Monday, September 29, 2008

Chapter 12 - Preparing For Intimacy

Future Husband Application

" My Beloved is mine and I am His."

Song of Songs 2:16

Is it even possible to go through life in this day and age without getting your heart broken at least once? Very rarely I'm sure. As much as we know we're not supposed to, girls are apt to give away their heart way too soon. And while some of you are better with keeping your emotions under control (you are extremely blessed!) the rest of us must try to heal our broken hearts with the help of our ever-loving Prince.

"If you have ever had your heart broken, recently or in the past, it is crucial that you allow your Prince to fully heal the traumatic effects of that experience before you can be ready for true intimacy - both with Him and with your future spouse...And yet, if you let Him, your Prince is able to fully restore you, to completely mend each fragment of your fractured heart."

Practical Steps for a Broken Heart

Healing of a broken heart is a personal issue, however Leslie Ludy gives a couple of suggestions (they're good ones!). With your Prince's help, the insecurity and doubt that comes with a broken heart will be replaced with an unshakable confidence and beautiful radiance.

Soul Searching.

A good place to start is to prayerfully think through each aspect of the painful experience. She lists some questions in the book to ask yourself, a couple of them are:
Did I ever cling to tightly to the relationship for security or affirmation?
- Did I ever put the relationship before Jesus Christ?
- Did I allow my emotions to lead the way?

Asking yourself these questions will help you see if there was anything in your part of the relationship that needs to be made right. This is a very important step, understanding that the other person is not completely to blame will help keep us from bitterness and anger.

Getting the Prince's Perspective.

An amazing step toward healing can be to spend some time focused on finding Christ's perspective on things rather than be blinded by your own emotional view. Leslie suggests finding a secluded place, quieting your mind and reading the tender words that the bridegroom speaks to his bride, found in the Song of Songs. I can't wait to try this. When you read the words, realize that your Prince is speaking to you, His cherished princess.

"Instead of allowing the careless actions or words of others to shape your perception of who you are, allow your self-image to be shaped only by the reality of your Prince's sacrificial, unconditional, timeless love for you...Allow your Prince's perspective to become yours as well."

Talking with a Teammate.

Another wonderful act of healing is to ask God to show you someone who can help you work through any emotions that you may have. For me, this is my mom. We work through things together. I'm not very good at verbalizing my feelings, so often I just go without, but my mom knows how to get it out of me so that I don't bottle it up, which can be dangerous.

"Often the simple act of verbalizing the pain you are going through can go a long way in helping you heal."

Your teammate should be someone you trust, someone you respect and someone who has built their life around Christ. This person needs to be someone that you want to take advice from. And someone to listen.

Relational Intimacy

The word "intimacy" often means different things to different people. Some look at intimacy as a real emotional connection, others may think of a good physical relationship, while still others consider intimacy only being "with" someone longer than a month. But there is so much more to true intimacy than the emotional, physical or mental aspects of a relationship. Intimacy is knowing someone at the deepest level possible.

"True intimacy is sharing life with someone at the deepest level, knowing someone completely, and being known completely in return."

True intimacy is complete trust and vulnerability. Christ doesn't approach us with the "temporary relationship" mentality used by so many around us. He won't leave us when we fail, when we show our imperfections. He will not stay with us for 10 years or so and then leave us for something new. His love is unconditional and it is on that love that a marriage should be based. The marriage that lasts is the one that is based on the unconditional marriage between Christ and his bride, us, the Church.

"It is not based on our performance. It is not based on our perfection. It is not based on fleeting emotion or feeling. It is based on His choice, His decision to be completely faithful to us no matter what - even at the expense of His blood. True intimacy can only be discovered with this kind of commitment at the core."

The Beauty of Spiritual Oneness

A good rule of thumb when developing intimacy in a relationship:

"To experience intimacy in its fullness, it should be built in three stages - spiritual oneness, emotional oneness, and then physical oneness in marriage. It is important not to rush to the next stage until the previous one has been previously established."

Practical Steps for Spiritual Oneness

Savor a Season of Friendship.

Let Christ lead your relationship, not emotions. When emotions run rampant, two things happen. One, spiritual oneness cannot be developed. And two, physical temptation becomes harder to control.

Keep an Open Hand

One of the best ways to keep Christ at the center is to keep an open hand at all times.

"Whenever we start to cling to tightly to a friendship, a relationship, or even the desire for a relationship, we must take a step back, examine our hearts, and entrust the pen back to the Author of romance."

The Making of Poets by Eric Ludy

Last time Eric wrote in the book, he talked about the making of warriors. There are two parts of a man, the warrior and the poet. Here's the part about the man who is a poet.

