Friday, August 3, 2012

just another note that i've moved to my new location:


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I've moved to:

Hey everyone!

I've moved to Wordpress (FINALLY) and I'm now at:

If you've subscribed via email or RSS (Google Reader) no worries, because you should still get my posts. (Although it wouldn't hurt to check up in a week to make sure that you have indeed been seeing my posts come in!)

Please take a little peek around. I've changed a few things, organized all my content, and have a new section of FREE THINGS. I'll be giving out desktop backgrounds, iphone backgrounds, art, photography, blog design stuff. Cause I really love giving pretty things away. <3
I'll be sad to see you go, Google Followers, but I heard you're getting phased out anyways soon. Sad, sad. 


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

5 Top Reasons I Love Men.

I wanted to title this post, "5 Top Reasons I Need My Husband" - but I couldn't bring myself to do it. These are the 3 highly sensitive camps I would have offended in but seven words:

1. The "rah rah women" crowd
2. The "yeah we get it, you're married now please stop talking about it" crowd
3. The "I thought you said we were complete without a man" crowd

I would just like to admit right here that I am both highly sensitive and also actively participate in all three crowds.

I do realize that I've been writing about marriage lately in the same way that babies hijack a woman's life and cause all her friends to only speak with her when they're prepared to handle a conversation about "the poops! They were so small and dry." (This is an actual line from Sunday's conversation, and those words actually came out of the husband's mouth. In reference, I might add, to SOMEONE ELSE'S baby. Not even his.)

This all kind of really sucks for me because I'm now stuck between rock and a hard place. I can either talk about how awesome marriage is, and make single people feel bad. OR, I can talk about how terrible marriage is, and make single people feel better. All I can really do is say,"rest assured, marriage is both awesome and terrible. Just like your single life."

I also wasn't prepared to be in this place, because my marriage was highly unexpected. (Yes. So very unexpected. I had fully embraced the barely-married-by-30 plan.)

Anyway, a lot of people seem to get very confused whenever I post pro-men things, because it seems to imply that I'm being anti-women. Like I'm betraying my own kind by cheering for the enemy. But holy crap! How did men get to be the enemy!

I know when. When he left your mother. When he left you. When Hollywood started building every single movie, show and poster off of "women are so capable and men just can't even pour their own milk into a bowl of cereal so har har har let's all laugh at him trying to feed himself without a woman to hold the spoon!"

This makes me super sad. And really angry. And kinda depressed. So, I'm going to write 5 Top Reasons I Love/Need Men/My Husband. Because I think men are awesome, and the better they are, the better we are, and the faster we can get onto having a great life together and stop beating the shit out of one another with the "who's the asshole/who's the crazy bitch!" game.

1. My husband keeps me grounded. No, he's not emotionally dead inside. In fact, he's the one who reminds me to process my own emotions. He's also a witness to my daily life, and gives me a second objective perspective to what's really going on. And he reminds me that hisemotions are just as important as mine - because we're two very real, very human beings. Sharing life. Give them the benefit of the doubt and you'll realize men are pretty great at having a solid grip on reality, and having emotional responses to it.

2. My husband is extremely helpful. It turns out my husband is fully capable of cooking all his own meals. I remember growing up as a child thinking that men sincerely were missing a special combination of cells that enabled them put together edible food. Max makes awesome breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. He's just as equipped as I am in the kitchen, if not more. And he does the dishes. And cleans the house. And the car. And is really great at it.

3. My husband is not clothing-challenged. On top of having a fantastic sense of style, he helps ME shop. He appreciates an awesome article of clothing that I get excited about (and no I'm not just talking about lingerie, silly, I'm talking about boots and jackets and things) and it's SO GREAT. I don't have to get him dressed, I don't have to help him match his pants to his shoes, and he isn't "sloppy just cause he's a man." It bums me out that we beat the "girls go shopping while the men watch football!" stereotype to death and back. Sure, girl time and man time is priceless and needed - but men like to shop too, and we like to hang out with you on Sunday afternoons. I guess what I'm really trying to say here is that my husband is a genuine friend of mine.

4. My husband understands. I'm so tired of seeing a group of women laughing about something and a retarded-looking male in the background. Sure, my husband might not supernaturally "get" every single thought that skips through my brain, but good lord, I don't telepathically "get" every thought he has either. I'm so used to explaining myself and signing off with, "but I get that you don't understand," and having him remind me that he does understand. Men have real feelings and have been through legitimate life experiences. Men have a past. And when any human being loves you a lot and spends the majority of their life with you, they really do begin to understand you - regardless of their gender.

5. My husband prioritizes my life. This is a weird thing to say, but I'm going with it. I've learned in 6 short months that men aren't the ones that have to be dragged around by women who have prioritized their relationships above everything else, and are desperately trying to "get the men on board." Men aren't "just" concerned with their hobbies. Men seriously love us. It's my husband that initiated marriage counseling, my husband who helped me set healthy boundaries with people in my life, and my husband who reminds me what my potential is and then helps me achieve it.

