One year ago today, I got the diagnosis of placenta accreta, and had to begin coming to terms with the reality that Annie would be my last baby. While the news both shocked and deeply saddened me, I have had peace all along that God was and is in control, and all of this is only a small part of his huge plans for our lives. I always knew that when we gave God the control of our fertility, it meant not only that He would have the say in how many children we had and how often, but also that He had the say in when we were done. I just never thought we would be done so soon! Though some may consider four children to be a large family, to us it seems quite average. I longed for a truly large family, with many little “arrows” in our quiver! I am happy to report that God is faithful, and although this was not in our plan for our lives, it was part of God’s plan all along. He has given me peace which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7), and I have been able to remain joyful, and we are truly enjoying our four precious daughters. We are also praying that God will open the doors for us to adopt another child in the future! Only God knows what’s in store for us, but I am very much looking forward to seeing His plans unfold!
One question I get a lot is, “Why do you and your daughters only wear skirts and dresses??” The way we dress tends to bring us a lot of attention when we’re out (well, that, and the fact that we’re a larger than average family), and at times people can be outright rude. (Though, mostly, people are very sweet, and we often get compliments on how beautiful all the girls are!) It seems that, to some, our values are a little offensive, and are perhaps a symbol of female oppression… but, no matter! We’re very happy with our decision, and we love dressing modestly! Since some people are a bit uncomfortable to ask, fearing that they might offend us by asking outright, I thought I’d take a chance to explain the story behind why we decided to dress the way we do.
About 3 years ago, the Lord began laying on my heart the desire to dress more modestly. I didn’t start out intending to wear nothing but skirts and dresses, rather simply to try to wear things that covered me more. It all started when I was reading a book called Raising Maidens of Virtue. This book (which is amazing, by the way!) greatly stresses the importance of dressing modestly, in a way that does not draw attention to ourselves in a sexually enticing manner. I was deeply convicted that I needed to dress in a way that was more respectful; not only to me, but to my husband, and to other men as well. While I am not responsible for the lustful thoughts of other men, I am responsible for the way I present myself. If I am intentionally dressing in a way that would cause men to stumble, I am not following God’s will. It’s also disrespectful to the wives and future wives of these men of God. I remember reading a quote on Facebook once, which said something along the lines of “Dress the way you would want other women to dress around your husband.” How convicting that was! I certainly don’t want women flaunting themselves around my husband, so I should be respectful enough of others to refrain from flaunting myself in a similar manner, no?
So, I began to dress in clothes that had higher necklines and not too snug, and I made sure the bottoms I wore were not too tight and came at least to the knee. As the Lord continued to transform my heart, I began to see the value in dressing more femininely as well. Our culture has really blurred the gender lines, and sometimes it can be very difficult to tell men from women, and vice versa! The traditional role of women has been so devalued, and with wave after wave of feminist movements, it seems that it’s now very prevalent in our society for women to want to be, well, men! But I believe that God designed a very special role for women, as wives and mothers, and it’s something we should treasure and be proud of! I no longer desired the things that “feminists” desire. The more God worked within my heart, the more I have began to love being a wife, a mother, a woman. With this newfound joy, I realized that I wanted to dress in a way that was not only modest, but also celebrates my femininity. And so, I began to wear skirts and dresses! It’s been about 2 years now since I made the switch, and I have never looked back, and I do not miss wearing pants at all! I love how comfortable and flowing my skirts are. I love when my children tug gently at my skirts to get my attention, or when they are sleepy and snuggle into the folds of my skirts. I especially love that my husband admires me every single day for the way I dress. He has told me more that once that it’s such a treat for the eyes to see me dressed so nicely every day – which is so funny, because even my “around the house” skirts, which seem so frumpy to me, still seem to appealing to him!
I’m sure that to some I may seem completely crazy. I’m okay with that, as it probably is at least partly true! 😉 The way we choose to dress is a very personal decision, and for many people, it’s not a spiritual issue the way it has been for me. I respect that we all must dress in the manner which seems appropriate to us. But if you have ever been on the fence about this issue, let me be the first to say, nothing feels more wonderful than to be shown the amount of respect I have been since we began dressing more modestly! I began to feel for the first time in my life that people (read: men) were finally seeing me for who I was, and not just the cleavage I had exposed, or the form-fitting clothes which left very little to the imagination. It’s a wonderful thing to have a conversation with someone who looks you right in the eyes, not glancing down at your chest, or legs, or whatever else is showing. I have doors opened for me, and young men calling me “ma’am” and show a level of respect I never knew before. It’s amazing, the difference! And all because God put it on my heart to clothe myself in a way that would be honoring to Him. These are the principles I have been instilling in my daughters, and will continue to impress upon them as they grow and reach the age when they will be torn between wanting to please the Lord, and also wanting to keep up with their peers. I pray that they will respect themselves and their bodies, and choose to clothe themselves in a way that brings honor and glory to the Lord. Amen!