A poet, in this sense, is more than just a writer of rhymes and prose. A true poet is more than just a man with a pen writing down verses.

"A true poet writes poetry with his very life. A true poet doesn't use poetic devices to con the heart of a woman but uses the beauty of all that is poetic to serve, cherish, and express love to the heart of a woman."

Just as the warrior is not a conqueror of femininity but a protector, a poet isn't a just a wooer of a woman's heart, but knows hot to nurture and plant love in a woman's heart.

"Simply put, a true poet is a man who knows how to be intimate with a lover - first a foremost with Christ."

Intimacy involves the blending of five very important ingredients: the ability to listen, the ability to be tender, the ability to enjoy the journey (move at Christ's pace, not his own), the ability to be thoughtful, and the ability to cultivate stillness.

The Art of Guy-Nudging

For a woman to train a guy to be a poet, she must use the rare (and sometimes difficult) art of guy-nudging. Guy-nudging is completely different from nagging (Proverbs says its better to live in the corner of your roof than with a nagging wife) and pressuring; its understanding how a man works and blending that knowledge with patience, gentleness, and quite a bit of creativity (sweetness while your at it is always a plus!).

Putting It Into Action

Four things we can do right now to help our brothers in Christ to be true poets:

1. Be tender.

Tenderness is giving to someone what they need the most in the moment they most need it.

2. Be a guy-nudger

3. Be willing to be unappreciated.

After a guy makes that leap and does that thing you've been encouraging them in, don't turn around and give them an "I told you so". They will either backslide or just shun you out of their life. Allow yourself to be unappreciated. He may thank you, but if not, that's OK, our security and confidence comes from our Prince, right?

4. Be a defender of masculinity.

Warrior-poets may be scarce, but that doesn't mean they can't reemerge into society. We as young women can help make that happen. C'mon, sisters, lets take the challenge!


Yes, this wonderful book is over. But you, my blog friends, should read it yourself! I wish I could've just copied the whole book down for you, it was so rich with encouragement and wisdom. However, plagerism is not something I wanted to dip into, so I had to pick and choose what I would say. But PLEASE read it yourself. I would also suggest Leslie Ludy's new book, Set Apart Femininity. I'm in chapter one and already super encouraged!

Here is Leslie's final challenge:

"My challenge to you is to become one of those few in this generation: a set-apart young woman who allows the passionate intimacy she experiences with her Prince to completely transform every other area of her life. This kind of fairy-tale romance between a young woman and her true Prince does not come without sacrifice. It does not come without pain. But it is the most priceless gift we will ever be offered. And it is the most beautiful, fulfilling existence we could ever know or imagine.

Our heroic Prince is with us. He is tenderly shaping us into His princess - lilies among thorns in this generation. In His presence is the fullness of joy. Let's live for His applause alone."

Friday, September 26, 2008

What is Set-apart femininity?

"Set-apart femininity blends the classic womanly grace and dignity of an Audrey Hepburn with the sacrificial, poured-out-for-Christ lifestyle of an Amy Carmichael. It's true feminine beauty merged with absolute abandonment to Jesus Christ. It's the sparkling, vibrant, world-altering, Christlike version of femininity that your King created you to exude."

- An excerpt from Leslie Ludy's new book, "Set-Apart Femininity"

Chapter 11 - Confident Sparkle

The Unwavering Strength of the Set-Apart Life

"I ask that God, out of His infinite supply of spiritual riches, would mightily supply your inner life with His Spirit's enabling power, so that Christ, your heavenly Prince, might make your inner sanctuary His sacred residence as you lean more and more on Him. And I also desire that you would be able to comprehend, along with all God's set-apart children, the extraordinary and life-altering dimensions of Christ's love. But even more than comprehending this love in your mind, I want you to know it experientially, deep within your heart, so that you may have every ounce of God within you that is humanly possible to have."

Ephesians 3:16-19 (Paraphrase)

The Applause of Heaven

"In this day and age of self-consideration, our society exhorts us to have plenty of self-esteem with inspiring statements such as "believe in yourself" or "be true to yourself". And yet the same society that encourages us to believe in ourselves also holds up unattainable standards of physical perfection in the form of flawless models and actresses who grace the covers of magazines or the screens of movie theaters...

Our Culture breeds insecurity."

But what gives women like Amy Carmichal their sparkle? What makes them not seem to care what the world thinks of them?

