This week’s post was written by Rebecca Serven. She has embraced her calling as a stay-at-home-daughter and serves her family in communication and informational systems. To this end, she keeps up the family websites (www.servenclan.com and www.genevanfoundation.com ), plays travel agent for their myriad of trips, writes, teaches, reads stories to small people, plays music, sews and gardens.
If someone told you to sketch a portrait in your minds eye, could you? It’s not hard to do. How about a Muslim woman, shrouded in thick black veils? Now picture a “alluring” woman out to have a good time on the town. But this is harder: can you picture a Christian woman? It is easy to identify a policeman, soldier, fireman, and even sometimes a politician, but shouldn’t we be able to point out a Christian maiden just as simply?
1 Peter 3:3-4 states, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hear, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel–rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
Modesty and femininity are twin virtues easily forgotten in today’s culture. We are called to adorn ourselves, not wear paper bags. And not with things that draw attention, but always in modest apparel. Sure you can dress as a Muslim and be “modest” or adorn yourself as a women of the world and be “feminine”, yet both modes are only counterfeits. Only the Christian girl can truly fulfill those qualities listed in Scripture.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not believe it is inherently sinful or wicked for a woman to wear pants. However, our culture today has a deplorable lack of ladies who give a biblical picture of modest femininity. I feel privileged to take part in the battle for godly womanhood by the way I dress. It is the dress of war: the war against feminism, a twisted view of woman, and a war for victorious maidenhood, proclaiming the Crown Rights of King Jesus. We are making His reign manifest in our lives.
One day several years ago, my little sister and I were shopping at a local thrift store in California. As we walked through the racks and racks of second hand clothes I lamented the sad fact that we couldn’t even find used modest clothing, let alone feminine garments. We kept hunting, hoping against hope that our perseverance in this thrift shop would pay off. But then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young man watching my sister and I. He was dressed all in black with mussed hair and a very pale face. He kept looking at us and I started feeling uncomfortable. I gradually steered my younger sister and I towards another corner of the store, but the young man followed us intently. I started walking faster, and then–
“Uh–excuse me Ma’am.” (Editor: Remember, this is in California. No one ever calls you “ma’am”) “Uh . . . Do you usually dress like that?” he said, nodding to me.
I glanced down at my simple light brown dress and gulped. “Uh, yes . . . I guess so.”
“Well, thank you. It’s very elegant.” You could have knocked me over with a feather.
Living in California, it was a rare occurrence when you saw a lady in a dress, skirt, jumper or the like. If per chance, you did see one, you could almost guarantee that she was a Christian home-schooler. The antithesis is so stark in the west it is wonderful. It is very easy to “stick out”, yet always in a good way for Christ’s glory and kingdom.
Now that we are in the Midwest it’s not quite so easy. You can’t just put on a dress and have people constantly ask “Are you a Christian?”, “What country are you from?”, “Can I take your picture?”, thank you profusely “for dressing modestly”, open doors for you, or pay you myriads of compliments. A wide cross section of Midwestern ladies wear modest and feminine clothing (or a at least in greater abundance when compared to their left coast counterparts). However, even if wearing a dress does not make you stand out in the Midwest, we discovered one thing that does.
Walk into any Stuff-mart in town, sit on a convenient bench and watch the women go by. Will you see a joyful smile or gentle laugh escape their lips? Perhaps. But more likely it will be drudging housewives, immodestly dressed teens, overburdened working moms and prim, proper, tight-lipped spinsters, some even in dresses. If California had various states of dress and undress, at least the ladies smiled.
Recently, I heard the story of a girl. The breezy cultural communication of the west had not changed with her recent move to a small Midwestern town. One day she waltzed into a office building asking a question of the lady behind the counter. Smiling thank you, she walked back towards the door. The office lady remarked to her co-worker in whispered tones, “Isn’t that girl so sweet? She seems so happy. She must not be from ’round here.”
Wow. To think the day would come when a smiling joyful heart was a rarity.
What an amazing banner we carry: to be modest, feminine, joyful woman of God. We are representing Christ to a world of God haters and subverters. I don’t think of myself as dressing every day in the battle dress of war. But that is what we are called to do–proclaim the antithesis inwardly and outwardly. By our gentle joyful heart and dress we proclaim Christ’s work in our life. And by their dark or frivolous dress they proclaim their own autonomy. Let’s show the world an exuberant and victorious picture of godly womanhood. The lines are drawn. Now that’s a war worth fighting for.
Join me on Thursdays when I share one of the At The Well – Pursuing Titus 2 devotionals that has made an impact on my daily walk with the Lord as a mother and wife.