20 September 2014

I Shall Not Be Afraid ~ Sherri Youngward

This so beautifully accompanies the study that I have been doing about not being afraid.

Psalm 56:3-4New International Version (NIV)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

17 September 2014

We Are Not Afraid

We are not afraid. 1

As such, we feel no need to fight 2 , shout, quarrel, raise a ruckus 3 , belittle our adversary 4 ... or pretend that danger does not exist 5.

We stand firm. 6  We trust in "a higher power". 7  We have peace of mind. 8

We have no need to approach others in order to stir up fear or anger or a desire to wipe out our adversaries. 9  We have no need to ridicule or belittle 10 , because we know we are on the winning side. 11

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses to the power of a faith of unconditional love and self discipline.  Unfortunately, we are also surrounded by shouts of fear and anger and calls to war and vengeance. And we are sad, disappointed, hurt, and misunderstood.

Because we do not fight, we are assumed to be fleeing, or hiding our heads in the sand.

Because we do not shout, it is assumed that we must be pretending to be at peace.

Because we do not agree with making fun of our enemies, or exaggerating the sins of our adversaries in order to stir up war and distrust, we are assumed to be on their side.

We are called doormats, wimps, cowards. Sometimes even "holier than thou."

And yet, here we stand. We have hope. We are at peace, as much as depends on us. We are able to weigh what is Truly Important, and let go that which merely Seems Important.

And We Are Not Afraid.

We are not afraid of the snow for our households; for all our household is clothed in scarlet. - Proverb 31:21

Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil; for the Lord God is with us; his rod and staff comfort us. - Psalm 23

The LORD is our light and our salvation-- whom shall we fear? The LORD is the stronghold of our life-- of whom shall we be afraid? - Psalm 27:1

Jehovah God is with us. We shall not be afraid. What can man do to us? - Psalm 56:11

We are not afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, we are afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. - Matthew 10:28  Luke 12:4-5

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 1 Timothy 1:7

We are on guard; standing firm in the faith. We are men and women of courage. We are strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

We believe the writing of the Apostle Peter, who asked, "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." " - 1 Peter 3:13-14

We have heard the Word of God, and in God we truly trust. These are not mere words to us. - Psalm 143:8

The Apostle John wrote: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." - 1 John 4:18

Do you really believe this? Can you really place all your trust in Jehovah God? Have you died to yourself and placed your entire life and world in His hands? Or do you still struggle and fight and shout and try to hold on to your stuff? Do you still resort to put downs and pointing out others' sins and railing out against that which you do not trust? Do you surround yourself with those who spout angry words and hate for their fellow man? Have you ever considered putting everything on the line of trust - even your family, your children, "your" church, "your" earthly country? - Galatians 2:20

Throughout the ancient scriptures we read:  "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6-7  Joshua 1:5-7, 9, 18  Joshua 10:25   1 Chronicles 22:13   2 Chronicles 32:7

Does this mean that we don't sometimes doubt, or tremble, or feel afraid? Of course not. That's why we need the constant reminders. We also understand that "do not be afraid" does not mean that we are blindly oblivious to the dangers of life.

The woman who is not afraid of the snow for her household, is not afraid because she knows her family is already prepared for the time to come.

The man who is on guard is watchful for those who will come, but he does not cower, for he is strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. We know "the rest of the story", when there will be no more fear, or sickness, or dying, or war any more. - Revelation 21  Isaiah 2:4   Micah 4:3

Our great cloud of witnesses? Hebrews 12:1 "These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city." Hebrews 11:13-16

Now, this world is beautiful, magnificent, complex, awesome. We are sad to see it mistreated and ruined. And we do see it happening. We are not blind.

The people of this world are wonder-full, complicated, lovely, awesome. We are disappointed and hurt to see so many like sheep without shepherds, everyone doing whatever is right in their own eyes, hurting each other, making each other cry. We are sad to see mankind mistreated and ruined. And we do see it happening. Our heads are not in the sand.

We are not blind, nor cowards, nor faithless. We are hopeful, and look for light in the storms, for good in the midst of evil. We are not merely optimists, we are realists. We see the evil. We may admit that worse things may come. But we will not resort to murder, to detestable actions, to lies, nor to any "idol" that comes before our Sonship to God. (see Revelation 21:5-8)

Fear may approach us, but we do not live or abide in fear, in hate, in worry, in dread. That is not the spirit we were given. When these feelings come, we turn to those of like faith and trust for encouragement, to the Word of God, like the scriptures referenced above, to God Himself in prayer and supplication, presenting our requests to Him, thinking on the good things and not the fearful things. Philippians 4:4-8

And the peace of God 
that passes all understanding
guards our hearts 
and minds 
in Christ Jesus.