As Oswald Chambers would say, they have gotten rid of every peice of their self-focused hearts and built their lives around Jesus. Their Prince is all that matter to them. They dwell on Him and Him alone. They put Christ above all else. They aren't living for the applause of the world but only for the applause of heaven.

Practical Steps for Delighting in Our Prince

Developing A Quiet Mind

"Having a quiet mind is not a question of choice - if we are to go on at all, we must have a quiet mind. All too many Christians break down, not because of their circumstances, but because of a weary, fretting spirit too rushed to dwell in peace."
Amy Carmichael

From the time we are five and watching Sesame Street to our adult years of rushing around running errands and making phone calls our mind is trained to never be still. However, it is crucial to be still and listen to God's voice.

"I needed to keep my thoughts still enough to hear his gentle voice."

This takes practice, and in a world of non-stop action, it takes quite a bit of effort. Eric Ludy has a saying, "It is only when the waters are perfectly still that they can reflect the glories of the heavens." Its only when our hearts are peaceful and quiet that we can truly reflect a Christ-like spirit.

Cultivating a Heart of Worship

"Experiencing focused times of sincere worship helps us develop lifestyles of worship throughout our daily existence."

Leslie suggests taking time to worship God in private. Find songs that focus on God's attributes rather than your personal needs and desires. Make private worship a habitual practice.

Learning the Art of Biblical Meditation

Scripture memorization is super important, it fills our mind with truth. However, its crucial to take that truth and transfer it from our mind to our Hearts. That is where scripture meditation comes in. Actually breaking down the verse and understanding it. Digesting its message. Praying it. Speaking it aloud. Dwelling on it. Applying what it says to your life. That is meditation.

"The words of Scripture were not meant to just be quickly skimmed and easily digested - they were meant to change every aspect of our lives."

As we learn to walk through each day with our Prince, rather than just representing Him, we will be "...marked by an unshakable peace and unwavering strength - no matter what circumstances come our way."

I love the picture above of Bethany Dillon (singer). She seems to radiate the spirit of God. Do you see her confident sparkle?

Proverbs 31 - Skills and Character Traits

For school my mom had me go through Proverbs 31:10-31 and write down all of the obvious and implied character traits that I found there. There's a lot, lemme tell you. But I wanted to share it with you, because its pretty encouraging and definitely challenging.

"(10)An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. (11)The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. (12) She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. (13) She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. (14) She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. (15) She rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household And portions to her maidens. (16) She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. (17) She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong. (18) She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. (19) She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. (20) She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. (21) She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. (22) She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. (23) Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. (24) She makes linen garments and sells {them,} And supplies belts to the tradesmen. (25) Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. (26) She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (27) She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. (28) Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband {also,} and he praises her, {saying:} (29) "Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all." (30) Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, {But} a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. (31) Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates."
Proverbs 31:10-31

v. 10 - Excellent
Capable (amplified)
Intelligent (amplified)

v. 11 - Trustworthy

v. 12 - Encouraging (amplified)
Comforting (amplified)

v. 13 -
Work seeking
Happy worker
Hard worker

v. 14 -
Desires the very best for her family and strives to make it so.

v. 15 -
Early riser
Able to cook
Delegating (amplified)

v. 16 -
Considerate (she didn't just go out and buy the field, she considered it first)
A saver of money (amplified)

v. 17 -
Strong (spiritually, mentally and physically)
Fit for her task

v. 18 -
Always ready for whatever might happen (her lamp does not go out).
Caring for her household was more important than sleep, it was her first priority.

v. 19 -
Makes her own clothes
Makes things with her hands

v. 20 -
She's not afraid to get a little dirty to help someone in need.

v. 21 -
She and her family are well dressed (in scarlet)

v. 22 -
Well dressed
Makes things with her hands (skilled fingers)
Her clothing is pure white and fine as the priests' clothes - implying that she is holy and pure (amplified)

v. 23 -
She has a good husband - important and respected
Her respectability is mirrored in her husband.

v. 24 -
Her work is fine. (amplified)

v. 25 -
Not Worrisome

v. 26 -
Well Spoken
Her words are full of grace, not harsh and judgmental
Giver of counsel and instruction (amplified)

v. 27 -
Does her work well
Skilled Manager of the Home

v. 28 -
Good Parent
Has her children's hearts
She's the source of Wisdom that made her children godly.

v. 29 -

v. 30 -
Fears the Lord
Reverent (amplified)

After reading Proverbs 31 yourself, do you have any that you'd like to add? There is so much in the Bible when you go deeper. I had the thesaurus, my regular Bible and the amplified Bible as I did this and having those other references helped me to dig deeper into God's Word and find things that I may have normally not seen. Try it! You'll love what you find. <3

Chapter 10 - Cultivating Intimacy

Going Deeper With Your Prince
"You will ask me, are you satisfied? Have you got all you want? God forbid. With the deepest feeling of my soul I can say that I am satisfied with Jesus now; but there is also the consciousness of how much fuller the revelation can be of the exceeding abundance of His grace. Let us never hesitate to say, this is only the beginning." Andrew Murray

Don't Settle For Less

"...We do not have to live according to the mediocre standards of the world around us."

