My modesty journey began almost ten years ago on October 7, 2001, when this scripture literally turned my world upside down. I was a 19 year-old college student who thought the more skin I exposed, the better. Growing up, I can’t recall ever being told a particular piece of clothing was off limits — tube tops, miniskirts, halter dresses — I wore them all with no objection from the maternal figures in my life. But in the months leading up to that “fateful day” in October, I began to find myself becoming uncomfortable exposing my body, putting on so much makeup and wearing body piercings. I even began to think my short, bleached hair (which I had dyed bright red) wasn’t exactly the look I should be going for any more.
This process of transformation wasn’t motivated by any human source; my family didn’t suggest the change and I wasn’t going to any particular church at the time. I no longer wanted my old lifestyle and I wanted to dress the part. Eventually God saved me and I began attending church regularly. It wasn’t long before I was introduced to the “do’s and don’ts.” Some of these standards aligned with the way I felt God had led me, while others seemed a little unnecessary. However, I deemed the less needful “standards” as trivial compared to the awesome transformation God had made in my life, so I just went along with what I was told.
Over time, though, I began to notice individuals who didn’t feel they were given the opportunity to possess their own convictions or had a difficult time aligning with the standards — and who could blame them? Most times they were given a list of regulations — in place of biblical teaching. This group seemed to be well-versed in the do’s and don’ts but completely oblivious to the “why’s” and “how come’s”. As a parent, I’ve been thinking of how we will instill modest convictions in our daughters, rather than a dogmatic list of rules and regulations.
I know that I want to share my personal testimony and experience with my daughter, but my prayer is that she never has to wear a miniskirt to develop an appreciation for modesty. With so many colliding ideologies and opinions, how does one put a love for godly principles in the heart of a child so they learn to form their own convictions? How do I take Hebrews 5:14 and put it into practice so that my daughter, “through training [has] the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong?”
When I came across MoMoMod a couple years ago and saw fashionable, modest, young women who enjoyed the way they dressed and seemed to have personal convictions related to their standards, I rejoiced! As a mother this gave me hope. The women who are a part of the MoMoMod community intrigued me. How had these individuals come to value modesty and what role did their mothers play? Were they taught why they should dress modestly as a child? Or were they given the regulations of a particular assembly? Is their mother an example of modesty or has God used them to be an example to their mothers? Was their relationship with God cultivated by their parents — therefore leading them to make personal decisions about their appearance?
This post isn’t my way of opening the gates to bash any particular standard or assembly (or to learn the specifics of your personal convictions) but to explore the role of mothers in the modesty journey of their daughters. Do you dress modestly and enjoy it? If so, what role, if any, did your mother play in your journey…inquiring moms want to know!
When Chandra challenged us to wear one piece of clothing three ways, I automatically thought about my favorite black skirt. I had it all planned: a play date outfit, a date night outfit and a church outfit. Then my
photographer husband wasn’t able to take the pictures. That’s when I decided to have a little fun. I pulled out my favorite skirt, my mannequin, and decided to show you all how I’ve worn it for 3 different seasons of life. This United Colors of Benetton skirt has been with me for about 7 years. We’ve been through job interviews, dates, funerals, weddings and two pregnancies together. So, without further ado: the skirt.
When not pregnant I like to wear the skirt with a silky top, high heels, and a clutch. I love this skirt because its tailored but not tight.
While pregnant I wore this skirt with flowy tops and a Bellaband around the waist. I faithfully wore this look until my bottom half expanded and I wasn’t able to pull up the skirt anymore. When pregnant, I find the combination of a flowy top and straight skirt very flattering. I’d pair it with flats in a fun color.
(Also, this shirt is a two-fer! It’s not a maternity shirt but can accommodate a pregnant belly. It can be worn tucked in when not pregnant.)
After the baby the straight silhouette of the pencil skirt helped me appear slimmer. A punch of color and a structured blazer finishes the look off. I like to wear flowy tops after the baby (not too flowy or too tight or you’ll still look pregnant). I pair this look with shoes with a medium heel and a cute diaper bag.
I bought this skirt seven years ago at full price and returned it the next day because I wasn’t used to spending so much on one piece of clothing. A couple of weeks later I went back and the skirt was on sale for 50%! I had no idea back then that I would still be wearing this skirt today. I’ve learned that good, quality, versatile pieces can get you through many seasons of life. I also learned that a little patience can save you money – like 50%!
