From the start, I need to be clear. I’ve got Zero problems with bikinis. I own them. You and your daughters and your sisters likely do, too. And we should wear them with contentment and confidence and expect respect.
However, as sure as the sun will come up, there will be little boy questions as they spot those "Itsy Bitsy Teenie" bikinis that look a lot different than their own rash-guarded gear.
I’m still fairly new to this motherhood position, my oldest of four boys is six, and my 3-year-old stares up at my swimsuit and points out “mommy’s milk” with his unsullied grin.
Of course, my husband’s point-of-view on the subject is undoubtedly different, and I know one day these sons of ours will change their perspective, too. So how do we prepare to raise up men to respect and appreciate the female form in a world that attempts to steal all innocence away?
Ironically enough, I'd suggest it has nothing to do with the bikini itself. But instead, it's all about the heart.
God made us beautiful.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
And to this statement, my boys would be quick to clarify, God made them “handsome.” No matter the descriptor you chose, the same result is true — God made you, and He said — just look at you, I did very good. He does not make mistakes. God did not mess up. And so we are to value his workmanship. Certainly, we may emphasize pieces and parts that make us feel more confident. However, we must honor that no matter what the world tells us looks better retouched, God tells us — you’re already a masterpiece, every bit of you.
The more we realize God’s view of our physical selves, the less we care about the world’s standards. The more we understand His purpose in each detail, the less susceptible we are to idolizing flesh over spirit. I want my boys to recognize the beauty and value of a woman's heart, seeing them through God's eyes first and foremost.
Temple of God.
“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16 In this passage, Paul affirms the importance of valuing our physical bodies.
And we can do just that by keeping them clean. Clean from too much junk food (get behind me, Krispy Kreme), clean from too much junk media, movies, music, video games. Essentially, we are to steward our bodies and minds in a way to feed the spirit, instead of indulging the flesh.
Is this easy? No way.
It’s a narrow path. But it’s worth traveling.
“The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves. And the Lord said, “my spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt.” Genesis 6:2-3
So much guidance is offered in scripture on sexual purity; Jesus is clear on the magnitude of even looking at a woman with lust, as He preaches His sermon on the mount in Matthew 5.
It’s not easy talk, but it saves. It saves us from secrets and guilt and gossip and so much more. This topic is tough to teach, because we've all fallen short here. In respect to purity of mind, body and spirit. Yet, God's way offers us hope. And to get to that hope, we must pray for guidance, read the Bible and teach its lessons to our kids, all of it. That's where the war is won.
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19
And that’s Our calling and command to raise up children who are aware that a better world exists. God sent us Jesus and seals us with His Spirit to keep our eyes fixed on Him, on His Kingdom. Not on the bikinis, or the Instagram feed or on any validation our culture tells us we need.
We will never be perfect, but we want to be better. And try our best. And God will help us. The Bible tells us so.
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
My prayer for my children and for myself: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 Lead us, Lord. Amen.
JACLYN WARREN is a stay-at-home mommy of four on mission to encourage parents to savor the meaningful in the midst of the messy. Take your 15 minutes; it’s your turn for timeout. You can find her at www.mommys15minutes.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Mommys15Minutes-543229312706302/.