I’m Not Ashamed

I’m Not Ashamed

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

– Romans 1:16

Recently I watched a movie called I’m Not Ashamed. This is a faith-based film that tells the story of Rachel Joy Scott, one of the students that was killed in the Columbine High School shooting.

Rachel’s story is an interesting one. She was raised in a religious family, but turned away from this as she grew older. Once she reached high school, she was really struggling emotionally. It was during this time that she turned back to God and the faith she once had. In spite of this, she continued to attend parties where her friends drank alcohol and smoked, and started dating a boy who had no intention of being in a committed relationship.

One day, all of this came to a head, and Rachel realized how lost and broken she felt. She made a commitment to change the way she lived her life and truly follow God. She made this no secret, even basing a school project on her faith. She lost friends and her boyfriend, but she touched the lives of many. Compassion became her main focus. She truly was not worried about the opinions of others, only the opinion of God.

As Rachel’s life was changing in such a positive way, two boys from her school were headed in the exact opposite direction. Exasperated with bullies and the clique-ish atmosphere of their school, they turned to Nazism and Hitler’s ideas. They became indoctrinated with hate. And one day, they decided to take this hate out on their fellow students. They planted a bomb, but it did not go off, so they decided to use guns instead. Rachel and a friend were eating lunch outside the school, and they were the first to be shot. After shooting Rachel one of the boys asked her, “Where is your God now? Do you still believe in God?”

Rachel answered without doubt or hesitation. She knew she would die. And yet her response was, “You know I do.” One of the boys then fired the fatal shot.

This all probably sounds pretty gruesome. (And, of course, it was.) But what happens next is what is truly beautiful. Sometime after the shooting, Columbine students turned Rachel’s car, parked at the school, into a memorial. Students who barely knew her, friends who abandoned her, her former boyfriend, her brother, an autistic boy she befriended, and everyone in between left flowers and notes on and around the car. The notes told of what a difference she made in their lives. What an example she was. How missed she would be. How loved she was by those she showed unconditional love to. How she changed the world.

Rachel was talented in many forms of art. When she was a little girl, she even drew on her furniture. The very last scene of the movie shows her mother moving an old dresser of hers to pick up something that had fallen behind it. There, on the back of the piece of furniture, is a tracing of Rachel’s hand she made as a child. Written inside the hand is the simple but profound statement, “My name is Rachel Joy Scott, and one day these hands will touch many hearts.”

For the entirety of this movie, I was struck by Rachel and the way she chose to live. It caused me to examine my life. Yes, I’m a Christian. Yes, I love God and Jesus. But am I living my life for Them as fully as They want me to? Am I living a life filled with compassion? If I was ever in Rachel’s situation, would my response be more than just “yes?” Would it be “you know I do?”

Maybe. But maybe not.

“I am not ashamed, because You’ve given me life / I am not afraid, because You’ve opened up my eyes”

– “I’m Not Ashamed” by Abigail Duhon

As I said before, I am not living some terrible life. But I don’t know if I’m living Rachel’s life either. I don’t want to be half-way with my beliefs. I don’t want to talk about the gospel only when it feels comfortable. I don’t want to do things like pray and study the scriptures because they’re part of some checklist.

I don’t want to worry about what other people think. I don’t want likes and followers and numbers stop me from being 100% real. I don’t want the wickedness in this world to stop me from changing it.

I want to live like Rachel. I want to live unashamed.

You can’t touch lives and hearts when you are scared and holding back. You can’t change the world from inside of your comfort zone. I think “comfortable” is a bad word in the gospel. Living for Jesus and living like He did isn’t supposed to be comfortable.

We have to be okay with being uncomfortable. With talking to people when we don’t want to. With accepting ridicule from a tainted world. Because living unashamed is living for something greater than this world.

That’s how I want to live. What about you?

