I'm happy to see some familiar 'faces' from other boards, but many of you are new to me so I'm probably new to you, too. My name is Melissa and I live in the Philadelphia area of the USA. This past October I started learning about nudism after trying to figure out how to accept my body. Nudism quickly changed my life in radical ways- all positive. At this point I'm typically nude in my house when practical and I love going to nude resorts/ swims. Since I haven't been a nudist in warm weather yet I haven't gone to the nude beach. But you can expect to see me at Sandy Hook this summer for sure!
When I was 16 I became a Christian after growing up in an Athiest household. My life before that time is a long story, one that I don't want to go into as it's been a very long night and it's 1:30 in the morning. Anyway, I go back and forth with Christianity. I WANT to believe it's the truth, but something about me just has such a hard time accepting it all. It seems like a lie, though I keep telling myself it isn't. If I could have one wish in the world it would be to REALLY believe the way I want to.
Anyway, that's who I am. You can read more about me on my website if you like: http://www.cheef.com/melissastarr or you can just ask. I look forward to getting to know you all as I've read many messages here and have seen you are all rather friendly and encouraging. "You will know they are Christians by their love... and you'll know they are Christians by their love."
Have seen you on INA, Cheef and NetNude. Glad to see you here. Welcome.
Wish you were close enough to go hiking with me. There's a chance my host daughter might, if we can get her to come over here in the warm weather before or after she goes to Japan every summer from Columbus (kindergarten teacher there).
You started looking into nudism/naturism only a few months after I did myself. I'm a short-timer, too. I am also typically nude at home unless we have company over. My wife and I are members at Whitetail Park here in VA, but that's the only nudist venue that we have been to as of yet. There are a couple more in driving distance that we( me ) want to check out soon, and we are heading to the beaches of Florida this June.
Anyway, enough about me
I don't have a chance to read your site this morning, but I will. Until then: what do you mean by going back and forth with your Christianity? I don't want to lead your answer too much, but I admit that I am quite curious about what you mean.
As far as Christianty being the truth, it is. Jesus himself is the Truth. What causes you to have a hard time accepting it? Is that a by-product of you athiest up-bringing, or is it something else? If your doubt is due to conflicts concerning Christianity and the nudist lifestyle, there really aren't any. My wife and I studied the sbject extensively before she agreed to give Whitetail a try. Nowhere did we find anything condemning nudism.
Well, I'm gonna be late, so I have to go.
I'm glad you came, and I hope to have a chance to talk more later.
About the Christianity thing: well, I dunno. It has nothing to do with nudism. I did check the scriptures pretty extensively before becoming a nudist and some of my friends are 'kind enough' to preach at me about it, so that's not the issue. I'm not entirely sure what the issue is, except that I can't get myself to believe. Sometimes I come close to really believing, but it's usually short-lived. There are just sooooo many doubts and I'm not sure why. The weird thing is that I WANT to believe SO BADLY, but I just can't convince myself it's the truth. I know what the Bible says as I read the Word daily. But it just doesn't feel right and I have a hard time believing. It's hard to put it into words. So I continue to pray, have daily devotions, etc. and just act as if I believe in hopes that I someday REALLY will. I have talked to God about this and there appears to be no answer at present.
You know what Melissa? As I read your answer here I got the impression that the real situation is, your are a believer, but have yourself fooled into thinking you are not, not the other way round. Why would a person pray, study, seek, and hope if they were not a believer. Maybe you think you have to buy into something more or some prescribed doctrine or theology. A true believer is someone who believes that God exists and cares for us, and then struggles with the rest. We wrestle with who and what Jesus was, what really happened there, and a host of other things. Thatís why God created theologians, so they could be frustrated and sour while the rest of us enjoy Godís goodness!
You asked me why a would person pray, study, seek, and hope if they were not a believer. Basically, because I'm hopeful that if I ACT like I believe I actually WILL believe. But it just seems so false. I wish I could believe that God exists and cares for us, but I can't honestly say that I do. I want to and I try to act like I do in hopes of convincing myself that I do, but deep down I really don't believe it.
Romans 10:9 tells us that "... if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
That's all it takes. You don't have to be perfect, or to always have any more faith than that. You said before that it dosn't seem like God is answering your prayers; don't let that stop you. Go and find a quiet place to just spend time with Him. Let Him talk to you. He has a still, small voice, so you have to listen. You are obviously seeking Him, and that should be an encouragement to you. The Bible tells us that it is actually God who seeks US out, so all this conflict that you have is because God IS talking to you!