There we have it. Take my husband out of this blog post, and I just want to say that men are fully capable of being grounded, emotionally present, helpful, fun, understanding, caring, responsible and are good at being in relationships. And really, they're needed.

(I also will be publishing a Part Two for this. Because I have at least 5 more reasons.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Conversation With Kate On Modesty & Lust

I've been writing and tweeting and Tumblr'ing a bit about modesty and how we dress as women, and I'm taking some pretty awesome heat for it! I've been really disheartened about it but today I realized that this is a really huge, on-going conversation that must always be present, and not simply a "let's find what is Right with a capital R." I had an amazing chat with a girl I will call Kate, and she is letting me publish it on my blog!

So, for all of you who have been confused by or disagreed with my tweets or posts about modesty, maybe give this a skim through and see if it clarifies a little bit for you. Much love to all, and please, let me just say again that I am trying to figure this out as best as I can, just like we all are. Thank you for the graciousness that you have shown me. <3

Kate: I know we have somewhat different views on modesty and I'm really just trying to understand where you based some of your views from. I do agree that a woman can not be responsible for a man's sin, however, aren't we not supposed to be stumbling blocks?

Me: Okay, so what's super important to remember is that there are NO "rules" in all of this, regarding modesty & how we dress. So, what you wear can never "be a sin." That's nowhere in the Bible. There is no Biblical outline for types of clothing or square inches of skin that is right or wrong. That being said, how we dress is all subjective & our own responsibility, as it reflects our heart and our motives. It's really this whole "what are the rules" that people get hung up on. If you tell someone there are no rules, then we get really uncomfortable and realize that we aren't really "being righteous" or "sinning" by what we wear, and we can't judge anyone else for it either. And it's a natural human response. Trying to play a game without rules is really unnerving at first. Rules are way safer than just walking in freedom and love. Make sense so far?

Kate: Yes, I completely understand that.

Me: K. So if I say, "Dude its not a sin to eat cheesecake!" I'm not telling you to eat cheesecake for all 3 meals every day of the week. I'm just saying cheesecake isn't inherently sinful. But if you've been told your WHOLE life to never eat cheesecake because "its a sin!!" then you'll really freak out. And then you might think that my saying "cheesecake isn't a sin" means = eat cheesecake all the time for all occasions! It's a human nature fear-response to suddenly being told there is no black and white. We become personally responsible, and we lose our ability to judge others. So yeah, that can be scary.

Honestly, this is just straight up common sense. And common sense is what Paul was talking about in the Bible when he talks about not causing others to stumble. But unfortunately, we try to make everything in the Bible some sort of rule or command - which is WHY Jesus came - to say, "Hey. I'm fulfilling all the laws and commands by simply paying for all of your sins and giving you a new command: to love one another." So, a Christian man (Paul) encouraging his friends to not be a stumbling block to one another, has turned into = "if you are involved somehow in someone's sin then you are also responsible and this is a sin therefore NEVER DO ANYTHING that might POSSIBLY resemble sin because it's selfish!" And that's a consequence of choosing religion over Jesus. We turn principles and love into rules and commands. And we start trying to figure out if we're guilty by association, too.

For example, lots of people use the alcoholic/beer analogy to talk about not being a stumbling block. If you're going to a friend's house who really struggles with drinking, you're not gonna show up with a six pack. Now, even if you do, and that friend gets drunk, it's not your fault 'technically' because everyone is 'technically' responsible for all their actions. But still, out of love, and since you know this person, it'd just be dumb to spend the night drinking in front of him. But we take that analogy and spin it to "we should never take a drink anywhere because someone might see us and stumble." Which is just flat out ridiculous. So, as a result we have all these Christians having a beer with dinner behind closed doors terrified that someone else in their church will find out they drink and then "Stumble" as a result, or that they'll get called out for doing something somewhere that could possible cause someone to stumble.

The exact same goes for how we treat modesty in the church. And this is a wildly dangerous metaphor - because a woman's body is nothing like a beer. So, we start saying that the human body in and of itself leads to sexual sin, instead of correlating LUST with sexual sin. And we start saying things like "don't wear a v-neck because it will make your brother stumble!" when in reality what we shouldn't be doing is handing him a subscription of Playboy. And I don't see girls in church doing that, so we're pretty okay I think.

Kate: Yeah, I totally get that. I get that ultimately you're responsible for yourself. But at the same time, using that same analogy, men as a whole struggle with physical things such as lust... so wouldn't it not be in their best interest for the Christian sisters to wear things that would cause them to stumble?

Me: Okay so, as a generic statement, yeah I would agree with that. The problem is, what are you ACTUALLY saying when we say that? Let me say this: If I'm hanging out with guys from church at a church event, I'm probably not gonna wear the most revealing top in my closet, because that would just make me uncomfortable. It personally really annoys me when guys look at my boobs instead of my face. And for sure, if your neckline is revealing 75% of your breasts, a guy will look and see it and be drawn towards that. It's interesting to note that this is just "usually true" not universally true. Really revealing tops make me stare at women sometimes, primarily because I was raised in an environment where I never saw a woman wearing anything but turtlenecks. I understand completely the "not being able to look away" phenomenon that happens sometimes. So yeah, there is an element of novelty that causes staring. But it's really important to clarify that staring/a distraction is not equal to sin or lust. It's when we start mentally and emotionally interacting with something that isn't ours for the having, does it become a heart-problem. So, when I make the decision to not wear a deep v-neck to get coffee with a guy friend, it's because I'd just flat out rather not have my boobs be a distraction to the human being that I'm trying to hold a conversation with.