“I will sing about Your love / I will shout it to the sky / I will tell of what You’ve done / When the people ask me why I live my life this way I’ll say that I am unashamed of You”

– “Unashamed of You” by Chris August

“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on his behalf.”

– 1 Peter 4:16

 

{ Featured Image by Olivia Snow on Unsplash }

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The Old Mary-Faith Can’t Come to the Phone Right Now

The Old Mary-Faith Can’t Come to the Phone Right Now

It’s been a month. Where have I been for a month?

I had a horrible flare with my chronic migraines. I did my first Botox treatment. My port acted up. I almost passed out. I barely left the house most of the time. I wrote things and abandoned them halfway through. I got bogged down by school work. I got behind in school work. My mom had surgery. I got hit by Tropical Storm Irma.

I hosted a bridal shower. I was a bridesmaid. I started journaling again. I discovered awesome new music. I got excited for fall. I bought some cute dresses. I went to Target whenever I went to the doctor. I read a lot of books. I started doing yoga. I started moving my room to the guest room. I felt the Spirit strongly.

It’s been a month, but I feel like it could’ve been a year. I have often looked at the time when I was around 13 when I was diagnosed with POTS as being some strange divider in my life. It was before and after. But now I am learning that there are points in everyone’s life that act as those dividers, those pivotal moments. Maybe something life-changing happened. Maybe you just had a special, or awful, day. But it happens all the time and then everything is different.

As you maybe (probably) know, Taylor Swift has released some new music recently. The first single from her forthcoming album, “Look What You Made Me Do,” addresses the media’s criticism of her (as well as some problems with Kim and Kanye). Towards the end of the song, she has what seems to be a phone conversation that perfectly sums up the entire point of the song.

“I’m sorry. The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead.”

I’m not saying we die all the time (that would be creepy/impossible). But our old selves do. Seasons and stages and phases of life do. And before we know it, the old us can’t come to the phone right now, or ever again.

So I am back now. But maybe I’m not the old Mary-Faith. No. I don’t think she’ll be able to come to the phone.

Heal Our Land

Heal Our Land

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Oh, Charlottesville. What have you done?

In case you are quite literally living under a rock (because there is no other way you could not know about this), last Saturday there was a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. This rally consisted of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. David Duke was there. Members of the media were attacked. Three people were killed, two of them police officers. It was a grisly affair.

Grisly though it was, my eyes were opened, literally and figuratively. It was as though I was finally seeing something I had refused to see my entire my life. I have certainly never been naïve enough to believe that racism ended with a bill signed and only one drinking fountain. But I didn’t see it like this. I didn’t realize that I don’t know what it’s like to be black, and to have your entire race oppressed, and to know that your ancestors were sold into slavery. I never, ever will. And I am sorry that for years I pretended that I did know or it didn’t matter or it was part of the past. I see now that I was wrong.

Racism is wrong. There is no way to turn that statement around any other way. White supremacy is wrong.  Nazism is wrong. (I would have thought we would have established that by now. We kind of fought a war over it. A lot of people got involved. It was pretty intense.) Any type of hate or prejudice is wrong and it inherently goes against the Savior and His teachings.

“We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

– Senator Orrin Hatch

I truly believe that one of Satan’s biggest and most effective tools is division. Division breeds hate and fear. Without unity, nothing can be accomplished. There can be no progress. There can be no living the way we have been commanded to.

“And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.”

– Mosiah 18:21

There is no excuse for this. Jesus did not set conditions on who we should love. He did not die to redeem only certain people. Aren’t we supposed to follow Him and His example? Because right now it seems like we’re doing a pretty bad job of it.

“I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”

– Doctrine & Covenants 38:27

Why is this so hard? Why is love so hard and hate so easy? Why is our society falling into an endless spiral of labels, antagonism, judgment, and blame? When did America, the greatest country in the world turn to violence as a common way to express opinions? If you ask me, that is the definition of barbarism.

