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Here is my latest column:
This weekend I spent an insane amount of time shopping for a dress to wear to a wedding. Everything I liked was black, or was mostly black with a little bit of color in it. I have always been taught though that black is for funerals. You don't want to show up mourning the union of people in love. Unless of course you are in love with one of them but that's a whole other issue.
I went from store to store to store trying on dress after dress but nothing seemed quite right or did not fit my budget no matter how much I liked it. Hours and hurting feet later I finally decided on one. Then I began to see how all of this dress shopping was just like my life as a Christian and as a single mom. I had to find the truth for myself no matter what I had always been taught. I tried out a whole bunch of "truths" even if they did not seem quite right. And as a Christian mom some guys just don't fit no matter how much I like them.
I think I got the idea of the dresses being worldly from my ten year old who came with me. She made me laugh because if a dress showed too much cleavage, she called it a desperate dress. All the ones that seemed to catch my eye were black with just enough bright, beautiful color to make you go... wow! Isn't that how a lot of things in the world are today? They are dark with secrets and sin with just enough light to make you think they're not so bad. Don't get me wrong I am not saying your little black dress is evil. In fact I have one. It is just not appropriate to wear to a wedding just as a swim suit is not appropriate to wear to church.
Black is a staple in the fashion world. Why? Because we have all been told it's slimming right? Sin is a staple in the fallen world because we have all been told, if it makes you happy it's can't be that bad. The world wants us to believe we can all have our own truths. Satan wants us to think we can all let the little sins like lying slide as long as we don't do the big ones like murder. There are many false prophets out there who claim to be telling you the truth. How do you know if they are, or if they are leading the sheep to slaughter? You need to be sure what you are teaching your children is the truth and not something they can find fault with later.
How do you do this? You have to read and study the bible for yourself. Just like I had to try on all those dresses myself and could not just rely on the size on the label to tell me if it would fit. Yes it is time consuming, but it is the only way to guarantee a happy outcome. "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial) a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth" (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP).
You want your children to know if it can not be found in the scriptures, it's wrong. Just as my daughter learned this weekend, just because it is hanging on the sale rack does not mean it's on sale! Satan may have beautiful things he can dangle in front of us that we may think we can't wait to get our hands on but we always better be watching for that price tag. Sure someone else may be able to afford a more expensive dress than we can here on earth, but have they stored up any treasure in Heaven? I know personally I would rather have my robe in Heaven washed white by the blood of the Lamb than have the prettiest dress at any wedding!
Spending within your budget is also a very important lesson to teach your children even if you're not single. Credit card debt is out of control in the world today. We think we just have to have the latest thing. Will it bring us joy? Maybe. Is Jesus and eternity with Him worth more than anything we could ever buy here? You bet! Not wasting money on things you don't need so your family does not have to go without is a wonderful way to show them how much you love them.
Going shopping every once in a while is fun as long as you know your boundaries. Know your weaknesses. Know where Satan can and will temp you to spend more than you wish. "All of you must keep awake, be cautious and active, and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41 AMP). I am proud to say I did not go in one shoe store for myself this weekend! I kept shoes in mind to make sure the dress I got could go with shoes I already have! Yup, I did good!