Kate: Haha, having 34A's, that's never really been a problem for me...but continue.

Me: I absolutely encourage everyone to just flat out have common sense when they choose what they're wearing. The problem is that we have a generation of people who WILDLY disagree on what "causes men to stumble." And then when we disagree, we judge women - and judge them hard - for having a different understanding of what causes men to stumble. And this, exactly, is the whole entire problem with "rules." I mean, my mom thinks me wearing skinny jeans causes men to stumble, for example. In highschool I was 5'7" 110lbs and my mom made me wear size 10 jeans to hide my butt and legs because they are "distracting to men." So obviously, you and I look at that and say, "Well your mom is just crazy, I can wear skinny jeans" - but for her, she GENUINELY believes I am sinning by thinking of myself before being considerate in front of other men (and women) and shamed me privately and publicly for, I felt, just existing. And THAT mindset/behavior is what I am trying to debunk. (It's important to note that because of my mom's intolerance of my body, I was convinced for years that all men saw in me was sex, so I didn't know how to treat them as genuine people with real personalities. This is why we as women need to be REALLY careful what we're teaching and how we're teaching modesty.)

Kate: I do believe a lot of it amounts to common sense and a lot of it is personal preference. My sister is Muslim, wears hijab by choice, but she's a huge advocate of men "lowering their gaze" which is a very common thing in Arab/Muslim culture which I haven't really found anything similar to in America or Christianity. But its based on the idea that men are ultimately responsible for themselves so even if a girl is walking around the mall in just her bikini, it's ultimately the guy's fault if he sins because he can "lower his gaze". So anyway, when I read some of the things you were saying regarding modesty I felt you were somewhat attacking people like my sister who do practice what some people would consider extreme forms of modesty. I totally get that's not the case now... but when I was reading some of the things you were saying, it felt that way.

Me: fascinating.

Kate: Then, about two weeks ago I reread everything and started to rethink my thoughts on "modesty" and sex and just everything in general. I've always been ostracized in my church for the most part because I have tattoos and piercings. It's not considered "modest". So it really got me thinking on how judgmental I am towards what girls wear.

Me: Well, I'm really sorry you felt that I was attacking that idea. :( I didn't mean to imply that at all. Personally, I really respect women who dress modestly because they themselves choose to. (There's a difference between a true personal conscious choice and a religiously instigated guilt-decision.) Look, if you value your body and really want to save your beautiful assets for one man, then PLEASE go and do so in peace. I can really admire that. Just know that because another woman is "flaunting what she's got" or showing more skin than what you are personally comfortable with, does not mean she's a slut or a terrible Christian or a participant in sexual sin. Half the world thinks I'm too modest and the other half thinks I'm scandalous. Modesty is entirely subjective, and this is what we keep forgetting.

And yep I've been realizing I'm super judgemental too. :\ I'm working on it. Ok, so here is an interesting question for you. Have you ever looked at a girl wearing something revealing (to any extent) and thought "dude she is suuuper sexy." And then moved along with your day?

Kate: No, unfortunately, I've been trained to look at her and think "what a whore" and feel really sad for her the rest of the day.

Me: Ah. Well there we have it. That's what I used to think too. :( And when it's that black and white, we can all agree that's 100% judgement and not love, which is the OPPOSITE of what we're asked to do by Jesus. And it's also seeing her outward appearance, and not for who she is.

Okay so now, lets hypothetically say you're at the stage where I'm at, where I see women sometimes and think "man shes really sexy" or "wow she's beautiful" or "wow, she has a great body" and then move along. Thought ends.

Kate: I think the word "sexy" is what I'm struggling with.

Me: So, there is nothing inherently wrong or sinful with me observing how attractive I think another human being is. Women do it. Men do it. We both do it towards same sex and opposite sex, despite all sexual orientation. It's strictly natural observation, without having ACTUAL sexual thoughts (IE. lust). I'm surprised to find how rare this is among people raised religiously, although it makes sense because we've been raised w/such fear of the human body and of sex.

Kate: I think that's where it gets murky for me. I never thought it was possible to see things like that and not think lustful thoughts.

Me: RIGHT. Traditional Christianity has tied together the human body with lust, and ALL attractive people with sexual sin. I can look at a woman and acknowledge that shes really attractive or hot or sexy or WHATEVER word you want to call it, and move right along, and be totally fine. If anything, that's a positive thing for me to be able to do. But LUST is thinking about her body for the next 5 or 30 mins (or the rest of the day) and fantasizing about her, and thinking about fucking her, etc etc. THAT. is what the problem is.

So, once people understand WHAT lust actually is, it becomes much more understandable that the way a woman dresses is pretty much unrelated to how a man thinks of her, and how a man chooses to allow his thoughts to continue or end immediately.