We are living in an evil world. It’s becoming worse every day. And it’s going to keep getting worse until the Savior returns. As everything crumbles around us, we have a choice to make. Do we want to live the way He wants us to? Do we want Him to find us doing His work? Or do we want to go with the current and let emotions lead us to making bad decisions?

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”

– 1 John 4:18

On a personal note, as a white conservative, I would like to apologize. What happened on Saturday was not the work of conservatives, regardless of what participants may claim. I for one will not judge you based on your skin color or your ethnicity or your religion or whatever else makes you you. And I know a whole lot of white conservatives who feel exactly the same way.

“So God we pray to you / Humble ourselves again / Lord, would You hear our cry? / Lord, will You heal our land?”

– “Heal Our Land” by Kari Jobe

The Hope for Health Care

The Hope for Health Care

You may have heard about a little, low key health care bill that Republicans tried to pass in the Senate. And there’s a pretty good chance that if you have, you’ve heard some half-truths or blatant lies.

Right now you might be thinking, “Wow Mary-Faith, I thought you were a conservative! How could you be saying something like this about a Republican bill?”

To answer your shocked question, I consider myself to be a conservative-leaning independent. I am not tied down to any political party, and I do not particularly support one. But more than that, I have chronic illnesses. I am a walking, talking preexisting condition. Health care and insurance are big deals to me.

Politics. Isn’t. Everything. Yes, I of all people said that. Let it sink in. Our Founding Fathers didn’t really want politics (or pretty much anything) to happen this way, but that’s a story for another day.

I have emailed my senators. I received responses I was not satisfied with. To be honest, I’m not quite sure either of them even read what I had to say. My leaders that were elected to represent me did not listen to me. They chose their party. And that choice has weighed heavily on me ever since it came to light for me.

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is messed up. But it is saving lives. It is providing Medicaid to those who desperately need health coverage. It is providing Medicare to the elderly. It is working for those with preexisting conditions. And this new bill will change that drastically, if not take it away completely.

That is not okay with me.

This is not about me. Yes, I am concerned about what could happen to my coverage. I am more concerned about people who have life-threatening diseases, who cannot work because of their illness, who could lose everything – including their lives.

So Republican senators, I am begging you to listen to us. I am begging you to consider your life on this new health care plan instead of on your over-the-top-with-protection government coverage plan. Picture yourself living like your constituents. Picture yourself living the lives of the “little people.” And if that doesn’t affect you, picture what could happen to your party at midterm elections. Think of the political repercussions passing a bad bill could have.

Think of people like me, who pay thousands of dollars in medical bills, even with insurance coverage. We are counting on you. We depend on you.

To Senators Rand Paul, Susan Collins, Mike Lee, and Jerry Moran, thank you for killing the Senate’s first attempt at this bill before there was even a vote. Thank you for taking step one. But now we need step two. We need the entire senate – not just Republicans – to come together and build and work and plan. We need bipartisan creation of a bill that will work for everyone. Because how can something work for everyone when half of the Senate is shut out? How can people’s actual lives be worth partisan wins and gloating? That should not even be a question that I have to ask.

So, senators, as you work to repeal and replace Obamacare, a plan that seemed to be failing completely until you actually introduced something just as bad if not worse, don’t think about your party or proving how much better you are than your colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Think about the people who put you in office – the same people whose support for you may be quickly waning.