The world around us (TV, magazines etc.) say that husbands are simply cavemen and singleness is a disease that MUST be cured, no matter cost. However, marriage and singleness can be a bit of heaven on earth if we persue the best that God has for us and never settle for less.

"When our Prince is the center of our existence, the possibilities are fathomless. Life becomes an exciting, endless adventure. Don't ever settle for less."

Come Closer

"The [one] who would know God must give time to Him." A.W. Tozer

Preparing and protecting our inner sanctuary, as we have discussed in the past chapters, is only the beginning of nurturing true intimacy with our prince. Just as it takes effort to nurture intimacy in a marriage, we must make the effort to grow closer to our Lord.

Practical Steps for Cultivating Intimacy With Our Prince:

Become a Student of His Word. Truly study the Bible. Leslie Ludy suggests cross referenceing Bible versions, or looking up significant-sounding words in a Bible concordance.

Develop the Art of Journaling. Often times when I pray (and Leslie said she had this problem too) I start off ok, then my prayers gradually morph into mental lists of what I should be doing that day, or replaying events in my head. Its hard to stay on track! A prayer journal is a wonderful way to keep your prayers strong and you'll even be able to look back later and see where God has answered your prayers.

Discover Christian Literature. The older the better, find encouragement through Christian biographies from people who have gone before you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chapter 9 - Feminine Mystique and Romance

Future Husband Application

"The unmarried young woman centers her earthly existence around the affairs of her heavenly Prince, and her aim in life is to be completely set apart for Him, in body and in spirit."
I Corinthians 7:34, Paraphrase

This was a good one!

Something Worth Waiting For

"Feminine mystique is the steady, unyielding strength and confidence that flows from knowing our Prince intimately and protecting our relationship with Him at all costs."

A young woman with feminine mystique doesn't guard her inner sanctuary out of duty or only in hope of someday finding someone who will appreciate it. A set apart young woman does so as a natural outflow of her love for Jesus Christ, her true Prince. Many girls pose the question, "Are there really any guys out there worth waiting for?" while the true question should be "Am I willing to keep my inner sanctuary sacred and live a set-apart life out of love for my Prince, even if I never find a man who is worth waiting for?" Until you develop the attitude that everything you do is for your Prince and him alone, you cannot develop the true art of feminine mystique.

The Modern-Day Jerk Epidemic

However, going back to the question, "Are there really any guys out there worth waiting for?" the answer is YES! Just because the world says that the gentlemen are gone, doesn't mean there are none to be found. When girls flirt around with jerks, they will catch the attention of the jerks.

"But when I began to guard my femininity and live differently than the other young women of the culture, guys who were committed to living differently started to appear in my life."

The young men worth waiting for are busy falling in love with their Savior to be flirting around with you (and every other girl they come into contact with) as you should be too! A friend of my family says it like this: "When you're running after God, one day you'll look to the side and see the man of your dreams running along with you."

"Young women often ask me what they should look for in a man. I tell them to settle for nothing less than a man who reflects the very attitude and character of their Prince, Jesus Christ. Our Prince protects and honors our femininity, and so will a Christlike man. To a Christlike Warrior Poet, feminine mystique is not something to be conquered or mocked; it is a beautiful, fascinating quality to be valued and cherished forever."

Testing True Love

The best test for any relationship in our lives (friendship or otherwise) is to ask ourselves: "Does this person help me to protect my inner sanctuary? Does this relationship draw me closer to my Prince?"

"Every stage of a love story that is truly initiated by our Prince - both the friendship and the romance - only enhances our intimacy with Him."

Practical Steps for Guarding Feminine Mystique

We must be willing to do whatever it takes to protect our inner sanctuary. If your friends bring you down, maybe its time to make some new ones. If that music you listen to draws you away from your Prince, stop listening to it.

"It is not from being around un-Christlike people or influences that our sanctuary is compromised; it is from allowing those un-Christlike people or influences to affect how we act or think."

The Making of Warriors by Eric Ludy

How to win a woman's heart? You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't be!) to know that many men often have no idea the way to a woman's heart. In fact, they believe women are totally confused. Sounds quite a bit like what we think of them, doesn't it?