Below is a listing some of the Bible scriptures on which I have based my writing. In scripture, there is also a fear of God taught - a healthy respect, reverence, and awe for the Creator of the Universe, Who has made us and Who will judge righteously. But there is a weakening, doubting fear - of the wind and the waves within our view - to which Jesus said: "O you of little faith; why did you doubt?" It is that kind of crippling fear which shows a distrust in God.

Psalm 56:4
Deuteronomy 3:22
2 Timothy 2:22-24
Titus 3:2
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Ephesians 6:12-13
1 John 4:4
Philippians 4:6-7
Ephesians 4:29
Ephesians 4:31
Job 19:25

Remember, I do not claim to be perfect. I do experience fear and frustration. It's just that I know I don't have to live that way. Peace be with you. 

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ""Abba," Father."

27 July 2014

Old Fashioned Ladies Aren't Perfect; Did You Know?

My life's not perfect. (Shocker.) 

Nobody's life is perfect. (Even more shocking?)

We all understand that, don't we?

Here's the thing: We mostly just post the good stuff on Facebook or Instagram or in our blogs, because it's nice to share a happiness with someone, share a smile, try to uplift, instruct, even make aware of something that you just found out that you think someone else might find interesting or helpful too.

I find it interesting that that's what God wants us to do - encourage, lift up, admonish even from time to time. Share prayer requests and answered prayers. It's not actually bragging or trying to show someone else up. (Of course, some folks do, but they're so obvious.) Your average friend is just like you, and really is just trying to share ... something. Maybe even trying to serve. But sometimes when we think too much about serving ourselves and comparing ourselves with some fancy of "perfection", we might start thinking that when someone "gets" something that we struggle with, that they're showing off.

But, see, don't ever compare yourself with scattered comments and the occasional photo on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media. Those are just passing smiles or lessons shared - not entire lives. Same goes for awesome authors and guest speakers and, ahem, even preachers and their wives. Whether they're bragging or just sharing, it's just a moment or a thought, after all. And you can't strive to be Nancy Leigh DeMoss or Max Lucado, for example, because, not only are they not perfect themselves, those people are already taken. You can't be them. You be you. Imperfections and all.

Once we get that sorted in our minds - and don't berate anyone for not putting all their laundry out on the internet so you can see that they're not perfect; you just gotta know that everybody's not perfect - then we can begin to look more clearly at a big picture of a world of people, of a big family perhaps, who all are different, carrying on with their own lives, many of whom are just reaching out to connect from time to time.

Admission: I used to have trouble with all the "my wonderful kid", "my wonderful husband," "my wonderful church," "my wonderful pet," etc. posts too - sometimes - until I started truly rejoicing with those who rejoice... and mourning with those who mourn. Putting my own jealousy aside for a moment and realizing that those star jump-roping kids might have trouble with a math or foreign language or getting along with each other; those cool husbands got that post because they only cleaned that kitchen or brought those flowers ONE TIME; that really cute dog regularly poops in the backyard and has to be cleaned up after ... Now this is NOT that I rejoice in others' sorrows, but that I KNOW that we "brag" about some things because the whole rest of life is just sort of average, like everyone else goes through. That is, full of troubles AND joys. There is a time to weep. There is also a time to rejoice with others.

I wish I could thank all the moms who post cute little pictures that make us smile, thank all the pet lovers whose little furry and scaly friends make them laugh, thank all those students who keep sharing that something new they learned even if I think I've learned it before. I want to thank all those folks who share simple prayer requests, because it shows a faith in the love and prayers of friends, and the knowledge that God hears our prayers and knows what we need before we even ask or go into detail, and a love and trust for the others who they have reached out to.

Here's another thing to think about: Some young men and women actually think that they have to look like supermodels because that's what media portrays. Now, most of us get it, that we don't have to look that, or else we'd all really look like those poor models. There's hope in that fact that we don't! We really do - most of us - know that nobody's perfect.

If only people would look at the snapshots of the lives of friends and mentors online in the same way - that we're not going to look like our idea of "perfection" on earth - and just get on with living in the great corner where we are with the great gifts we've got.

