I believe I was able to embrace naturism so quickly because of the changes I had seen in him. Today, I am married to a new man. He has the same name, the same physical DNA, but his spiritual DNA is different. He is the man of God I always wished he would be. Actually he is more than that. I have loved him for a very long time, but my love for him has grown exponentially through everything we’ve been through. The Phil of today is kind, compassionate, understanding, patient, caring, emotionally available and so much more. He encourages me constantly and makes me want to be a better person. I have so much respect for who he is. I am so grateful for him and honestly feel like the luckiest girl in the world! How did I get so blessed??

Today, Phil prays for me regularly. As we are getting ready to sleep he often begins praying for our family or situations we are aware of. We talk through the Scriptures often. He takes care of me so well! Our kids have felt the shift too. It’s been amazing to watch how they have taken notice of the changes in us and have begun to make changes in themselves too. They are making their faith their own and that is such a cool thing to watch in your kids! We’ve gotten to have some really authentic conversations with them and in turn our family has grown much closer to each other. 

Every once in a while a situation will come up that makes my amygdala scream. I’ll expect Phil to act one way and when he doesn’t I’m reminded that the Lord has redeemed him. Phil will remind me in these moments that he isn’t that man anymore. The Lord has done an amazing work in Phil’s life and in mine and we feel so blessed to experience this life together! 

I don’t look at that hole in the door anymore with contempt. Today I look at it and I’m grateful that the man that made that hole has been made new. 

Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Revelation 21:5, “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'”

Fear Not

Fear has been something I’ve always struggled with. I almost always go to the worst case scenario. As a mom that only increased. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with my firstborn, fear was part of my parenting style. This season in the world has been full of fear. It’s one of Satan’s most effective weapons. Believers and unbelievers alike fall prey to it. At the beginning of the chaos, I lived full of fear! I was downright crazy! I’m not proud of it. I liked the saying, “prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad philosophy, but I was using it try and justify my fear. It’s smart and even Biblical to prepare for hard times, both physically and spiritually. Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” (NLT) We see in Scripture times where the Lord warned of coming famine. What did the people do then? They prepared and stored up for the times when food would be scarce. There is wisdom in preparation.

Matthew 25:1-12 gives us this parable on being prepared, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’” (NASB)

When fear sets, there are 3 ways we can react. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. You can freeze, flee or fight. I honestly think there is a time for each of these. I don’t think freezing in some scenarios makes you weak. Sometimes in dangerous moments, not moving can save your life. I don’t think fleeing some scenarios makes you a coward. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to walk (or run) away. In some scenarios, freezing or fleeing are wise decisions. I’ve had several conversations that could have developed into tell-all conversations, but in those moments I evaluated who I was talking to and either out of fear, or with wisdom, made the decision to freeze or flee and redirect the path the conversation was on. 

As for fighting, there are definitely scenarios where fighting is the wisest thing to do to push back the fear. This blog was started because Phil and I wanted to keep a record of our experiences. Fairly quickly we decided we also wanted to be able to share it to help people understand our reasoning and to share our research. Initially it may have been out of fear, but it turned into something we were preparing for. We are so grateful that we have this blog for that purpose, but we are also blown away and humbled that the Lord has used it to help others as well. It’s an honor to be used in this way!

At the beginning of this journey there was a lot of fear. Fear of being nude in front of others, fear of others finding out, fear of how this was really going to affect our family, and so much more. Over time though, that fear has turned into peace that what we are doing is not condemned by God, and our confidence in His goodness and blessings has grown immensely. This summer I was again struggling with the fear of being found out. At the Christian Naturist gathering I was speaking to one of the men about my fears and he showed me the “Nail to the Cross Prayer”. He walked me through it and it was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. If you are not familiar with it, here are the steps.

  1. Father, I bless my spirit to be prominent over my body and soul. 
  2. Father, I nail (thought, feeling, spirit, etc) to the Cross.
  3. Father, I break all agreements, known and unknown, that I have made with (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.) and I repent of joining with (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.).
  4. Father, I ask that you send (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.) away from me. 
  5. Father, what do you have to give me in place of (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.)?
  6. Listen to the Father to see what He has to give you to replace the thought, feeling, spirit, etc. 
  7. I seal (what the Father told me) in my spirit.

When I did this prayer I nailed fear to the cross and replaced it with joy. 

Here are some Scriptures that have helped me deal with fear. 

Psalm 34:4-5, “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” (NLT)

Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, A very ready help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth shakes and the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” (NASB)

John 14:26-27, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you. Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.” (NASB)

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I have discovered that fear no longer has the hold on me that it did before. I always want what is best for my kids, but I’ve come to realize that I only have so much control over what happens to them. I can’t be with them 24/7, and honestly, even if I was, I’m still not going to be able to stop every bad or hard thing from happening to them. I always want to be able to control the narrative surrounding our journey in naturism, but I know that that too is out of our hands. The Lord is in charge of our lives and ultimately it is His will that will be done. I know that God wants good things for my kids, even when they have to go through hard things.

