Resting on the Lord's Day
Labels: Personal Ramblings
Labels: Personal Ramblings
It seems common for ladies to rationalize that, somehow, when they go swimming they can "bare all" and basically go swimming in their underwear. When you think about, that's all a bikini is - it's a bra and underwear! We would be mortified to walk around our male friends with nothing on but our underclothes. Yet, somehow when it comes to swimming many ladies think nothing of it.
I would like to suggest that you don't have to compromise your standards of modesty when you want to take a plunge in the pool. There are actually many different options when it comes to modest swimwear. There are companies that specialize in making modest swimwear - yes, I used those two words in the same sentence. While not cheap, these swimsuits are designed to hold up for quite a few years. They generally look like a fitted dress that comes to right above your knee, and the top comes up quite high. You also have the option of having sleeves or not.
Today I'm in bed trying to recover from a nasty bout of strep throat. :( I just don't have the energy to write a post for this week's series of She Wears Skirts, so I pulled an article from the archive. Many of my newer readers have probably never read this. This post is written by my sister, Jennifer. I appreciate her thoughts, as she is honest with the struggles that went on in her heart as she wrestled with dressing modestly.
What does it mean to dress modestly? As a teenager I was made aware of a desire in some Christian circles to return to the modest dress. Modesty means different things to different people. There are those who feel certain colors are okay to wear but others are not being considered too flashy. Some only wears skirts and jumpers at all times, while other ladies feel they can wear shorts, jeans, and swimming suits. In the midst of all this can come a judgment in the hearts of women looking at each other. “Can you believe so and so showed up in jeans today?” “How legalistic to think you shouldn’t wear shorts on a hot day like today!”
I have seen this backbiting and hardness of hearts and it’s not pretty. My own heart needs to be submitted to the love of Christ in this matter as it says in Galations 5:“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another…” Our prayer for each other should be that God would give each of us a modest heart. If we have a heart that desires modesty this will be reflected in the outward appearance of our clothing and in the spirit that we carry with us. Someone won’t have to stand over us with a list of do’s and don’ts.
From personal experience I can share the workings of God upon my heart. As a little girl and teenager I was considered a tomboy. I wasn’t some rough and tumble little girl, but I enjoyed playing with boys more than girls. I didn’t like playing dolls all morning long. I wanted to be out riding my bike, playing soccer, or touch football with the boys on my street. After moving to the country I learned to enjoy our huge trampoline, horseback riding, climbing trees, hiking, and caring for our animals. Through this all I wore shorts or jeans exclusively. I couldn’t stand to wear a dress. My parents made me wear a dress to church but as soon as church was over I would change back into my jeans.
As I moved into my teen years I kept this up. I noticed other girls started to dress in certain ways and heard them talking about trying to attract some guy’s attention. I wasn’t interested in such behavior. I just wanted my clothes to be clean and comfortable. Otherwise, I didn’t think much about it. As for modesty itself, I didn’t consider myself immodest at all. My parents were pretty strict about how long my shorts had to be, no tight tank tops, and so on. In the youth group I was in for a short time the other girls were feeling sorry for me because I had to dress so conservatively. My parents wouldn’t let me wear my Sunday dress above my knees. Poor Jennifer!
When I was 16 my Mom came across writing about modesty and came to believe it was best for my younger sister and I to wear dresses and skirts for everyday life. The issue of modesty really struck a cord with my Mom. Before she became a Christian she spent her youth wearing clothes to gain the attention of the men around her. She knew first hand how important it was in God’s plan to dress in such a way that you do not cause your brother to stumble, let alone trying to make him stumble on purpose!
As I was asked to wear the dresses and skirts I was horrified. Give up my jeans? No way would this work! We lived next to a horse farm at the time and I would go into the stalls, climb up to the top of the stalls, and walk on top of the stall edges to the end of the barn. Do that in a dress? I listened to my Mom and changed my clothing selections but inwardly my heart was stewing. I was mad and feeling rebellious. This nonsense would end someday!
In the next few months I decided to pray about this whole modesty and clothing thing. Surely God would be fair to me! What did he expect of me? I started looking for scriptures about clothing and modesty. I began in Genesis with Adam and Eve sinning and realizing they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together to make aprons for themselves. I thought, “just like all the pictures I have seen in our Bible story books.” Several verses later I read that God himself came along and saw those aprons. He decided to clothe Adam and Eve himself and replaced the aprons with coats of skins. That sure impressed me! God really cared how they were dressed? I had never thought about God himself wanting me to dress in a certain way.
