The First Look//Radiant

{Bright, glowing, reflecting something or someone greater than themselves}

This is the definition I have given the word “radiant”.

Close your eyes. Imagine radiant. Maybe if you are between the ages of 17 & 25 you see a bride. You know that glow they talk about? (Thanks to TLC’s Bride Day Friday, I know. I also am ruined by all of the 10,000 dollar dresses they buy.)

She seems to always radiate–this girl I am thinking of. It’s not the color of her skin, though it is beautiful. It’s not her hair, though it is flawless (she is the poster child for “I woke up like this”). It’s not even because she has her life together, because it seems as if she does. It is that “God is my master, and I am so blessed to be His servant” glow she radiates.  It is literally a glow. Literally–yes I still use that word. It’s a legit joy she has so deep inside her, and it always seems to find a way to bubble out. (If you have legit joy, I dare you to try holding it back.)

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Psalm 34:4-5

When I look to Him, I should be radiant.

First look; the trend where the bride and groom meet each other right before the wedding in order to take care of the pictures. Tradition is that the fist time the groom sees the bride the day of the wedding is as she walks down the aisle.  Whether or not the bride and groom decide to do it the traditional way or this new way, the bride still radiates.

I picture Christ as the anxious groom, and us as the eager, radiant bride. When we look to him, we shouldn’t be able to hold back the glow–the joy–the love–we have for our groom.

We are that bride.

Are we that bride?

Or are we a bridesmaid?

Mom and I have this thing when we go to a wedding, we can always pick out who is the salty bridesmaid. Now, Mel probably doesn’t know what salty means. But, we can always know when there is a bridesmaid who is more upset that the bride is leaving her than she is happy for the bride to get married. The not-so-happy tears, blank face, and sometimes even a scowl give her away.  Are we the person that can find the worst part of a beautiful, exciting, perfect day and dwell on it? Do we seek to find wrong in the groom? Sometimes I am jealous of the radiant girl. I’m jealous of the one who gets to be the bride. The one who seems to walk so near to God. Instead of being excited about her love for Him, I envy her and try to think of why I can’t be her. Her. Everyone wants to be the bride, but so few are willing to get to know the Groom.

I have this fear of looking ridiculous in my wedding gown. Traditionally brides wear white. Traditionally I do not tan. (I have my mothers skin.) My concern is that I will look like a pair of floating eyeballs on my wedding day.  Mom keeps saying, “Oh Addie, when its your wedding day you’ll just be so happy you’ll have the wedding day glow.”  I hope that it’s not a myth.  When it is my wedding day, I want to radiate my love for my groom so much that no one talks about my dress, my hair, or the creative way I incorporated “something blue”,  but they can’t help but gossip about the love beaming out from me.

This is how it should be with our God. His love for me is deeper and wider than any love my future spouse could ever show, and I should be RADIANT because of its great effect on my heart.  My future husband’s love can not and will not compete with my Heavenly Father’s love.  And so overall, I should radiate because of Him, not him.

Because of my Lord’s love I choose to beam–radiate–the love poured out for me on the cross and continually in the life I’ve been given.

The NLT says in Hebrews 1:3

“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.”


Goal: As the Son radiates God’s glory, I want to choose to put away my own envy of the others’ relationships with the Father and use that energy to emit my own rays of joy and the very character of God. The only way that this is possible is through intentionally seeking God in real and practical ways. What are others’ thoughts at their first look at you? 

A. WOW. He/She radiates the Father.

B. Look at his/her _______. 

 



I’ll post about the practical ways I have chosen to seek the Lord. Comment below the ways you’ve chosen to seek God and become a better bride of Christ.

Lord, Help Me to Retreat

Lord, Help Me to Retreat.

No. Not back down.

Just maybe sit down.

Breath & rest.

Remember & pray.

Think & be joyful.

Sit in solitude and Praise Your Name.

Be thankful and have peace.

Cling to the good & learn from the not-as-good.

Move forward, but not forget.

Press on & Dream on.