I know that God may use some hard things in our lives to bring about His plan. We’ve known several families who were confronted about naturism and went through very rough times in their lives because of it, but through their stories, I know that God used those times to bring blessing. We can worry and be afraid, or we can prepare and be ready for the roads the Lord will lead us down. When we are prepared for where the Lord wants to lead us and prepared for the attacks of Satan, we don’t have to fear them. In fact, it’s in some of those times that we get to experience an intimacy with the Lord that only comes through hard times and eventually the joy of the Lord. James 1:2-4 “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (The Message)

1 Peter 3:15 says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (NLT)

The hope I have is found in Christ. It’s found in the love and sacrifice of giving His life for mine (and yours). It’s found in the miracle and majesty of an empty tomb. It’s found in the daily patience and forgiveness of a gracious Savior. It’s found in the hope and assurance of everlasting life when my time on earth is over. It’s found in the knowledge of Psalm 91:2-4, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” (NLT)

Reflections on the Journey

It’s been 2 years since the crazy day in October when Phil told me he was a Christian naturist. Lately I’ve been reflecting on all that the last two years have held for us. Looking back, I’m blown away by the transformation that God has done, not only in our individual lives, but also the transformation that has taken place in our marriage, in our family, and in our spiritual lives. God has taken us on quite the spiritual ride!

This morning I was preparing dinner. Baking bread and putting soup in the crockpot. Since I wasn’t cooking bacon, I did all of this nude. I began remembering a time when I was uncomfortable being nude alone! Yes, really! Shortly after our talk in October 2019, Phil encouraged me to try to get comfortable being nude at home. I thought it was so weird! What if someone came to the door?? I remember the first time I opened the blinds in my laundry room and let the sun shine in (we have high windows and I am short so there was no chance anyone would see me). The sun felt so good!

Phil and I were laying in bed a couple nights ago unwinding before sleep. We have an open door policy at our house now. If the door is open or unlocked you are welcome to come in. If it is locked, go away. The other night, Phil and I reflected on what it was like at the beginning. I was terrified to be nude in front of our kids. I was afraid it would scar them for life! I remember sitting in our room in November of 2019 and Phil encouraging me to just go to the kitchen and get a drink while the kids were watching TV in the living room. I remember crying worrying about it. I remember our now 17 year old walking in our room while I was under the blanket and asking, “Are you naked?”. When I responded yes, instead of hugging me good night, he rolled his eyes and huffed and went upstairs. I was devastated! I remember having conversations with each of our boys telling them why we were changing our minds about the body and why we felt it was ok for us to walk around our house nude. They all understood. I remember the slow progress we made with them. Our daughter was still young enough that she didn’t have an issue with it at all. We have come a long way! Our children wander in and out of our room nightly now.- just to chill or to talk. They are no longer phased by our nudity. It’s normal for them. None of them are walking around the house nude, but I consider it a win that they are seeing the body as normal.

They are no longer phased by our nudity. It’s normal for them.

I remember our first trip to the naturist park in the middle of December. It had snowed the day before and we were praying for the sun to be out. God is so good and the sun was shining and it was a balmy 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The closer we got, the more nervous I became and started to wonder if we were doing the right thing. When we arrived we were met by the nicest man ever! He knew I was nervous and never pressured me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. On top of that he was (and is) a Jesus follower and I was so grateful for that! Even though we didn’t see many people that day, I am so grateful for the interaction and conversation we had with that man. I am convinced that the Lord used him to help me! I remember walking along one of the trails that day with nothing but my furry boots on and even with the cold temperature, we stayed on the trail for an hour before retreating to the hot tub. I remember feeling the sun on my whole body for the first time. I will never forget the feeling of freedom and the closeness I felt with God that day!

I will never forget the feeling of freedom and the closeness I felt with God that day!

I remember jumping into the deep end with our naturist marriage retreat and how weirdly natural it felt to be with these fellow believers who also were enjoying letting the bodies God gave us breathe. Those people are amazing parts of my spiritual family now. I remember my first time on the nude beach and how awesome it felt to play in the waves and lay on the sand.

I remember all of the times we have been to the park and all the new friends we have made and all the fun. All the deep spiritual conversations we’ve had and all the encouragement given. When we aren’t there, we long to return.

God took something that was meant for evil (a pornography addiction) and turned it into good using naturism. That’s what God does if we will let him. If we will get out of the way and listen to the Lord, he will open new doors for us. He will show us his love and grace in ways we never could have imagined! I’m so grateful that he had prepared my heart and mind, even when I didn’t know it was happening, to be able to embrace my husband and this journey. Even though I’ve been a Christian since I was 7, God used naturism to start me on a new spiritual path. I was stagnant and stale and really dry bones, but God challenged me in my thinking, starting here and it continues. Are you up for the challenge?