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Monday, April 23, 2007

Modesty and Quaker Jane

Modesty has been a topic in our "Her Hands" class at Living Hope recently. Heather has written about it on her own blog allthingshendrick.blogspot.com and you can check out herhands.blogspot.com also. There were some amazing insights and comments that made this topic even clearer!
I guess I am not done thinking about it, so I want to hear from even more women on this. And men too, if there are men who read this blog. (I have no idea?)
I Googled "Modest Dress" and I came up with several websites. One being quakerjane.com. I guess you can purchase a lovely outfit such as this one, if you so desire. There were other websites with long-sleeve swimsuits and prairie dresses as well. I don't mean to mock these sects of people, because they may have a handle on this topic that we simply don't have. But I must wonder...why are we still so off-mark on this, women?
Are we so reticent to just give up articles of clothing to be obedient?
Have we not heard explicitly enough from men about their struggle with lust, and how just a glance in your direction "showing skin" causes them to think impure thoughts, out of pure reflex?
Are we so prideful that we won't let anyone tell US what to wear!?
Or have we exalted ourselves and "looking cute" so that we can compete with other girls, in order to feed our very poor and distorted self-images?
I really think it is a compilation of all these things, more some than others, varying from woman to woman. We had an honest conversation about this in our HOPE group last week. I think we need to keep re-visiting this topic again and again. We are slow. We are rebellious. We are ignorant.
Our pastor will talk about this very thing, even giving specific examples of things that are inappropriate to wear (which is probably not so easy to do, for a man) and I see girls wearing those exact things to church the next week. And as discussed on Heather's blog, these were in their "church clothes" category! (Which is a category Heather and other women pointed out should be eliminated!)
I can't just point the finger though girls. I'm in my 30's (that still pains me to say) and I am still finding things in my closet that need to go!
So what's the problem?
Well, one thing is for certain. I think we as older women need to be teaching the younger women very explicitly on this topic. I have decided that this topic and the issue of sexual immorality cannot be taught vaguely, with broad strokes of what it means to sin in this area. We need to be SPECIFIC! And with modesty, that is hard, because giving rules doesn't seem the most effective way to do this. But the Enemy is too good at convincing us, as we stand in our closet, that what we are putting on is okay. It's being worn by everyone. We're not doing anything wrong.
Women, what are the solutions here?
How do we bring our younger sisters along, gently but firmly?
As swimsuit season approaches, what needs to be said?
I plan on writing an article about this for Lily 7, so you all are my research.
Bring it.
Speak plainly. We need to hear it.


Kathryn Berilla said...

I believe a great majority of this issue stems from competition amongst each other.
Women are constantly aware of what they look like themselves and what other women look like and they comment on, such as "you looks nice" or "did you see her".

Men do not do that to the degree women do.

I believe also so many women are caught up in the worlds philosophy of 'if you got it, flaunt it'

This is not a new issue. In doing my women of the Bible study, this behavior starts all the way back to Rachel and Leah. Rachel was beautiful and she knew it. Leah was plain or had 'weak eyes' and was constantly living in Rachel's shadow. But in the end, Leah was buried with Jacob and Rachel lost out. So Rachel's fleeting beauty won her no eternal value at all.

We just need to live for what's eternal.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

Hendrick Family said...

I think it all comes back to older teaching younger. I want so badly to believe that it really is that some of these great godly girls are just blinded in this area. I know they love the Lord. I know they want to serve Him...so when I see something so terribly out of character for them, like them showing up with too few clothes on, I know I need to do better about lovingly pointing it out. The enemy is good at deceiving us...but he's not good at deceiving all of us! That's where the body can be so helpful in this area!

Lyns said...

I, too, have wondered the specifics on swimsuits and what needs to be said especially with it being right around the corner. To be honest, I don't know what needs to be said.

I know that the obvious answers to the swimsuit issue is NO bikins, string-tied bottoms, Budweiser logo bathing suits, thong swimsuits (Heaven, help us!), etc.

But, what about everything else? What do modest bottoms even look like? Does everyone have to wear shorts or skirts with their bathing suits? I wouldn't normally wear spaghetti strapped shirts or halter tops in public, but all bathing suits seem to be one or the other. Are these okay to wear?

I think there are no specifics in this area because I feel like we all have different levels of modesty (which is confusing). I've talked to women who are fine with wearing a tankini with no shorts and that is modest enough to them. I've also talked to women who wear a t-shirt and shorts to the swimming pool.

Can someone help a sister out here? I know I just might be thinking a little too much about this. But, my brain and spirit go through this dilemma every year! I always find a bathing suit that I feel is extremely modest and then I go to the pool and I see someone else dressed even more modest than me. So then I start second guessing myself. UGGGGHHH!

I would love to hear others thoughts and insights regarding this also.

Lyns said...

Okay, I thought long and hard about this 10 seconds after my previous post and I think I have a revelation.........


We should all wear wetsuits this summer.

Can I get a witness up in here?????

Melodi said...

