Short shorts, tank tops and temptation

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Contributor: Emmarie Moon

I cannot dance. Seriously, ask any of my high school friends how good of a dancer I am and I promise they will all laugh, especially when it comes to freestyle. I’m pretty sure I did the sprinkler at my senior prom.

So when I found out that we had dance fitness (formerly known as Zumba) at my college for free, I was super excited. I can at least functionally do choreographed dance moves, and most of the other Dutch girls could move about the same as myself.

Along with having a great time working up a sweat doing fun dance moves, we have an amazing instructor. Jenna is an extremely fit, godly mother of three kids. She is not only a really great and encouraging dance instructor, but she likes to give us really great (sometimes uncomfortable) advice on female matters. She talks about her kids’ puberty issues, her gynecologist, and sex very openly. A few weeks ago, she talked to us about the frequently asked question “how far is too far?” She talked about how she dated a guy for six years before her husband, and although they hadn’t slept together, they did some things that don’t make her super proud. She also talked about how  it was hard for her to “flip the switch” when she got married.

The switch? What’s the switch? I have only heard about this so called “switch” for a few months. It refers to the mental change from being in a relationship to being married, the switch from telling yourself “no” when it comes to sex to suddenly saying “yes” and being expected to love it. Because Jenna spent time engaging in activities that were questionable, she often had to say “no” before things went too far. When she got married, she had to spend a lot of time changing the thoughts in her head when she was with her husband.

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How Perfectionism Drove Me to Pornography.

To be honest, this is probably one of the hardest things I have ever written about. God placed this idea on my heart for a while now, and I’ve avoided it like crazy. But here I am. I’ll let you decide who won that argument.

You ever meet those people who walk around classrooms fixing every table so that they’re all lined up perfectly to one another? Or the kind who go around working every little detail that doesn’t make sense to them? Or better yet, the ones who come across as super controlling and an idea generally never works for them unless it’s theirs?

Yes. I am all the above. Every single one.

I absolutely Love to plan things and I LOVE when things turn out PERFECT to the T…at least my version of perfect, anyway.

I think that in many ways, our culture glorifies this. The idea that we need to know what we’re doing and that we need to constantly be pushing ourselves to not just win some sort of (success) race, but to win that race by ten miles. Coming in first is no longer enough. In order to be happy, life needs to be perfect, Right?

I mean, how many times have we watched movies in which the woman is looking for the ‘perfect’ man or someone is looking for the ‘perfect’ job? How often has that happy ending been the ‘perfect‘ ending–where everything goes back to the way it’s supposed to be?

But here’s the real truth:
My obsession with perfectionism, drove me into an addiction to pornography.

Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I never thought that I would ever struggle with porn. And I was a woman, so the odds of me ever dealing with something like this were super slim…right?

That was probably the first mistake I made: When we underestimate the power of temptation, we fall right into it.

How does perfectionism play into this?

You see, when you constantly live with the idea that life needs to be perfect in order for you to attain true joy, you get muddled up into a whole lot of bad habits because you’re chasing after something that really isn’t there.

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Real or Fake: Photoshop in Real Life

Those glossy images on magazine covers…. long legs, thin torsos, sun-kissed skin tone.

I wouldn’t call them “fake”. But I wouldn’t call them”real” either.

After all, the photoshopped photos of Jessica Simpson are, in fact, Jessica Simpson. But it’s not reaaallly her. It’s not reaallly real. It’s not down to earth. Authentic. Genuine.

Which is why Cindy Crawford, a famous actress, is quoted as saying. . . “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.”

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Make-up or no make-up? That’s not the question.

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Alright, ladies, admit it. We’ve all had those days. The ones where we wake up in the morning, feeling pretty good about ourselves, and then, we look in the mirror. And we see it, the red, ominous dot on the center of our face, the zit.

Well my wedding day was one of those days. No amount of airbrushed make up or a side swept bang could cover up the giant blemish marking the most important day of my life.

Everyone told me I’d grow out of it. The oily skin I had when I was younger would give my skin a healthy glow when I grew up… but I turned 22 years old to find myself a grown married woman who still battles the not-so-beautiful marks on my face. Not exactly the skin that Proactive promised me.

