Truth Tuesday #20: Making Time for Small Ministry

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As an English teacher, one of the core concepts I learned to teach was theme. It’s the author’s underlying message. It’s what he wants us to take away from a piece of literature. And one of those most common themes is that things are not always as they appear. They’re not as insignificant or even as accidental as they might first seem to be.

One such non-coincidental encounter started as many weekend days of my life do, at the thrift store. I am always drawn to a beautiful book cover (English teacher, remember?), and on this particular day, it was the cover of an anthology on Southernness from the editors of Garden and Gun Magazine. As I opened the book to a “random” page, I landed on an article that purported that Knoxville’s Chintzy Rose tea room and junk shop served tea that surpassed any other in the South. That’s saying something.

Well, how “concidental” then that I just happened to be planning a trip to my hometown in Virginia, and that Knoxville is the halfway point. How “strange,” too, that anyone I had asked to take the trip with me was unavailable. I was a little depressed about going by myself, but when I saw that article about the tea room, I determined to make an adventure out of my trip after all. When the day arrived, I put on an extended episode of my favorite podcast and set my sights on the halfway mark, where my personal roadside attraction was waiting…

Want to read more OR listen to the accompanying podcast episode? Visit to read the rest of the article or listen in.

Be blessed,


Truth Tuesday #19: There’s Still a Beam in My Eye

Let me be real.  I think part of the reason I started this blog was to start contributing to Pinterest instead of just being a stalker.  I didn’t think I’d really get that many readers, but if I could show some cool craft or finance tip that really did work, I just might.  However, as I wrestled with a name for the blog, I felt that maybe the purpose should be to expose my efforts to let the Lord help me with my weaknesses.  I really thought that I didn’t want to get pigeon-holed into making this just a faith blog.  I wanted to, you know, be Pinn-able.  But you know what else?  I keep finding myself being drawn to life-inspired reflections.  I still have so many issues with my finances, my overeating, my friendships, and my hate-to-clean disease that I find that Jesus weaves throughout my everyday life whether I am conscious of Him or not.  The song could not be truer:  “I need thee/Oh, I need Thee/Every hour I need thee.”  You see, I’ve noticed that…

There’s Still a Beam in My Eye

And it’s bigger than I realized.  It has many branches, and the more I search for solutions, the more I find that I still have more issues. As a matter of fact, if I had to give myself a report card on achieving any of the goals I thought I might address with this blog, I’d been failing or barely passing in most of them. But here’s what I think…I think God’s goal for me is bigger than anything I could “document” or mark as a milestone through this blog. His one goal is this: total surrender, total humility, and a release of everything I’m clinging to besides Him. I do feel a calling to minister to other, but God is, for some reason, bringing me through a Jillian-Michaels-level of removing the beam in my eye so that I can do what He says in his word, see clearly to help others remove the specks in theirs.

If you’d like to hear more of my reflection and my journey, click play below. I’ve shared a video from my weekly Facebook Live session, which happens every Tuesday at 8:30 PM EST. I hope you’ll be able to join me live next week!

As you watch and read, I’d love to know what your personal “eye beam” is. How can I help you pray? Please leave a comment below.

Be blessed,

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Truth Tuesday #18: What We Pray Versus What We Want

In my tenure as a committed Christian, which goes all the way back to age thirteen, I’ve prayed some crazy prayers. I’ve prayed prayers where I promised things I never truly thought about following through on and others where I’m completely thankful God didn’t answer. I’ve often let words tumble out of my mouth to Almighty God in the same way they would to a friend, and I’ve taken them just that lightly. I’ve prayed out of routine, false motives, emotion, or even a desire for revenge.

In the video below, which is embedded from the Facebook Live session I do every Tuesday at 8PM EST, I share three types of misguided prayers many of us have prayed:

  1. conditional prayers
  2. emotional or dangerous prayers
  3. selfish and worldly prayers

I also share some advice from God’s word on making sure we pray the kind of prayers God will answer instead of just being flippant with our prayer lives.

Click PLAY to have a listen, and if you are blessed by what I share, I hope you’ll follow this blog and like my Facebook page so you don’t miss any more encouragement!