Kate: I think that's what I really didn't understand. What I have ingrained in my head is that lust is that 1-2 second thought when you see a woman. It doesn't even have to be a full second. But seeing her and thinking she's sexy, you've already committed a sin.

Me: yeah :\ A lot of people think the exact same thing. And yeah, that is totally not true.

Kate: That's why I really struggle with the word sexy. Not so much anymore but in the beginning, I used to cringe at how freely you used it, ha.

Me: I mean just sit on that thought for awhile and think about how ridiculous it really is.

Kate: Oh I totally get it's ridiculous. Trust me, ha. I just don't have anyone that I can openly say it's ridiculous to. In my church women would say things like, "you're really pretty" and my natural thought would be to smile and say "thank you" but then I realized it wasn't a good thing, they weren't meaning it in a good way. I even had one of our leaders tell me that I'm going to struggle with my beauty because men aren't going to be able to "handle it". That pretty much devastated me and that was the last time I went to church. And I spent months after that thinking there was something wrong with me. I never wore makeup until a few week ago because I thought that would just make things worse/harder for men.

Me: oh myyyyyy goddddddd

Kate: I don't know how to de-program my brain basically.

Me: Yeah :\ Well, it takes time. Don't be afraid of trying. You don't have to be scared of anything. Give yourself time and the freedom to sit down and write down on a piece of paper what you believe, or what you used to. And write out why, and what you believe, and what you want to believe. Look, here's the deal. God made you. And he made you a woman. So he inherently made you beautiful. God doesn't make things a certain way without a purpose. So you know that you are beautiful for a very specific reason, and that it's a GOOD, good thing. Never feel like you have to hide your beauty because it's a "bad" thing.

And whenever you're unsure of what you believe, or what's right and wrong, just remove yourself from trying to figure it out and try to focus on getting to learn more of who God is. Because who God IS, helps us understand what he MEANS.

Kate: Ah, yes. Thank you.

Me: joy, love, worth, value, encouragement, freedom, life. Those things are from God, and of God. Shame, guilt, hiding, dark, secrets, fear. Those are not.

Monday, March 5, 2012

10 Things I've Learned About Sex In 6 Months Of Marriage

I decided this morning that I needed to blog about being married, since I still haven't talked about it much. And since getting married six months ago, I'm hearing a LOT from you sweet married women who are having a crisis in your sex life.

It's really bumming me out that the majority of us have no Christian married women to go to when they need to ask "am I alone in this? Am I crazy? How do I deal with ______ in the bedroom?" We need to stop waiting for the church to "take care of sex" for us, and we need to start talking about it amongst ourselves. WE are the church. If you are married, initiate an open conversation about sex with a married friend this week.

It's also really bumming me out that it seems hardly any couples having serious issues in the bedroom are getting marriage counseling. My husband and I started marriage counseling on a weekly basis 4 months into our marriage - and literally every aspect of our life (including our sex life) has improved 23481230 times in only 7 or 8 sessions. Marriage counseling is not for people who are abnormally screwed up, or as a last resort attempt to stop a divorce. Counseling is like taking your vitamins, or working out. Do it before you get sick. Please.

I understand that most of us "just marrieds" are broke, or pretty close to it. We still don't have a sofa, and we don't pay for cable (or have a tv), and we don't go see movies - but I'm indescribably grateful for a husband who views our relationship as more valuable than a sofa and a coffee table.

If you can't afford counseling, seek it out anyway. It isn't unreasonable to find a great marital therapist, and go to your church saying: "We really need marriage counseling because of _______ and we can only afford __% of it for the next month. Can you help us?" This is what church and community is for. And even if your church can't help, ask God - and act on faith. God loves when we prioritize our marriages. (Sidenote: By "getting counseling" you don't need to commit to attend every single week for the rest of your life. Go for a month, and then re-assess.)

Moving forward. These are ten things I've learned about sex in 6 months of being married:

1 - It isn't what you're doing or not doing - it's about how you and your spouse feel.

2 - Sex drives aren't identical. Up to 40% of the time, women have higher sex drives. If you want sex more than your husband, there's nothing wrong with you - and if your husband wants sex more often than you do, there's still nothing wrong with you. Be slow to jump to the conclusion that there's "something wrong" when sex drives don't match up. There's nothing wrong with us when we don't get hungry at the same time or don't naturally wake up or fall asleep at the same time, so why should sex be viewed any differently?

3 - Expectations are a bitch. I'm pretty sure it was Christine Hassler who coined the phrase "Expectation Hangover," but it's a real thing, y'all. Some of us expect sex to be perfect, to be terrible, to want sex all the time, to want it less than we do, etc. Let go of your expectations. Every human being is different, so every marriage is different. Pressure kills creativity, love, and fun - and you cannot have great sex without creativity, love, or fun. I've been noticing that our expectations not aligning with reality that are causing more pain and heartbreak in our marriages than our "problems" actually are.

4 - The first year isn't perfect. Unfortunately, I was told from a very early age that the first year of marriage is pure bliss. This is hilarious, but also responsible for a lot of my crying. Have you ever had a "perfect" year of life? I didn't think so. But hey, our imperfect years are the years we grow the most - and growing together with someone doesn't kill love - it strengthens it.