Rest & Re-energize.

God, I want to Intentionally seek you in this restful state.

Lord, Help Me to Retreat to You. 

A Healing Concoction // LOVE

I haven’t blogged in months.

I’m scared. Scared to dig deeper than a simple blog about bikinis.

In May a close friend (more like a sister), my brother, and I pulled together our resources (& Christian friends) to help enlightened today’s fellow swimsuit lovers the thoughts guys have when they see a girl in a bathing suit on social media. While the post boomed (to over 5,000 views) (which I didn’t know was possible), it isn’t me.  It was about “them”.  I don’t struggle with posting immodest pictures of myself.  I never have had the bikini to wear in order to post (until recently I bought one to wear to go “tanning” with my girl friends–which if you know what I look like you’re probably laughing. Yes, mom. I did. We can talk later.)

Whipping up a blog about other people’s struggles is easy.  It’s simple.  It calls for no self-reflection.

Blogging about my real struggles, my real worries–now this is going to be hard.

I have recently been self-diagnosed with: “I’m-not-good-enough-itis“.

It is a common disease that I’ve seen many suffer with.

The symptoms are: not feeling good enough (hence the title), self-pity, self-reliance, putting others down mentally or outwardly, confused on your placement, frustration, anger, anxiety, depression, and some mild to severe cases of self-centeredness.

Recently I recognized these same symptoms occurring in my life. Some were more intense than others. Running out of options, I formed a concoction of tears and prayers.  See, I have been working for a church. {Oh, the feeling to work for and with God’s children.} It is one of the most difficult tasks in the world; you cannot help but be emotionally invested into your “job”.  I felt inadequate.  I felt like I hadn’t connected well with the girls.  I felt like I might be in the wrong place.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job. Still do.  In that moment though, I felt like my wandering feet had taken me out on the edge of a mountain.  I couldn’t see the next step to take, so I found just enough room to fall to my knees.  Isn’t it cool how God always leaves enough room for you to fall down and pray?

The next morning I woke up to a picture attached to text message.  It was from a girl in the youth group.

The picture was of a doodle she made out of the quote: “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.” –Steve Smith

The message said, “I tried my hand at the Bible note thing”

Three answers God gave me at 8:00 am :

1. The world (Satan) will try to push and shove you into this mold of “normal”.  Inside this mold, God does not exist. The silly part is, we will even try to squeeze our own selves down to this shape.  God says, “Let me break you apart, and put you back together with My love. This “glue” will make you stronger.  Because now it’s a “we” thing.  Where you go, I go.”

2. God sees my tears, hears my prayers, and takes action to heal my heart.  He can use whoever and whatever He pleases to reveal Himself.

3. God’s the difference maker, not me.

Absorbing and distributing God’s love was the remedy.  

Prayers aren’t always answered in a text message.  I just believe God saw how desperate I was for a sign.  For healing.  He knew how weary I was from searching for an answer everywhere but in Him.

I have decided at times that I can do it without Him. I even believe I can do His own work alone. How foolish. The thing is though, I am not enough. Alone, I am flesh, bone, and dark soul. But, when I put on Christ, I became One with Him.  He breaks me down and uses that “glue” to become a part of me.

We (God & I) are more than enough. Together. My master and my soul.

Oh, what a team!

Lead my wandering feet farther than my mind can think.

What a blessing it would be to be taken home worn down to just my soul!

Guys & Swimsuits // Survey Results

“Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves. It’s about revealing our dignity.

We were made beautiful, in His image and likeness.”

Male Christian high school and college students were asked their opinion of girls posting bikini pictures on social media. Here are their results.

This survey is not about condemning bikinis.This survey is not about judging you and your spirituality.This survey is about recognizing the influence and power you have over guys and their thinking by the decisions you make.This survey is about being wise.


When you see photos of girls on social media (Facebook, instagram, etc.) in a bathing suit (more specifically bikini) what are the thoughts that run through your head? We would like an honest answer whether they are good or bad. Be as specific as you can, so that we can have honest data.  **Some were also asked about seeing swimwear in real life.