I've got a beautiful niece/cousin who needs to know that she is beautiful inside and out. Several friends who also suffer from time to time because they don't know this. People I barely know but read about and hear about who have stared so long and so hard at a fantastic unreality that they have confused that unreal place as a goal - but since it doesn't exist, they are thwarted and frustrated and depressed every day of their lives! Beauty, peace, love, hope, purity, JOY - they just are. You can't control them and make them appear at your bidding. Grasp that reality? We're just little people in a great big world after all. That shouldn't make us feel lost, but rather, as children, cared for. We don't have to have or do it all. We just don't have to.

So, does going online or watching TV make you feel "inferior"? Please remind yourself that those images are temporary, abbreviated, sometimes even airbrushed pictures of only a small part of life - but they are not the dirty, busy, troublesome, crazy and sometimes even scary life that is intricate and real and all around all of us. That life is dirty so we can clean up and find the pure and true. Busy so that we can know to strive for peace. Troublesome so that we can remember that we need each other; others need us as much as we need them, even if they don't "look" like they do! Life is crazy sometimes, emphasizing the fact that there is a sane and sober and mature standard to keep working toward. Maturity - that's what's out there. And sometimes, I think life is even scary, and unnerving, to remind us that we don't want to live in fear and anxiety, and so we'll keep on reaching and searching for the strength and goodness that goes beyond understanding because it's from beyond this place. Because there is Something More. Something Better. If this life truly were perfect, wouldn't you just want to stay here for ever? But there is a Place for us.

I could stop trying to encourage others to grow in their faith, or hope, or love, or joy or peace... because I'm not perfect, so why should they listen? And they might see that I'm not perfect and ridicule me and not listen anyway. All of us could do that. Just stop encouraging. Stop trying. Stop living. We're never going to be whatever our idea of perfect is anyway.

No. That's the problem. We aren't here to be some feeble human idea of perfect. We're here to live. To learn. To grow. To help others along the way. To walk together and talk together. To sing together, cry together, laugh together. How dare we look at one another and think, "well, they're not my idea of perfect, so I want nothing to do with them." Or to think of ourselves, "well, I'm not my idea of perfect, so I'm not worthy of anything." How haughty, really. How proud we are to think that we know so much. How dare we "put on airs," and compare ourselves with some imagined idea of perfection and decide that since no one is then we just don't have time for them, or even ourselves.

How about this: the next time someone posts about their honour student, instead of wondering if your kid could beat up their kid, why not be happy with them? Share some of their joy, since you can't seem to find any for yourself.

How about the next time you start thinking that someone else has a perfect life, you say a prayer for them, because there is something that you don't know about.  Pray for the ones that belittle you, including yourself, that we'll all find the truth about things. Pray for the ones that are giving you advice, even if they aren't perfect themselves - because you know, they wouldn't give you advice, however clumsily they do it, however off the advice might seem, if they didn't care about you. Would you remember that?

How about instead of whining about the person that keeps whining, you mourn with them. Walk a mile in their moccasins. With them, or without their knowledge even. Mourn with them.

How about you remember that your life isn't perfect and neither is anyone else's. Don't be jealous of their supposed "greener pastures". Don't be envious and try to work out how to take what is theirs away from them. Just smile with them, and rejoice with them. Remember that they may have some obstacle in their life that you wouldn't be able to handle even if you were paid to do it.

Remember that Jesus, the Son of God Almighty, went through an awful lot because God Loves You, and doesn't desire that any should perish, but that all would come to eternal life.

How about you remember that this world just isn't your eternal home, nor anyone else's. It's not perfect, in any sense of the word.

Someday, our lives will be perfect, in the Creator's sense of the word perfect.

We all can understand that, can't we?


“But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”- 1 Corinthians 13:10-12.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” - 1 John 3:2
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule; let us be of the same mind. - Philippians 3

26 June 2014

"i'm old fashioned"

As long as you agree to stay old fashioned with me...

for your listening pleasure.

16 May 2014

Modest Swimsuits for Young Ladies (and the rest of us), Anyone?

Question and ANSWERS, found in a Christian homeschool Facebook list:

"A little off topic, but I thought someone on here might be able to help. I am looking for a website that sells modest swimwear. All the ones that I have found either cater to Islamists or LDS or the swimsuits are made in a dress/skirt style. I'm looking more for something that is a shirt and short set to swim in for myself and my girls. Any ideas? Thanks!"