My Spring Favorites

My Spring Favorites

Summer is now officially upon us. While it seems that everyone loves summer, there is definitely something special about spring, when everything that had died comes back to life (and when it is not yet 100 degrees outside). Before I jump fully into summer, I thought I would share a few of my favorite things from spring.

spring faves

Movies & TV //

  • Hidden Figures: I first saw Hidden Figures in theaters for my birthday, and I fell instantly in love. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae do a fantastic job portraying Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, three female African-American NASA employees who did nothing short of change the world. As a woman, I feel so grateful for what these three women did and the sacrifices they made.
  • Beauty & the Beast: Does this even require an explanation? The original has always been one of my favorite movies, but the remake certainly outdoes it. Emma Watson’s portrayal of Belle was perfect, and I love the closer focus on Belle’s intelligence during a time when this was not welcome in women.
  • Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them: I am, and always will be, the biggest Harry Potter fan. This movie was a great addition to the magical world without trying too hard (*cough* Cursed Child *cough*). Also, Newt Scamander is basically the most adorable character ever.
  • Downton Abbey: Yes, I have finally fallen into the inescapable hole that is Downton Abbey. The story, the characters, the history – I love it all. Obsessed is a strong word, but I might be at that level. I just finished the entire show, and I’m still trying to recover.

Beauty //

  • Essence Pure Nude Highlighter: I have just gotten into highlighting in the past few months (what was I doing with my life before?), and this one is by far the best that I’ve used. It’s not over-the-top, but it definitely leaves a visible sheen. In my opinion, it’s perfect.
  • Maybelline The Colossal Big Shot Mascara: I am a mascara junkie. I’ve tried all the drugstore classics, and a few high-end favorites as well. This is definitely the best mascara I have ever used. It adds the perfect amount of volume and length, without one over-powering the other. It is certainly not for the faint of heart, though – this is definitely a false lash look.
  • CoverGirl Oh Sugar! Lip Balm: This stuff beats every other tinted lip balm I have ever tried (and I have tried quite a few). I love keeping the shade “Candy” in my purse for when I need some moisture, and using the shade “Punch” for when I want a wash of color.
  • L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation: My skin tends to lean in the combo/oily direction, so luminous foundations scare me. But, I decided to give this one a try before it got too hot, and I love it. I definitely won’t be able to keep using it through the summer, but it’s perfect for the cooler months.
  • Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in “Stepping Out”: I got this in one of those Sephora favorites kits, and I’m obsessed. I never would have thought that I would like this color on myself, but I do. With my complexion, it looks like a nude with a mix of rusty orange.
  • Colourpop Lippie Stix in “Lumiere”: I had had my eye on this shade for a while, but I was hesitant to purchase it because I rarely wear cool-toned lip colors. But once I finally got this shade and started wearing it, it was like I had been missing it my whole life. Seriously.
  • Bath & Body Works Bonjour Paris Lotion: I honestly have no words for this lotion. It’s a newer release from B&BW, and I have to say, they are killing it with their new products. This scent (a little floral, but not too much) is everything.

spring swatches

Books //

  • Girl Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird: This is a Christian nonfiction book that features the tagline “God’s radical design for beauty, femininity, and identity.” I am very picky about the Christian nonfiction books I read, and I didn’t agree with every single thing that sisters (and bloggers) Kristen and Bethany wrote in this book, but I still loved it. It was perfect for my done-with-modern-feminism heart.
  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth: This is my favorite book I have read so far this year. Basically, it’s a dystopian about two warring peoples. But that’s not the reason I loved this book. One of the main characters, Cyra, deals with chronic pain, and has been severely psychologically affected by it. I have never read a book that features a main character with a chronic illness before, and I think Veronica Roth handled it perfectly.
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys: It will come as no surprise that historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. This book, which focuses on the rarely-discussed labor camps created during World War II not by Hitler, but by Stalin, is incredibly moving. I cannot recommend it enough.