Have any thoughts on your prayer life you’d like to share? Any other tips for making sure our prayers aren’t misguided? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Be blessed,

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Truth Tuesday #17: Living a Life of Intention

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Every year, my husband and I take a pilgrimage to Savannah. We love the history and the relaxing atmosphere there. Last year, I got in my head that I wanted to find my old elementary school and my old house. We lived in Savannah when I was in first grade, and my dad was on the railroad out of Jacksonville, Florida. The reason that I have such a strong memory of both the school and the house is because of the time I ran away.
Being the rule follower I am, I took it to heart when my first-grade teacher said that whoever didn’t bring a certain permission slip the next day would be in trouble. My name was on the board, if I recall only one of two names, and I hate to getting in trouble. Try as I might, however, this little first-grade brain could not remember that form. So when my dad dropped me off the next morning and I went into our trailer classroom, I still saw my name on the board, and panic ensued. I looked around, and neither of the teachers had seen me yet. I went outside onto the porch of the trailer and saw my dad’s red Jeep Cherokee tail lights heading into the distance.
Not one to purposely choose to get in trouble, I instead decided that I had to go home and get the form. I simply could not stay in the class and get in trouble. So I began what was probably a half-mile walk but what felt like much further to a first-grader. Now I was a smart girl, so I took the back way. My little legs carried me all the way, and I only had to go on the main road at the very end when I was almost at the driveway of our house.
Imagine my aunt’s and my dad’s surprise when I knocked on the door. In shock, my dad heard the story and took me back to school, but I refused to get out of the car. The teacher had to actually come outside and tell me that I would not get in trouble because it was my parents’ fault, not mine.
Okay, let’s all take a deep breath and try not to panic about the fact that I was a first- grader who ran all the way home unsupervised. I tell the story to say this: even now, I find it to be my natural instinct to want to run away from trouble. When Dusty and I have a fight, I want to shut down instead of processing through it. If there’s trouble brewing at work, I ignore as long as possible and keep the stress inside. Or, as I’ve discussed before, when I’m facing a wilderness, I’d rather focus on other positive things then go through it. The problem is this–we can’t escape our own lives. Try as we might, we can’t resurrect the power of those first-grade legs and physically run away from what it is that haunts us. We have to go through it.
In the video below, which is posted from my Tuesday weekly Facebook Live session, I talk about three ways to live a life of intention. We explore these concepts:
  1. You can’t escape yourself.
  2. It’s time to live your life, not just watch it from the outside.
  3. We have to be intentional even in hardship.
Click play below to watch the video, and I would love to see you live next week!

Did one of these ideas for living intentionally resonate with you? Do you have another idea to share? Please leave a comment below.

Be blessed,

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Truth Tuesday #16: It’s Not All About You

  • No, really…it’s not.
  • Me time? Not necessarily.
  • Focusing on others will really help you.
  • Friendships that focus on others are the best ones.

As a child, I must have really thought it was all about me.  After all, the evidence has been captured on film.  In one picture, I’m dressed as a princess and carrying a majorette’s baton.  In a video, I jump in front of my brother, who is already talking to the camera, to tell a story about a game I played at school.  I already wrote one post for Beulah Girl about when it’s okay to be the center of attention, but the attention green light is not on all the time.  Despite the shirts with the message, “It’s all about me,” the churches that market toward the interests of people, and the trend toward “me time” that’s all the rage now, it really is not about me.  Or you.  It’s about God.  He created us to glorify Him.

With our study of the Bible, we have to make sure that it’s all about God there too.  For the last several months, I’ve subscribed to a daily devotional app, First 5, and the current study is Leviticus.  When I saw the book choice, I thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  You see, I’ve done several read-through-the-Bible challenges before, and Leviticus is never a book that I feel like applies to me.  It’s about laws, and it’s bloody and gutsy, as in literal guts.  But as with anything else in this culture, we have to resist the urge to make it all about us.  We can’t just read, listen to, embrace, or do what makes us happy all the time.  It’s not about us.