Here are the replies, with names removed for privacy. Some comments were removed because they didn't add to the discussion list, or simply repeated what someone else had already listed. I added hyperlinks for your ease of search. I also added lots of illustrations.

And if you're wondering, swim shirts are called "rash guards" because they protect the wearer from a rash caused by abrasions, usually of rubbing the chest against a surf board. But they are worn by a great number of other sports folks too, since they are light weight, breathable, quick drying, and durable. If you want to be a real stickler for grammar, a swim shirt is technically different because it's looser fitting than a rash guard.

All of the companies listed below were personal recommendations by individuals to a Facebook list. None of these sellers have compensated me for my time. Just so you know. 

 I have a friend that buys the boys swim trunks for her daughter and then the rash guard top
example of shorts and "rash guard top" , from www.toysrus.com

I get my daugher's and mine from uvskinz.com. They are a little pricey but last for a long time.
photo from www.uvskinz.com

We do the same thing ... Buy a cheap 2-piece (for quick drying and easy bathroom visits), then buy a cute rash guard and boy swim shorts.
example of girls wearing shorts and rash guard suits, from www.platypusaustralia.com

We found some on Land's End website.

We too have used Landsend. We get the swim t-shirts and board shorts. It seems to work for my girls.
image from www.denverpost.com
image from hydrochic.com
Hydrochic.com has many options for women. They are limited for girls wear.

[swimsuits for all is a website for plus (read "normal") sized women, and many are somewhat-modest, though not the most modest that many modest dressing women are used to. For grown up girls, give it a perusal. -- OFL] 

Limericki.com is where I get all of mine.
[Lime Ricki Swimwear is also a website for more grown up girls, and has the same level of somewhat-modest that the most modest covering ladies may not be looking for. Definitely more modest than the average two piece. -- OFL]

We wear trunks, or board shorts, and rash guards.

Albionfit.com is really good too, and they have mommy & me styles
[Um, I didn't see any really modest suits here, and the poses of the little girls in bathing suits were a little ... disturbing, to me. If you're used to baby beauty pageants, check this one. I guess. -- OFL]

We also buy boy's board shorts and rash guards. We do wear a one piece under that.

example of board shorts and rash guard top, image from Space Coast Living Magazine 

If you search UV swimwear, it will bring up a number of companies that carry shorts& shirts. We've used coolibar, solartex, & tuga
image from Coolibar.com

image from Solartex.com

image from Tuga Sunwear

Last year I got board shorts from landsend.com and rash guards at swimoutlet.com, but I did see that lands end has rash guards now too.

We've done Lands end too. 

I just do board shorts to the knee and a dark rash shirt over a bathing suit.
I love this image of a whole modest bathing family posted to the blog "Calling Her Blessed" - click to read

Thanks so much for your fantastic suggestions. I will check them out.

Lands end is good, but my mom and I have custom swimsuits from Creations by Savannah (Facebook page and etsy store). Mine is a maternity/nursing top and skirt and my mom's is a swim dress.
modest maternity swimsuit, empire style, from Creations by Savannah

I just found this website too http://www.dressingforhisglory.com/
image of the girls swim body tee from Dressing For His Glory, also made in ladies' sizes

Look in the sports/work-out clothing area at Target. They have these really cute sets that are double layers. The top is a sports bra with an attached tank top that has a band at/below the waist level (this keeps it in place really well while diving/swimming etc.) The bottoms are the mesh kind of shorts...but they have an attached spandex type short underneath. I have used these for two years now. I just had to buy a bigger size for my current pregnant belly and it works GREAT! They still feel like swim wear because of the fabric. I love everything about them! Good luck!!
I couldn't find the sports/yoga top with attached sports bra on the Target.com website, but I did find a lot of references to the Target yoga clothes while searching. It may be worth your while to check the sports clothes section!

image of boys swim shorts and rash guard, from www.target.com 

I got my daughter a swim shirt and shorts at Walmart. Then got a cheap 2 piece to use for under.

I like hydrochic.com.

I got my daughter board shirts off amazon not short ones and a swim shirt too what age are u looking for? Gymboree had some cute modest ones too skirt was to the knee
image from www.snapperrock.com
Creations by Savannah

Did the leggings come with?

... yes. You tell her how long you want the shorts/leggings and how long you want the sleeves (can also be sleeveless). It is two pieces.