Age 21: I find it very distracting when I see pictures of girls in bikinis on social media. I realize that most of you do not post these pictures to get people to look at you in sinful ways, and I know its not all the girl’s fault either. I know it’s our job as guys to try to have self-control and avoid looking at y’all that way, but I find it very difficult not to struggle when I do see it. I understand that y’all probably don’t wanna hear a bunch of people telling you what to do or not to do, but in hoping that maybe if you knew how a lot of these good, Christian men felt about it, you could maybe see things from a new perspective. I hope that all of you can take something from this and think about how you want Christians, and maybe even your future husband, to see you.

Age 20: Assuming I’m friends with them, it’s usually disappointment. Yes these pictures invoke lustful thoughts and that frustrates me, but its mainly disappointment. I wonder why they chose to wear so little. I think it’s for attention, and think it’s sad that they would choose this avenue to gain attention. They must have low self-esteem, to not think their personalities are interesting enough. If not for attention, I wish they would have more consideration for my struggles, and more respect for their own moral purity.

Age not given: The thing for me is that I realize that could be my sister or my daughter one day, and it makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.

Age 21: Initially? I don’t take notice of it right of the bat, but after that one second of seeing it I have to change what I’m looking at or I find myself focusing on the wrong things, which leads to thoughts of lust, which I have a hard time rebuffing

Age 19: I honestly think that a bikini is nakedness in God’s eyes. I, as a man, cannot see a bikini pic and not think bad thoughts. I’ve tried for years, but I cannot. I feel like when Adam and eve clothed themselves with fig leaves, God did not see them as clothed because He clothed them with coats of skins. Guys and girls need to dress as if we are before the Lord. Would we wear immodest or even questionable clothes before Him? That is the mindset we should have.

Age 21: Yeah you might look really good but in my opinion its a major hit on what I think about your personality. So it depends on what part you want to be seen as good. Looks vs. Personality.

Age 19: Most, if not all of the girls on my facebook/instagram are individuals I know or knew well at some point in my life. I carry an equal amount of respect for them and their bodies. It is up to me to control my thoughts. I tend to automatically avoid sexualization right off the bat.

Age 19: Well, honest, it depends on how that female has kept up her body on what I think. Either I think I wanna talk to that girl, or that there should be a size limit on bikinis.

Age 22: I don’t pay much attention to it, unless the bikini is really revealing. Although if it is apparent that you went out of your way to show off your body in a sexual way, I think that speaks to your character

Age 23: Disrespect for self and guys. Lack of thinking ahead. Selfishness. Sadness.

Age 21: Honestly, whenever I see a picture of a girl in a bikini, I am very tempted to lust. I’m not saying that girls choose to do this are causing me to sin; it is my own choice to look at the pictures. But girls, it would be so much more easier and less of a stumbling block to me if you wore more modest apparel. I ask that you show love to me by wearing clothes that reflect purity rather than immodesty, and I in turn will do my best to treat you with the love and respect you deserve.

Age 20: Puts me in a place of temptation. No difference between that and underwear. In fact usually bikinis are even more tempting.

Age not given: At the end of the day, it’s our fault for lusting, but the girls wearing the stuff aren’t helping us any.

Age 18: it makes me think lustful thoughts

Age 22: I think nothing of it. I see girls on vacation wearing a swim suit. To continue with the thought, I think guys make a much bigger deal of it than should be. If A guy struggles around a girl wearing a swim suit he should deal with it, not expect her to for him. Christian men should stay accountable for themselves and stop relying on the concept of “not causing your brother to stumble” man up and deal with their own sin of lust.