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Truth Tuesday #12: Seeing Beneath the Surface

I’ve often have the conversation with my husband about the difference between men and women and why women seem to fight more. I told him it’s really easy to get along with people if you talk about the weather and sports. Women go deep, and they go deep fast, so when there is heartbreak or division, it really stings. I think there’s something about us that sees beneath the surface. I think my own personality, though, takes seeing-beneath a step further. I might be in a crowded room with people who are feeling happy and overjoyed, but a sadness overtakes me. It’s not a symptom of depression. It’s something I feel in my mind’s eye or in my spirit that just doesn’t resonate with what’s happening. I also have a penchant for seeing the people on the fringes of that happy room. In today’s discussion, I want us to spend some time talking about making sure that the surface is never our satisfaction level.
As you know if you’re my friend in real life or if you’ve been reading my posts for a while, I was a classroom teacher for eleven years. I taught mostly eighth grade, but in my last four years, I moved up and taught high school. It was a really hard job. I wanted to knock somebody’s head off one day when I was sitting at dinner and she said she was tired of teachers complaining. “They get summers off and get to go home every day at 2:30,” she pronounced. I would challenge anyone who feels that way to even go observe in a classroom for a day. It’s not that we’re overworked or the hours that make us the most exhausted, although that’s part of it. It’s the never-ending heartbreak and push back and rebellion. Especially with older students. Along the lines of heartbreak, I can think of several students who were invisible to many others, including their teachers. I may not have been good at being the easiest grader or in helping all the kids pass my class, but there’s something again about my personality that just can’t let go of kids that no one else sees.
Maybe it’s because we grew up poor or whatever, but my heart just reaches out and connects, sometimes even to “prickly” kids. One such young man was a cutter. I’ve never before or since encountered a male student who used cutting to control his life or relieve his pain. This boy had been cutting since middle school, and if you read his file, the teacher said he was just doing it for attention. Well obviously. Why else would a perfectly normal person feel the need to inflict pain and see blood? It was his way of controlling some life situation. This kid didn’t give a rip about my class. He was failing every semester, and he chose to surround himself with kids who were behavior problems. We definitely tangled more than once. However, as I would walk him to the counselor again and again to report fresh ucts on his arms, we started to form a bond that I didn’t realize was being formed at the time. I certainly never would have known it by his backtalk, haha. However, after he left school, he was one of the students who wrote me back and said I was his favorite teacher. There was something in me that recognized his invisibility, and I believe he responded to that from his own heart cry.
Another student that comes to mind really broke my heart and still does. I’ve tried to locate him and can’t. He was my eighth grader, and when he would come into other teachers’ rooms, he smelled so bad that those teachers would spray air freshener all around the room. It couldn’t have been more obvious why they were doing it. I even heard one teacher say that she couldn’t sit and help him because she would gag. It was a horrible smell, and he could have done something about it. I get that. However, the thought that a kid would purposely make himself disgusting to keep people away should tear our hearts apart. Certainly God can help us overcome the stink or the disgust if there’s a soul at stake.
My point in sharing these two stories is not to pin roses on myself. There have been many times in my life, even maybe with some of you, that I have been unkind. I remember mocking a boy who was of a different faith in middle school. If I could remember his name to look him up, I would apologize profusely. Maybe we can’t go back and redo everything we haven’t done, but there’s something to be said for going forward without ignoring the invisible people this time.
What if you’re not a teacher? What if you can’t relate at all to the stories I just shared? There’s another way I want to challenge us to see beneath the surface. I love to tell stories to illustrate my point so just indulge me here. I was at a church service the other night. This weekend, I honestly needed a little pick-me-up, so I went to three different church services. I told my husband I wanted to have a personal revival weekend. At the third of those services, the worship was amazing. The young piano player was tearing up those keyboards. Everyone was in tune, the harmony was great, and the enthusiasm of all the worshipers was contagious. But as I worshiped, I also observed. I saw middle school girls dancing and singing their little hearts out. As I watched, I thought about my experience as a middle school teacher. I thought about what happened when those same Christian girls went to school and acted completely different. So instead of focusing on jubilant worship, I found myself crying and praying for those girls to be protected and to remember that they were the same person outside of church as they were inside it. Maybe they were. And maybe some will call me judgmental for even having that thought. But my heart was pure. I want there to be a revival of us going beneath the surface. Revival of us caring if who we really are matches who we pretend to be. All of us can act a certain way when we’re around certain people, but if we become chameleons, we’re just surface-level people. I want us all to take time to notice, whether it’s in ourselves or in others, the cry of deep crying out to deep.
The bottom line of seeing below the surface is that you have to see two ways. You have to make eye contact and look for those invisible souls crying out for the love of God we’re called to share. You have to take off any blinders and choose to see what might be difficult or uncomfortable or against the grain. But you also have to make soul contact. You have to ask for the discernment of the Lord to help you process situations you’re seeing and respond appropriately, instead of just ignoring them and moving on. I don’t know what these two types of contact will cause in your life, but I know for me they prompt me to action. And sometimes they at least prompt me to an awareness of gratitude. Thankful that God even chooses to whisper His cries to my heart.
Talk about invisible people–Jesus dealt with a bloody woman and a leprous man. He also dealt with the Pharisees, who looked perfect on the outside, but whom He called “whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones.” He was never content to take the eye or the soul at face value either. Let us follow His example today.
Be blessed,
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Check out the video below, which is embedded from the Facebook Live Truth Tuesday session I host every week at at 8:30PM EST.