I still spend money on face scrubs, more money on name brand lotions for sensitive skin, and even more money on makeup to cover up the zits when those products don’t work. It’s a seemingly hopeless cycle of covering up what’s underneath.

And, it makes me question, what else do I try to cover up? How often do I try to present the best version myself? Am I trying to be someone else rather than being who I truly am?

I wish I could say that someday we’d get over it, that adults do not obsess about their appearance. But anyone who has a grandmother knows that she still spends an hour curling her hair and applying lipstick for the morning church service. Women want to be beautiful.

And the glossy magazine covers don’t help. We thumb through page after page of long legs, thin torsos, and sun-kissed skin as we wait for our spot in the grocery line, wishing we looked like someone else. Teenagers want to look like Sarah Hyland, middle age women want Jennifer Aniston’s body, senior citizens want Meryl Streep’s timeless beauty, and almost every woman envies Beyonce’s curves.

But the perfect images we see give us a delusional version of reality. I wouldn’t call those images “fake”. But I wouldn’t call them “real” either. After all, the photoshopped photos of Kim Kardashian are, in fact, Kim Kardashian. But it’s not really her. It’s not really real. It’s not down to earth, authentic, genuine.

I bet even the stars wish they looked like the pictures they see of themselves. Cindy Crawford, an ‘80s actress, is famously quoted as saying “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.”

So ask yourself. Do you care more about being picture perfect? Or showing this world who YOU truly are?

I know what God would want. He created you. Not the airbrushed, filtered version of yourself. He created the real, down to earth, authentic, genuine you.

Psalms 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Now, don’t get ahead of yourself. It seems that the counter cultural reaction to all of the Botox injections and fake baked skin would be a complete rejection of everything and anything that enhances our beauty.

But Paul’s warning in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 against women with braided hair and jewelry was never meant to discourage women from being beautiful, it was meant to discourage women from being a distraction.

It isn’t wrong for me to enhance my God given beauty, wear make-up or cover up my zits in the morning. In fact, I recommend it. But it’s wrong if those things become a distraction. When I become dependent on my appearance for my confidence then I’ve neglected one of the first truths that God’s Word revealed about human beings in the very first chapter of Genesis.

We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

Our identity isn’t in our appearance. It is in Him. When we find our confidence in what we look like, we freak out. Because, no matter how pretty you are or how pretty you think that you are, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have one of “those” days. If we find our confidence in what we look like, we’ll be disappointed.

But, when we find our confidence in who God is, we’ll never be disappointed. If we realize that his plan for our life is bigger than a bad hair day or a zit on our face, we don’t have to freak out over our outward appearance.

Even on a day as important as your wedding day, you can look at the big picture and realize that something as insignificant as a zit doesn’t matter at all. I confidently marched down that wedding aisle toward the man that I loved, knowing he would love me the same.

This is the type of security and confidence we find in Christ. Because the truth is, you are more than your weight. You are more than your popularity. You are more than your beauty. You are His.

Sticks and Stones

“Sticks and stones may break your bones…. but words will hurt too.”

You’re fat.

I don’t like you.

You’re ugly.

Your’e dumb.

It’s amazing how hurtful words can be when we put our confidence in what people think.

[Insert the big BUT (with one “t”) here]

BUT You are more than your weight.

BUT You are more than your popularity.

BUT You are more than your beauty.

BUT You are more than your brains.

You are His.

Girls are picked at, made fun of, and sometimes put down just for being a girl. Watch this video and be reminded that God created you to be powerful, confident, and brave.

What Makes You Feel Beautiful?

It’s not up to someone else to decide if we’re beautiful.

This group of ladies discuss what makes them feel beautiful. And it’s not what you’d think.

It’s not their hair.

It’s not their skin.

Or their waistline.

Beauty is about more than what they look like. They feel most beautiful when they make others feel beautiful.

Making a deep connection.

Looking through the eyes of a loved one.

Fulfilling the purpose God gave them.

What we do says so much more about who we are than what we look like. 