Age 21: I haven’t seen many. Okay yeah I have I guess. It’s kinda difficult because sometimes I want to stop and look, maybe see how skimpy of a bikini they’re actually wearing, and think “oh that’s hot” or on the other hand “wow she’s not very moral,” BUT I’ve gotten to where I try to quickly keep on scrolling. Either of my reactions aren’t good for me. You’re asking an alcoholic not to taste not to taste a beer as you walk him into a crowded bar. You’re asking that teenage boy not to cuss as you and your friends sit around and drop whatever word comes to mind. You’re asking your girlfriend to not cross “that line” with you as you slowly slide your hand under her shirt. [Notice in all those situations the tempted party has the option to remove himself from the situation. Idk how that comes in but yeah] I’ve been pondering whether I should unfollow (for my own sake) the persons each time I see one of those type posts. Not because I don’t like them, but rather because it’s not healthy for me–if you want to get down to it. One of the big things that I think only GUYS would think about is this: so many guys deal with porn. Okay, guys don’t “deal with porn”; guys are addicted to it. Guys know girls think porn is wrong, just like they themselves think it is wrong. However, it’s not easy to take that to heart when a girl who thinks porn is wrong is also wearing hardly anything and acting as if nothing is wrong. Wearing little clothing doesn’t “ignite lust”. It fuels the fire of a greater addiction. A bigger fire is already burning and it seems that most girls are okay with piling on the wood. Trust me, most guys try for a while to put the blaze out but you can’t feed a fire and put it out at the same time.

Age 19: I just try to keep scrolling. It makes it really easy to have impure thoughts, so I do not like it—it is an unnecessary temptation that takes me off guard, making it even harder to deal with.

Age 20: You wouldn’t post a picture of you in your underwear. A bikini should be no different. It is very tempting to guys.

Age 23: Usually “oh she looks good” or “mehhh”

Age 21: ..Social media is worse for me, but in person can be just as bad. If a guy doesn’t know you and he sees that kind of thing, he will perceive you as an object. It’s not his fault though. If the only thing associated with you is a picture of yourself half naked, can you blame him?…..Don’t give guys an opportunity to think of you as just an object. Don’t rob your future husband of the prize he desires. He is selfish. He doesn’t want to share you. He doesn’t want other guys to know what you look like under those clothes. Wear bikinis with your girlfriends when no guys are around. Wear bikinis for your husband when you are married. Don’t unlock those sexual desires for him until it’s safe to do so…

Age 22: What they’d look like without the already nonexistent clothes. Unfortunately.

Age 21: Frankly, it doesn’t bother me. In the not-so-distant past, even the modest one-pieces many CoC folks like would be considered the height of revealing dress. There is obviously a limit, and there are certainly situations in which bikinis are extremely inappropriate. To be clear, I think it unwise to put swim photos on FB, especially when most people are friends with many people they don’t know well or trust. However, if I can’t control my heart and mind, why should I be permitted to assign the blame to girls’ mode of dress?

Age 20: I think there is a clear difference in a skimpy bikini and a regular one and a clear difference between flaunting your stuff and just enjoying the beach and wanting to swim and tan. I also understand the argument of causing others to stumble but we have to work on our self-control as guys as well. It’s not fair to you to have to wear shorts and a t-shirt when you are trying to swim and when its 90 degrees outside. I also agree with being modest but in my opinion there is a difference in too much. If that all makes sense.

Age 20: I used to really struggle with this, but I think my class/work load helped this. Lust was a problem and it became difficult to think to push thoughts out.

Age 19: When seeing a suggestive image on Facebook it is difficult to maintain pure thoughts.

Age 20: Modesty/skimpy clothing/bikinis aren’t as much a temptation to me as they are a way a girl reveals her character. Being where I am (public college campus) I’m going to see most of that stuff all the time. But it’s disappointing when I see if from Christian girls because we’re supposed to be different. I have a lot of respect for girls who will go out with girls to the pool and make sure everyone knows they don’t want any pictures posted online. That says a lot about who she is and what she values. Girls may not think about it much but there’s really a lot of respect/disrespect towards their future husband that goes along with that too. Not to say a guy doesn’t have a part in controlling himself. Definitely he has to. But if a girl is modest in how she dresses she honors her parents, husband, and God. That’s about it.

