Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What is femininity?

When I was little, I wanted to be a tomboy. "Girly-girls," in my opinion, were the ones who were fascinated with Barbie and Ken, and wore makeup. I never wanted to be too dainty to build forts and play tag. Besides, pink was my least favorite color. I was destined to be a tomboy, right?
Wrong. I never achieved my dream of becoming a tomboy, partially because I dislike sports, and partially because, in spite of myself at times, I was a girl.
But now I look back and see, my whole point of view about what it meant to be feminine was flawed. If girlhood were defined as I defined it, by fingernail polish, skirts and earrings, then the essence of girlhood would only be skin deep. But there is much more to it. True femininity is based on the possession of virtues appropriate for a godly woman to have.
In the following posts, Kristin and I will be writing on certain aspects of biblical femininity and digging further into this subject, so stay tuned!

posted by Hannah

Saturday, October 15, 2005

And The Greatest of These....

A friend of mine posted on her blog, on the subject of what true love is. She said,

In English class today, my professor asked us to list ten words we associate with our first kiss.

I raised my hand bashfully. "What if you've never been kissed?"

A few people chuckled in the back of the class.

"Uh..." My professor sat with a look of consternation on her face. "Then... list ten words describing what you think your first kiss will be like."

I was stumped. A "romantic" relationship with the opposite sex is something I've always avoided... and ignored.... And yes, I do enjoy a romantic movie now and then. (My personal favourites are when the male party dies a sudden, tragic death and the female party lives the rest of her life in celibate sainthood... wait... have I ever seen a movie with that plot? No. Guess not. However, those are the stories I make up.) But then I step back and have to laugh at the "rose-coloured glasses" the world looks through at "love." According to the world, love is really nothing more than a hormonal imbalance... or indigestion.

I like the way 1 Corinthians 13 describes love...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (verses 4-8a, 13)
The dictionary's definition of "love" is "a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance."
If you notice, that definition is fraught with words which indicate that love is a "feeling" or a "desire." But love does not originate from a feeling. If it did, then it would be reasonable for a mother to disown her child the first moment he displeases her. Yet any loving mother would never think of such a thing. Why? Because true love for another is not rooted on emotions. If it were, it would be frail indeed.

I think that is what Shakespeare was trying to express the essence of true love when he wrote the following sonnet:

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken,
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unkown, although his hieght be taken
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But it bears out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

--William Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI
Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) The love that He speaks of here is not, and cannot, be defined by any dictionary.

posted by Hannah

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Guest Post by Spunky Homeschool

My mom, also known as Spunky, posted this a while back for a "blog party". I thought I would share part of it with you..

Choosing Home

I was raised in the 70's in a suburb just minutes from downtown Detroit. I vaguely remember the '68 riots and vividly remember the day Nixon resigned. Abortion became legal. And in the era of ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and the feminine mystique, women were declaring their independence. Ant that is exactly the way I was raised. To be self sufficient and ready to tackle life head on. My dad used to introduce me to his collegues as "the future president of IBM". That sounded nice but there was one problem. I was not very outgoing. A true wall flower. In high school, I would have been voted the girl most likely to be forgotten had anyone remembered to vote for me. But I got good grades and did what I was told and that was enough to get me accepted to the UM.

When I left home, I told my parents that I was going to college to get a degree. And if by chance I decided to get married, it would be to a Dr. That way, we could live in a large house and I would never see him only his money. And I would be free to pursue my own interests.

God had other ideas.

I gave my life to Christ my first year there. Through excellent discipleship and fellowship God was able to root out many false notions that had been deposited in my youth. Christ also gave me an inner confidence that I had lacked. But I held firm on marriage. It wasn't for me. Many others were there for an "Mrs." degree but I was all business. I majored in computers. This suited my logical and analaytical skills fairly well. And an added bonus, the corporations were hungry for women in this field so I figured finding a job would be easy after graduation.

But then I had to go and meet Steve. So marraige was for me after all. We met in January of 84, my junior year. He was dating someone else and had recently become a Christian. I had no time for a social life. I was working 2 jobs and with my studies I didn't want to think about a serious relationship. God, however, had other plans. By September he was available and by October we were engaged. I couldn't believe it. (And neither could he.) We set a date for May 31, 1986.