5 - Love is better than sex. I will admit that I've had sex on a pedestal my whole life. Maybe it comes from a conservative upbringing where sex is taboo, maybe from living in society that literally worships sex, or maybe both - I don't know. I also had sex before marriage, and sex seemed like the best part of my relationships, so it made sense to me to chase it with everything I had. But after 6 months with my husband, I've realized that our relationship - the affection, the best-friend-forever, the support, the encouragement, the always-comfortable-around-you - is infinitely more valuable to me than sex is. I never experienced this kind of love from any of my boyfriends, so sex > relationship. But now, the love I receive and give with Max far surpasses even the most awesome sex we have - which ironically makes sex even better. Hah.

6 - The way it is now isn't the way it's always going to be. Sex seems to hold more weight than most other things in our lives. If something goes wrong in the bedroom, it's so easy to feel like the world is ending - and that it will be like this forever. In this moment, ask yourself what you know of God. God is faithful to change, faithful to give hope, faithful to heal, and faithful to move us forward. Take a deep breath and choose to believe that whatever issue you're having with sex, God is totally capable of fixing it - and that it WILL change. Don't let yourself get sucked into panic and despair.

7 - Marriage counseling is more important than eating vegetables. I could write a book on why marriage counseling is so necessary, but please just take this one bulletpoint and run with it.

8 - Your daily life affects your sex life. Often we have "regular life" and then "sex!" They affect each other, and sometimes we forget. The other day I got a super achy, lonely feeling in my chest and my default thought was, "maybe it's because we haven't had sex in the last 48 hours." And then I started freaking out about sex. (Just being totally honest, you guys.) I checked myself, and realized I was just straight up feeling lonely as a result of not having any alone time to spend with Jesus. Sure, sometimes sex is what's on your mind and you want it and want it now - but if there are sad/negative feelings involved, you might just identify that sex has been a coping mechanism. Pay attention to how you feel.

9 - Don't compare your sex life to anyone else's. Everyone has a different sex life, depending on the two people within a relationship - and depending on what's going on their life. Don't ever judge another couple or the health of your own marriage because someone is having more or less sex. And don't freak out because you're having more or less sex than someone else. Use YOUR feelings to judge the health of your relationship, not someone else's.

10 - The bedroom is the last place in the world you should be trying to "impress" your spouse. I've been hearing that some of you men want to prove how awesome you are by getting her off multiple times, and from you women that you feel like you need to be dressing like a porn star to get your husband's attention or fulfilling all his fantasies. No. :( Sex is for giving, not for proving. For enjoying, not for working. For accepting, not for being insecure. TELL your spouse that they are enough, that they are sexy, that they are hot, that you love them no matter what. Man or woman, we all need to hear it.

11 - Never keep things to yourself. If you're upset, hurt, scared, afraid, or worried about something regarding sex - don't keep it from your spouse. I have been all of these things (and so has my husband) and simply getting the courage to tell one another what we are thinking and feeling has "fixed" a lot of our fears. Feeling ashamed, guilty or hurt and not communicating it to your spouse is never the way to go. Let your significant other love you.

Whoops, that's eleven.

The end!

And hey husband? I love you so much it's stupid. I love that we act like 5th graders sometimes, and I love that you take care of me too. I love that you always tell me I'm beautiful. That you've known from day one that you cared more about who I am, and who we could be together, than about having sex with me. I love that you've handled our budget, and that you've prioritized our relationship over everything else. I love that you care about how I feel, always. That you've never made me feel bad for my awesome emotional rollercoaster rides. I love that you recognize when we're low on quality time, and that you take me on adventures to fix it. Oh, and that you're super hot.

You are my favorite, still.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Modesty, Lust, And Emotional Rape.

The slow thud of pounding bass through my bedroom walls shook me half-awake. I kept my face in my pillow and wondered why it was necessary for music this loud to be played in our family's home at 7am on Saturday mornings. I pulled my comforter back over my head, and drifted off to sleep for all of two minutes before the fire alarm went off.

Breakfast was ready. And that fire alarm dug it's nails into my soul.

15 years old. I stumbled into the kitchen, rubbing my eyes and brushing hair out of my face.

"Back upstairs, Lauren." My mom stood at the stove, waving her spatula at me.


"UPSTAIRS. You know you can't wear that around your brothers."

I shook myself fully awake and glanced down to figure out what she was talking about. Sweatpants and a cami. I guess you could tell my breasts were developing. A little late, I might add.

"Mom, I just woke up."

"You can't wear things like that around your dad and your brothers. It isn't appropriate. You're distracting them. Shame on you."

A sickness crept up in my stomach and I felt it in my skin. I pushed memories out of my mind.

Memories like the week after I turned 13, and I shyly put my balled up, polka dotted underwear in my mother's hand because I was too embarrassed to speak the words, "I started my period." She wanted to show Dad, and I was paralyzed. I stood in an aching stillness, cold feet on the kitchen tile floor, while my little girl mind shifted and groaned and made way for a developing normal that felt like being forced to stand naked in front of a man. Memories like my dad reading my diary against my will. Memories like finding naked women on the computer. Memories like hiding. Pretending. Keeping quiet. Shaking. Hush all these things.