Quotes & Scriptures //

  • “Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.” – Sheila Walsh
  • “But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest ye haply be found even to fight against God.” – Acts 5:39
  • “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2
  • “…and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14
  • “If you feel a little overwhelmed, take that as a good sign. It indicates that you can sense the magnitude of the trust God has placed in you.” – Henry B. Eyring

Songs //

  • “Every Little Thing” by Carly Pearce
  • “Better Man” by Little Big Town
  • “Magnify” by We are Messengers
  • “Road Less Traveled” by Lauren Alaina
  • “Out of Hiding” by Steffany Gretzinger
  • “May We All” by Florida Georgia Line & Tim McGraw
  • “The Cause of Christ” by Kari Jobe
  • “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young
  • “Beauty & the Beast” by John Legend & Ariana Grande
  • “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran
  • “Once” by Maren Morris
  • “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga
  • “Back to God” by Reba McEntire & Lauren Daigle

So, there you have it – my favorite things from spring 2017! Let me know what you were loving last season, and whether or not we share any favorites, in the comments below.

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

liebster

This week I have been lucky enough to be nominated by three other sweet and talented bloggers for the Liebster Award. This is an award given to bloggers by other bloggers. This is such a great way to create a sense of community and spread friendship amongst bloggers, and I am honored to be a part of this!

The rules for the Liebster Award are:

  1. You can choose to either accept or decline. Accepting means writing a post, which you don’t have to do, but it helps to continue spreading the love!
  2. Write a list of 11 facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions from your nominator.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers to keep the award going, and give them 11 questions to answer.

11 Facts About Me:

  1. I have been doing online school/classes for years now, and I absolutely love it.
  2. I listen to pretty much every genre of music (seriously), but my favorites are Christian, country, and alternative.
  3. I was almost attacked by a dog when I was a toddler. I am now afraid of dogs.
  4. Being an aunt is one of my favorite things ever.
  5. I love the British royal family. Kate is literal goals, and Harry is my mental health hero.
  6. I have seen my favorite band, Needtobreathe, in concert every year since I was a freshman in high school.
  7. I am a huge beauty junkie, and I spend way too much time watching beauty vloggers on YouTube.
  8. Emma Watson is one of my heroes, and has been for years now.
  9. I love making playlists. And I do. A lot. (If you need a playlist for anything, hit me up.)
  10. My favorite politicians are Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, Trey Gowdy, Rand Paul, Mia Love, Ben Sasse, and Tim Scott.
  11. I am very close with my family (immediate and extended), especially my cousins.

I’ve decided to answer the questions from all of the lovely ladies who nominated me. First up are Liu Mao’s questions:

  1. What is your middle name? I actually don’t have one! Since my first name has two parts, that’s all I’ve got.
  2. Favorite dessert? BROWNIES. I’m obsessed. It’s a problem.
  3. Favorite language? I’m obviously the most fluent in English, but I’ve been taking Spanish classes for three years now, and I love learning that language as well! Although my skills are still iffy, I hope to be fluent one day.
  4. Where were you born? I was born in South Carolina in the US of A.
  5. Favorite childhood TV show/movie? My favorite TV show when I was a kid was Caillou. I loved basically every Disney movie ever, but I think Monsters, Inc. was my favorite.
  6. Favorite international food? I love Italian food. Pasta is my life.
  7. What is your hobby/hobbies? Writing (obviously), reading (all the time), and keeping up with politics
  8. Are you an only child? I have two older half-sisters.
  9. Why did you start blogging? I have loved writing for as long as I can remember, and I hope to one day go into journalism, so I thought this would be good experience. I intended to focus mainly on politics on my blog since that is what I am interested in writing about one day as a journalist, but I have really felt Heavenly Father prompting me to use my talents to share my faith through blogging as well.
  10. What are you studying in college? English

Next up are Ally’s questions:

  1. What is your go-to order at a coffee shop? I don’t drink coffee, but I love a good coffee shop pastry.
  2. What city holds a special place in your heart, and why? Columbia, SC. My grandparents used to live there and I have so many great memories of being with my extended family there.
  3. What is one word that you’d like to engrave on the heart of your younger self? Wow. That is a loaded question. I think I’m going to have to go with “worthy.” I feel like I could have used the reminder to extend grace to myself and that I don’t have to beat myself up over every little thing and let my anxiety take control.
  4. What was the last brave thing you did? Probably writing my post regarding mental health. It was scary for me to be that vulnerable, especially since so few people knew about my battle with that.
  5. Do you prefer indoors or outdoors? Why? I am definitely an indoors kinda girl. I actually have really bad heat intolerance due to some of my health issues, but I’ve just never been a huge outdoors fan regardless.
  6. If you had $500 and only one day to spend it, what would you buy? I would like to think that I would spend most of the money on practical, necessary things, and spend some of it helping others, but I might have to throw a Kate Spade bag in there too.
  7. What is your favorite thing to cook? I love making enchiladas, and I literally use the recipe that is on the back of the El Paso enchilada sauce can. #skills
  8. If you could change your birthdate, would you? What date would you pick? I don’t think I would change it. I’m happy with where it’s at.
  9. Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid? YES. Her name was Kelly-Alex (I’m assuming I wanted to go with a double name since I have one). I’m pretty sure I decided that she lived in the backyard.
  10. How do you feel about spiders? I am terrified. Size is not a factor. They are all evil.
  11. What is your #1 book recommendation? For fiction, The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. For nonfiction, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst.

 

Finally, here are Cassie’s questions:

  1. What made you want to start blogging? Like I said above, I initially saw it as practice and skill-building for my future journalism career, but now I look at it as a way to share my faith as well.
  2. If money weren’t a factor, what would be your dream job? Is it possible to be a professional reader? Because I would totally go with that.
  3. Do you travel or are you more of a homebody? I like to travel, but I prefer to spend most of my time at home.
  4. Could you see yourself living in another state or possibly country in the future? I think living in another country would be too much of a change for me (plus I love America!), but I would be open to living in another state.
  5. What’s your motto? I’m kind of a quote collector, and I feel like my motto changes a lot, but one that I seem to stick with is “When I can’t, You always can” (from the song “What Love is This” by Kari Jobe).
  6. If you could eat dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? Why? My grandpa. He passed away in December and I miss him terribly.
  7. What place would you consider to be your “happy place?” Any where that I’m with my family (especially if it’s the whole extended family gathered together).
  8. Do you play any sports? No. I used to do gymnastics (for like six months), though. Does attempting to get on the treadmill count, though? Because sometimes I do that.
  9. What makes you unique? My positivity, in spite of the health challenges I have faced, and how I have let them shape me for the better.
  10. If you made a perfume, what would it be called? Grace (I think Philosophy may already have that one though…)
  11. Who would play you in a movie about your life? If my dreams could come true, it would be Selena Gomez. I mean, we kinda even look alike! (Not really, but I’m trying to make this work here.)

Now for the bloggers I nominate. I haven’t been blogging very long, so I haven’t had the chance to meet a ton of other bloggers, but I have interacted with some. I nominate:

  1. Kristin // https://kristenshane.com/
  2. Kelsea // https://kelseamoriah.wordpress.com/
  3. Rachel // https://rachelsrambles.com/
  4. Livi // https://liviburke.wordpress.com/
  5. Rebekah // https://rebekahblogs.com/
  6. Allie // https://wearenewromantics.wordpress.com/
  7. Lily // http://lovewyns.blogspot.com/
  8. Kristabel // https://kristabeldubois.wordpress.com/
  9. Kara // http://joybecausegrace.com/
  10. Taylor // https://taywords.com/
  11. Elizabeth // https://realismcom.wordpress.com/

And my questions for them:

  1. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  2. Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook?
  3. If you could go back and change one thing about your life, such as a decision you made, would you? And what would it be?
  4. What is another culture that you would like to know more about?
  5. What charitable causes are you passionate about?
  6. What is your favorite holiday and why?
  7. Which one of Jesus’ characteristics (compassion, humility, etc.) means the most to you or has influenced you the most and why?
  8. What is the greatest gift God has given you?
  9. What is your favorite fairytale?
  10. How do you feel about vegetables?
  11. Who are some of your heroes and why?