This was also the time when I took my first "real" job as a computer sales representative for a company in our area. I quickly excelled in my job. I was earning nearly $4000 a month selling computers. The PC industry was booming and so was my career. Full steam ahead. Maybe I would be president of IBM after all. But then came the choice.

Continue reading Choosing Home.

posted by Kristin

Monday, October 03, 2005

About Us

One day this past February, a reporter for an anonymous website requested to interview the contributors for Beauty from the Heart. We managed to obtain a transcript....

Interviewer:
How did you come up with the idea for Beauty from the Heart?

Kristin: Beauty from the Heart was haphazardly started late one evening in September of 2005. I had just go
ne to bed and the burden to encourage young ladies towards to serve the Lord came upon me. This wasn't the first time, however.

Two years earlier, I had published a girls newsletter with that purpose, but circumstances had caused me to give that up. Yet the burden to encourage girls was still present and I was looking for another avenue to continue that ministry. I spent the night praying, thinking and scribbling out name ideas. The result? Beauty from the Heart.

Hannah: The next day, I received a phone call from Kristin.
She and I had been longtime readers of each other's blogs. Eventually that had morphed into email correspondence. I wouldn't typically support the idea of "meeting" someone on the Internet and befriending them, but we realized through our mutual blogging that we shared a love for our Savior. So, when Kristin had the inspiration to begin a website dedicated to young women, she knew she could count me in.

Interviewer: Now that explains two of you, but how did Lindsey and Stephanie join?

Hannah: After listening and hosting a wonderful speech of Stephanie's, I asked (on behalf of Kristin and Lindsey) if Stephanie would be interested in writing for the blog and she enthusiastically agreed.

Recently, Stephanie left the Beauty from the Heart team. While we are saddened by her departure, we admire her for following God's call to leave and look forward to witness what God does through her.

Lindsey: When Hannah and Kristin first started Beauty from the Heart, I was so thrilled! I bookmarked the blog, and it quickly became one of my daily reads. As I continued to visit, God used it to challenge me in my walk with the Lord.

Hannah: Meanwhile, Kristin and I had been reading Lindsey's blog for a while. We both agreed one day, "This is great stuff!"

Lindsey: Then, one day in February, to my great astonishment, I received an email from Hannah, asking if I would prayerfully consider becoming a contributor to the blog! After praying and discussing it with my parents, I excitedly told Hannah that I would love to.

Looking back, I can hardly believe that it has been nearly an entire year. The relationships that I have developed with Hannah and Kristin are priceless treasures. God has blessed me during this past year more than I could have possibly imagined! I have been amazed to see His sovereign plan enfolding, bringing all of us together. He is so good!

Interviewer: What beliefs/convictions were you hoping to express through Beauty from the Heart?


Kristin: We believe that it is the highest calling of every man and woman to pursue God above all else. A desire for modesty, purity, and the embrace of our feminine roles are the "side-effects" in a young woman's life; they are the result of wanting to honor God with every action.


Interviewer: What are some of BftH's hopes/dreams for this year?


BftH Contributors in Unison: Uhh... (Crickets begin chirping in the background) That's confidential.

Interviewer: What can I say? I'm a nosy reporter....



(Above: Kristin, Lindsey and Hannah)

Want to email us? Our address is contact.bfth[at]gmail.com

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Lindsey's Testimony

I’ve grown up in a Christian household. My parents are devoted followers of Jesus Christ, and I have been raised knowing that Jesus was the Savior. When I was a toddler, I quickly became familiar with all the “right answers," such as “Jesus lives in my heart”, “God loves me”, “the Bible is God’s Word”, and “Jesus died on the cross for me”. I went to church every Sunday, read my Bible, and prayed before every meal and before bed. In this environment, I never doubted that I was a Christian.