Do you have an item of clothing that you’ve owned forever but never seems to get old? Or an “investment” piece you got a great deal on? Tell me about it below; I love to rejoice with them that rejoice!
1. As a child how did you picture yourself as a mother? How have your views about motherhood changed over the years?
As a child I didn’t picture myself as a mother, but rather as a lawyer because lawyers made a lot of money and were happy, right? Well, in college while interning at a prominent law office in D.C. I realized it was not for me! The October after that internship God saved me and my views on MANY THINGS started to shift. I began to value the spiritual blessings over worldly success—which is good, right? But as a new Christian who was “on fire for the Lord” I secretly judged the mothers of the church who did not attend every service, missed prayer retreats, and didn’t participate in the ministry. Didn’t they love God? Did they even have a “sacrificial prayer life?” It wasn’t before long I was knocked off my high horse! I humbly learned that mothers are involved in full time ministry, 24/7! I’ve learned that every prayer is sacrificial and that the Lord even answers the prayers whispered while washing the dishes and wiping snotty noses. I have come to realize that a mother who is yielded to God should be held in high regard after all “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).
2. When did you have your first child and how did you prepare for your firstborn’s arrival?
Physical preparation- My son Caleb was born June 2008 (11 days before our one year wedding anniversary!). When talking about childbirth I had a very spiritual/ anointed woman of God tell me “ Jesus gave the doctors the wisdom to create epidurals…don’t try to be super woman, take the drugs!” This comment and others like it made very interested in the idea of natural birth vs. medicated birth. I did a LOT of research and familiarized myself with pain management techniques, took classes, and used this site A LOT. I studied the biblical principles related to childbirth and watched the documentary, “The Business of Being Born.” I also created a birth plan and organized my “birth team” which included my husband and good friend LaSandra. You can read more about Caleb’s birth story here on her blog.
Spiritual Preparation- I prayed a lot. I prayed for myself and had others pray for me. I had to conquer fear of the unknown “Would I be a good mother?” “Would I survive the pain of child birth?” etc. I gathered scriptures that encouraged me and listened to music/ sermons that were edifying.
Financial Preparation- My husband and I agreed that I would be a full time homemaker after the birth of our first child. So, we lived below our means in a studio apartment, pushed to pay off our debts (including credit cards and wedding expenses), and built our savings using my income as a teacher and used his income for our living expenses. We also saved aggressively to buy a safe car for precious cargo and cheerfully gave to the church and those in need. So, when our son arrived we were ready to live on one income.
3. Looking back: what mistakes did you make and how did you change them?
I ate out way too much during my first pregnancy, and didn’t make the healthiest choices, but I did better the second time around. I would have definitely used a midwife rather than a doctor for the birth of my son. With my daughter I had a midwife and found midwives to be more patient and compassionate—two things you definitely need during childbirth! Looking back, I could have prepared my mind for the transition from working mother to homemaker more. I should have done more praying and reading about life after the birth…but isn’t that what we tend to do? We focus on the event rather than the life that follows (ie. weddings vs. marriages). I have since come to terms with the transition but it was on the job training!
My children’s lifestyle and childhood are MUCH different from my own, thank the Lord! They have two married loving parents who serve Jesus. So, they do not experience a lot of the drama I did growing up. They are able to be kids, and are not exposed to some of the harsh realities of this world before their time.
5. Think about your own mother (or someone that served as your mother). How are you different from your mom? How are you the same?
God has blessed me with many women who have served as mentors in my life, my grandmother being the most prominent. She is one of the most giving people I know. She loves sending greetings cards to everyone for all sorts of occasions “Congrats on your new job, sorry you lost your pet, etc.” She has taught me to remember people, especially those who may otherwise be forgotten. Along with her card giving she is always on time! She knows exactly when to mail a card to be sure it arrives ON your birthday. She has always told me to be early and never make anyone wait for me when they pick me up. Unfortunately, I do not have her knack for timeliness…and it drives her crazy!
6. What is one tip your mother gave you and you use?
My mother-in-law often tells me “you can’t give what you don’t have.” This is her way of telling me to make sure I am taking care of myself. It’s a gentle reminder that neglecting to care for myself spiritually, physically, and mentally to serve those around me, actually hinders my service rather than benefit it.
7.How do you plan to teach your son to treat a lady? How do you plan to teach your daughter to act like a lady?