If that wetsuit comes with the "tummy control" panel, I'm there! ha! I struggle every single summer with this. I just bought my swimsuit for this summer and have been re-thinking it for days, before I even read this post. I know that if Butch or Howard or any of the other men from church showed up at the pool, I'm gonna be embarrassed with almost any swimsuit I wear. I've had one with a skirt, I've worn swim shorts - which don't stay up when wet, and now I bought the kind of two piece that has little shorts for the bottoms. I am ready to hear from all the other women!


Garratts said...

I am going to refer to a comment that was on Her Hands. It said that you shouldn't wear anything anywhere that you wouldn't wear to church. Which I agree with.

But we all know we wouldn't wear a bathing suit to church. So this is a completely different thing here.

I think it is a personal issue because we really aren't told anything specific about this. You will know when you go into the dressing room if you feel modest or not. I think you will instantly feel convicted if it is not what you are to be wearing.

10 years ago the swim skirts didn't even exist and the swim shorst were hardly even worn.

Also for each individual being modest depends on your body type. I know for me I have to be very modest up top or "the girls" will come flying out. So finding something modest is hard for me sometimes.

This summer, for instance, I got a maternity bathing suit from my sister and it is a tankini. It has no shorts or skirt. They don't really make the swim shorts maternity and the maternity swim skirts fit very odd. The top comes to mid hip and I feel very modest.

I mean, come on, when your pregnant nothing really feels all that modest, especially a swim suit.

So I guess to me there are a lot of factors and no real set rules. This is a personal decision, but I strongly believe you will know if you are being modest or not.

Tamra Perkinson said...


I have some great resources on this topic that I'd like to recommend. First, an excellent sermon was preached by C.J. Mahaney from Covenant Life Church in Maryland can be found at this place: http://www.sovereigngracestore.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=A1170-06-51

Then, C.J.'s wife and 3 grown daughters wrote a modesty check-list which I found to be very helpful in specifics. They gave major disclaimers before they put this out there saying that this is in no WAY the law of modesty, just some guidelines to help us all think through specifically. I found it very helpful when talking to a group of teenage girls on the topic of modesty.

Lastly, some good friends of mine shared where they got there super-modest, super cute swimsuits last year. Land's End has some very nice ones!! They are also great for boating and skiing and those kinds of things too! Just thought I'd pass these things along.

I know that God will honor these women's hearts for wanting to obey Him and glorify Him through modest hearts and dress. If we humbly open ourselves up for correction God will gently correct us and make us more into the image of His Son.

Anonymous said...

I know that none of you know me, but I happened upon this blog from the Hendrick blog. My cousin went to LH while at A&M.

I had planned on forking out the crazy amount of money that Lands End wants for their modest suits, but, praise the Lord, my good friend pointed me to Academy Sports. I bought 2 tops and 2 skirts for $70. It's similar to Lands End in that you can choose your top and bottom separately. My friend went to Sears to try on the Lands End ones just to compare, and she found that the tops we chose at Academy were more modest.

So, there you go!


Jon, Sally, & Jude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon, Sally, & Jude said...

I've always been "aware" of modesty, but never quite understood the importance until I had Jon to set me straight. In retrospect I confess that I dealt with a desire to feel "sexy" and to catch the gaze of a guy or the admiration of a (not quite as cute as me) girl. UGH! I hate to even say those words!!

I think I was trying to meet a need for affirmation. I would try to wear things that helped me "forget" my insecurities.

These days I still find myself seeking the compliments of other women (ugh). I think it may be this whole competition to be a "better" woman concept. If you don't follow, call me crazy. But I think we really are driven to impress other women.
There's so much to say on this topic, but I think sometimes in trying to win the admiration of other women, girls "forget" modesty and dress for style. So, maybe it's rooted in selfishness!! It seems like graciousness might be close to a cure for this particular issue.

Anyway, We're headed to our special country soon and all of the sudden I am SUPER concerned about modesty. But now my modesty will influence my safety!! Can you imagine a modesty police?? Some countries have them!!

P.s. In shopping for appropriate dress for our move, I found GREAT shirts at Target in (guess what) the MATERNITY section. Bear with me... They are short-sleeve, high-neck, extra-long stretchy tees that don't resemble anything MATERNITY! So, I hope that helps if you're looking for good shirts. They're cute with anything and one of those extra long costume jewelry necklaces.

Jennifer Bacak said...

Wow! Y'all are amazing. I went to my parents' house for the day, and I came home to 10 comments. This is so good.
I didn't really intend for this discussion to be so much about swimsuits, but I guess it's on everyone's mind since we are buying them right now.
I told Lyns the very thing Ashley said today...I think your body type can greatly influence what is modest for you. The difference in how I will look up top in a swimsuit and how Ashley will look is big! About 3-5 cup sizes. Sorry Ash! I know you won't mind me using you as an example since you started it. I think the bust size is a big factor in a eye-catching, extra look swimsuit. Hopefully you're right, Ash. Hopefully we will know when we are being immodest, when we are being honest with ourselves and the Lord. I'm just wondering how to best direct the younger Christian girls who are still not clear in this area. I was one of them, so I want to know how to best bring them along.
I talked to my Mom about this today, and she had some great insight to add. I'm hoping she will get on and add it soon!
Come on Mom!