Unoffended: The Freedom of Forgiveness

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If you’ve been married for more than one minute, you know that men and women are different. So many times, I’ve had the conversation with my husband where he asks why women are always getting so offended at each other. I tell him that it’s because we talk about more than just sports or the weather. We are deep, connected creatures.

Or at least were meant to be. But that very blessing can be what also causes us to hurt each other and to hold onto that hurt. I am a gregarious, outgoing person. I talk to everybody, and I talk too much. That disposition naturally lends itself to situations where I cause offense. Although I have learned a lot about not saying everything I think, that choice is still a battle for me.

My heart is very tender. I cry at every movie or commercial or when I see someone with a homeless sign on the side of the road. So people who know me hopefully know that I would not hurt them on purpose. But again, because of my personality, I am more apt to bring that offense than, say, a person who is shy and reserved. The Bible says that if we believe we have caused an offense, we are to go to that person and make it right. It doesn’t say, “if they deserve an apology.” It doesn’t say if we have legitimately offended on purpose. It says if someone is offended at us, we have to be the ones to go make it right. Don’t believe me? See for yourself from Matthew 5:23-24 (emphasis mine):

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Is it awkward to bring up what someone may have against us? Absolutely. But it’s the right thing to do, and it will make things better in almost every case. I don’t want to share specific examples on here, because I don’t know who’s reading this post, but suffice it to say that I’ve had to swallow my pride on more than one occasion and go ask someone to forgive me. I may not have known what I did wrong, and I may not have done it on purpose, but it was worth it to me not to have an unspoken tension that would keep that person from the fullness of God’s plan for them.

I don’t want to be somebody’s stumbling block, and I hope you don’t either. Jesus is coming back soon, and one of the things that will keep us from receiving God’s forgiveness is if we don’t forgive others. That’s plain too, in Matthew 6:14-15. I beg and plead that you would heed your sister’s heart. I know it doesn’t feel good to humble ourselves or to try to make a situation feel better that we don’t even believe we caused. But I can tell you as someone who has come out on the other side of many of those situations, getting the hurt out in the open is the right thing to do. It brings such a healing.

Let me end by recommending a book. It was introduced to me by my former pastor and it’s called The Bait of Satan by John Bevere. Think of Satan as a master fisherman who knows exactly how to get vulnerable people on the hook. What’s his number one lure? It’s offense. Jesus tells us not to be offended. So if you have been offended or if you believe you’ve caused offense, even inadvertently, I highly recommend this book. I will happily loan my copy to someone if you would like to work through it. I’m not saying any of this will be easy, but it will be worth it.

If you would like for me to pray for you in this situation, please leave me a comment or use my contact form to send an email. I want us all to make it to heaven, but not just that. I want us all to have a joyful, abundant life here on earth, and I believe that the forgiveness that we can offer and that we can receive is the key to that life.

Be blessed!

