Happy New Year!

The end of one year and the beginning of another is always seen as a time to re-evaluate our lives and as a way for humans to get a “fresh start” or “new beginning.” People always make New Year’s Resolutions but, sadly, they are rarely kept. I’ve stopped making New Year’s Resolutions for the simple fact that I never kept the ones I did make.

Instead, this year, I am starting 2009 with fasting and prayer. I am participating in a 21 day fast from Jan. 1 through Jan. 21 as part of the Awakening America Alliance’s 21 Day Awakening Fast. This fast is a way for the American church to come together regardless of denomination and humble ourselves and pray for a new awakening – a Christ awakening – in our country.

I’m sure many people who know me would tell you that I am very patriotic. I support our troops 100% and will always stand by our military. I see what our country can be – and where our moral compass has been – and constantly pray for us to get there. Because our country was originally founded on religious freedom, I feel that this country is the best country to live in when we are following a moral code, not when we turn “from the way in which [our] fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the Lord’s commands.” (Judges 2:17)

So many times America has been compared to the Roman empire in its influence. Unfortunately, the Roman empire fell. And we may not be far behind if we don’t change the spiritual health of the nation. I have faith we can because I have faith in my God that if He wants to, He can change the hearts of the people in this country. But first, the people in America (including myself) need to “humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Please pray for strength for me to get through the next 3 weeks of fasting. It will be hard and I’m well aware of that but I feel that I need to do this.

I pray that you are all blessed in 2009 and please be safe tonight!
Happy New Year!
Jen

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Independent Woman?

“Be independent. Don’t count on anyone. Have the low expectations you’re supposed to have. Be independent. Don’t ask any questions. Don’t demand more than what we say you can have. Don’t feel anything you’re not supposed to feel. Do as you’re told. Be independent! ***
Meanwhile, women all around the country, women who have already had numerous sexual affairs, are descending on nineteenth-century period dramas – at the cinema, on PBS, anywhere they can catch a glimpse of Jane Austen’s Emma or Elizabeth – with a kind of religious seriousness that would be comical if it weren’t so poignant. While we may confess to each other our romantic hopes, we dare not go public with our thoughts. We are so afraid of being thought “unbalanced.” ”

From A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit

As I have been reading A Return to Modesty, there is a lot of talk about a woman being “independent.” As a teenager in the late 90s, I remember reading magazines like Seventeen and I remember vaguely that the magazine would try to encourage girls to stand up for themselves and be independent. At the time I didn’t think anything of it because that was how my mom raised me and my sister. Well, to an extent. She wanted us to be able to take care of ourselves when it came time for us to move out.

However, many women that are between the ages of 21 and 35 were taught as teenage girls, from the time we hit puberty, that as long as we were careful, it was okay to “express” ourselves sexually. This didn’t always mean that we had to be sexually active, but we could dress in a way that was sexy.

No, our parents didn’t say it was okay (at least, not mine) but the world we live in sure doesn’t say it’s not. If we look at the people who are “role models” for girls today, – and it isn’t necessarily by choice because I’m sure that most celebrities don’t go into the entertainment business more to become role models for young girls, but I digress – young girls want to be like them because they seem fun and cool. They want to dress like them because, according to the “standards” of beauty, they are pretty. People like them. And everyone wants to be liked, right?

What about parents or an adult close to the family being a role model for a young girl? And why the emphasis with independence or sexual expression when you’re a teenager? From my own experience, I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to handle what I was putting my body through. It caused me a lot of heartache for years after, some of which I am still trying to overcome.

Like I posted previously, prior to my becoming sexually active, I had had a hope to stay a virgin until I was married. I didn’t dress provocatively until I became sexually active. And I was like that until I hit college and gained weight but even still, I would wear a low cut shirt or whatever when I went out because I was always on the lookout for a boyfriend (and going about it all the wrong ways).

Now, at 27, I have made a promise to myself to abstain from sex until marriage (and yes, even if that means I am not married til I’m 40) and to also be more mindful of how I dress and how others perceive me by my outward appearance. This also has to do with wanting people to see the Christ in me and who I am in God rather than just a pretty face.