My son is learning how he should treat a lady by watching how his dad treats me…and he treats me pretty well! He witnesses his dad love me as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). As he grows we will encourage him just as Paul encouraged Timothy to treat “elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, in all purity and to honor the widows” (Timothy 5:2-3). My daughter is learning what it means to be a lady from my example—I think is important to exemplify beauty, femininity, and meekness for my daughter, in a world that tries to blur gender lines and encourage women to be boisterous and seductive.
8.It’s been said that once children enter your home time for yourself is not a priority. How do you make time for yourself? What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I believe that the Lord is a proponent of self care “ love they neighbor as thyself” echoes my mother-in-laws advice that I “can’t give what I don’t have.” So, taking time for myself and my interests helps me give more lovingly and freely to my family and those around me, but it’s a constant balancing act, and I sometimes drop the ball. Unfortunately I am not a good planner/ time manager, but with the Lord’s help I’m working on it. I believe there is enough time in the day to cultivate my relationship with the Lord, my husband, and my children while also maintaining my household and pursue my interests. I believe the key to this is balance (there’s that word again!). Currently, I am staying up way too late blogging and crafting. I love all things creative, from sewing to reusing coffee bottles!
9. Describe one easy meal you’ve made that your family enjoys.
Homemade pizza…every Friday! I make pizza from scratch every Friday and my family loves it. It’s simple and economical. I follow a foolproof crust recipe my friend gave me and add toppings (which are usually leftover) veggies, tofu, etc. It’s always a big hit. I also double the recipe so there’s enough for Saturday!
10. Describe your perfect family outing. What tips can you give families about planning budget friendly family day activities?
Pack your own lunch and snacks and avoid the gift shops! Take advantage of free days/ passes to parks and zoos—we’re able to get these from the public library. Get creative with family vacations. We have planned our family vacations around my husband’s travel schedule at work. We have been able to go to Disney World (twice) and Atlanta for a fraction of the cost. He has to go to meetings for part of the time but it’s worth it.
11. Let’s discuss your “mom-style”. Do you put a lot of thought into what you wear? Do you care more about how your husband and children are dressed? If you have tips for moms in regards to clothing…do tell!
Since the birth of my children I have had to reinvent my style. If you think stylish + modest clothes are hard to come by, you’ve never tried to buy modest + stylish maternity or nursing accessible clothes! After the birth of my children, even after losing baby weight, the shape and firmness in certain areas was drastically different so I have had to wear more structured pieces. I usually managed to look nice on Sundays for church, but my main issue is during the week. I have to force myself to get dressed, do my hair, and wear shoes when most of my time is spent at home! When I was a teacher I would often wear heels especially when I taught middle school because my students were taller than me. So, with my new occupation I am working on finding modest, stylish, and comfortable clothes. Currently, I wear a lot of straight skirts, flats, flowy tops and cardigans/ blazers. I also try to accessorize with fun scarves and (age appropriate) headbands. Also, in an attempt to keep my style I have invested in nice diaper bags. Some of my favorite brands include Kate Spade and Petunia Pickle Bottom (and I never pay full price!). Next on my list is a Mia Bossi diaper bag.
12. Name one or two Bible scriptures that have helped you during times of distress.
Isaiah 28:23-29 talks about the wisdom of the farmer. He knows when to plow and when to plant. He knows the best spot for each crop. Then verse 26 says God instructs him and teaches him! The passage concludes with “The Lord of Heaven’s armies is a wonderful teacher, he gives the farmer great wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29 NLT). This passages always gives me hope when I’m not sure which way to go next as a wife and mother. The Lord helps the farmer in his occupation and gives him great wisdom in things that seem natural. When I come to a point in this walk when I don’t know how to do something I remind myself that the Lord is a wonderful teacher!
I am happy to announce that I have completed my skirt! While finishing the waistband I was reminded of a comment left on my initial post. The lovely reader, Melinda, mentioned a flat waistband in the front with an elastic back….a brilliant yet simple solution. My entire waistband is still elastic but I sewed accordion pleats in the front to minimize bulk.
I pulled the elastic slightly as I sewed the pleats in front, but stopped stretching when I reached the back of my skirt. The accordion pleats resulted in a smooth and bulk free front (near my stomach) which is exactly what I wanted!
BUT the back of the skirt became more gathered than I intended. It would have been nice to continue the accordion pleats all the way around the skirt, but that would have caused the waist to be way too big…and a modest skirt around the ankles is not a modest skirt..
Next time I’ll adjust the length of my elastic and width of my waistband so I can continue the pleats around the entire skirt.
Until then, I’ll just enjoy my new handmade skirt with a half accordion pleated waistband!