Epic zits of giant proportions

We’ve all had those days. The ones where we wake up in the morning, feeling pretty good about ourselves, and then, we look in the mirror. And, we see it. The red, ominous dot on the center of our face… the zit.

Anyone who has been to an Across My Heart retreat, probably remember’s Ashley’s stories about zits. Getting a white head so big that it squirts the mirror and sprayed her in the mouth…. or the time she was too embarrassed to open the front door for her next door neighbor because she had terrible acne and hadn’t put on any make-up for the day. Yeah… embarrassing stuff. But, hopefully you also remember the point to those gruesome stories.

The punchline goes like this: When we find our confidence in what we look like, we freak out. Because, no matter how pretty you are or how pretty you think that you are, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have one of “those” days. If we find our confidence in what we look like, we’ll be disappointed.

But, when we find our confidence in who God is, we’ll never be disappointed. If we realize that his plan for our life is bigger than a bad hair day or a zit on our face, we don’t have to freak out over our outward appearance. Instead, focus on who you are inside. Because who you are is what God cares most about. And, he has great plans for you.

Does it have to be itsy bitsy?

itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini

The itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini…. we all know the lyrics. But do we know what these lyrics actually meant for bathing suits lining the seashore? With the turn of the fashion world and the women’s rights movement, the bikini became a tool used for female empowerment. But, fashion designer Jessica Rey reveals the shocking research on the male brain that shows otherwise.

Check out Jessica Rey’s fashion line for modest and super cute swimwear http://www.reyswimwear.com/

Photo Shoots… Good Clean Fun?

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It’s fun to take pictures with your friends. Candid shots of laughter can capture a memory. Goofy photos on the webcam never seem to get old. But what I’ve noticed a lot of girls doing lately are photoshoots…. a full session of photography with a few friends with different poses and different backgrounds often revolving around a specific theme. I’ve seen quite a few girls upload these photos to facebook… sometimes creating a whole new album with up to one hundred photos. The photos are usually fun and artistic, showing the creativity of the photographer by thinking outside the box.

Unfortunately, many of these photos don’t exude a sweet and innocent fun time. Sometimes these photos include seductive poses of teenage girls trying to look sexy. I’ve seen way too many pictures of thirteen year old girls and girls my age with pouting lips and heavy make up looking longingly into the camera lens. Even if they are fully clothed, photos like this create a sense of seduction and give the wrong impression.

But it’s easy to have a photo shoot that fun and creative without compromising your innocence. Getting a few of your friends together to create a series of photographs should be a fun and artistic activity! And it can be! A few of us from Across My Heart ministries got together to show you just how fun photo shoots can be!

We picked a theme, got some props from the 1970s, donned a few old school outfits, and made lots of memories! Check out some more of the photos from our 1970s photo shoot below!

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Fun photo shoot ideas:

Pick a decade like we did…. love the 1950s? How about the 1980s? Dress up in your favorite checkered dress or neon leggings and don’t forget the bouffant!

Pick a fun background… whether you are a country girl or a city girl, there is a place for you!

Blow bubbles or balloons… props can be a lot of fun to play with and add an awesome visual effect!

Recreate your favorite movie… take snap shots while acting out the plot line and role play as your favorite character from the film!

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Dove is a leading provider of women’s beauty products and has made it their mission to enhance women’s natural beauty rather than cover it up with fake cosmetics. In this video project, Dove showed each of these women the truth that they don’t see about themselves.

It’s true. Often times, we don’t see the beauty that others see. We are too busy picking ourselves apart in the mirror that we don’t realize the beautiful woman standing right there in front of it.
According to Dove statistics, only 4% of the women in the world consider themselves to be beautiful. This lack of self-confidence in our appearance often comes from an obsessive, almost compulsive, focus on our appearance. We become so perfectionist about how we should look, that we don’t appreciate the beauty that’s already there.
This video shows how blinded we are by our insecurities. Instead of relying on our own self-image, we need to place our security in who God says we are.

YOU ARE ACCEPTED….

John 1:12 I am God‘s child.

John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.

1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ‘s body.

Colossians 2:9–10 I am complete in Christ.
Remember, who you are is more important than what you look like.