When I was five years old, my dad asked me if I would go to heaven when I died. I replied that I would, and then I recited all my reasons. I had a seemingly endless list. My reasons ranged from: “Mommy and Daddy are going to heaven” to “Jesus loves me”. After some prodding, I even went so far as to say, “Jesus died on the cross.” But I did not understand the gospel at all. I knew that Jesus’ death was central to Christianity, and I knew that it played some part in salvation. But I had no understanding of why He died. I did not grasp the words of Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

My understanding of my own sin was shallow. Oh, I knew that when I was mean to my baby sister, it was wrong. In fact, I was so sensitive to my sin that Mom could simply look at me, and I would fall to the ground, weeping in repentance. However, that did not happen very often, and for the most part, I considered myself a well-behaved child. Even back then, my main area of sin was not open defiance or disobedience; it was far more subtle. My main sins were of my heart. By the time I was about five, I was wise enough to know that I would be punished and humiliated if I threw a tantrum- so instead, I gave angry glares and thought spitefully about my parents or sister. As long as I refrained myself from openly doing something bad, I thought that I had suceeded.

After listening to all my reasons why I would be let into heaven, my dad began to explain to me the gospel message: I was a sinner, and the punishment that I deserved was hell. But God, in His mercy, had provided a solution for my problem, and that solution was Jesus Christ. Since the punishment for sin is death, Jesus bore my sins on the cross. He took the punishment that was due me, and made a way for me to have a relationship with God! And Jesus didn’t stay dead- He rose again on the third day, and is now seated at the right hand of God. If I repented from my sins, and put my faith in Jesus Christ’s death and ressurection, I would be saved.

Although five years old sounds very young to be saved, I believe that the Holy Spirit opened the ears of my heart while my Dad was explaining the gospel to me. Suddenly, I understood what I had never understood before, though I’d heard it before so many times. I realized with clarity that I needed a Savior. I was repentant, and I truly desired to become right with God. My dad led me in prayer, and I was led to the Lord that day.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Blogroll

Note: The opinions expressed on the following websites are not necessarily shared by this blog's contributors.

Account, The
Adalia
Advancing His Kingdom
Agent Tim Online
All Signs Point 2 God
As Corner Stones
All for Him
Aletheia Liberty
America Today Watch
Beautiful Grace
Beauty by Design
Between Two Worlds [NEW!]
Biblical Womanhood Blog
Boundless (Webzine)
Boy Scout Blogger, The
Carey's Journal
Christian Hedonist [NEW!]
Contented Contemplations
Counter Culture
Created to be a Help
David Trait, The
Daylily, The
From Us With Love [NEW!]
Five Peas
Flowers in the Window
Funny Class Notes [NEW!]
Generations for Life
Girl Talk
Godly Ladies in Training
Godsecret
Grace
Hannah's Blog
Hasting's Haven
Homeliving Helper
It's Not About Me
In Beauty and in Grace
In Pursuit
Jaclynn's Blog
Just My Journal
Kate's Chosen
Kimi Harris-Nonconformist
Lady Carmen Quixote [NEW!]
Lifesong
Maidens of Worth
Modern Day Maiden of the Lord
Mission Amare
Oneway Purpose
Our High Calling
Paradoxically Correct
Pursuing the Mystery
Pushing Back the Frontiers of Ignorance
Rebelution, The
Renewed Day by Day
Rhetorical Response
Splash of Color in Your Day, A
Saintlike Love
Siblings United
Smarthomeschool
Solo Christo
Solo Femininity
Somerschool
Sound Out
Spunkettes, The
Spunkyhomeschool
Spunky Jr.
Study Quiet
Sword in Love, The
Tapiocapuddin
Teens On Their Knees
Touch of Grace, A
Trinity Prepschool
Using My Voice
Veritas 4 Him
Waiting to Go Home
Where Righteousness and Mercy Kiss
White Hibiscus
Wholesome Works
Young Ladies Christian Fellowship
Zealous Endeavor


Comment Guidelines

The following are the
COMMENT GUIDELINES.
All comments must conform to these rules. If any comments on this blog do not comply with these guidelines, the contributors reserve the right to delete them without notice to the comment's author.
  • "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Phil. 4:8) Echoing Paul's exhortation in Philippians, all comments must contain true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and excellent subject matter. Therefore, all comments containing mean spirited remarks, ad hominem comments, foul language and subject matter deemed questionable by the blog administrators will be promptly deleted.
  • Websites linked to by comments must also contain subject matter that conforms to the Philippians 4:8 standard.

Contributors:

Kristin, Hannah & Lindsey

A blog by three young ladies who have a desire to serve the Lord and encourage other young women around them.

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