According to Eric there are two huge reasons women are so confusing:

1. Women have a desire their heart for a strong warrior-poet, while quite often the world offers them the second best jerks that we see so often. This is a confusing situation. We wonder, are our expectations to high?

2. Women assume that men should know what we want without having to tell them. (yes, I'm completely guilty of this!)

Two Missing Ingredients

"Manhood, in its most polished form, is the perfectly built advocate of blossoming and radiant womanhood. When men become true men, they set women free to be everything that God intended them to be rather than oppressing femininity through their own selfishness."

We as young women can help our brothers, fathers and friends discover two all important aspects of their masculinity:

1. How to be a warrior. "A warrior is more than just a defender of truth and justice and a champion for the weak. A warrior is also one trained to protect what is sacred and innocent in a woman."

2. How to be a poet. "A true poet is trained to understand the intimate and sacred sanctuary of a woman's heart and to cultivate the same intimacy with Christ in his own heart."

The Making of Warriors

Just as girls always dream of becoming princesses, boys dream of becoming warriors. Men have been given everything to be made warriors except for one important part: basic training.

There are four categories of basic training:

1. Standing up for the little people.

2. Befriending the outcasts. To offer love rather than disdain.

3. Protecting mothers and sisters.

4. Defending innocence. "A true warrior guards his own heart for intimacy with Christ and for the enjoyment of his future spouse. But beyond that, he also protects the purity and innocence of all young women."

Protecting Emotional Needs

Manhood is at its best when it can make a woman feel protected in her purity and innocence as well as secure in the slow warming of her heart. A woman's love isn't a five minute endearment, it takes time to warm her heart. It's all a part of becoming the warriors God calls men to be.

Putting it Into Action

We, as women, are not the only tool God uses to shape men into godly warriors, but we are certainly one of the most important. Here are four ways a young woman can be more effective as an encourager for the up-and-coming warriors in her life:

1. Be an inspiration. "When a man encounters the rare beauty of a set-apart young woman, he is inspired to defend what makes her beautiful and what is sacred at the core of her being."

2. Be a talker. Men can't read our minds, so we have to communicate with them, not play guessing games. A good time to practice this is with your brothers and father. When you want to be comforted instead of having your problem solved, let them know. When they're being insensitive, tell them how you're feeling. Then, when Prince Charming comes along, you will be practiced up.

3. Be rescuable. "Men today have lost their sense of valor mainly because they lack the opportunities to cultivate it." Let the men be your hero!

4. Be an encourager. The encouragement of a young woman has the power to raise a man from feeling like nothing to being a Warrior-Poet.

"Help shape the men in your life into true Christ-built warriors, and you will help redefine manhood as we know it."

Chapter 10 - coming soon!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chapter 8 - Battle Secrets

Winning the War Against Compromise

"[Spiritual growth] is a question of obedience...turn away for one second from obedience, and instantly darkness and death are at work." - Oswald Chambers

The Sudden Death Technique

Sin doesn't just jump on us in a sudden rush of energy. It sneaks up, makes us comfortable with it, then strikes. We allow it into our lives each time we choose not to flee from temptation. "Temptation, like a potted plant, cannot grow without our help." The moment we allow temptation to take root in our hearts and feed it with our weak choices, it flourishes. And before we know it, this little root has grown into a thriving, ugly plant of sin, controlling all space in our inner sanctuary. Only when we flatly refuse temptation will the sin suffocate. "This is the sudden-death technique: never even giving temptation a chance to live inside us." As soon as temptation seeps into our brain we have the crucial moment of decision to let it grow or throw it out. "That first moment of decision is the time to flee - not to wait or hesitate but to turn and run in the opposite direction."

John Stam, a missionary who gave his life for Christ in China, once wrote about the two roads we choose from when faced with temptation: "Seven Awful Steps Downward" and "Seven glorious Steps Upward".

The following is a paraphrase of the "Seven Awful Steps Downward":

Step One: Adopting a careless attitude to sin.
Step Two: Giving in to sin.
Step Three: Habitually giving in to sin.
Step Four: Surrendering to si.
Step Five: Abandoning God for a life of sin.
Step Six: Becoming a tool of Satan to tempt others to sin.
Step Seven: Hell. And you do not have to die to go to Hell. Hell is a character as well as a location. The person who hates everything that God loves is in hell now, and hell is in him.