One last thing, my favorite verses: "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." The words of Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30
Our daughter was an unbelieving Japanese. A friend and fellow teacher took her to see The Passion. Then she read The Case For Christ. She even sent it to me, and I read it. Wife is reading or just finished it. It's a good book to start if you want some real facts behind our belief. Katsumi says she can read the Bible now and understand it.
The guy who wrote the book was an unbeliever but a darn good investigator. It's about his investigation.
Think he should investigate the Islam faith. Think he'll find (like he did on the Book of Morman) that it has no factual basis. Whereas, the Christian faithe has lots of facts of various kinds to back our beliefs.
I've got that book. A friend gave it to me. I've not gotten around to it yet... thanks for reminding me. Josh McDowel, the author of More Than a Carpenter, has a similar testimony. He thought it was all crazy and set out to disprove it. He became a christian because he was unable to and found overwhelming evidence in support. His bigger volumes include Evidence That Demands a Verdict and A Ready Defense.
Hi Melissa. We have talked some on Cheefís page where I am SCT. It is good to see you here. I think this forum is one of, if not, the best; although it does go through slow periods. I feel a camaraderie here like no other place, although Cheefís is close.
I hear you about your faith, but I encourage you to keep working at it. I have been a Christian for a long time and still there are days. . . Just know that God exists and that his greatest desire is to be close to you. You can figure out how that is best accomplished, with the Spiritís help. Please stick around. I always enjoy what you have to say.
I've been checking the Web for a couple of months reading about Christian nudism, seeking God and the scriptures about it. I had linked to your site earlier from another forum and have just reviewed your story.
First let me say how sorry I am for what you've been through and how much I admire your courage and determination to overcome. I can't imagine how difficult it has been for you.
After reading your post I was hoping that I might encourage you some about faith in Jesus. I have to disagree with nakedspirit who says that "a true believer is someone who believes that God exists and cares for us". That's certainly a start but to be a born again believer goes beyond just that.
I've been studying/reading the bible for about 25 years now and I've yet to find a better explanation of how to be born again than the "Four Spiritual Laws" that's distributed by Campus Crusade. Check it out: http://www.greatcom.org/laws/english/flash/
You must believe that He is but then you must be willing to turn from controlling your own life and be willing to surrender control to Jesus. It's what the Bible calls repentance. Placing your faith in Him and repentance are like a single action... two sides of the same coin.
Melissa, I am not suprised that you are struggling after what you've been through. Many people's image of God comes from their experience with their own father. After your experience with your own father showing you love and care and then so deeply betraying your trust, it must be very fightening to trust anyone. I just want to assure you that our heavenly father is the ONLY one that we can completely trust to never let us down or betray us.
Another thing that may cause you to hesitate and doubt may just be that you need more evidence. Though I was brought up in a Christian school, I never really trusted Christ as my Lord and Saviour until I was confronted with the overwhelming evidence that the claims of Jesus are true and that He did indeed rise from the dead! The evidence of fulfilled prophecy, creation science, archeology and history are more than enough to convince anyone who is open minded and truly desires to know the truth. Unfortunately, most run away from the truth so that they can continue to control their own lives. If you're interested in real evidence, I recommend "More Than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowel as a starting place. It is a small easy read. I have several copies and will be glad to send you one or you can pick one up at any christian book store for about $4 or $5 I think.
Who do you think would do a better job at running your life, you or Jesus, the one who designed you and knows you better than you know yourself? He passionately loves you and stands ready to heal you of all that you've been through.
... he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, KJV
I suppose I could have stated it better. According to Hebrews 11.6, we have to believe that God exists and rewards those who seek for him. That is the basis. As I said, once that is established, we begin to struggle with the rest. What is the most demonstrative proof of that existence? The fact that Jesus, God in human form, came to give his life so that the rest of us didnít have to fulfill the law, which is impossible, and have life is the proof and substance of Godís existence and love for his creation. Without the foundational belief that God exists, it is difficult to believe anything else. Many people in Melissaís situation have to start from this basic foundation.
I hope and pray, Melissa, that you find the love of Jesus and the freedom that is offered through the grace off God that noguile is speaking of. There is no other faith that offers such a free gift. Something that pushed me over the edge years ago was the fact that I thought that if I were God I would make it as easy for my people as I could. Jesus did that for us. He paid the price, He went the distance. The only thing we have to do is accept it. The rest, how we live, what we do, is icing on the cake. I thought, ďyep, thatís how Iíd do it if I were God.Ē You donít have to do thirty push-ups or stand in a corner or say a certain pledge or creed four hundred times to be accepted. Jesus is the doorway that allows us to go to God. But first, know that God is there and loves you with all his heart!