Three years later and the boy I loved broke up with me. I thought it was for a girl that would do more with him.

Six months after that, I kissed a boy. I told him he was my second kiss, thinking that it would be something special to him - and I never saw him again. I found out a week later he'd kissed me on dare from his friends. They had seen my picture, I was super hot, and they didn't think he could "get me."

Harassed on the street by a man who wanted me to model nude for him. "I had to." I was too beautiful, I owed it to him.

Being banned from an organization because I wore a shirt too clingy and was making the boys stumble.

A man I viewed as a father figure coming on to me, shattering one of the only safe places I had left.

A co-worker trying to tape me when I didn't know it.

A first date who got violent when I refused to sleep with him after he bought me dinner.

A lifetime of awkward visits to the pool in one piece swimsuits and shorts so that I wouldn't be responsible for causing men to sin when they looked at me.

A close friend's father asking me, begging me, pressuring me, cornering me to watch a movie with him in bed.

Debilitating self-consciousness for years because I was constantly made fun of for how "homeschooler" I dressed.

Men who have put their hands in places I wasn't strong enough to protect.

Four times my life has ended, and I've created a new one out of nothing on the opposite side of the country. And in every life, they find me. These men who take and do not give. These women who shame me into believing it is my fault. The church's endless list of standards that declares my body is at the core of what is wrong with society. These people who wrap their own sins in guilt and shame and lunge them at my heart, commanding me to carry their weight for them. Hiding. Pretending. Keeping quiet. Hush these things.

All my stories? The ones I brace my spirit to share, and the ones I don't have enough courage yet to tell? My stories are no different than the average woman. Every woman I know has experienced these things. Every girl I've spoken to is wearing thin from the men in her life who have taken and not given. And all these women march forward in brokenness with a church who blames our injured hearts on our own precious bodies. To inflict pain and then blame the injured for the violence does permanent damage to a heart.

For 24 years my suffocating modesty doctrine has kept me from wearing outfits that I love, has dictated the way I dress, and has now brought me to the morning where I stand in front of my closet as a married woman, realizing that I have nothing sexy to wear for night out with my husband.

24 years of hiding so that I won't be blamed for men fantasizing about me has brought me to my husband wrapping his arms around me, telling me how beautiful and sexy he thinks I am, and that he hates seeing me hide in my clothes because I'm too afraid to wear what makes me feel beautiful.


For the last month, I've been suffering a daily barrage of comments and emails criticizing the way I dress. Questioning my character and my salvation. Challenging that I can't have the influence on women that I want to have when I'm wearing an oversized v-neck shirt on a date with my new husband. Rebuking me for causing men to stumble. Telling me that all the good I am doing is being canceled out by the fact that I have a great pair of legs. That I'm selling myself short by being attractive.

Last night, I received this comment on my blog: "Maybe when you talk about pornography, you could refrain from wearing such low-cut shirts."

The sickness crept back again. I crumbled. And I sat on my bedroom floor in the dark and cried. The ache was back.

The emptiness in my chest. The pain of having it all taken. The shame of being blamed. The desperate desire for someone to stand up and shout, "IT'S NOT HER FAULT."

And He did. You know, He whispered, "It's not your fault." He whispered, "I made you for this. I made you for Me. I made you for him." He told me I was beautiful. He told me I have nothing to hide. He told me He knows. That He will never take from me. That he knows every man that tried to take. He told me that it was never my fault.

And then my husband came and wrapped his arms around me and whispered all. the. same. things. in my ear.

My Jesus has proclaimed that he has given me life so that I can have life to the full.

My God says He looks at my heart and that He loves me sacrificially, and Paul begs of us to be perfect in this way that our Father is PERFECT. (Matthew 5:48, I Samuel 16:7, John 15:13, & Matthew 23:13-28)

Have you missed this? Have you missed what the God of the Universe has deemed as PERFECT?

Perfect is sacrificial love, not shifting blame for a selfishness that ravages through the souls of men, urging them to take take take.

Perfect is knowing we are all sons and daughters, made in the image of God, redeemed and restored and spotless before Him.

Perfect is looking at one another's hearts, and knowing that the outward appearance shows NOTHING of their character, their value, their salvation.

Perfect is living in the freedom that Christ died for. Not under a higher, more impossible list of standards that is so impossibly human it could not have come from our Lover. (Isaiah 28:10)

Dear men: If you believe my neckline is causing to stumble, you have bought into the lie that women are the problem, NOT YOUR LUST.

Dear women: If you believe you are responsible for your fellow man's sins, you have bought into the lie that YOU are the problem, NOT SIN.

Dear men and women: Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

When you believe that your struggle is against a man or woman's body instead of against the spirit of death, you have lost and will continue to lose.

I rebuke the spirit of lust, of rape, of prostitution, of religion, of addiction, and of immorality that continues to try to shackle the body my Maker designed and gave to me with it's guilt.