Nice to have these resources! I lucked out and found one I loved at a local bargain outlet, but we're still looking for something this year for my 11 year old. She's 5' 4", and on the solid side, so she needs adult sizes. She wants the rashguard type, so happy that she likes being covered up. I heard her polite disapproval over her friend's two piece, and it cracked me up.

I always put my kids in swim tshirts and long swimtrunks. I've never really seen a modest swimsuit

They are not cheap, but excellent quality.

You can have soft cups sewn in, but being large-chested we both just wear a bra under them. Mom says the dress does not float up above her waist at all.

When we have ladies swim nights at my friends house, I've seen others wearing guys swim shorts and those swim/surfer shirts.

womanwithin.com is good. Plus sizes a little pricey but they are doing a lot of deals for memorial weekend

We do one piece surf wetsuits 

My daughter and I do guy's swim trunks (even found a pink pair for her at old Navy last year) and swim shirts. I actually got myself a full blown rash guard that has long sleeves and the material has built in sun protection (got it from Athleta). I burn very easy and skin cancer runs in my family, so it was more for skin protection than modesty sake. I were a tankini top under it for support. I have gotten so many compliments from scantily clad teens, I cracks me up. 

I ordered from http://www.simply-modest.com/posecom/index.php a few years ago. It's held up very well at the beach, pool and tubing the white river in AR. I'm going to have to get another because I've gained so much weight the past few years...
image from Simply-Modest.com

Coolibar! They are pricey but very durable and modest.
Just one combination from Coolibar.com

We buy one piece suits, then buy the "rash guard" surfer type shirts at Walmart or target and then the jogging shorts that are the really light parachute type material that dries quickly. I usually find the shorts at jcpenney in the ladies athletic dept.

Kosher casual
[Kosher Casual has lots of cute modest clothes of all kinds, including workout clothing and accessories for layering and filling in gaps in less modest clothes styles. -- OFL]

Target sells those in a short with skirt overlay but come down upper thigh and a nice shirt style top.

I wear athletic capris & athletic tshirts to swim in (I have found them at Walmart and Target for pretty cheap). I prefer the darker colors so they are not see thru. I also like to buy them a little bit bigger so they fit loosely instead of skin tight.
C9 by Champion® Women's Mesh Capri Pants at Target.com

I have used Lands End for years; recently the selection and quality are a bit less desirable.

Academy always has swim shorts where we live. Have you tried there?

reyswimwear I haven't ordered one yet, but some of them are really cute.
[Rey Swimwear offers modest (old fashioned?) one piece and two piece outfits, in the classy style of Audrey Hepburn. Not necessarily shorts and rashers, but more modest than modern suits. - OFL]

from the kids section at Rey Swimwear

We personally have used Modestly Yours Swimwear http://www.modestlyyoursswimwear.com/. I have ordered from them 2 times and it's basically a custom made swimsuit. They are very friendly and the suits are incredibly well made.
image from Modestly Yours Swimwear

I wear a swim skirt with attached leggings. I got it at undercoverwaterwear. Com. My daughter's wear solid color boy swim shorts and then we find girl swim shirts to Match. Usually find the best selection and price at Wal-Mart. ...they have some cute ones right now


I buy athletic tanks (quick-dry fabric) and wear soccer shorts. Target has a great section of Champion athletic wear. We have also found tennis tanks on sale.

I need to get something like the simply modest suits for my daughter. She generally wears boys swim trunks and a rash guard, but lately she is getting chafing on the inner thighs from the seams of the shorts. I wear below the knee athletic leggings with a tennis skort and a rash guard and a hat to help minimize sunburns.

nicoleeswimwear on etsy, does custom swimwear. Shirts and shorts, or swimdress/legging types. Here's a cute one for a little girl.http://www.etsy.com/.../girls-pre-made-polka-dot-tank...
image from NicoLeeSwimwear

Jennifer Comstock has an etsy shop with really cute modest swimwear. I think it may have been mentioned earlier. You can access it through her blog, www.swimmodest.blogspot.com. I highly recommend.

We have also used modestlyyoursswimwear.com for custom made modest tops and skirts. I've used other shorts with the tops as well.

We have bought from swimmodest.com in older agea and athletic body suits (one piece, tank on top and shorts close to knee on bottom) when girls were little.
image from http://www.swimmodest.com/

[Note that swimmodest.com and swimmodest.blogspot are two DIFFERENT websites. -- OFL]

If you have any additions you'd like to make, or if you are a seller and would like to compensate me for my time in putting this page together with links and photos, let me know in the comments below! :)