"Seven Glorious Steps Upward" (paraphrase):
Step One: Develping a resistant attitude toward sin - determining that sin will not gain control over you.
Step Two: Overcoming sin by faith in Christ. Successfully fleeing from temptation - saying no to the desire or opportunity to sin.
Step Three: A lifestyle of victory over sin. Habitually saying no to the desire to sin. The strength that comes from one victory helps in overcoming the next temptation.
Step Four: Discovering the "abiding life", the "victorious life," the "exchanged life."
Step Five: Entrance into even deeper fellowship with Christ. It started with you trusting God - now God entrusts His kingdom treasures to you.
Step Six: Becoming one whom God calls on to do great and mighty things for His kingdom. A set-apart existence that values Christ over life itself and is willing even to suffer and die to carry out the King's bidding.
Step Seven: Heaven!

Practical Steps for Resisting Temptation

Many times, fleeing from temptation entails a physical act: an alchoholic not going into the bar, a young man looking away from the perverse bilboards, etc. Its important to be ready to flee form these physical temptations, but many temptations are mental and a little harder to run away from.

"You can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair." - Martin Luther.

We may not be able to keep the sinful or tempting thoughts from entering our mind, but we can certainly keep them from staying in our minds. Often, when we kick-out a sinful thought it turns right around and tries to get right back in our mind. Its then that we have to pull out the big guns.

Big Gun #1: Truth Serum. If we fill our mind so full of God's truth, His holy Word, there won't be any more room for the temptation to fit. "Lies are destroyed by truth."

Big Gun #2: Hitting Below the Belt. When Satan tempts you about something, turn around and start praying for someone. "When our enemy is attacking us, one of the very best ways to hit him below the belt is to pray specifically for unsaved people in our lives to discover Jesus Christ." I tried this once, and it really works. I was trying to get my mind off of a guy, so every time the thought of him entered my mind, I started to pray for Him - that he would grow closer to Christ, that God would do great things through him etc.. Who knows how many of those prayers went up! lol.

A pure white Lily for her Savior

"A lily does not try to resemble or imitate the thorns around her. She is focused on being who she was created to be - completly set apart for her heroic Lover."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"I am determined that nothing but the deepest love could ever induce me into matrimony."

-Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

Chapter 7 - Feminine Mystique

Discovering the Lost Art of Mystery

"The world-altering and life-giving secret that was kept hidden through the ages, but is now made known to Christ's set-apart ones, is simply this: Jesus Christ, your heavenly Prince, will actually make your earthly body His royal residence! Yes, it's true! The Prince is coming to live within your sanctuary - this is the world-altering secret that ushers in His kingdom."
Colossians 1:26-27, Paraphrase

The Lost Art of Mystique

"What is romantic mystique? Mystique means guarding what is sacred, protecting the essence of who we are from the inside out - our hearts, emotions, intimate thoughts, and physical bodies."
Keep a little mystery! There's more to protecting your mystique than just staying a virgin. Many girls remain "technically virgin" while blindly giving away pieces of their heart to any guy who asks! Even Christians carelessly give themselves to guys physically and emotionally (while still remaining a "virgin") only to end up feeling used and heartbroken in the end.

Where Mystique Begins

"Feminine mystique begins with guarding the most precious part of our existence: our intimacy with our Prince."
As cherished princesses we must learn to protect the essence of who we are (Daughters of the King) rather than letting it be trampled in the mud. We must keep the most intimate aspects of our heart set apart for our Prince alone.

Protecting Our Sanctuary

Just like knights in shining armor guard a castle, we also need to guard our own sacred sanctuary within our hearts. We need to keep watch for sins that may try to sneak into our lives. We must develop eagle eyes. "Developing eagle eyes meant sharpening my ability to notice any hint of compromise in my life and dealing with sin instantly and completely."

Don't compare yourself to others in this world:
"at least I don't listen to the music that she listens to..."
"at least my pants aren't as tight as hers..."
"well, what I said wasn't really a lie, not like the lie that he said..." etc.

We should compare ourselves only to God and His Word.

Some subtle sins that like to creep into a Christian's heart:
Gossip - you may not be bashing someone's latest move or outfit, but talking about someone in a way that they might not appreciate does not glorify God. Its easy to get sucked in, especially for girls! But we must keep on our guard.

Selfishness - The world tells us that we must "make time for yourself" or "have some 'me' time". But the Bible says differently:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship."
Romans 12:1, NIV

Selfishness is one of the things I struggle with in my life. Just last night I was sitting on the couch watching mindless TV and I heard my dad washing something in the sink. I was pretty sure he was doing the dishes, and in my selfishness I didn't want to get up and help. I wanted to stay and watch TV. That's just one example of many times where selfishness reigns in my life.

