Busty Girl Problems

bra photo

Some say there are “perks” to having large breasts. I’ve counted exactly two: excellent buoyancy and easy employment.

Any busty girl will tell you she can float for days because of the built-in flotation devices. And it’s nice to know the good people of Hooters will always employ the well-endowed.

But as a girl who “blossomed” almost overnight, I didn’t see any benefits.

Fifth grade had just started and I sat in the back of our muddy Dodge Dynasty, a car in desperate need of shocks, when my mom announced to the family that I had graduated out of training bras and into a C cup.

Riding in a car without shocks would never be the same. And the ta-ta’s kept growing.

It wasn’t long before my mom delivered me to my busty grandma to ask for help. “I just don’t know how to support them,” my mom said, gesturing to my chest as if monsters lurked under my shirt.

My 75-year old grandma took me shopping and introduced me to her favorite, cone-shaped Playtex bras. I shudder to think I spent my formative years with triangular-shaped boobs just like grandma.

I began to covet my friends’ flat chests as we would run drills at basketball practice. Sports bras were a joke. I knew a softball player who duck taped her breasts in an effort to keep them from flopping in her face as she rounded the bases. I’ve always wanted to try that.

No I didn’t see any perks. I had the blood-red stretch marks and leering glances from older men to prove it. Instead I saw shame and body loathing.

Click here for the rest of the story.

 

***This post breaks set form my usual writings. It appeared as a guest post for a body image blog, Working Out Love. I hope you enjoy the end of the story.

 

 

God Even Loves Pharisees

Pharisee pic

MOdern-day-Pharisees

I have a soft spot for Pharisees.

When I read the Bible, I empathize with them. I once lived my life trying to earn God’s love by doing everything right. I thought God a cruel task master, and I was his slave.

In some ways I’m still a Pharisee. This drive to be the best, to be the remarkable one, still nips my heels. I want to make God proud, and I think some of the Pharisees did too.

Because of their pride and selfish ambition these religious teachers caught flak from Jesus. “Blind guides,” “White-washed sepulchers,” he called them, or worse, “Children of the devil.”

And I get why. I really do, so when I listened to John Piper preach about Jesus’ tender words to Pharisees, I fell a little more in love with Jesus.

Scripture doesn’t record many gentle words to these religious know-it-alls. That’s why Luke 15:25-31 takes my breath away.

In this parable of the prodigal son Jesus’ words drip with grace as He paints the picture of a father who’s watch and waiting for the lost son. But don’t miss His longing words to his older son whom he goes out to plead with.

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31).

This parable catches the older brother in the wrong thinking I so often catch myself in. Instead of seeing God as a loving and caring father, the eldest sees God as a master. In his eagerness to earn what was coming to him, He failed to realize that he already had everything he wanted.

Instead of being satisfied and living out of abundance with a heart overflowing in thankfulness, the older son chose “un-grace” and jealousy. His mindset of work blinded him from freely receiving and freely giving.

Ever been caught in this trap?

For years I read this parable and missed the point. I never saw myself as the lost son. Instead, I thought the older son had a pretty good case against the father. Oh how I was wrong!

Whoever you relate to as you read this, just know Jesus is on your side. He’s beckoning you to Himself. If you feel lost, God watches and waits for you, and He is not mad at you.

Let me repeat. He is not mad at you! Not even a little.

If you relate more with the older brother and feel like you have to earn God’s love, take this to heart. God has showed you his love by sending His son.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He didn’t die once we cleaned up our acts. He didn’t die once we proved our loyalty. Jesus died for a world entrenched in sin. Only through believing in Him can we freely receive grace through faith.

 

If God Would Tweet

 

 

God's love

I saw him leaning against the wall near the door of Braum’s, oblivious to the world, entranced by the voice on the other end of the phone.

I stole a glance as I loaded my kids in the car. I smiled a “knowing smile” if there ever was one. He was just a boy, 17 maybe. I knew his look, that smitten smile.

He swam in her words, practically drowned. He was drenched in love, or was it infatuation? Still, it made me wonder. When was the last time my breathing slowed and my heart beat faster to hear someone’s voice?

As I drove home I pondered why reading the Bible has become so difficult for me lately.

I once read the Bible like a lover, hanging on every word, but now I read it like an archeologist, a theologian, a person with a to-do list. Why don’t I feel the passion I once did when I read those ancient words?

After all, isn’t this what Scripture is, God’s love letter to us? His love infused into the world, unfurled in a beautiful narrative of His grace, His redemption of mankind?

This reminds me of the letter to the church of Ephesus in Revelation. “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:4 NIV).

The church in Ephesus received praise for endurance and perseverance, but they lost some of the ardor they once prized above all else.

Likewise, our love for Christ can erode. Life smashes in our hopes or unanswered prayer diminishes our love. It’s not that we’ve left Jesus. We’re still faithful, but the enthusiastic love we once offered Christ can slacken.

We see this happen in marriage, too, don’t we? Romance changes. It matures. If bitterness and resentment slip in and remain unresolved, love can unravel all together.

Teenage love remains powerful because it’s not jaded. It’s simple, pure devotion and oh so naive. We know better as adults.

No, I don’t believe we should always feel God’s love like a whirlwind sweeping us away. Life doesn’t work like that. It can smash us in and skin our knees.

What I’m talking about is losing love for God in the quietness of complacency, losing trust that He wants to pick us up, soothe us and bandage our bloody knees.