Melissa, you have recieved good comfort here and simple truth about the love and compassion of God. Be encouraged, you can be successful in your walk with God. Twenty seven years ago we adopted a little girl who had been through the same situation and I am happy to tell you that today she is married with two fine sons and doing well. There will forever be scars but you learn to live with those recurring memories, confident in a loving God, the same as any other person would with their scars. Bearone
You are getting very sound advice here. Remember this, you are Loved and safe here.
I have a little monologue about Gideon, how he tried to talk G*D out of picking him. 'The Warrior Gideon is ....'. Gideon kept on trying to talk G*D into taking another Gideon.
Finally, Gideon had to face it. He had been picked. 'OK, LORD, I want to be really, absolutely, no mistakenly certain that this is something the Deceiver cannot perform. I'll put this fleece out tonight. IF YOU are WHO YOU say that YOU are, there won't a drop of dew upon it. Tomorrow night, we'll reverse it . Then, there won't be a drop of dew anywhere but upon this same fleece.' [I may have the sequence in error.]
Melissa, this is called 'the Gideon's Fleece Appeal' to the Most High. He LOVES that approach because he can reassure the questioning heart.
Melissa, someday, you might sit down/kneel/be on a nude hike through G*D's wonders/or wherever...
You might approach HIM thusly, 'Dear LORD, I have no idea if YOU are real or not. I need some kind of confirmation that YOU exist. . I want to make a bargain with Y*U.'
'If YOU do exist, YOU alone will be able to heal my wounded heart. I'm leaving '.......' right here. If YOU really exist and really LOVE me, when I return at [time/day] YOU will have done [act from HIM]. This Fleece is something that no one but YOU and I know about.'
'This Fleece is something that only YOU, and YOU alone, can change. LORD, if YOU are real, I am entrusting this Fleece to YOU. I'll check back at the the agreed time/setting.'
Right about now, the Deceiver will 'help with a jillion reasons of why it ain't gonna' happen'. Just hang on. You must keep your part of the bargain to show up and see what G*D alone hath done for you.
Then, Dear Sweet Child, you will be Face-to-FACE with more LOVE and GENTLENESS you can imagine. HE will stand before you with HIS hands and outstretched nail-pierced wrists. You will see HIS nail-pierced feet. You will be able to decide this once and for all.
Like many others here I went to your website and read your story. You've had a heartbreaking childhood, and now you're making wonderful progress at finding healing. That's wonderful.
It's no wonder that you have trouble believing in God, considering how your earthly parents inflicted so much evil upon you. There is a lot of language in the Bible and in the churches that speaks of God in parental terms. You aren't the only one who is put off by that language. Wise pastors know that anytime they are speaking of God as Father, they need to put in a disclaimer that God may not be anything at all like your own immediate father.
Has anyone ever told you that the path by which many people reach a wonderfully comforting and reassuring faith leads first through doubt and disbelief? It's true. Doubts and questions help us move beyond the immature and insensiive words that often pass for Christian teaching and lay hold of the really life-changing core of our faith. Have you considered that your doubts may themselves be God's gift to you, a gift given by One who wants only the absolute best for you?
It seems as though, without fully understanding it, you have already found an intuitive grasp of a key principle. Faith isn't about feelings. Feelings are undependable, and often lead us astray. My day gets off to a bad start if the paper is late coming to my door. That's a feeling thing, and who wants their life to be based on something as unreliable as that?
If you continue to actóto live your lifeóas though there is a God and Christ is your Redeemer, one day your feelings will fall into line. So read the Bible, and read what reliable people have written about the Bible (much that has been written isn't that reliable). A good starting point would be Surprised By Joy by C.S. Lewis. He struggled through doubts no unlike yours to find faith landing in his lap one day.
Be sure to find yourself a church where questions are respected. Lots of churches basically think you should believe because they tell you that you should. That's ridiculous. God is in your doubts, and you need to be among people who understand and respect that. Then surround yourself with those people.
P.S. Some of those wonderful Christians won't understand your naturism, and may try to talk you out of out. But that too is God's gift to you, so don't give it up. In "churchy" terms, the story of how you have found spiritual and emotional healing through naturism is your testimony. Share it, but don't let anyone argue with you about it.