Materialism - "I want, I want, I want!!" Need I say more?
Laziness - "lack of discipline, not lack of opportunity, keeps us from spending time alone with our Prince." Is laziness keeping you from spending time with Jesus?
Self Pity - Its one thing to be sad or disappointed once in a while, but continually wallowing in our misfortune is self pity. "I learned that when I invested myself in serving people (especially those who had far worse problems than I did!), my self-pity quickly faded into oblivion."

Practical Steps for Protecting Our Sanctuary

"I have learned that setting aside times for soul searching is extremely helpful. Just a few moments of stillness with my Prince, asking Him to search my heart and gently point to any area of compromise that has been allowed to sneak in."

Its vital to address any un-Christlike thought, action or motive as soon as we notice it. We must deal with it immediately by repenting, and asking God to wash us clean. Keep your eagle eyes on, girls, the enemy wants to take you down. Keep your eyes on your Prince, studying His word and spending time with Him, so that your inner sanctuary will be protected.

Chapter 8 - coming soon!
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Monday, September 8, 2008

Lily Whiteness and Romance - Future Husband Application

"It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desire which He creates." - Amy Carmichael

Set Apart for my Future Husband

Just as we are set apart for Christ, we must also be set apart for our future husband. Many Christians have committed to be physically pure for their husbands, but Leslie instead encourages living a lifestyle of lily-whiteness for your Prince. "my commitment to my future husband needed to go far beyond the physical realm."

Proverbs 31:12, "She does [her husband] good and not evil ALL the days of her life."

Practical Steps for Loving Your Future Husband:

- Do I seek male affirmation through flirting, hugging, touching, etc? - Do I draw guy's attention by showing off my body? "(you know, bending down to pick something up at just the right moment, or wearing that oh-so-cute top that also happens to leave little to the imagination)" - Do I casually offer my heart, mind, emotions, and body to guys by jumping into short term flings? - Do I allow my mind to fantasize about guys I'm attracted to? - Do I offer to much of myself to guy, even in friendship? - Am I willing to sacrifice pleasure, attention, affirmation, and temporary fulfillment to live a lifestyle of lily whiteness for the man I will spend the rest of my life with? -Am I willing to allow my faithful Lord to bring a love story into my life in His own perfect time and way? - Am I willing to hand over the pen of my love story to Christ and trust him completely?

A Vision of Warrior Poets by Eric Ludy

Leslie's husband, Eric, wrote several chapters within the book "Authentic Beauty" addressing the Study of Manhood for young ladies. "A Key ingredient to a girl becoming a woman is learning to truly understand the manhood of Christ, and then learning to help the males in her life transform into Christ-like princes."

Eric references the great Scottish Hero, William Wallace. "My generation of men rarely sees the blend of courage and kindness, of strength and sensitivity, of bravery and servanthood that we see in the fiery eyes of Sir William Wallace...He was the epitome of fearlessness in the face of the gravest danger. Yet, at the same time, he was the embodiment of heartfelt compassion."

How Warrior Poets are Made

Many women wonder if warrior poets even exist. Was William Wallace just a once-every-seven-hundred-years kinda guy? Eric doesn't think so. He says:

"A dominant force behind the quality of modern masculinity in our culture is the expectations of modern women. The feminist movement led to great freedom for women, but not without cost. The great tragedy of feminism is that it has locked masculinity in a perverted cellar where it is nearly impossible for masculinity to transform itself." "It would be misleading to say to you that men don't have a weakness in the sexual-preoccupation department. But this weakness has been turned into an expectation." "Men need someone to believe in them. They need someone to tell them that they can rise above this mediocrity." "The words of my princess make me a prince."

Possible-Warrior-Poets are all around us, waiting for that word of encouragement from his sister in Christ, or from his Princess, or his sister, or his daughter for them to go that extra mile.

Putting It Into Action:

1. Practice making princes out of the men in your life. "Start with your dad and brother(s). If you can learn to be a prince maker in your relationships with them, you will be off-the-charts amazing in your potential future relationship with your groom. Go out of your way to mention that you notice things they have done well...or the times you see them modeling a picture of manhood that you respect."