Truth Tuesday #4: The Myth of Rest


I have written posts several times referring to the fact that I have such a busy life. It’s really a struggle for me to rest, just as it was for Martha when Jesus came to her house. I’ve been reading the book of Luke along with the First 5 app, and something really caught my attention in chapter five. In that chapter, it says that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places:

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

When I first heard just the part about withdrawing to lonely places, I thought what we all think, which is that we all need to make time for ourselves–even Jesus did. But right after that thought, I noticed that the text says Jesus went to those lonely places for a different reason. He prayed.

I have been to the spa multiple times, and I’ve had massages and vacations and romantic getaways, but I never really come back totally rested in my spirit. I still have overwhelming thoughts and sometimes even depression or frustration. I think it must be that


I need to follow Christ’s example.  He afforded himself purposeful rest. Yes, He needed to escape from the crowds, which we see many times in the Word. However, He did for himself what he promises to do for us, which is to give us rest for our souls. That kind of rest is never going to come from us coloring in a book or doing a relaxing craft. It’s only going to come from spending time with the Lord.

Learn why rest never feels restful and how to change that.

I was surprisingly convicted listening to this short little passage of Scripture, but that’s what I love about the Word. The rhema word is a word that comes alive to us in a moment even though we might’ve read it a hundred times before. This word I’m sharing I hope will be a rhema word for you and for me today.

Do you need rest for your soul? Come to Jesus, who says His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Leave a comment below about how I can pray for you to find rest.  I am convinced it’s for all of us.

Want to hear more about this conversation? Check out this video from our weekly Facebook Live session. It happens every week at 8:30 PM EST at my Facebook page. We’d love to have you tune in next week.

Happy New Year!

Wisdom from the Wilderness: Enjoy the Moment.

This wilderness that I’m in seems like it will never
As I’ve been studying my kindred spirits, the Israelites, and the beginning of the Bible, it’s easy to see why it took them forty years to get where they were going. It’s not like they exactly behaved while they were on their exodus.  God had made them great and precious promises, but all they could see were their circumstances. Forty years of them. Without the food they wanted. Without the land they had been promised. Without a God they felt like they could see and connect with.
I sometimes feel that same way and I act just like they did. With that being said, it’s time to give myself a pep talk. As I used to say to the students in my class, it’s time for a Life Lesson with Lolley. The life lesson in this instance is precipitated by the fact that just about once a week, a different well-meaning and wonderful friend asks me how I’m doing. I can hear the questions behind the question, which are, “What are you doing? What is your next step? Has anything new happened?”
And to all those questions, I have to say, “No.” I don’t see any writing on the wall. I don’t know where we’re headed. However, and this should never be a cheesy statement, my God knows where I’m going and he’s holding me in the palm of His hand. So I’ve decided to take some wisdom from this wilderness. My first piece of wisdom is this.   I am going to enjoy the moment. I had a revelation sometime last year where I told my husband that we were never going to have these moments back that we have right now. These moments when we’re undistracted by a child and can focus on each other. These moments unhindered by a specific ministry, where we can really listen for the call of God for our hearts. I don’t want to miss those moments. So my sweet friends, if you’re wondering what I’m doing these days, it’s mostly nothing. Yes, I’m Suzy and I’m busy, and I’m a Martha, but I’m not really doing a whole lot that even I would call purposeful right about now. But there is purpose in that. I’m looking for the grand adventure that could be just around the next corner.  I don’t want to miss this moment, that moment, or anything in the here and now. I want to relish the walks I’m taking with my husband, the peaceful trips in our new kayaks, and even evenings on the couch.
I want to celebrate the fact that I have something to cry and mourn and pray about. I want to allow myself to be pulled into my heavenly father’s lap and rocked when I need it.
And not feel guilty that I’m wasting my life.
And not feel embarrassed that I’ve shared grand visions with people that haven’t yet come to pass.
I know my God has got me and that whatever plan He has for me will come to pass, even if it takes my version of forty years.  [Tweet “I know my God has got me and that whatever plan He has for me will come to pass, even if it takes my version of forty years.”]
Are you in an uncomfortable place in your walk right now?  I’d love for you to share some of your “wisdom from the wilderness” or even a prayer request.  Leave a comment below!
Your Fellow Sojourner,

Truth Tuesday #11: Modest is Hottest

My husband still thinks I’m hot. Or as I like to call it, ha cha cha. For some reason, he even liked me when I had long, shapeless hair, ugly clothes, and no figure whatsoever, aka. high school. I may not think I’m that great, especially on days when I’m trying to lose weight and be a certain number on the scale, but he still likes me.

