It’s been hard.

It’s been a rough week. I was thinking about writing a post about seasonal affective disorder. Recent events prove the timeliness of this post. I wanted to research it and learn more about it. I’m no doctor. I honestly don’t know much about it. I know it affects a lot of people to varying degrees.

Naturists will often speak of it in the winter as opportunities for being nude out in nature diminish greatly. What is a natural and healthy stress reliever and an activity that brings great joy to this portion of the population is stripped away viciously due to the colder temperatures.

Naturist parks try to remedy this malady by offering more indoor recreation. Domes get put over pools in some cases. While these efforts are well received and wonderful alternatives, it’s no secret attendance goes down in the winter. Our first trip to a park was in the winter when all this park had to offer was trails and a hot tub. And it was pretty much a ghost town! (Read about our beginnings here.)

The importance of Vitamin D cannot be understated. The sun is a wonderful natural disinfectant and source of this vital vitamin. In the winter our exposure to the sun is cut down by a lot. Moods tend to be more melancholy than in the other 3 seasons. For those suffering any amount of depression or anxiety, I’m guessing numbers go up in the winter. We may enjoy the beautiful winter wonderland when it first hits. A naked snow angel is a fun pastime. After a good snow (depending on where you live) the novelty can wear off. When it’s just ice and cold, we start counting down the days to spring.

Winter just seems to be hard for so many. I’ve noticed during years of ministry and just life experience that there seems to be more death in Winter than in Spring, Summer, or Autumn months. This hit very close to home here of late. It’s been a hard week! Two days ago we buried my grandma, my last remaining grandparent. Today we had to put down our dog of over 10 years. I suppose this writing is a bit therapeutic for me, as I have shed more tears than I have in some time. As Christian believers, we take encouragement from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, knowing we do not grieve like those who have no hope. However, these are real issues that cause sadness. It’s ok to be sad. Death makes the other seasonal issues seem a bit trite.

That’s not to say those other issues aren’t valid because they certainly are. So I’d like to circle back and close this short blog post with question for you, dear reader, and make this interactive. In the comments, let’s hear how you cope with everything from winter blues to the death of a loved one? Answer however you’d like about whatever issue you’d like to focus on. Let’s encourage each other in these difficult days.

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!