I read in Isaiah 47 about God’s judgment upon Babylon and Chaldea. As part of the curse upon them He would “make bare the leg, and uncover the thigh”. I went on to the New Testament to read that God asked women to adorn themselves in modest apparel and wear the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. As I continued searching and found more verses that spoke of the need for a modest outward appearance and spirit, I began to be convicted in my heart. God used a situation from a few years previous to this to help me understand my need to protect my brother from stumbling. Sometimes I would wear pretty tight jeans (looking back on it I realized that) and didn’t think anything of it. One day I turned around to see a man looking at me and I knew in my heart I didn’t want to wear this pair of jeans around him again! As I prayed God brought that moment back to my mind. The study and prayer became a time to ask God to help me have a modest heart.
From that day I have continued to pray and strive to have a spirit of modesty in my heart. God never gave me a “thou shalt not” list that showed me down to the dotted i and crossed t what I should and should not wear. He didn’t give me a list of colors I could or couldn’t wear. He didn’t tell me to look like a picture right out of the 1800’s, or the 1700’s, or 1950. I never found I could only wear a denim jean jumper to be a modest woman, or only calico fabric for that matter. What God did do was change my heart.
I went from a teenager bent on living out what I thought was best to having a desire for righteousness and holiness. My spirit changed as I strove to have a meek and quiet spirit. That spirit within me changed the clothes I desired to wear. I decided I wouldn’t be involved in a sport if it required me to dress immodestly. I wouldn’t try to dress in a way that stoked lust in the men about me, but in a way that showed them I was a lady and above all, a Christian. I would try on certain clothes and feel uncomfortable with how a shirt gaped or a how tight a skirt was when I bent over.
I questioned my swimsuit habits. Did I really want to walk down the beach or go to the pool in a suit that covered less than my underclothes? Why was I willing to wear a “modest” swimsuit with a little skirt attached that was shorter than a tiny mini skirt and feel it was okay because men would see me at a pool instead of the pew at church? What was God’s definition of nakedness? Did I desire to wear expensive clothes that would cause pride in my hearts and others to stumble as they coveted what I was wearing? As I was striving to walk with God my clothing wasn’t really an issue of “me” anymore because my desire had changed. The desire of my heart was now, “God I want to be a woman after your own heart. I am willing to wear your coat of skins instead of the aprons I wanted for myself.” That’s what God wants, our hearts.
When your heart is in the right place it won’t be about you, it will be about God, a modest heart, and the brethren around you. With that spirit of God within you will become a Christian women who others see as chaste, meek, and loving. We are called to be a peculiar people. That means you are to be a peculiar woman, full of love.“For they will know you are Christian’s by their love.” Do you love your God and your brother? Your outward appearance will reflect the love that is in your heart. God delights in the woman with a modest heart.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertained unto a man, neither shall a man put on a women’s garment; for all that do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God,”
1 Timothy 2:9,10 “ In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
1 Peter 3:3 “Let your adorning be not that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, or wearing of gold, or putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Definitions of words I strive for in spirit and dress
Modest-2887 Greek says: orderly, of good behavior.
Neat- very clean, pure, well adjusted
Comely-decent, suitable, proper, becoming, suited to time, place, circumstances, or persons.
Sober-pure, chaste, temperate
Plain-void of ornament, simple.
~Jennifer Allen is my older sister, and dearest friend. She is also married to my husband's brother, making us sister in law's as well as sisters. :) They are waiting on the Lord for children, and in the meantime she is kept busy being the seamstress for The Modest Mom! She does a fantastic job sewing the skirt orders that come in!
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
My prayer for all the mothers who are struggling, who feel tired, discouraged and battle worn, is that they will keep this song in their hearts. We truly do need the Lord every hour, every minute, and every second. Whether you suffer from a serious illness, or you have simply had a bad day with household cares, cling to the Lord who is mightier than us all! He alone is able to deliver, refresh, and carry us through.
Labels: Home and Garden
"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her Children arise up and call her blessed...." Proverbs 31
As time goes on, I realize just what an incredible mother I had. Having children of my own has only had the effect of further amazing me as I think back and wonder, "How did my mother do it all?" I'm sure I am not alone in this process of growth of appreciation for our mothers.
