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!