We must return to our first love because His love for us never fails and stands infinitely taller than our love for Him ever will.

love meme

If the famous verse from Song of Solomon, “He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love” (2:4 NASB), were written in modern English it might sound more like this:

He doesn’t stop tweeting night and day about His love for me. My picture floods his FaceBook timeline. He can’t wait to introduce me to all of his friends and family.

Whether it’s difficult or easy to believe, know it’s true. He’s crazy about you.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand– when I awake, I am still with you” (Psalm 119: 17-18 NIV).

Grace and Beautiful Feet

grace photo

I’m hungry for grace, ravenous. Each week I sit in church practically salivating for the good news.

Jesus, gives me Jesus, my inner self pleads, but the pastor cannot read minds.

Smiling, I nod my head. Yes there’s Paul. I love his words. Then comes the faith pep talk. We need to get more of that. Pastor sprinkles in some good advice for Christian living, and I listen.

Wisdom always opens my ears.

But later, on the car ride home, hunger pangs return. This soul wants to feast on Jesus, to weep at His feet.

Well-meaning churches often dole out a self-help gospel. I’ve preached it. I’ve lived it, and I don’t want to visit there again—not even on the outskirts.

What would happen if we heard less teaching on how to become a better Christian, and more teaching on who Jesus was, who He helped—people like us?

We need Grace, and we need to know His name is Jesus.

Forgetfulness plagues us. It’s a remnant of the fall, part of the human condition. The old heresy stalks us, always whispering works equals salvation.

We must remind ourselves of the true gospel. We must be RE-minded, by the Word who became flesh.

How can we forget this deep love and grace once it saturates us?

Oh we can, and we do. We can become inoculated by grace, unable to hear and see the miracle. We have to unstop our ears. God knew about our forgetting, and he knew we would need preachers.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15 NIV).

Paul even had to remind the churches to “preach Christ, and Him crucified.”

God knew we would need the reminder. He knew we could get caught up in our own clever ideas and thought-provoking sermons. But the gospel is the main point. It always has been.

There are many valuable things to be said from a church’s pulpit, but they will never trump the gospel in terms of need and effectiveness.

We cannot tire of preaching Jesus Sunday after Sunday. He is not dull. He doesn’t grow boring.

Only an experience with Jesus—the true gospel— will satisfy our soul-hunger. And only an experience with Jesus will teach us how to serve and love the way we ought.

If you’re a leader or a pastor, weave these words of Christ through your messages. Someone on your pew, like me, needs to hear them.

On Making Altars, Prayer and C.S. Lewis

I grew up in a church that gave altar calls every service.

The pastor called it an “old-fashioned altar,” and I practically ran to it three times a week. My tears soaked the burnt orange upholstery, and boy did I cry. I wept like only a teenage girl can.

That plush bench held all my melancholy, angst and shame. That altar gave birth to so much striving and sin-consciousness, and my thoughts about God were based in fear, not rooted in love. Still, the time I spent on my knees at the front of that church sings in my memories.

That time at the altar forged intimacy in a way only full submission does.

I came to the altar empty and left complete, knelt depraved only to stand in righteousness. When hungry, there Jesus fed me food that brings soul-deep satisfaction I can only find at His feet.

More than a decade has flashed by since I huddled over that prayer bench, but I realize how I miss that prayer time, how I need it more than ever.

Neck-deep in mom hood, I can’t even pee by myself, let alone crawl onto the floor to pray without a little boy hopping on my back wanting a ride.

How you pray or the posture you take matters little, but kneeling or lying prone seems to nudge my heart toward full surrender.

Today, praying comes in quick spurts while washing dishes. I seize another few minutes while folding laundry. But sadly, I have fewer and fewer of these altar moments my life so desperately needs.

Recently we watched Prince Caspian, and one scene speaks to me about prayer. When Susan asks Lucy why she didn’t see Aslan as Lucy had, Lucy responds with the frankness and simplicity of a child.

“Maybe you don’t want to see him,” she says.

Isn’t this true of prayer? If I wanted to see Jesus—to talk to Him and commune with Him—I would pray more. Lucy was telling Susan she saw Aslan because she was looking for him.

She spent time watching and waiting and not half-heartedly the way we often do.

My heart longs to adore Christ the way Lucy loves Aslan. Where is the passion and the ardor that once sent me running to the altar? My heart more closely resembles Susan’s as she sheds her child-like faith in Aslan. It seems clear her year apart from Narnia has wrought doubt.

Earlier in the movie Susan confesses that she was just getting used to London. She seems disappointed they hadn’t returned sooner or on her own terms.

How often are we too caught up in our lives to hear Jesus calling us? How often do our daily pursuits and pleasures blind us from seeing Christ the way he wants us to see Him, in full adoration with the brazen faith of a child?

In another scene from the movie, it takes Lucy only one glimpse of Aslan in a dream to begin a wild chase after him through the forest.

I can’t help draw the parallel further. Is Jesus beckoning us on those nights we can’t sleep to follow Him and chase Him the way Lucy chased Aslan? But instead of trodding over branches and jumping over bushes, could this chase involve our Bible, wide open hearts and our full attention?

The church I attend now doesn’t have an altar. Instead, we’re encouraged to pray often—to make little altars in our hearts.

Repentance seems to get harder the older I become. It seems a little more humiliating to keep looking up and asking for help. But I’m learning humility doesn’t have to be humiliating.

Consider what would happen if we all made little altars—times of focused prayer and adoration—multiple times a day? What if we stopped multitasking our prayer lives? What if we turned our sofas into altars?

The following verse speaks to me about my prayer procrastination.

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he may be found.” (Isaiah 55:6 NIV)

What if we chose to stop procrastinating prayer?