Seay Famiy said...

This is Jenn's mom speaking...
Modesty is an issue that we all deal with - even at my age. It begins as a matter of the heart. Are we willing to do what is pleasing to the Lord and give up our own desires?
As Jenn and I talked about this issue over dinner tonight I shared with her some of my thoughts.
I believe that the enemy has stepped up his attack on the family and he would love to find a way to create an opportunity for friends to lust after friends. When else do friends take off their clothes, put on skimpy swimsuits and hang out together. How much of your friends bodies do you want your husband to see?
I would encourage you to prayerfully consider how you can be true to scripture and God's heart in this area. I encouraged my daughter to wear a swim skirt as well as a tank top over her halter top.
The Lord will bless your desires to be more like Him.
I love the scripture that so bluntly reminds us of the need for modesty.
Proverbs 11:22
Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
I am so encouraged by the mentoring relationships that I see among all of you. God bless you for taking a strong stand to be wives and mothers who reflect Jesus in all you do.

Jon, Sally, & Jude said...

Amen! Thanks Mrs. Seay! What a good challenge about "How much of your friends bodies do you want your husband to see?"
Praise the Lord for WISE WOMEN!

Hendrick Family said...

When is Jenn's mom going to start a blog? Bring it on, Mrs. Seay!

Jon, Sally, & Jude said...

Just a note on modest swimsuits...

My friend sent me this link.
Check it out.


Mrs. Seay, I would read your blog! Now you've got at least 3 people you know that would read it. It's so worth it!

Penny said...

I am not a member at Living Hope, but at Twin City church of Christ. A good friend forwarded me links to this blog and allthingshendrick. I have been reading them as a pure spectator so far, but I cannot restrain myself from commenting on the swimsuit issue.

I fail to see how any swim suit can be considered modest in and of itself. Probably wet suits are the only things that come close, and even they are skin tight and leave little about a person's figure to the imagination.

Swimsuits most often look just like underwear. I asked my boyfriend what he thought the difference was and all he could think of was that they are made of different material. How can different material make something modest when it shows the same amount of skin?

So my rule of thumb for swim suits is this: I would not parade myself around in public in my under garments so swim suits are no different.

I have no problem wearing a swimsuit under shorts and t-shirts and tank tops. But I must be covered!

How embarassed would we all be if the Lord came back and we were all caught parading around on the beach in mixed company essentially in our underwear?

If you wouldn't be proud for the Lord to catch us like that in His second coming, then we shouldn't be wearing it. He's watching all the time and knows what we're wearing.

I know this is a tough subject to tackle, but it seems to me that if we just humble ourselves and let us bend to God's will these issues will be much easier to deal with. Especially with modesty issues, I feel we are trying too hard to get as close to what the world finds acceptable and still be acceptable to God. This is not possible! We are to stand out from the world as strangers and pilgrims on this earth, not try to blend in as much as possible.

Let's remember that this world is not our home, so if we're uncomfortable in the summer heat or while swimming due to weighty clothing, just remember that we're supposed to be uncomfortable here!

As for wearing swimsuits just around those of the same sex, I have never had a problem doing that as long as I know the women I am with. Unfortunately in today's world, so many people struggle with homosexual urges and you never know who is struggling with that. So maybe even wearing some things aren't even appropriate around members of the same sex as it could be an unintentional stumbling block. This is still an issue I have not totally made my mind up on. What are your thoughts?

Sorry for butting into your discussion, but I just could not keep this to myself. I appreciate your feedback. :-)

Jennifer Bacak said...

Welcome to the discussion, Penny!
Yes, I appreciate my Mom pointing out the difference between swimming with other women, which is 99% of the time during the summer. We Moms meet at a pool and chase our children around the whole time. Rarely will there even be a man present.
But we are taking a beach vacation with two other wonderful, young couples in our church, and I am thinking greater measure need to be taken in that case. Just like my Mom said, so there's never a chance for Satan to get his foot in the door among us. Will I get the tan I want? No. Small price to pay though.
I'm calling for my Mom's blog too! Heather, I think you and Judy should team up with us! How cool would that be?
This has been such a fruitful discussion for me!
Thanks everyone for participating, and for the links you gave! Awesome stuff!

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Anonymous said...

As far as swimsuits are concerned , since my wardrobe has changed to being plain and modest I don't have a swimsuit as I havn't find one that in some way doesn't show my body shape. I have taken to wearing prairie and cape dresses with full pinafore style aprons as a means to modest dressing. I wish I had had the oppertunity to dress this way a lot earlier in my life. I think young girls (pre teen) should be introduced to modest dressing and to learn to love and serve the Lord. Maybe they would grow up being closer to Him.