Age 20: Anytime I see a picture like this, I immediately unfollow or unfriend this person. I struggle with lust enough without seeing photos like this. These photos are completely uncalled for and make the girl look insecure with who she is on the inside.

Age 20: Honestly, I don’t think many words. I just take a moment to savor what I find attractive in, and retain the image.

Age 19: Either wow she’s pretty or if she’s at a river or beach then I would like to be there, but usually I just keep scrolling.

Age 21: My immediate thoughts are definitely negative. If a girl is willing to put something like that online for all to see, then I don’t want to know what she’ll do. Bikinis are basically underwear. And I cannot imagine anyone could honestly try to argue that underwear is modest.

Age 19: My thoughts are that they are probably doing it for attention. One thing that runs through my head is I think back to the Bible which says that we should dress appropriately, with them dressing like that, they are being a distraction to everyone in the church; especially guys.

Age not given: ..Men are very visually oriented, and when we see a girl dressed like that, our eyes automatically go to places they should not. It also (in my opinion) brings undue attention to the girl..

Age 20: Determine whether they look good or not.

Age not given: ..they say they want guys to look at them for something other than their bodies, yet their bodies are what they are putting on social media…

Age 19: Usually I try to see who it is, then I scroll down. I really don’t look at it long because I don’t approve. Not the kind of girl that I am looking for.

Age 20: Anytime I see a picture in a bikini, it is a lot easier to look. All it does is tempt me to have impure thoughts. It breaks my heart that girls want to reveal themselves like that.

Age 19: Generally, I think wow she is cute, but dressed like a prostitute. After that I just scroll on.

Age 19: Right off I am usually attracted and might stare for a bit if I do not catch myself. I usually come to my senses in a few seconds and if they have a habit of putting pictures up like that I will unfriend them because I don’t want to make them an object in my mind.

Age 18: I immediately notice how pretty she is but I also think of how inappropriate it is to show one’s self like that on a public basis to be looked at and judged by everyone. I admit that it does make me notice them and I can see where it causes people to lust, but I don’t typically take it as a big deal to look at.

Age 19: I typically think “why?”. It can be a serious temptation for many guys, and in a public setting no one—but especially Christians—should be comfortable wearing that little. So I personally don’t see any good “God-Glorifying” reason why a girl would want to wear one.

Age 18: When they post these, they are clearly trying to show off their bodies in an inappropriate way. It makes me sad to see girls I thought were modest and reserved posting these pictures. I don’t like it at all.

Age 21: I usually lose a lot of respect for the girl who has a bikini on in the picture. It makes me sad because not only does it make me have to look away quickly as a result of the lack of clothing, but it also puts a bad impression on me.  I don’t understand why girls wear bikinis (no matter the age) and show that much of their bodies. It is the same as swimming or walking around in underwear. (I also want to say that I feel guys need to be held to the same standards and shirts should stay on.) Modesty is a huge thing and we don’t need to put it aside. Also, I usually decide then and there not to date the girl who wears a bikini because I feel that shows a lot into her relationship with God/morals

Age 18: When I see photos like this it is very tempting for me to lust. While it is my responsibility to control the passions of my flesh, these pictures are a large discouragement for me.

Age not given: I feel as if I’m looking at a girl who is in their underwear. I feel they have given in to worldly standards and traditions by wearing clothing that not only exposes ALL aspects of a woman’s body, but it EMPHASIZES their sex-related areas, at least from a guys perspective.

Age not given: ..I try my hardest not to look, but sometimes it just happens. I think most girls know that, and that’s why they wear it..

None of Self, All of Thee!

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I didn’t have a single bit of talent left and say, “I used everything you gave me.””  Erma Bombeck


As I type this quote, yet again, I feel the challenge God is calling me to step up to–to have nothing left. To fully serve God in a way that completely empties self is not a self-seeking service, but a God glorifying one. It is a service that I’m beginning to understand, but too often I am going to fail. Here’s to the journey of emptying of myself and solely seeking God.