2. Challenge men to a higher standard. "If you simply have a sweet, cheerful confidence in the standard you are holding out for, it can cause a guy to stop and think twice about his behavior."
Some examples:
a. "If they burp or do anything else in the gross family, say very sweetly something like, "I've heard that burping is considered very attractive to the bearded, one-eyed, yak worshiping women of Hanalei, but unfortunately most girls don't find it very charming!" b. "If they hesitate to help someone in need, comment (again very sweetly) something akin to, "This job demands a man with great strength and massive biceps," then look his way and, with a tilt of your head and adding a slight lilt to your voice, say, "Ahhh, here is the man of bulging biceps who will surely save the day!" c. "If they refer to womanhood in a derogatory fashion, be quick to gently add, "I've heard that the men who speak highly of femininity are the ones who end up with the most beautiful wives." d. If they attempt to pressure you to sacrifice your sacred innocence, quickly leave them in the dust, and in your parting, say something like, "You have the potential to be a great man. And when you are, you will be a protector rather than a conqueror of a woman's innocence."

3. Ponder the manhood of Christ. Eric suggests the book of Song of Solomon and the book of Revelation together with, "the sole intention of seeing a picture of what Christlike manhood looks like...Song of Solomon gives a picture of Christ as a poet, a gentle encourager, and a servant-lover. Revelation provides a picture of Christ as a conqueror, a hero, a Warrior of warriors, and a King of kings. As a young woman, acquaint yourself with hte ultimate warrior poet, Jesus Christ, and then you will know better what manhood is supposed to look like."

4. Become a student of manhood.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Beautiful Reflection - shaping the outward lifestyle

Authentic Beauty - Chapter 5

"I eagerly give up all my prized possessions, I unhesitatingly forgo the pleasure of my most intimate friendships, and, without reservation, I void all my greatest achievements for the amazing and priceless opportunity to intimately know, love, and serve my heavenly Prince, Jesus Christ." - Philippians 3:8, Paraphrase

This chapter was about shaping your life around your time with Christ, instead of your life shaping your time with Christ. Young ladies in this day and have schedules filled to the brim with friends, school, boys and extra-curricular activities. Often, we find ourselves squeezing in some Bible time before bed, or saying a quick prayer as we rush out the door.

"Friends, guys, and career pursuits completely dominated my time. I had been trying to fit Him in here and there, whenever I had a spare moment. Though a lot of my time was spent with Christian friends doing Christian things, He was not the center of my world. My life was not built around my Prince."

As God's lily-white princess, we should never expect to live a "normal life". God has so much more for you than "normal".
"He had so much more in mind for me than the expected pattern for today's typical young woman. And He wanted to teach me to think outside the assumptions I had never questioned - assumptions that controlled the way I lived my life."

Looking Beyond Assumptions:

Assumption #1: To be well adjusted and healthy, a young woman must have plenty of friends her own age and must spend a large amount of her time and energy maintaining that energy.
In her book, Leslie says that when she gave up her old shallow friendships, God replaced them with true friends, friends who were pursuing Christ the same way she was. They weren't all "typical" friends either. She became friends with godly adults, much older and wiser then she was. And God blessed her abundantly more through those friendships then she could have ever imagined.

Assumption #2: To have a successful future, a young woman must carefully follow society's pattern for success.

Trust God with your life! When a decision needs to be made about your future, go to God, not to the culture around you, when deciding which road to take. Don't you think the Creator of the Universe and the Orchestrator of all Creation knows what He's doing?

Assumption #3: To find true love, a young woman must put a huge amount of effort into the pursuit of romantic relationships.
"He wanted me to stop building my life around the pursuit of the opposite sex and instead build my life completely around the pursuit of Him. I was to concern myself not with finding human love but with falling more deeply in love with Jesus Christ. In His won perfect way, when He was ready, He would write my love story for me."
I can't imagine a better hand to write my love story than the Hand of God Almighty!

Practical Steps for Pursuing Intimacy with Christ

Leslie gives this analogy as an encouragement to really pursue Christ:

"A young figure skater with the dream of winning and Olympic gold medal does not just read about skating, watch videos about skating, sing songs about skating, listen to advice about skating, and hang out with other skaters. She devotes her heart, soul, mind, body, energy, and time to skating. She gets up before dawn, practices tirelessly for countless hours, and spends every spare moment of her days, nights, and weekends on the ice. That kind of passionate, unyielding dedication is a picture of what it means to build our lives around intimacy with our Prince in the inner sanctuary of our hearts. Don't settle for hearing about intimacy with Him, singing about intimacy with Him, or reading about intimacy with Him; really discover true intimacy with Him by building your entire life around Him. A life built around our Prince is the essence of what it means to be His lily-white princess."

Chapter 6 - Coming Soon!

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I'm Reading...

My friend Brittany gave me this book for my 17th birthday. Its been really encouraging. I enjoy the parts about feminine mystique and mystery (something I need to learn a little about! lol).

You should read it too!!