My mother truly lived her life in service to others. She longed for children, and was blessed with my older sister, brother, and I. Due to her health she was not able to have more and I saw the sorrow that caused her.
I have never seen a mother more devoted to the raising of her children. She poured herself into bringing us up in light and truth. I was blessed to be home schooled all my life, and I have so many memories of time spent having devotions and singing hymns at the piano to start our day. She wanted so desperately for us to grow up truly knowing who God was, and having a personal relationship with Him.
My mother's name was Deborah, which means Busy Bee. She truly did stay busy, that is, as far as her health would permit. She was diagnosed with Lupus in 1994 and so many of my memories from the age of 11 on include her being on the couch extremely sick, many, many doctor visits, and singing hymns to her during moments of discouragement. Through it all she longed to be up and working, and whenever her health permitted she would be up tidying the house, cooking, rearranging furniture, etc. She absolutely loved being a homemaker. She exemplified to me what a diligent, joyous homemaker should be.
Mother passed away last July, so this will be my first Mother's Day without her. I have to admit, while I knew that her illness was considered terminal (there currently is no cure for Lupus), I never thought it would actually take her life so soon. We had always planned that she would help me home school, teach my children piano, do nature studies with them, etc. She was always quick to help me do laundry, dishes, or whatever she perceived that needed to be done when she was over. Some days I feel dreadfully inept and alone without her here, but I "draw form my memories rich treasure store" and try to think how my Mother would handle a situation.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to have a mother who sacrificed so much to raise me. I never doubted her love for me and was always quick to find a hug and kiss waiting for me. I could not have picked a better mom had I tried, and I thank God for her. "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
This is the end of a poem I gave my Mom for one of her Birthday's. I don't know who wrote it...
The things in my life that are worthy
Were born in my mother's breast
And breathed into mine by the magic
Of the love her life expressed.
The years that have brought me to womanhood,
Makes me realize how much more
My life was shaped by her own special touch.
God, make me the woman of her vision
And purge me from selfishness!
God, keep me true to her standards
And help me to live to bless!
God, make me a woman, brave, strong, and true,
One that my own dear Mother,
Would be proud to claim as her own.
If you are blessed to still have your mother, please take the time this coming Mother's Day to let her know how much you care about her. You never know if this is the last Mother's Day you have to spend with her. We had a feeling last Mother's Day that it would be our last with our mom, and it was such a bittersweet day...
I love announcing winners!
So sorry everyone! Today was supposed to be another post from my husband for the "She Wears Skirts" series. He was going to come home last night and write it, but I ended up getting a flat tire on our van while I was gone. Thankfully I was at my Mother In Law's house, so I wasn't stranded somewhere. Sean had to come and change it, but it took forever to get the spare tire off the van, something has broke on it that makes it difficult to remove. We finally got it changed, but by the time we got home, had dinner and got to bed it was midnight. I knew there was no way he could get up in the morning to write it, so I just decided to skip this week's post. Sorry about that! Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes. :)
Today is the start of the homemaker's challenge which is based on "31 Days To Clean: Having a Martha House The Mary Way". I wasn't sure if I could start as I've been in bed all weekend with a horrible cold, but after looking at the challenge I knew I was up to it! Some may have started yesterday as that was May 1, but I will not be doing this on the weekends, and was relieved to discover that Sarah Mae said she wouldn't be planning on it either! :)
"If you do not own your reasons, you will be unmotivated and quite frankly, bored with the whole idea of persevering in cleaning."
For the Mary Challenge in the book, we are supposed to come up with a mission statement for why we want a clean house. This wasn't hard for me to do at all!
1. To bless my husband as he appreciates a clean house.
2. To show my children what order and harmony looks like and be a good example to them.
3. To have the house ready for company to drop by and not be embarrassed over how it looks.
4. To have more time to pursue playing with my children, hobbies, fun baking projects, etc.
For the Martha Challenge, I am supposed to take inventory of all my cleaning supplies.
I went and cleaned out the cabinet under my kitchen sink where I keep everything. I just invested in some new Shaklee cleaning products (check out this fantastic deal here under promotions) and so I was able to get rid of quite a few bottles, and really condense my cleaning supplies. Hurray! I have all the basics, the only thing I want to get is some more microfiber cleaning cloths. They work so well!
Do you have a vision of why you clean your house?
Labels: Home and Garden