I declare freedom, life, joy, purity, beauty and love over my body and my spirit.

Oh, by the way. If you are still following me by this summer, you will most likely see a photo of me at the beach in a bikini at some point.

And I will not be apologizing for it.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Comments have been disabled for this post out of protection for my heart. <3

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Video Series: "My boyfriend is watching porn?!" #2

Second video in the series is up! You can share this link: or you can view the video below.

The first video is here:

Recommended reading for this segment is Chapters 1, 2 & 3 in "Living With Your Husband's Secret Wars" by Marsha Means. You can purchase it online, used, for about $5 including S&H at If you are committed to staying in this relationship with your boyfriend, I ask you to invest in purchasing the book as well as Sex & The Soul Of A Woman by Paula Rinehart, Pure Eyes by Gross & Luff, and Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend.

"My BF Is Watching Porn?!" #2 from Lauren Dubinsky on Vimeo.

In this video, Lauren talks about:
#1 - Validating your hurt, grief, betrayal
#2 - Different types of natural responses - unhealthy vs healthy
#3 - Evaluating your personal emotional health
#4 - Identifying the lies you believe (IE. "this is my fault")
#5 - Co-dependency tendencies & healthy detachment
#6 - Finding community & a confidant
#7 - Coming to terms that you cannot change or save him
#8 - Evaluating the relationship as a whole

You can grab the full outline of the video in PDF here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Video Series: "My boyfriend is watching porn!?" - #1

HI EVERYONE! I'm a little tired of writing so I'm beginning a new 7 (ish) part video series to answer the very big, very important question, "I just found out my boyfriend is addicted to porn! What do I do?!"

I'm intro-ing the series with this little video below. I wanted to do a bit of an explanation, as well as share some stories of girls who just found out their boyfriends are watching porn, and establish the foundation of the next 6 or 7 videos. If this is an issue you are dealing with, please watch this first one just so we're all on the same page and know what our perspective and goal is. I'll be posting them hopefully once or twice a week, so make sure you follow me on Twitter (@laurendubinsky) or Subscribe to my blog via email so you don't miss them.

Oh, and please pardon that I looked exhausted in this video and kind of sound like a 7 year old. I'm trying really hard to grow up, y'all. I even got married and everything, but I'm still clearly not there yet. :P

Intro to "My boyfriend is watching porn!" from Lauren Dubinsky on Vimeo.

Boundaries - Cloud & Townsend
Pure Eyes - Gross & Luff
Living With Your Husbands Secret Wars - Marsha Means

Purchase them for ~$5 at or on Amazon.

Future Videos: (subject to change)

#2 - Emotional Safety & Security
#3 - Becoming Educated About Porn
#4 - Setting Boundaries
#5 - Confronting & Communicating
#6 - Leaving or Staying
#7 - Stories & Resources

LOVE to you all. If you have something important to share, feel free to email me at laurennicolelove[at] If you need to share your current struggle with someone, please reach out to a woman in your church (or any church in your community - sometimes anonymous is very helpful) to ask to meet her in person. I am trying very hard to set healthy boundaries for myself and protect my time with my husband, so I am unable to answer emails on this topic right now. Thank you so much for understanding. <3

- lauren xoxo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

You Can't.

For whatever you are going through today, whatever makes you say, "I can't _____."

Know that you are right. You can't.

You can't stop thinking about your weight. You can't just "know" that you are beautiful. You can't stop sleeping with your boyfriend. You can't stop watching pornography. You can't make enough money to pay your bills. You can't get out of bed and face that person today. You can't make it through this breakup. You can't make it through this divorce. You can't overcome your depression. You can't.

There is no solution, no formula, no magic number or word or "thing" that can move you from "I can't" to "I can and I look how far I've come!!"

And yet we all know someone who did. We do know someone who isn't binging or purging anymore. We do know someone who is abundantly full of life without sex being part of the equation. We do know someone who is sober from pornography for 2 years. We do know someone who paid rent last month when it wasn't possible. We do know someone who made it through a break-up worse than this one and is now in the best place of her life. We do know someone who is divorced and still fulfilled in their single life. We do know someone who has overcome severe depression and extreme grief, and now knows joy and contentment and peace.

So what happened? What happened when "they couldn't _______."

Christ moved.

These are not physical battles against our bodies, our beauty, our eyes, our skin, our genitals, our brain, our blood-pumping hearts. These are battles of the soul, where an enemy is daily waging war against our value, our peace, our worth, our contentment, our comfort, our belonging, our love, and our LIFE.

What you don't need is world-acknowledgement that you are the most beautiful woman on the earth. You need the heart-belief that you are created to be beautiful and have inherent value despite what just-as-broken people may tell you.

What you don't need is to white-knuckle it against sex and pornography. You need the heart-belief that you are not alone and that you are deeply truly loved, and that your Father is proud that you are his child, despite how it feels.

What you don't need is one more person telling you to just be happy because you have a pretty good life and you should be ashamed of your unwarranted depression. You need the heart-belief that your spirit was covered in dirt and pain before Christ himself fought the greatest war of all time to present your spirit before God as pure, complete, and wholly loved, even if you can't get out of bed. And that God will never see you as anything other and pure and valuable. He will wait for you.

