Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Mommy Porn"

Yes you read that right.  A babywearing group I am in recently had some turmoil regarding pictures of men babywearing being labeled as "mommy porn" or a turn on or other equally sexual labels.  The group was quite divided.  Some women saw no issue with the terminology.  They said that 'porn' is a widely used word that does not mean just pornographic pictures/videos.  Others took a stand that it was indeed wrong.  Such references and comments of a sexual nature have since been banned from use in the babywearing group but all week I've been thinking about it.

I see two major issues with labeling photos of men cleaning/cooking/babywearing (and any other activity that should just be mundane) as "mommy porn".

First it does in fact degrade men.  Women would never tolerate men talking about us that way.  Why should we expect our men to suck it up and take being treated as objects.  I would be furious if my husband were in a facebook group and posted a picture of me doing some sort of seemingly male activity (like taking out the trash or fixing or building something) and it was labeled as "daddy porn" and men ogled and commented vulgarly to the photo.  Although why do we never hear "daddy porn" in the same context that we hear "mommy porn"?  Because it's assumed daddies are looking at the real deal.  Regardless, I do not want a photo of my husband and/or children talked about in that manner.

Secondly, using the word porn in such a flippant way normalizes it.  It makes it seem like porn is in fact okay, healthy even.  Well I don't want my children growing up thinking that porn is normal.  I don't want my children using porn to judge their own sex lives or their worth.  I want them to value sex for what it is, a God given gift meant to bring a husband and wife together in a way unlike any other relationship.

I'm glad the issue was addressed within the group and is now not allowed.  I now won't be exposed to that kind of talk on a daily basis and I can enjoy all of the blessings of being a part of such a wonderful group of parents.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nashville Half Marathon 2014

Today I walked my first half marathon.  Yes all 13.1 miles.  I've received many "Good job"s and "I'm proud of you"s.  Each one makes me feel just a little lower.  I don't feel like today was a major accomplishment even though I know it was.  Seven long months went into training for today.  I proved I could set my mind to something and follow through.  I can be active and healthy.  I can set fitness goals and reach them.  I can do something all for me.

But all of that feels a little undone by watching others who were quick to admit they did not train, sail smoothly through.  Right now in the midst of the soreness I can't help but think to myself "What was the point?"  If all these people can just show up and do it why did I put so much hard work into it?  Why did I even do it at all?

Honestly I'm not sure races are for me.  I don't get caught up in the hype or adrenaline.  I don't find them super exciting or enjoyable.  Mostly I feel insecure.  Like I don't belong.  Instead of feeling like I belong to a team, I feel really quite alone at the start line.  Maybe it's because I feel like I'm still a newby.  I'm worried all these seasoned athletes will take one look at me and laugh.  I'm not comfortable in my skin when it comes to physical activity and exercise.

I have a long journey ahead of me.  Yes I plan to stay active and keep walking (although probably not 13 miles).  Yes I still have goals to reach.  I'm praying today will sink in and once the soreness is gone I will have an easier time accepting the praise.  Although by next month I'm sure no one will remember what I did today.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reminders from God

Today God reminded me of a few things I need to work on if I want to truly fulfill His purpose for me.  I feel led to share them with you.

We are called to be a light to the world.  2 Timothy 1:11 says "And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News."  I have been called and placed exactly where I am for a divine reason.  I was called to work with our youth group to minister to and encourage our teenagers.  I can use my testimony to benefit them.  To be there for them and encourage them in their walk with the Lord.  I am also blessed to be a part of a military wife group called Combat Boot Divas.  This group allows me to meet other military wives which allows us to strengthen and encourage each other.  Even if a person upsets me, I must live out my call.  Allowing someone to shake me gives that person the power to interfere with my purpose.  No one should have that power but God.

I need to stop reacting poorly to anyone who upsets me.  Two verses from Matthew 5 give us clear instruction for how to handle opposing people.  Verse 28 says, "But I say, do not resist an evil person!  If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also."  Verse 44 says, "But I say, love your enemies!  Pray for those who persecute you!"  I should never even think about wishing anyone harm.  I should not desire for others to suffer.  It does not matter what they have done to me.  Instead we are told in James 1:2 "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy."  I am supposed to rejoice at tests and trials.  I am supposed to remember how blessed I am to serve the Lord Almighty.  My God is bigger than any wrong done to me.  My Savior is greater than any insult or injury.  He heals, restores, calms and strengthens his children.

We are instructed very clearly to forgive those who wrong us.  Matthew 6:14-15 tells us "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."  I don't know about you but I cannot afford to not be forgiven.  I have done wrong.  I have wronged and hurt others.  Even if a person is constantly doing or saying hurtful things I must forgive each account and move on.  There are no exceptions.  There are no "well once they've wronged you X number of times you don't have to forgive them anymore."  If God were to allow us a limit on how many times we must forgive someone, He would have to limit how many times He forgives us.  Thankfully Lamentations 3:23 tells us "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh every morning."  Once we have repented of a sin it is forgotten by God.  He does not keep it in his mental record to bring back up later.  He moves on like it never happened.  I believe we are called to forgive in this same way.

Not only are we called to reach the lost but we are meant to influence and strengthen other believers.  Proverbs 27:17 words it like this: "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend."  If I'm not building up other believers then what am I doing?  Probably hindering their walk with the Lord.  I do not want to stand before my God on judgment day if I am not sharpening my spiritual brothers and sisters.  I have been blessed with so many uplifting people in my life.  Friends who inspire me, keep me accountable, encourage me, love me at my worst and accept me as the precious gift I am.  I should be constantly striving to be like that to those around me and so should you.

I believe each person we interact with has been placed in our path by God.  There are no coincidences.  I meet who I meet for a reason.  I may not always know the reason but that is irrelevant.  God's ability to work in me and through me does not depend on my own understanding which to be honest is a huge relief.  As I look around at all the people I interact with on a daily, weekly or monthly basis I can't help but feel overwhelmed.  The impact I can and should have on this world is far greater than I have ever realized.  From a passing "Have a blessed day" to the lifelong commitment to my husband and children, I am making a difference.  My prayer is that I am changing, shaping and encouraging those around me for the better.

I hope these messages from God can inspire you the way they have inspired me.  Right now, in the middle of the storm, nothing is better than feeling God's loving embrace.  I'm so blessed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

ORC Progress Report

Yikes I can't believe another 30 days slipped by me.  I'm actually two days past the sixty day mark.  I have not begun a third Orange Rhino Challenge.

How am I doing?

Well things are stressful for us right now.  Stress can make you do crazy things.  Overall I feel like I'm still doing okay though.  There is still work to be done but I can feel a change in myself.  Even when I do yell (just being honest, it still happens) I don't feel as out of control.  We're still working on getting back on track with discipline.  I'm trying to finish the current book I'm reading before we set up any new plans.  I know we will be implementing family meetings.  Punitive time out will become positive time out.  And I'm sure as I continue to read my book I will realize other changes that need to be made.  I still believe in positive discipline and feel it is the best path for our family.  I just want to have a better grasp on things before we start making changes.  For now I will continue to work on not yelling at my children and making small changes in how I talk to them and what words I choose when correcting them or teaching them.  Parenting is a fun ride isn't it?