Again, thank you so much Liu, Ally, and Cassie for nominating me! Be sure to check out their fantastic blogs (linked above) as well!

I Just Want a One-Piece

I Just Want a One-Piece

Swimsuit season is officially upon us. Some people love this time of year. Some people dread it. (And who can blame them?) But it comes every year, whether you like it or not.

Today I was in Target (shocking, I know), and as I wandered around picking up all the things I didn’t need, I found myself in the swimsuit section. (Target seems to be the one store that never runs low on swimsuits, no matter how late into the season it gets.) I passed through racks upon racks of bikinis. As I walked through the maze, I noticed that all of the tankinis and one-pieces had been relegated to the back and side walls. As I looked at them, I was instantly disappointed. The selection was slim. Few suits were available in a variety of sizes. Most of them were, quite honestly, what one might see an older lady wearing.

I personally only wear one-piece swimsuits. I know tankinis can be modest as well, but I just haven’t had the greatest experiences with them. If you wear bikinis, I am not trying to put you down at all. But for me, this is an issue of modesty. I do not feel comfortable showing so much of my body in a barely-there swimsuit, and I do not think that Heavenly Father wants me to.

So, why are there so few options for modest swimsuits? This is certainly a gap in the market that some brands are addressing. Companies such as Kortni Jeane, Called to Surf, and Jessica Rey sell modest swimwear – but the prices aren’t exactly affordable. Cashing in at sometimes more than one hundred dollars, these suits are a far cry from bikini tops and bottoms that typically are priced at around twenty dollars, and even the forty dollar one-pieces.

I am not trying to call Target out specifically, nor am I trying to focus solely on swimwear. This is a universal problem. We live in a society in which you can pretty much wear whatever you want, whenever you want. Celebrities walk the red carpet in next-to-nothing. Crop tops, short shorts, and dresses that barely skim the leg are on-trend. And female musicians that little girls look up to perform in ensembles that barely pass for clothing.

Yes, I am disappointed by society. But I am also shamed by it. There are few things more awkward than being the only one at the pool in a one-piece, or at the mall in capris. While I believe very strongly in the importance of modesty and how it relates to our virtue, it is still difficult to stand out in this way.

The world is not going to change overnight. Women’s wear trends will not shift because one person speaks up. But that does not change the way I feel. That does not change the fact that I have published this post. That does not change the fact that I felt that it was important to say something.

Perhaps you have heard that dressing modestly is important because it will help the boys around you keep their thoughts clean. And that’s great. Because after all, we are all just trying to help each other on this journey home. But I believe this goes deeper than that. Modesty is about you. It’s about you telling the world that you respect yourself and your God.

“Modesty isn’t about a list of rules. It’s about reflecting God’s holiness and purity through our clothing.”

– Girl Defined

Our bodies were created in the image of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. If Heavenly Father were to make you a gift of some sort and hand it to you, how would you treat it? Would you let it get dirty? Would you not pay attention to where you put it? Would you simply not care? I certainly hope your answer to these questions is no. Well, guess what? Our bodies are gifts from Heavenly Father, given especially to us. They are the best, most valuable gifts we will ever receive. Shouldn’t we all take care of them?

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

– 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Did you catch that? Your body is not your own. It is God’s. He created it, and for all intensive purposes, He owns it. You were bought with a price, the price of His Son’s blood. So why would you just reveal your body like it’s nothing? Why would you not care?

Clothing may seem like a small thing. It’s just what you wear when you shop or you eat or you hang out with friends. But it’s more than that. It is telling the world what you think about yourself, and what you think about the God Who so lovingly crafted your body just for you. It is making a statement, whether you like it or not. So, what do you want yours to say?

“You can dress attractively without being immodest. Within the Lord’s guidelines, there is room for you to be lively, vibrant, and beautiful both in your dress and in your actions.”

– Thomas S. Monson