What you don't need is one more sermon on how pre-marital sex is sinful. You need the heart-belief that Jesus hasn't left your side a single moment and is willing to do a supernatural work in you the very moment you begin to slip into behavior you feel you cannot control. You need the heart-belief that God never forgot about you, and that there is a man who will love who you are more than he will love sleeping with you.

This is not a physical war, and there is no physical solution. This is a war for your heart, because there is nothing in all of existence that is more valuable to God than the heart of a man or woman. This is a war that we cannot win unless we let Jesus fight it for us.

I was the girl who couldn't stop sleeping with her boyfriend. I was the girl in the ER having a panic attack that she couldn't control. I was the girl who thought the earth would swallow me up because the break-up was too painful. I was the girl who skipped meals and hated to see herself in the mirror every morning. I was the girl who watched pornography because I had no other way to cope. I was the girl who couldn't get out of bed and was numb from the anti-depressants. I was the girl who lost her family and could not see a future for myself because the grief was too heavy.

I was the girl who couldn't.

And I am the girl that learned that Jesus could.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We Are Abominations.

Everyone keeps asking me what my beliefs are on homosexuality. And everyone keeps telling me that it’s an abomination before God. "If you are a Christian you must preach that it is an abomination! People must know the TRUTH! Stop with your washy Jesus-just-loves-everyone-new-age-love-fest Christianity!"

Do you know why this is a knife to my heart? Do you know? Do you feel this knife?

Because very few of you seem to understand that a human being’s sexual orientation is so extraordinarily intertwined with their very existence, that every man and woman hears nothing but, “you are an abomination to God.”

Bear with me for a moment, and imagine that your family and best friends shun you because your desire for the opposite sex warranted the label of “Abomination.” Tow’ebah, in Hebrew.

No one stopped to ask you if you chose Abomination or if Abomination chose you, but what does it matter? You are.

Where is the verse that says Jesus died for every man but the one who loves men?

Where is the verse that says God is a father to every child but the one who will realize his sexual orientation 7 years down the road from now?

And where is the verse that says once we love Jesus enough, our sexual orientation will be miraculously reversed because our sexual orientation bears weight on our eternal spirit?

To ask a person to walk into a church gay and then walk out straight is as outrageous as having someone pray over me and have me suddenly be “turned gay” in order to be a better Christian. Or worse, to prove that I am one.

To ask a person to be prayed over, and then judge the condition of their heart for the lack of miracle that you decided needed to take place in order to confirm their salvation, is to play the role of God. God promised to create in us new hearts, not new bodies.

We will receive our new bodies in paradise, but until then, each of us will live in the brokenness that we were born into, strung painfully between heaven and hell.

Coach a small child to despise the color purple, and have him shun its every appearance. From day one, speak out against it, barricade your church doors from it, pray against it, and refuse to touch any garment in the color purple. And then, introduce him to a man wearing a purple t-shirt. What response could you possibly expect from your child?

He will despise, judge, and run from this man in the purple shirt.

At the very best, he will welcome the man into his home but sit uncomfortably and offensively in the corner, terrified of nothing but a shirt.

I challenge you to stop using the phrase, “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

I challenge you to simply love.

I challenge you to stop adding buts to your salvation. To stop saying outrageous things like, “But if ______ was really saved then ______.” To stop re-interpreting scripture to make someone feel accepted as they are, because THE SCRIPTURES ALREADY SAY THEY ARE ACCEPTED AS THEY ARE.

I challenge you to recognize that as we grasp for heaven with gravity pulling us ever downward, we MUST let our brother and sister stand on our shoulders in all of their brokenness, and we MUST stop looking at the outward appearance, as God looks at the heart.

I will tell you what is an abomination to God.

I will tell you what is tow’ebah.

People that cause conflict. (Proverbs 6:19)
Believing that we are better. (Proverbs 6:17)
Dishonesty. (Proverbs 11:1)
Lying lips. (Proverbs 12:22)
Meaningless church attendance. (Isaiah 1:13)
Worshipping things instead of God. (Isaiah 44:19)
Oppressing the foreigner, forgetting the fatherless and the orphans. (Jeremiah 7)

God has made it clear in hundreds of verses what he considers tow’ebah: We are tow’ebah without Jesus. And with Jesus? We are stainless, spotless white.

No conditions. Pure, permanently, forever accepted.

Bring me the verse that claims one man's actions are an abomination, and I will bring you the Creator of your Life whose very skin was shredded for all of your tow'ebah.

Our un-grace, our conditional love, our chronic handicap of evaluating and hating someone else’s sin while we can barely see through the plank in our own? We choose tow’ebah every day, over choosing our forgiveness.

Oh, dear church, I beg of you to love as your Father saw fit to love you. To die for you despite knowing that you would continue to sin, continue to play your own little god, continue to fall in the dirt - as we all do, children of God with bodies of dust.

Oh, dear church, I beg of you to know that we were all tow’ebah, before Jesus became tow’ebah in our place.