My question now is… Who is more free – the independent, sexually ‘liberated’ woman or a modest woman who abstains from sex until marriage and heeds the words of those around her who are wiser? I know how I answer that question for myself. I guess we’ll have to all ask ourselves…

Jen

A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit

Now that I am finished with classes until January, I am trying to catch up on some “personal” reading, like the Twilight Saga that I absolutely love! (See my last post about that.) I finished Breaking Dawn, the final book in the Twilight Saga, over the weekend and now I am on another book, A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit.

It was written about nine years ago but I think it is more relevant today than it was back then. In the book, Ms. Shalit writes about how being taught (or not taught) sex “education” in school at a young age (many children, if not most, who attend public school are taught sex ed beginning in elementary school) influences how a person views sex as a young adult and also how men and women react toward one another.

I vaguely remember being taught sex ed myself. I’m not sure why that is but I do remember being about 13 or 14 and saying to myself that I wanted to have a “fairy tale love story” and be a princess who finds her prince. I also remember saying that I wanted to wait until I was married to have sex. (Man, did I go down the wrong road!)

Luckily for me, I found a God who loves me, met me where I was and told me that although I went down the wrong path when I was younger, I was clean and He loves me for who I am in Him. He only sees the finished work. Hallelujah!

Okay… so back to the book… So, I’ve been reading this book and I realize that this feminist movement and this “sexual revolution” that has been occurring since the 60s and 70s has really warped the ideals and the moral compass that many people (in America especially) used to live by. It was once okay for a woman to want to be feminine and treated like a lady by a man who respected her for the fact that she was a lady. It used to be okay for a woman to turn down sex and hold a standard of waiting until marriage. (Parents also used to be the only ones to teach their kids about sex as well but that’s a whole other post.)

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for women having rights to voting, being paid the same as a man for the same job, etc. However, I do not believe that women are the same as men. If that were true, the world would be a different place. God created man first and then He created woman. That’s not to say that we’re inferior to men, just different.

I’m still reading the book so I’ll keep posting about this book as I go along. Hopefully I can finish the book this week. We’ll see. (Unfortunately, I don’t have too much time left to read for my own enjoyment until I have to start reading for school again.)

Have a blessed day!

Jen

Twilight… and the Christmas Season

For the past few weeks, I have been reading the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I wanted to read the first book because I had seen the previews for the movie and was curious as to what all the excitement was about, so I checked out Twilight from my local library since I wasn’t sure if I would like the book or not.

I have to admit that even though the book is geared for “young adults”, I was thoroughly entertained. Once I finished the first one, I was hooked! God seems to have given me quite a creative mind, especially when it comes to my imagination when I read fiction novels. Anyway, I read the next two, New Moon and Eclipse, about a week later and then I finally finished the fourth and final, Breaking Dawn, last night. I have to admit, there were some situations that I saw coming, and others I did not.

Although these are secular in their content and subject matter, they are good books. I wouldn’t recommend them for tweens or young teenagers, but older teenagers (16+) and adults would enjoy them.

On another note… I have been really thinking about what Christmas really means. At least, what it means to me. As a Christian, it is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ (although his birthday isn’t really in December, but that’s just a formality) and a time to reflect on the past year.

However, my eyes have been opened to what the world sees Christmas as and how retailers use the holiday to entice people to purchase many gifts for their loved ones as a way for them to show how much they care. Unfortunately, this seems to cause people to seem almost uncaring about the welfare of the people around them. Case in point, the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled on Black Friday when shoppers couldn’t wait to get in the store to purchase gifts. This man was not small and people walked right past him on the floor without bothering to stop and see if he was okay…

If this is truly what Christmas has become, I don’t want any part of it. No, really. I love Christmas because it is supposed to be about joy and peace and hope and LOVE – not want and greed and being so consumed with buying the perfect gift that you seem crazy!

So, for these reasons, I am going to try to change how I view Christmas and how I celebrate the season which starts on Thanksgiving and ends on New Year’s Day. My way may not be the best way for everyone and that’s okay. I’m not going to tell you in what ways I’m going to change because, again, it may not work for you.

I hope that everyone has a blessed day,
Jen

Happy Birthday… To Me!

Yesterday was my 27th birthday. I have officially been walking this planet for 27 years. Amazing! I had a good day. I still had to work which was ok… just another day at the office, really. Then last night I went to dinner with my parents and sister which was nice. We went to the Yarde House, aka the old Woodbridge’s.

I received many birthday wishes from friends and co-workers and I am thankful for them. I appreciate them as well.

I hope everyone has a blessed day. 🙂

Jen