A woman’s body is actually created to be attractive. Let’s just say that there are features we have that guys don’t, and so they’re just drawn to our bodies. What an incredible design of our Creator God. My husband doesn’t just have to love me for my personality, for my wit, or for my wonderful intelligence (ha!), but he can actually be attracted to my body too.

Before you all throw up in your mouths, let me tell you what the point of all this is. It’s modesty. I’ve heard many women say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Absolutely flaunt it!

In the bedroom.

With your husband.

To whom you’re married and that’s why he’s your husband and you’re in the bedroom.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

The Victoria’s Secret at our local mall used to be a place that was about one store-front wide and was private. Now, not only does that store have a total glass front and take up two store windows, but it has expanded to have a department that’s widely-marketed to a teenage audience.  I have no problem with lingerie for married people, but with so much exposure to all of that, are we losing a little bit of the mystique?  I think so. So without further ado, here are three reasons I think modesty is not a punishment but is a commandment and a gift.

1.  In the garden of Eden, nakedness was not shameful. But when we humans became aware of that exposed state, it became a mark of shame. No amount of reality television will convince me that we’re supposed to run around with our everythings hanging out. When Adam and Eve saw that they were naked, God clothed them. He still loved them, and they would still be together intimately, but their Father clothed them.  With literal clothing.  If God chose to restore innocence to the perpetrators of the first guilty act in the garden via clothing, I think it’s important that we shield the innocence of others with our clothing choices as well.

2.  When I first meet someone, I want them to be attracted to me for something besides my body. Let me rephrase that. Back in the day, I would’ve wanted people to be attracted to me that way. Nowadays, I’ll stick with my husband 🙂 I don’t need anybody else to be attracted to me.  But back to the point: isn’t it time that we ladies had a revival of keeping it classy? I know that one of Dusty’s favorite outfits on me has always been a business suit. There’s something about an intelligent woman who is confident that screams attractiveness. A woman who has to show everything does not scream that same thing.  I can think of what she’s maybe advertising by mistake, but I won’t name at here 🙂

3. The final reason that modesty is a privilege is that it lets us focus on our style instead of our sexuality.  I am a huge fan of Goodwill shopping.  Virtually everything I have comes from there, and I am the first to brag on my three-dollar deal.  Here’s the point–I have so much fun looking cute!  The other day, I designed a outfit starting with the shoes and working my way up to the earrings and the headband.  I got so many compliments that day, and none of them were provoked by the parts of my body that were exposed.  We don’t have to wear denim skirts and leave off the makeup; a little style is okay.  And so is a little modesty.

Modesty is not a punishment. It’s not God’s way of keeping us from having any fun. It’s actually a treasure to be able to choose who sees what parts of me. I think of Jesus hanging on the cross. He was stripped bare, and when I say bare, I mean completely. I cannot imagine the shame that was added to all the other physical torture He was enduring.  Because he was stripped, and because he was whipped, we don’t have to be.  [Tweet “Because he was stripped, and because he was whipped, we don’t have to be. “]  Our sins can be covered in the blood, and our bodies can be our temple. A temple of holiness.

Let me end by saying this, because I don’t want to be misunderstood: just dressing better doesn’t make us Christians. And it is hard for a single woman to give up focusing on what she feels like might help her get a husband, the appearance of her body.  But God works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. He will give us the want-to and the capability to save for our husbands what only they should see.  We must remember that it’s only the inner change, falling in love with Jesus, that can make us want to change on the outside.  So if you’re not a Christian, settle that with Jesus first.  If you are, but modesty is not a desire of yours, or if you’re struggling and lonely and feel that sex appeal is your only coping mechanism, pray about it.  Jesus loves us no matter how we look and no matter how we dress, and He is calling us all to a closer walk with Him.

What does this post speak to you?  I would love it if you’d leave a comment below.

Every Tuesday, a community of people gather on Facebook Live to discuss one of my blog posts. This one is embedded below. Want to join me live next time? Hop on over to every Tuesday at 8:30 PM EST. I would love to see you there and hear your thoughts.